Some women use the same one or two handbags all the time, while others change their bags as often as they change their minds. Either way, a few questions about the care and use of purses often arise. Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about handbags.
How should I care for my handbags?
Most handbags can't go into the washer, so prevent stains and dirt as much as possible, especially with designer handbags. Handle them with clean hands, and think about using darker-colored handbags when you go places where there will be food or other things that may stain them. When you take a handbag to the movies or to a restaurant, place it on a chair instead of the floor. Keep items that could stain the interior -- pens, makeup, or snacks -- zipped into another small bag that you keep inside it.
Many handbags can be spot-cleaned with a soft, damp cloth. Use leather cleaner on your leather handbags, but be sure to do a test patch in an inconspicuous area to check for color-fastness. For tricky spots or delicate fabrics, take your handbags to the dry cleaner.
Store designer bag in the cloth dust bag it came with, in a pillowcase, or in bubble wrap -- but not in tissue paper, which may attract moths. If there is a chain handle, store it inside the handbag where it can't scratch the exterior. Unbuckle any buckles and loosen any straps to prevent marks from the metal.
Does my handbag need to match my other accessories?
If you like the classic look of matching your shoes and fashion handbags, then go for it! Matching your bags, shoes and, your belt can be an easy way to look polished. Mismatched -- but coordinated -- accessories can look very modern, so if you like that style, then you can make it work. Many women find this look to be fresher and less fussy. When your accessories aren't matching, be sure to maintain a similar feeling; for example, try carrying tote bags with casual shoes but use clutch bags when you're wearing pretty pumps.
Which handbags do I need for my wardrobe?
Make sure you have a handbag that will suit everything you do and everywhere you go. You wouldn't want to carry a big shoulder bag when you're wearing an evening gown, just as you wouldn't want to carry everything you need for work in a little clutch. The basics are a large handbag, a medium-sized everyday handbag, and an evening bag. Once you have at least one of each of those, fill in your handbag wardrobe based on what you do, where you go, and what you wear most often.