A purse is often too feminine, a briefcase too masculine, a purse and a briefcase too cumbersome and pockets are absent or impractical. There seems to be no one perfect solution for all women, but instead a variety of solutions based on how much you have to carry and where you work.
If you carry a lot–legal briefs, professional journals, binders, books or boots–a large tote bag or briefcase is required. If desired, they double as overnight bags for business travel. If a few papers are the norm, a slim envelope bag or portfolio is sufficient. If it’s keys and a wallet, with a minimum of makeup, a small bag will do. No sense to carry something larger than you need–unless you’re after the more assertive professional image associated with a briefcase, even an empty one.
If you work in a traditionally conservative or formal business office, stick with a classic leather handbag or briefcase, one devoid of decoration or designer initials. Plain and simple is the rule. If you work in a creative or casual business office, your options expand to include the variety of leather or fabric totes and even canvas or polished-looking leather back packs.
PROFESSIONAL LOOKING PURSES: If a smaller handbag meets your needs, choose from the professional looking clutch, envelope or satchel styles available–often with a detachable shoulder strap. Conservative business bags should be made of fine leather or an excellent imitation leather. Suede is less durable than leather. Fabric or straw bags are appropriate for after-hours and creative or those in casual business positions.
Choose from the variety of classic colors–black, brown, burgundy, gray, navy, luggage, cinnamon or chestnut-brown. Light or bright colors are acceptable for creative or casual business bags, although lighter colors show the soil and scratch marks more readily than darker colors. Handbag colors should coordinate well with mainstay clothes and shoes in your business wardrobe.
PRACTICAL TOTEBAGS: Women in creative or casual business positions find totebags a practical alternative to a briefcase. Not as formal, totebags offer more flexibility for bulky items along with a variety of fashion options. Available in a wide range of sizes, leathers and fabrics, you might want to consider leather for fall/winter and straw, canvas or linen for spring/summer.
Totebags are softly constructed. Papers are easily crushed and wrinkled under the weight of books and personal items. A thin notebook or portfolio that slips easily inside the tote will protect papers. Open-at-the-top totes invite pickpockets. Make sure yours is closed at the top.
Briefcase or tote, select a size in proportion with your size. A huge case or bag easily overpowers a petite figure. Too large a tote and you look more like a packhorse.
Copyright Judith Rasband and Conselle L.C. 2009
Judith Rasband is the Image Expert and would love to work with you! Visit www.conselle.com or call 801-224-1207 to learn more.