Handbags – the battle between form and function

Chanel Hula Hoop Handbag Spring 2013
Chanel Hula Hoop Handbag Spring 2013

I love handbags because for me they are my office, my shield, my armour, my pantry, my home. Here is an example of what I carry in my handbag every day. In addition to the below I also carry water, a sandwich, scarf, gloves (in winter), a Filofax and newspaper, Ipad or sometimes a laptop. comerfordinsweden-015

So my bags need to be:

  • big but not too heavy
  • have easy access – large top opening, two straps.
  • not allow everything to fall in a heap at the bottom
  • straps that are wide and easy to hold in hand, on arm or over shoulder
  • hardy leather
  • A4 size or larger
  • firm bottomed
  • equipped with inside and outside pockets and pouches.

The worst bags for me are:

  • too small or too big
  • too heavy
  • have narrow, very long or very short straps
  • single strapped (though I do have several of these)
  • narrow openings
  • rounded bottoms
  • too stiff or too soft

It’s the constant battle between form and function. Some of the most beautiful bags are works of art, designed to be admired rather than used. Here are some examples:

Miu Miu nappa hobo

This one is by Miu Miu. Beautiful bag but a flapover top combined with single handle and buckle closure is very impractical. Narrow impractical shoulder strap. Strictly for Ladies Who Lunch.

The one below is a Bulga and I find it strangely beautiful. I love it in the picture but when full and when carried out and about it looks like you are carrying an internal organ covered in tumours.


This next one is Ylva Liljefors’ Lagom bag – it is too narrow, top opening too narrow, straps very strange and awkward to carry and the colour rubs off on clothing. I loved these bags and I like to buy Swedish designers but they were just so impractical. There was not one practical one in the entire range.

Ylva Liljefors

Anything by Timmy Woods – Carrie in Sex and the City carried the Eiffel Tower one and one shaped like a horse’s head. But then she was not known for practical clothing!


I won’t include minaudieres in this post as they are meant to be more jewelry than a handbag.

And one for the just plain hideous category – Giles Deacon for Mulberry. It is sacrilegious to do that to a Mulberry Roxanne!

Giles Deacon for Mulberry Roxanne

Finally here are two from Storisac – extremely pretty and not too impractical. Love them both. They are beautifully designed and more functional than many of the others I have posted here.


Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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