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The Purse Whisperer goes to Michigan

January 10, 2011

One of the nice things about living in the South is that the world completely shuts down when it snows. But as a native Michigander, I know that’s not the case for everyone and that, in some parts of the world, people need to carry on like regular human beings in the face of frozen water. My friend Karen, who’s recently become a Michigander herself, has most of the paraphernalia she needs to stay warm and dry, but there’s one key item she’s been having trouble with, so she asked me for some help. I’m sure we can all guess what department that’s in…

That’s right. The handbag department. Specifically, a little advice on how to find a bag that will fit over a bulky coat.

So here are some of my suggestions…

  • Look for a long enough shoulder drop to accommodate a bulky winter coat, at least 7″, but 8″ or 9″ will allow more room.
  • Look for a flat strap that will sit on the shoulder instead of rounded handles that will roll or slide off.
  • Look for a single strap — double straps will also fall off.
  • Don’t just look at the length of the strap, but the placement. Make sure they’re wide enough to shove a jacketed arm through
  • And while you’re at it, make sure the bag itself fits close enough to the body. This will cut down on bulk and help keep the bag on your shoulder
  • Consider the materials. Cowhide or goathide bags will be more durable than lambskin. Patent leather, nylon and other synthetic materials will be the most durable of all and resistant to snow, ice and salt.
  • Think about handles and crossbody straps in addition to traditional shoulder straps. They add much-needed versatility or can be an inconvenient hindrance, depending on your preference
  • Beware open tops, especially if your area is prone to precipitation
  • If your coat is neutral, consider a bright bag for a fun pop of color on dreary days!

The slouchy hobo style will smoosh down and make room for a heavy parka.

This bag gives you the option of an elbow hold bag or a crossbody strap.

This bag is a good option for those of us who don't love shoulder bags and the color will take us into spring!

This bag might look smooshy, but the narrow shoulder drop will make it hard to get over the sleeve of a thick parka.

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