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It’s often said that one of life's greatest mysteries is the contents of a woman's handbag. Men are constantly perplexed and, if we're honest, so are most women. Despite the fact that the contents rarely changes from day to day - and is in fact frequently transferred between several handbags per week - we must admit that the majority of us have no idea what is lurking in those dark fabric folds.

Of course there's the usual mobile, purse, keys, small make-up bag and an umbrella. That's common sense. But on top of that, we also pile in hairbrushes, spare stockings, spare shoes, PDAs, books, a bottle of water, another brolly because we forgot about the first one, a bottle of perfume (or several) and, if you have kids, usually one or two toys and/or jars of baby food.

That's quite a horde. So naturally, we need bags that can cope. Ever wonder why big bags are back in fashion? Chances are it's because Mrs Dolce and Mrs Gabbana went out shopping one day and realised that between their two tiny handbags they had little more than a credit card and a pack of gum. Clearly, this was unacceptable.

Of course, big "day" bags have their limits too. They're fantastic for work, school, holidays (think of all the souvenirs!) and after a week or two of owning one, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.

That said, there is still the demand for smaller bags. These bags are your evening bags. Your soiree bags. The ones you take to a restaurant, a party, a night out on the town (although not the cinema - otherwise how can you smuggle your Tesco drinks and snacks in?). Clearly, the small bag is still an essential item.

But don't go overboard. So, so many women get carried away with bags. The fashion team at YourGorgeous are no exception - but its essential that you are sensible about your buys. We've jotted down some handy hints so you get the maximum use from all your bags, whatever the occasion.

Day Bags: Save these for weekdays at the office. They should be big enough to hold whatever you normally end up carting around - so if you have a lot of files, you need a bag that's both sturdy and large enough to accommodate several folders. Try to look for ones which have a small pocket for mobiles - they're a great way to make sure you never lose it!

Big bags also need to be very neutral colours so they can be adapted to any outfit. And no, in this instance neutral does not mean beige. Ideally, have a large black or brown winter bag (depending on what colour you wear more), a cream or white one (for summer) and then one statement bag: perhaps red, green or even sunshine yellow. If you have a favourite pair of shoes for work, try to find a bag that matches them, or else simply choose a shade that you wear often. You don't need loads of bags - after all, who ever has the time or the inclination to transfer all their clutter to a different bag each night? Best to keep it in the one place - that way you're less likely to lose things.

That said, rubbish can build up, so each weekend (time permitting) try to go through your bag, take out anything that's junk and throw it away. Swap that week's perfume for a different bottle, change your lipstick colour and, of course, ensure that any pantyhose are the correct colour. That way your bag is always organized, no matter its size.

Evening bags: These can be a little more tricky, if only because different occasions demand different bags.

It goes without saying, really, that every woman should have a classic black handbag. No matter the style or strap, as long as it fits the essentials - mobile, money, lipstick, plasters - then you're fine.
On top of that, you'll need a bag to go with your favourite outfit. This will likely as not be a specific colour, so unless you're extremely picky about branding and design, it's best to go for a high street brand as you won't get as much use from it as other bags.
Finally, you may find yourself needing a bag for a wedding. Weddings are usually associated with the lighter shades, so unless it's a winter wedding then blacks and browns are out. A cream, oyster or similar pastel shade will usually stand you in good stead for such occasions, and can prove to be extremely useful in the summer months.

Of course, we realise that with all the bags that are on sale, you'll be tempted at some point to buy something that you don't need. As long as it's worth the money and you'll get some wear out of it, then there's nothing wrong with a little indulgence. But remember, bags are one of the most versatile accessories, so don't waste money on a bag you don't need - there could be an even better bargain around the corner. Handbags and Gladrags


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