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Handy Handbag Etiquette

When dressing for success, don’t forget your accessories. Keep them all in top form - handbags, shoes, scarves, umbrellas, backpacks, work bags. They are all a reflection of your personal brand. They should complement your look, not complicate it.

"Shabby shoes with a worn heel are as obvious as a missing button but not as easily forgiven." – Esther Crane

People will forgive a missing button, assuming you just lost it. But worn heels, scuffed shoes, or a beat-up handbag send the signal with their sad states that you are sloppy. That is not a nice message to send. Neither is it a kind look. Today we are going to focus on handbag etiquette.

Carry your handbag on your left leaving the right hand free to shake hands. If carrying it on the forearm, make sure the handles stay there as opposed to sliding down to rest in the bend of your elbow.

Treat your handbag with respect. This means never placing it on the floor. If you know you are going out to dinner, be prepared to switch out your larger handbag for a smaller clutch that can easily go on your lap or under your napkin. A small clutch never goes on the table. Neither should any accessories, like sunglasses, cellphones, gloves, hats or small umbrellas.

If you are going out with a larger purse, consider using a handbag hook. You just need to make sure to hang it on the table in a manner that won’t interfere with waitstaff. Alternatively, you can place your handbag on a vacant chair at your table, or use the handbag stool that more and more upscale establishments are providing for their patrons.

Please do not hang your handbag off the back of your chair. Not only does it get in the way of waitstaff, it’s a target for thieves.

Don’t bring large handbags and satchels to tight-spaced areas, like a reception, where you’ll likely bump into others with it. Pre-planning is key here.

Have a marvelous week - Catherine

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