Style + Ask The Edit

Take a Peek Inside Belle's Handbag

I’m always fascinated by the contents of a woman’s handbag.  Because what a woman carries around with her every day can tell you a lot about the kind of person that she is.  It’s a bit like asking what items you would save from a burning house, filling your handbag forces you to determine your priorities. 

When it comes to the contents of my purse, I’m a bit of a minimalist.  I don’t carry a makeup bag like most women, and I don’t like to clutter up my bag with lots of “just in case” extras.  Like my closet, I like to keep the contents of my purse well-edited.

My go to work handbag is a the Rebecca Minkoff Mini MAB.  It holds all of the essentials and still has room to add more if you’re traveling.  If the $500 price tag is more than you can bear, you can sometimes find these bags on sale on Gilt, Rue La La, and other sample sale sites.  As for what’s in my bag, the following items have made the cut:

Seriously, that plus keys and a Metro card is all that I carry in my purse.  I like to be able to find things and I hate being weighed down.  These are the essentials, no more, no less.  So what do you carry in your bag that you simply couldn’t live without?


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  1. sally says:

    I'd add an umbrella, sunglasses, a granola bar, and advil to this list.

    February 17, 2011/Reply
  2. EG says:

    Wallet, pack of gum, chapstick (don't wear lipstick), mini hair brush, sunglasses, nalgene, phone, keys, camera (never know what or who you might see!), pens, highlighters is it when I'm headed to work. For a bigger day (after-work event, or interview) I throw a couple things from my makeup bag (powder, mainly) to touch up, and occasionally emergency flats if I'm in some of my more difficult heels and I have a long day planned.

    Unfortunately 4/5 days I also have class after work and you can add a 1600 page textbook, a laptop, charger, and snacks to the mix ­čÖü My poor back…

    February 17, 2011/Reply
  3. Stacy says:

    Ha, I have the same rosebud salve and hand cream. I just keep it in my desk drawer instead of my purse. Both are definitely essentials.

    February 17, 2011/Reply
  4. VA says:

    My everyday purse always has my: iPhone and earbuds, wallet, sunglasses, SmarTrip card, keys, Kindle, pen, tiny moleskine, chapstick, ponytail holders, Baggu (all folded up), and a small umbrella (just in case, because I usually forget to check the weather in the morning). Right now, I also have a pair of gloves and a winter hat in there.

    February 17, 2011/Reply
  5. Rory says:

    I'd add: aleve, sunglasses, water bottle, epi pen, camera, sunscreen (a must-I'm a landscape designer), and various stuff for work, depending on the day.

    February 17, 2011/Reply
  6. DC says:

    my everyday purse always has a small umbrella, burts bees chapstick, gum or mints, small hand sanitizer, wallet, phone, headphones, folded up reusable cloth bag, stain remover pen, keys, metro card, pen/pencil, office ID/key, postage stamps. in the summer i add sunglasses. in the winter i add gloves and earmuffs. on work days i add heels and snacks. on school days i add a textbook and notebook. on going out nights i ditch the big bag for a wristlet and only take credit card, ID, keys, phone, and chapstick.

    February 17, 2011/Reply
  7. Alejandra says:

    Floss. And Look Ma! New Hands lotion from True Blue Spa products…it is, hands down, the best hand lotion I've ever used.

    February 17, 2011/Reply
  8. K says:

    My purse is minimalist since I keep my spare umbrella, hairbrush, lotion, etc in my desk at work. Many of my professional heels are in a drawer there, too. The purse I carry right now has credit card slots so I don't even need a wallet. I just have my sunglasses, phone, keys, tissues, chapstick, smarttrip card, nailclippers, mini day planner, pen.

    Unfortunately, I do often carry another tote or backpack when I know I'll be transporting files from my office or have something big I need to bring in. I also throw my lunch in there since I usually bring food to work.

    February 17, 2011/Reply
  9. Jess says:

    Well, right now I'm recovering from breast reduction surgery, so I'm rocking a leather Coach wristlet with just my BlackBerry, cards & chapstick. But normally my purse has… Kindle, badge, wallet, excedrin, B&BW stress relief body lotion (the smell – OMG), flip & tumble shopping bag (wads up like a pair of socks), notepad, pen, oil absorbing sheets, 2 chapsticks, tinted lip balm and sunglasses.

    February 17, 2011/Reply
  10. Stefanie says:

    I love posts like this. Thanks to you Belle, I'm working on editing what I carry based on what I actually use instead of what I may use. In my tote I have: a wallet, smarttrip card, keys, office ID, work Blackberry, iPhone, headphones, notepad/pen, travel pack of tissues, sunglasses, lipstick/lip balm in a small case with mirror, business cards, and small umbrella.

    February 18, 2011/Reply