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Purses and Handbags: Features and Options

Updated on March 12, 2015

So Many Purse Choices

It can take hours to just survey all the handbags available in a large store.
It can take hours to just survey all the handbags available in a large store. | Source

Pocketbook, purse, handbag, clutch, satchel…whatever you call it, the choices in the market boggle the imagination. Here are tips for making a good decision for your next purchase.

Purse Buying Tips

  • Take inventory of your current purses
  • Determine what features you want in a purse
  • Do market research
  • Wait for end-of-season sales or other predictable sales

Take Inventory of your current Purses

Decide which absolutely do not meet your needs and WHY. Remember the reasons for tip number 2. If the purses that do not meet your needs are in good enough shape to be donated to Goodwill, a hospital charity shop, the Salvation Army, a religious organization, etc., do so. It will serve someone else very well and you will not live with guilt over having lazily tossed it into the trash.

Doing this exercise helps you in additional ways. By “culling the herd” so to speak, you make room in your closet for new handbags. Even better, by performing this analysis you are concurrently completing tip 2.

Determine what Features You Want in a purse

If you are shopping for an evening bag, that purse will have different must-haves than a business handbag or a vacation purse. Figure out what the deal-breaker features are for each kind of purse you use. This is extremely personal (or should I say purse-onal?) There are no right or wrong answers. However, I encourage you to be very analytical about what you require. This will help when you are shopping and find a bag which appeals to you on many levels, but lacks an important feature.

For example, someone may have determined that all outside openings must have zippers. Then she finds an absolutely fetching bag – good price, wonderful colors and material, right strap length, everything better than could be expected EXCEPT the main opening is merely a fold over of leather, not a zipper. It is time to be strong and mentally refer to the deal-breaker list. In the end, this shopper would not feel comfortable using the purse if she bought it and it would therefore become money flushed down the hopper. Be strong.

Do Market Research

This is the business term for what we call “shopping.” Shopping does not mean buying. It means seeing what is available at what prices. You will never know what a good deal is if you don’t know what regular prices are. On the flip side, you also will not recognize a bad deal if you aren’t keeping track of reasonable deals.

Wait for end-of-season or other predictable Sales

If possible, waiting for end-of-season sales or other predictable sales will maximize your spending power. Of course, we all would like our new summer purse at the beginning of summer – not the end of it! However, you may be able to find a handbag in the end-of-season offerings that could be acceptable into the fall. And if not, how bad can it be to buy a nice summer bag in September at some ridiculously low price – such as 75 % off?

Also, if you patronize particular store over time you may get to know when it has sales. It wouldn’t hurt to ask a sales clerk: she or he will probably tell you if the store traditionally has handbag sales and when they occur.

Purse Features

Inside Compartments
How many?
Outside Compartments
How many?
Wrist strap
Shoulder strap
Cross-body strap
Soft triangle
Every variation from coin purse to suitcase
Every variation imaginable

A Serengeti of Purses

Handbag section of a retail store.
Handbag section of a retail store. | Source

Report Back

Please give this system a try. You can report your results in the comments section below.

Maren has professionally helped many fine ladies find their perfect purse.

Photo and text copyright 2012 Maren E. Morgan.


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