Some people prefer tiny handbags that will carry keys, wallet, lipstick and cell phone. Others would rather carry around everything but (or including) the kitchen sink. Choose the size and fashion that's right for you.
Looking for a larger bag? Consider a tote bag. These are open at the top, and have shorter handles. These can store and carry a wide assortment of items. Leather briefcases have a slightly more professional appearance, and are perfect for business use.
Backpacks are more casual than tote bags, and carry about as much as a regular handbag does. These allow the user to keep their hands free while carrying items. Messenger bags are also worn across the back and are designed to provide extensive room for storing objects.
Duffle bags are similar, and can be worn across the shoulder. These are ideal for clothing or personal items, or for overnight travel.
Moms who've had a baby know better than to travel without a diaper bag. These are handy for toting along all of the extra things a baby needs during a day trip: diapers, clothes, bottles, and wipes.
Some diaper bags are made from vinyl or nylon materials and are designed for easy cleaning. Some are made from stain-resistant and moisture-repellant materials. Others are made to be thrown into the washing machine for easy cleaning.
For day outings or informal occasions, consider a medium-sized bag that will carry along the basics, including makeup or other essentials. Sling a smaller, crescent-shaped hobo bag over the shoulder, or carry a satchel by the handle.
Satchels usually look like a triangle from the side and feature closable tops. Shopper bags are much like satchels, but are often roomier and are closed with a zipper or button. These are ideal for shopping.
Shoulder bags may feature single or double straps, but are worn over the shoulder. People who prefer a smaller version will want to consider demi handbags instead. These feature shorter carrying handles, and can be hand-carried or worn over the shoulder.
For a different look, try a drawstring handbag. These have a cord or drawstring that is woven through holes at the bag's top and can be pulled together for closure. As an alternative, consider a flapbag; these have folding flaps that protect the items in the purse.
Doctor's bags are perhaps the most versatile of handbags. These look like old-fashioned doctor's bags, and are designed with long sides and rounded ends. These can be used for a purse or packed for overnight trips instead.
Manufacturers offer handbags made in a wide assortment of shapes, sizes, and materials. Buy leather handbags, straw bags, nylon duffle bags, or plastic bags. Choose handmade bags or designer bags.
For those who are planning a hot date or night on the town, though, any old handbag just won't do. Find the perfect bag to match your outfit. Tuck a baguette handbag under the arm. These have long, rounded bodies like a loaf of bread.
If this won't work, switch to a mini clutch handbag. These can be hand-carried or tucked beneath an arm. Or, opt for little evening bags made from materials like silk or velvet for formal occasions.
Signature bags for any occasion
Need to add style and flair, or just want to make a statement? Consider adding a signature bag to the wardrobe. Hermés Kelly bags were made famous by Grace Kelly, princess of Monaco. The famous actress used posed for Life Magazine in 1956 with a crocodile bag, holding it for shielding her pregnant figure.
Hermés Birkin bags are one of the most popular in America; these were created especially for Jane Birkin. The waiting list for purchasing one of these exclusive handbags can be as much as two years. It was also touted as the ultimate status symbol in accessories in the television show ""Sex and the City.""
Another must for fashionistas, Luis Vuitton handbags have been wildly popular for upwards of 75 years. The Speedy 30 is the long sought-after standard, featuring brown material and a gold monogram.
Louis Vuitton introduced an updated version in conjunction with a Japanese artist named Takashi Murakami in 2003. These bags, feature bright colors with cherry blooms and cartoon characters. Many famous figures, including Madonna and Jennifer Lopez, carry these around Hollywood.
If Gucci is more your style, opt for the Horsebit Hobo. This handbag is practical as well as stylish, and can be used as an everyday accessory or for formal occasions. Buy the oversized version preferred by actress Jessica Simpson, and choose from a wide array of bright colors and plush fabrics, including canvas, ostrich, or lambskin.
The latest and greatest fashion bag, according to fashion experts and Hollywood hopefuls is the Balenciaga le Dix Motorcycle. They feature distressed leather as well as a tasseled zipper and double-rolled handles. They manage to look streetwise while retaining their fashionable status.
Whether you want to be a fashion queen or just carry all of your stuff around, the right handbag is right there waiting for you. You just have to shop . . . and shop . . . and shop until you find it. Better start looking now!