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What is the difference between a tote and a satchel?

When shopping for a large, roomy handbag, it helps to know the difference between a tote and a satchel. Open, unstructured, and rectangular, totes make good carryalls for books or beach gear. They feature long straps slung over the shoulder for easy carrying. Often decorated with buckles, gems, or stitching, satchels feature two short handles and plenty of interior space for feminine essentials, and they are more likely to have organizing pockets or dividers. Satchels offer zippers, snaps, buckles, or drawstrings for secure closure.

What are the best types of handbags for summer?

Leather satchels in bright, cool colors — think yellow, green, and blue — make good choices for warm weather, as do patchwork or woven boho bags. Straw totes or colorful cloth totes with fun prints like polka dots, paisley, and floral work well for summer shopping or day trips to the beach. Fringe, flowers, and colorful beads make great summery handbag embellishments.

What type of handbag should you pair with a formal outfit?

Women should consider small bags that carry the barest essentials, such as a cell phone, cash, and lip gloss. Many women like the elegant look of a clutch, while others prefer to carry a small evening bag on a dainty chain that they can drape over their shoulder. A wristlet with a small strap is a good compromise between a clutch and an evening bag. Bags with decorative details like embroidery, metallic leather, bows, sequins, beads, gems, and sparkle make a good complement to a cocktail dress or ball gown.