January 21, 2014

The Language of Arm Candy

When I was younger, I used to hate carrying a handbag.  I reveled in my freedom of movement and lightness of step.  Besides, my mom always had her handbag, and all I ever needed could be found in that magical, bottomless vortex.  But as I got older and started going out by myself, a handbag became essential. Since then, I've realized there is a certain art to carrying a handbag; how you carry it says something about your character.  A quick Google search confirmed there are actually names for each method, but I think the names I've come up with get straight to the point:

The Civilian

I call this The Civilian because this is probably how most people carry their bags - over the shoulder. It's a good way of keeping both hands free and it adds a bit of decoration around the torso area. However, shoulder aches and annoying strap slippage which require constant adjusting are common. For me, I'm only comfortable slinging my handbag over my right shoulder.  A bag on my left feels strangely awkward.

"Can these straps be velcroed to my shoulder or something?"

The Multitasker

This is another common position, especially with the popularity of cross-body handbags. Slung over one shoulder and across the torso, this is the most practical of all methods. Both hands are free to do whatever else (sifting through racks of clothes, for example), and there is no risk of a strap falling off your shoulder. This is my go-to, but it unfortunately only works for small to medium sized bags. Lipstick, phone and wallet...that's pretty much all you can handle.

"Handbag?  What handbag?"

The Dare Devil

In a variation of The Multitasker, The Dare Devil skips the cross-body step.  This insouciant method sees a cross-body bag hung precariously from one shoulder.  Bags are positioned behind the hip, a prime spot for bag thieves, as my mom likes to remind me.  When walking, bags get quite a beating against the hip, and any movement in the wrong direction can see your bag flying off your shoulder, but hey, it looks cool.

"Sorry, can you pick that up for me?  I have to stay vertical."

The Swinger

Girls with short legs (like me) tend to have problems with this one.  Handbags are simply grasped by the handle and left to rest around your knee area.  With this method, the axis of movement increases significantly, and accidentally hitting people with your bag when you walk a little too excitedly is not uncommon.  Skipping and swinging at the same time is not recommended.


The Contortionist

These girls are of utmost trendiness.  They're always one step ahead of you, and the way they hold their handbag says so too.  Handles for the hand?  Pfft.  Obviously handles are for your arm to thread through so you can clutch the bottom of your bag.  This may not be the most comfortable way of holding a bag, and it could come off as trying too hard, but you've got to admit, you want to be this girl.

"You can stop staring now."

The Celebrity

This is the most common method for the rich and the famous (and one I admittedly love doing, even though I'm neither rich nor famous).  Handles are pinched by the crook of the elbow, and the bag rests in front of your hip for full exposure.  The more you bend your elbow, the more high fashion you become.  Extra points for dark shades, 5-inch heels, and a death stare hot enough to blaze away a path worthy of your runway walk.  But if your fingertips start touching your shoulder, stop.  Only models can pull that off.

"Ugh, where is my limo?!"

The Protector

This method has its roots in Prada's Fall/Winter 2011 collection.  Clutched desperately against the chest, this is the best position for keeping things safe away from potential thieves.  It's also a stylish safety blanket that makes being uncomfortable in social situations look so much cooler.  If both hands are free, however, and the bag is pinched underneath the arm, you know you're dealing with The Fitness Buff, whose incredible upper arm strength (you think just anyone can hold their bag with no hands?) screams "I work out".

"How much longer before I can leave..."

The One-Hand Cramp

This is basically the only way a clutch can be held and is likely among the most impractical of methods.  With no straps of any sorts, one hand is forced to grasp despairingly onto the bag day and night.  Living life with one hand while the other suffers from a major cramp is tough.  Someone offers a handshake while you're holding a drink with your free hand? Forget it.  You've reached maximum capacity.

"Sorry, my hands are full."

The Declaration of Independence

Handbags are a symbol of femininity, and you won't fall for social constructs!  What a commoditized world we live in when we're told we need to buy something in order to hold all of our other things. Has no one ever thought that we simply lug around too many inessential things?  You've declared independence from your handbag. You're a free woman.

"Mom, can you give me my sunglasses?  They're in your bag."

Image Source: Photo1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

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