purses in store

Choosing the Right Purse Size for You

Typically, we come to the conclusion that our purse has reached its expiration date for one of four reasons: a) Zippers or snaps are broken, canyon-sized holes are made, and it’s just generally falling apart at the seams; b) We’ve run out of ways to store our unhealthy surplus of bags; c) Our lives have evolved to the point where the purse size no longer works for us; or d) We’re addicted to buying them and the ‘new purse’ excitement has worn off the one we’re currently using so… onto the next one. If Option C is your reasoning, we can definitely empathize with the struggle. When things like work, family, friends, relationships, etc. change, so too does your purse size. A working mother of two is going to have very different bag needs than a single college student in her twenties. We all know and abhor the struggle of switching our purses on an almost daily basis. Constantly digging through the three or four bags that you use on a regular basis because you left your favorite chapstick behind again is the bane of your existence. But how do you find the perfect sized bag for all of your needs? Here are some tips to help:

woman holding purse

1) Consolidate and Get Organized

Prior to choosing your perfect bag, you need to consolidate your belongings and figure out what you really need. This means tossing all of the three-month-old fast food receipts, loose change adding an extra two pounds, and lonely earrings missing their other halves. The last thing you want to do when you get a new purse is transfer the mess from your old one. In addition, it’s extremely difficult to tell what size purse you need when half of your current purse is lipsticks. You may even be someone who needs to go down a size in your bag to keep yourself more disciplined. If you’re someone who’s carrying a bag that’s much too big for your needs, your bag may become 50% purse, 50% trash purely so that you’re not carrying a big bag of nothing.

2) What is the bag for?

Once you’ve removed all of the excess items, ask yourself- what is this bag for? Is it an everyday purse? A bag to take hiking? Shopping? Work? To the coffee shop to work on your screenplay? All of the above? Trying to have one purse for every occasion can be extremely difficult and likely impossible. If you get a huge purse, there will still be days where there’s barely anything in it. If you get a tiny one because you don’t carry a lot day-to-day, you’ll likely need a big one more often than you think. If you’re trying to find one that you can use as often as possible, we recommend making a list of the activities you do on a normal weekly basis and what items you bring to those events. And if there was ever a time to be completely honest with yourself- this is it. People tend to talk themselves into thinking they’re more minimalist or needy than they actually are when they’re buying a new purse. This is how wrong-sized purses are bought, only to gather dust in the closet.

woman holding small bag

3) What do you need every day?

As a general rule of thumb, your purse should be big enough to fit what you need with you on a daily basis with a little bit of wiggle room in case you need to add one or two things throughout the day. So, in addition to your previous list, make another small list of the things that you need with you everywhere you go. You could be a more minimalist person who just needs their phone, wallet, and keys and they’re good to go. On the other hand, you could be someone who likes to carry their makeup bag, phone charger, and a book with them (just in case). Now consider both lists and what type of bag would suit those items. If you generally only need your phone, wallet, and keys, for example, a small purse or wristlet would be the best option for you. If there are a few extra items you need on a daily and weekly basis, however, a medium-to-large sized bag would work best.

Make sure you go with a size that would suit you most often according to your weekly schedule. For example, if you made your list and you see for 6 days a week you’d need a tiny bag, but on Sunday you’d need a bigger bag to take to the gym, go for the tiny bag. It’s much better to have a tiny bag that works perfectly 6 days a week than a huge bag that works for 1 day.

4) Organization, Space, or both? Get the most out of your bag’s size!

Now that you have a general idea of what size bag you need, the next thing to consider is storage space. The interior of a purse is extremely important when it comes to shopping for size. You may not believe it, but (by some bizarre magic trick) there are some tiny purses that can fit more items in them than some medium-sized ones. How, you ask? Well, it’s all about the interior.

When a purse has no interior organization, your items tend to get squashed in a weird pile. We all know the struggle of trying to re-organize your items because they only fit into your purse if they’re each in specific spots. If you’re someone who often looks like they’re wrestling their purse, we recommend looking for bags with organized interiors. They’ll have pockets for your phone, wallet, makeup, and an outer pocket for easy access to your keys. This way, you’re never wrestling your bag because there’s a place for everything and everything is in its place! Beware, though, bags that go overboard with their organization pouches and dividers end up limiting the space in the bag rather than creating it. When you’re shopping for a new bag, we recommend trying it on and putting your essentials into the bag to see how efficient its space usage is and how much is leftover. Who cares if you get weird looks if you walk away with a fly new bag?

woman holding large bag

5) Shape and Weight Distribution

The last thing to consider when buying a new bag is the shape and weight distribution. Like we said earlier, the wrong purse can make your items a weird mish-mosh of pieces. If your items fit in the wrong way, there will be weird pieces jutting out and it may make the bag uncomfortable to wear. When you try on the bag with your items inside, make sure when you walk that you aren’t getting stabbed by your lipgloss or that your phone isn’t smacking right against your arm or hip. That may seem fine initially but think about that happening every day over and over. We can almost feel the bruises. And keep an eye out for any zippers that may end up ripping some of your clothes because that purse will end up costing so much more money than it’s worth.

In addition, make sure you consider how the weight is distributed on your body. For people with a lighter load of items, for example, an over-the-shoulder bag would be an excellent fit. However, for those who have several heavier items to carry each day, possibly including a laptop or camera, an over-the-shoulder bag can be grating. You’ll constantly have to switch back and forth the side you’re carrying your bag on as each shoulder grows unevenly more painful. For those who carry heavier items on a day to day basis, we recommend a stylish backpack in lieu of a traditional purse. As they become increasingly more fashionable, there are several adorable styles to choose from and you can say goodbye to shoulder pain. For those who this applies to, make sure you bring your heavier items (laptop, camera, etc.) to shop or measure them beforehand because the last thing you want is to get home to find that they’re the wrong size.

If you take each of these points into consideration as you shop, finding your perfect purse should be a snap!