Save yourself a world of hurt. Back and shoulder hurt, I mean. Get yourself a cross-body bag.
These smallish purses that you drape — where else? — across your body have a lot going for them.
For one thing, they're generally cheaper than their full-size counterparts. Love that! (With the exception of the gray-and-yellow Coach bag, those on this page are all $60 or less. Well less.)
In a crowd, you'll like the cross-body because it's more secure than clutches, hand or shoulder bags, all of which are more susceptible to the grab-and-go purse snatcher.
But their best feature is that they force us to cut back on the huge quantity of stuff we don't need but carry around all day nonetheless. These bags require you to show some discipline, to pare down to your essentials: money, credit cards, driver's license, lipstick, phone. See what I mean about reducing back pain?
I once spent a day stopping women on the street to weigh their purses. We haul a lot of unnecessary stuff. The average bag weighed a hefty 8 pounds, and one poor woman's load was a back-breaking 20.4 pounds, with a calendar alone that weighed 21/2 pounds.
Hey, I'm guilty too. I could use someone with the strength of a longshoreman to carry all the bags (three) I bring to the office every day. That's the main reason I'm now using a cross-body bag myself.
For short trips, I just sling on my small bag and head off. I feel liberated! You will too.
Before you buy:
•Try it out at the store. Pare down to the essentials, then see if you can fit them all in the purse.
•Too many pockets and zippers can lead to confusion, not organization.
Be sure the closure is secure and will survive lots of use.
•The strap should allow the purse to fall at the hip (is it adjustable, knot-able?).
•Consider versatility. A removable or tuck-away strap converts it to a clutch.
Here's what I found. Scroll through the photo gallery above to see the bags.
STRUCTURED: Cooperative classic saddle flap, $34, Urban Outfitters, urbanoutfitters.com
TWO-TONE, CONVERTS TO CLUTCH: Coach Penny shoulder purse, $228, Coach, coach.com
PATTERN: American Eagle Suz cross-body, $16.99, Payless, payless.com
TOP-ZIP POUCH: Sondra Roberts Nylon & Napa cross-body, $60, Macy's, macys.com
COLOR POP, CHAIN ACCENT: Zara quilted shoulder bag, $25.90, Zara, zara.com