You're never fully dressed without a handbag, so hand over your hobo and scoop up one of spring's hottest styles. Now's the time to update your arm candy — and the possibilities are endless! Bobbie Thomas, “Today” style contributor and co-host of “Fashion Police,” has this advice:
Size really does matter
From the carryall to the clutch, the size of your handbag is just as important as the style. Oversized bags may be all the rage for spring, but don't abandon your handheld holders. The mini-me set is eager for a starring role in your daytime drama.
Super-sizing your handbag is one of the best secret-slimming techniques out there — but be careful not to go too large — it can look like you're hauling around luggage! The instant classic Muse bag from Yves Saint Laurent ($1,295, www.ysl.com) is not only white hot, but celebrity fans like Salma Hayek, Heidi Klum and Kate Moss have made it the tote of Tinseltown. And speaking of totes, they're not just for the beach! For the gal who won't leave home without it — the Canvas Satchel from Gap ($49.50, www.gap.com) is the carryall that's got you covered for everyday. Function truly meets fashion with this canvas tote.
For those who prefer to downsize — all hail the clutch! These tiny constituents are big players in small packages. Some would think they're only suitable for evening occasions, but I challenge you to change your mind. Whimsical day clutches are plentiful from designers such as Cole Haan ($245, 1-800-201-8001), Calvin Klein ($115, www.macys.com), Amici Accessories ($38-$48, www.amiciaccessories.com), Michael by Michael Kors ($148, www.michaelkors.com) and Newport News ($19-$29, www.newportnews.com). Elements such as floral appliqués, embroidered leather and woven wicker help you to see your little friends in a different light.
Eye-catching is an understatement when it comes to spring's brilliant shades. As designers get creative with color, remember that when it comes to your bag — bold is beautiful.
Celebrity favorite Marc Jacobs wows with a color palate that is as creative as a Crayola crayon box. Nicole Richie flipped over the Perforated Flap Bag, which she has in one of spring's hottest hues — canary yellow. ($625-$1,600, www.marcjacobs.com). Candy-colored bags come at all price points, and the Studded Buckle bag from Urban Outfitters mixes bright with a price that is oh so right ($58, www.urbanoutfitters.com).
While rainbow colors are making a statement in solids, bold patterns and punchy prints are popping up all over. Tressje Doheny's exotic bag ($205, www.girlshop.com) proves that what might be too wild in clothing is absolutely wearable in an accessory.
From the satchel to the saddle, one thing's for sure — slouchy shapes are old news and structure is spring's rising star. So, yes ladies, it's time to break up with last season's loyal companion and latch onto one of these new styles.
The influx of handbags inspired by your doctor is sure to provide the cure for spring fever. The season's sassy satchels pop with patent-leather details and big buckles. Lindsay Lohan found a prescription for style with the Fendi B Satchel ($1,860, 800-336-3469). Professors provide more unlikely inspiration this season, as soft, briefcase-type bags like the ones from Aldo ($39, www.aldoshoes.com) and Betseyville by Betsey Johnson ($385, www.nordstrom.com) get straight As. Meanwhile, Chloe's “Edith” bag ($1,720, 212-717-8220) is at the head of the class for smarty-pant celebs like Kiera Knightly and Jessica Simpson, who were among the first to scoop up this hot handbag.
Down to the details
Extra, extra, read all about it! Look for charms, chains, beads, braids, bows and fabulous fabrics to steal the spotlight.
Nautical by nature, rope detailing adds seaside charm to any tote. Cole Haan's G Series Rope Bag is just as practical on a ship as it is along the shore ($395, www.colehaan.com). Or, pay less for a natural beauty — the Fussy Double Strap bag from Payless ($19.99, www.Payless.com) is an editorial favorite for good reason. Its wicker bodice, perfectly planted pockets and two-tone details give couture companies a run for their money. Beads and bows are girly details that will doll up your spring bag wardrobe. Find some great options at www.intuition.com.
And last but not least, who doesn't need a little luck? Stars like Sienna Miller, Cameron Diaz, Jessica Alba and Penelope Cruz are saddling up to Hollywood's most wanted Dior Gaucho ($995-$1,995, 800-929-DIOR). Designer John Galliano drew inspiration from the bags originally carried by Argentinean cowboys (known as gauchos), and accented his modern update with rustic keys and stamped coins in tribute to the horsemen who use to flip a coin for luck before each journey. So while there are happy trails in Hollywood, we can all feel lucky with a little charm!