28 January 2017

How Many Purses Do Women Really Need?

That's right, one chic black purse that's reversible to a lighter color pattern (not solid) with adjustable strap, from cross body to simple chain, that folds inside to convert the bag to a clutch. (Really need are keywords here.)
Most of the website headline results searching the question show 5 to 10 purses. Cross body, clutch, and tote I believe to be the three most important as they cover every day, special occasions, and out and about time ( picnics, flea markets, beach, over night, etc.)
If space is an issue or you lean toward a minimalist life style, then buy a remnant of upholstery and/or drapery fabric. Sew three purses: special occasions, every day, and a tote picnic size.

I prefer a handbag wardrobe to go with the seasons, use, and ego. I mainly buy at thrift, rummage and yard sales. Favorite purses are used until they are unusable. How well seams and straps are holding up determine whether to retire (toss) a handbag. If a strap breaks and the bag is still good, then I sew on another strap. I have about a half dozen I regularly use over the year.

My Handbag Wardrobe Guidelines:

1. Black, brown, and a color or two in leather, plastic and/or cloth, multiple pockets, medium size with adjustable strap.
2. Summer straw, crochet cotton and/or other light material in several sizes for phone; phone, glasses; phone, glasses, book; phone, glasses, book, camera; phone, glasses, book, camera, other stuff.
3. Evening and special occasion purse. One gold, one silver, and one pattern. Also, sew your own to match an outfit
4. Whatever captures your attention at a thrift store, rummage sale or garage sale
5. Picnic, beach, outing tote size with and without zippers
6. Backpack for strolling, hiking and camping

The beaded special occasions purse (left) body is fabric with short strings of seed beads sewn on. One side is without color (photo above). I added colors to the other side's fabric to match it better with a dress for a wedding.
Fabric purses can be altered and embellished. Leather in some cases can be stained or painted. Always do a test on inside leather first.


  1. Such a good question May, and I always seem to find myself answering with 'not enough'. I have to admit that my one weakness and guilty pleasure is handbags. I tell myself it is all in the name of travel. But really...I just love them. Hard to resist a good clutch. I now work them into my 'everyday'..always handy when traveling for passports etc.... ;)

    1. Hi Jeanne,
      Your Instagram video of the flock of turkeys crossing the road is a highlight of my winter. They act like they are completely unaware of anyone around but themselves.
      Handbags are part of a woman's spirit, our shaman's bag(s). :)

  2. My problem is I carry too much stuff and then dig for hours in my purse to find something. I do like leather for everyday and will spend a fair amount because that means it will last a long time. I have a few evening purses that I have had for decades and use very rarely. I also have lots of different types of bags for the beach...most very cheap. I did throw out a bunch about ten years ago when I moved and now have about ten that I use.

    1. Hi Tabor,
      Ten is a good number, and leather is the ideal material. I believe it takes a special strength to throw out purses, no matter what condition. I have one by my desk with a broken clasp and straps that I've been trying to toss for over a month. I think the leather might end up as a corn husk doll's jacket. :)

  3. I have way too many and always end up using the same 3 or 4. I know that most women can never have too many purses.

    1. Hi Loree,
      Warm weather, I feel, requires more purses to go with the beautiful flowers in the landscape, like you garden.
      I almost rather buy a handbag over a pair of shoes. :)

  4. Dear Maywyn - I have several purses but I confess I generally keep using the same one until it is worn out. Love your beaded one. It would be lovely to carry for a wedding or such. Hope you are having a great weekend.

    1. Hi Debbie,
      I think favorite handbags happen when the most stuff can fit inside without getting lost too often. :)
      Have a great week, and an early Happy February!

  5. I always hunt for leather at thrift shops-I've found the best ones at places like that. Totes at Hobby Lobby or JoAnns can be made into my style by stenciling on them. Since I made bags for a magazine-I have quite a few hanging around-probably way too many!

    1. Hi Debra,
      Leather recycling is nice for the wonderful folk dolls that you create. I see the materials you use as a shining example of how to be resourceful with folk art. Searching for remnant sellers online can bring up good pieces of cotton duck canvas.
      At first I thought if there's too many of a type of handbag we have, then its not totes. Then I think...what about those fancy evening bags...oh and the tooled leather...and the sturdy saddle tan leather ones. :)

  6. There are a large number of colors in this fabric and one can select from an all the possible light colors. tweed fabrics


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