Do you ever wonder what your handbag says about you? Probably not. So many of us go for either a sensible plain black/brown bag, or a bag which was a lovely bright statement bag when you first bought it five years ago but is now rather, ummm, past its best.
When clients come into the studio for a colour analysis, they are bare faced, so the only clues I have about their personality, and therefore how they might see themselves and react to the class, come from their outfit and their handbag. And believe me, you can tell a lot from a woman’s handbag. Not just the style of it (although that definitely plays an important role), but also what inevitably spills out of it during the course of the day. Some clients have nothing but a sleek wallet and the latest iPhone, others have bags that are bulging with loose papers, spare change, ancient tissues and empty food wrappers.
In the personal style class we’ll often discuss how we judge people, consciously or not, on both their handbag and the contents of that handbag (think how often your handbag and its contents are on display – every time you pay for something in a shop, every time you take your diary out in a meeting, every time you put your glasses on or take them off, every time you put it next to you at a table and it falls open slightly). Having gone to all that effort to buy your clothes in colours and styles that suit you, wouldn’t it be nice to have a bag (and contents) that matched your new stylish self?
Spending a little time thinking about your bag, and what you put in it, will pay dividends next time it comes to feeling confident in your appearance, whether that’s in a high profile board meeting or simply meeting your uber-stylish sister in law for lunch.
The first point to consider is the style of your bag. Does it match (1) you, (2) your lifestyle and (3) your personality? If the answer to any of those is no, then shop around for a new one. I don’t know anyone for whom it is truly impossible to find a bag for, and one that fits all three requirements.
When it comes to the contents of your bag, things get a little trickier, especially if you are a busy multi-tasking woman (and frankly, are any of us not busy multi-tasking women?). I am definitely prone to a bit of scruffy-bag-itis (you try having three small children and ending up with a bag that doesn’t contain at least one half eaten snack bar, three screwed up drawings and a selection of toy cars), but I do try to empty it out and be aware of what’s in there before I head out to any meeting or event where I’m hoping to make a good impression. When I have those sort outs, here’s my list of essentials that make it back into my bag each time:
- Filofax (from which I run my life) – this carries my calendar, spare business cards, library book reminders, to do lists and basically everything I could ever need to know while out of the house during my work or leisure time.
- Small pencil case with a couple of pens and pencils, stickers (for emergency child entertainment) and a mini stapler (for stapling post office receipts together. If you do a lot of posting you’ll know what I mean!)
- Small make up bag with lipstick, Elizabeth Arden eight hour cream, a mineral foundation compact, a mini packet of wipes and a travel sized hand cream.
- Cashmere scarf – I love the Kettlewell gauzey cashmere ones as they squoosh down nice and small. A cashmere stole, while not exactly the cheapest, is brilliant to have around in case of all kinds of eventualities from a sudden change in the weather to an emergency baby blanket to an improvised sling (yes, I’ve put one to exactly that use) or dressing up cape (for my children. Honest).
- Fold up umbrella. I have a couple of cheap tiny fold up ones to choose from. Even expensive fold up umbrellas never seem to last that long, so I have given up buying them and just buy cheap little ones when I see them in colours I like.
- Sunglasses, even in winter. I hate driving in that awful glaring sunshine without them.
- Non-essential, but if I’m going to be out of the house for a while without any children, I also like to take a book – on the train or in dead time between meetings is about the only time I get to sit and read a book these days!
- I have the most well behaved hair in the world (poker straight, does exactly what its told), but friends with more fabulous locks tell me that a small hairbrush, plus a spare bobble and hair grips thrown into their make up bag, are an absolute essential for them.
For details of all items, visit our Kettlewell Colours Polyvore page