SECURELY FASHIONED: Getting a handle on summer handbags

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First Posted: 6/24/2014

Handbags are my favorite accessory. They carry your life around with you, protect your money, and make you look great! They can be like a loyal, beautiful, personal assistant always there, ready to help. I’ve picked a few of my favorite summer bags and I’m here to share.

Let’s start with the small.

The wristlet is perfect for nights out to casinos or clubs. This little gem will hold your necessary cards and ID, lipstick, and phone. The loop attached will secure the bag to your wrists so you don’t have to hold it all night like the clutch.

The clutch is great for a black tie event, something a little more fancy where you can rest your bag on the tabletop while you sip your champagne. Mmm, sounds nice.

The cross body can go either way. It can be super feminine, bohemian chic, or sporty. Most come in small and medium sizes. One of my favorite styles is the Rebecca Minkoff Mini Five-Zip Convertible Crossbody ($195, Saks Fifth Ave.) This is great for on-the-go or nights out – not very sporty, but very pretty. Its partial chain strap is reminiscent of the classic Chanel 2.55 bag. For an outdoorsy or sporty occasion, I would suggest LeSportSac Shellie ($46-$56,

The hobo is my all-time favorite bag, the one I always go back to. Hobos can fit nearly everything in the room. They are flexible and comfortable to wear. Always check the strap drop length before buying. If it’s not right for your shoulders, it may continuously slip off and you will be constantly readjusting; that is annoying. Try to find a hobo that is lightweight. That way, when you load it up, it’s not dislocating your shoulder. And if you only keep a few things in it, it will feel like nothing. My summer obsession is the Jennifer Lopez Joanna Snakeskin Hobo ($99, Kohl’s), and the brand also makes a matching wristlet (on sale $29, Kohl’s). You can store your cards, makeup, and phone in the wristlet in place of your wallet. If you don’t feel like taking your large bag somewhere, you can just remove your already stocked wristlet from the hobo and you are good to go. And no, it’s not real snakeskin.

The good old tote or shopper bag can hold as much as the hobo, but its boxy shape and usually open top are great for easy to reach on-the-go items. The tote is my favorite bag for airplane travel. I can easily access boarding passes and my passport, and it’s roomy enough to fit magazines and snacks. The tote is also a nice alternative to the beach bag. Macy’s has a great selection of designer totes like Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, and even the Macy’s brand of durable shopper tote ($40,

The beach bag is the purse lover’s symbol of summer. Large, bright, and durable are my beach bag standards. I like to include a clear waterproof cosmetic bag to protect liquids from spilling and melting all over. Most beach bags are inexpensive and can be picked up in any department store and even some drug stores.

Happy handbag hunting… until fall!