Shoulder Bags: a great alternative to Big Bags

January 4, 2011 0 By sonia.massi

Moving from Big Bags to Shoulder Bags

With fashion trends moving away from huge totes, towards elegant medium sized and small shoulder bags, how can we streamline our essentials to fit?
Do you still love your big bag and cling to that extra large tote regardless of fashion changes? Or are you relieved that fashion is now producing smaller handbags which don’t put such a strain on your back?

Shoulder bagsWhether you are a fan of big bags or not, it is true that fashion trends are starting to move away from the over-large totes that dominated the celebrity scene only a year or two ago. That massive handbag into which you could just throw in all your essentials and any number of extra just in case inessentials is being replaced by smaller and more elegant handbags: neat shoulder bags, that will fit the things you really need, but won’t have room for an extra sweater, spare pair of shoes, a book or two, or the kitchen sink!

However much we might regret leaving behind the convenience of a roomy tote, this change is really good news for our health. Lugging around huge bags that weighed upwards of five pounds on one shoulder, or hooked over an arm, was having a detrimental effect on backs, necks and shoulders. Doctors were seeing more cases of back strain than ever before and were predicting future long-term  health problems for the current  generation of fashionistas. The trouble is that if you have a big bag you tend to take along more than you really need. If there’s room for a couple of magazines, why not sling them in. All those little extras add up. Often you find you are carrying around numerous unnecessary and heavy items that you’d forgotten were even lurking in the bottom of your bag.

A smaller bag makes you think about what you carry with you. You are more likely to empty it out regularly to make room for the needs of the day, clearing out that little pocket of seashells from a walk on the beach a few days ago, or those letters that you only needed on one particular occasion last week.

But how do you go about scaling down your handbag contents when you move from a big bag to a smaller handbag (shoulder bag)?

The first thing to do is to work out what your daily essentials really are.

Lay out the contents of your big bag on a table. Sort everything into three piles: true every day essentials; occasional necessities; and extras just because there was room for them.

Take your pile of everyday essentials and find places for each item in your new smaller bag. Most good quality shoulder bags have well designed internal pockets, so that you can allocate a space to each item, making your bag so much more organised automatically.

Once your true essentials are installed, look to see how much more room you have. Try to keep space for one or two occasional necessities, so that you can tuck in those papers or a book when needed and still travel light.

Now that you have your new handbag neatly packed, what do you do with the rest of those things left piled on the table, which took up so much space and weighed so heavily in your big bag?

First of all ask yourself exactly when, if ever, you actually use them. If the answer is never then you can happily leave them behind every day and swing your new light handbag with relief. If there are occasions when you need to take more with you to work, or to the gym, then keep a second bag for the extras, which you only take along with you when needed. You can keep your old big bag for this, so that you don’t feel so heart-broken abandoning it! Now you can live life without all the clutter of a big bag on a daily basis. You can leave that second bag by your desk with the heavy stuff while you and your lighter handbag  saunter out for lunch, unfettered by the drag of too much stuff.

There’s no need to throw out your big bag just because fashions are shifting. A good quality extra-large tote in exotic leather will still look just as good as it did a couple of years ago and will last you for years yet. Plus something as convenient as the big bag will never go totally out of fashion with so many devotees clinging on to it! Just re-define its purpose and you can enjoy it alongside your new shoulder bag. Use your big bag when you travel, as a weekend bag or on those days when you need to take along a change of clothes and a whole load of extra stuff to work.

The real move in fashion has not been to abandon the big bag altogether, but just away from slavishly carrying a big bag on every occasion. Now you are free to carry the size of bag you prefer and choose the one most appropriate for your lifestyle and personality.

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