"One of the surest ways to add distinction to a rather ordinary street ensemble is to carry an elegant handbag- and an unfailing way to downgrade a lovely outfit is to carry a shabby or cheap one. This practical accessory is so important that it merits a very thoughtful selection, and even a generous share of your clothes budget from time to time. "
"Generally speaking, the size of your handbag should be in proportion to your own. It is just as comical- and needless to add, inelegant- to see a tiny woman lugging about an enormous satchel, as it is to see a portly dowager clutching a tiny purse to her ample bosom."
"... a well coordinated wardrobe requires very few handbags. I would say, a minimum of four:
- A large bag for travel and casual wear.
- An afternoon bag to wear with city ensembles and slightly dressy outfits. The most practical choice is undoubtedly a medium sized bag of fine black calfskin with an attractive clasp... Those combining two or more colors are beautiful when carried with a monochrome outfit; but a more practical choice for a limited wardrobe would be all-black, all-beige, or all-brown.
- An evening purse of silk, satin, or velvet.
- For the summer, a beige straw handbag, which can be of a rather coarse weave if you spend your summers in the country, or of a finer texture... if you stay in town. In any case, a straw handbag is an indispensable accessory to summery cotton and linen dresses.
From: A Guide to Elegance by Genevieve Antoine Dariaux