May 16, 2012

Carried Away

Stylist Martha Violante, who also acts as Paper Magazine’s fashion editor-at-large, owns more than 100 bags—including several backpacks. When we talked to her, she was toting a brown Mulberry bag with an edited set of contents that included an iPad, notebook, Commes des Garcons wallet, Chanel lipstick, a camera, keys and a pen. We talked to Martha about her top rules for choosing which purse to grab when putting together the perfect outfit.

1. Do what’s unexpected. Use your bag to add texture and color to what you’re wearing, even if it doesn’t seem to go together. I have a great metallic bronze Chloe clutch that I pretty much only wear when it doesn’t necessarily match.

2. Size doesn’t matter. The bag and how it matches my outfit are more important than how much it can hold. You can always find a way to fit your essentials.

3. Ignore the idea of an “it” bag. It’s all about what fits with your personality, not what’s trendy at the moment.

4. Real fashionistas change their bags at least once a day. If you have a lot of purses, show them off! Switching your bag is a great was to create a new look without changing your clothes.

5. Don’t overfill your bag. Packing in too many things can completely change the shape of the bag, taking it from stylish to awkward (and even ugly).

6. Take cues from your body. The silhouette of the bags you choose should be based on your body. For example, a big bag can overwhelm a petite person and cross-body bags depend on the length of your torso.

7. Carry with confidence. If you truly own the look, you can pull off anything. This applies to men, too. If you want to wear a murse [men’s purse], you have to have confidence.
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