100 lb. Club - Handbags/Purses on the Obese

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10-13-2009, 01:00 PM
I was out shopping for a new handbag the other day and I noticed something. Most (purses/pocketbooks/bags) have short handles. I have always had purses with very long shoulder straps so I can put it over my shoulder and walk and it sort of hangs by my side (low, almost by my leg). When I "tried on" the ones with short straps, and I had them on my shoulder, they hang between my arm and waist. They poke out/stick out like having an extra hip. I feel super fat and like my bag is sticking out so far that I might ram into someone when I am walking. What is up with this? Am I just fashion-challenged? What is the appropriate type of hangbag/purse for a very large woman to have?

I know this is a weird question... I grew up not using any kind of bag and now I *need* one that is semi-big to keep all my stuff in. I see other woman (normal sized) and they all seem to have those shorter bags hung under their arms and look fine, but me? I don't really have room to be any wider than I already am.

What kind of bag or purse do YOU use? Am I missing something? Are you just supposed to have the bag over your arm or carry it by its handles in your hands? I need a new purse and have NO IDEA what to get.

10-13-2009, 01:28 PM
I know exactly how you feel Lyn! I generally use shoulder "tote" bags (http://shop.pacsun.com/girls/girls-handbags/Ya-Feelin-It-Tote/index.pro) to ensure there's enough room for my arms to fit..and my arms aren't even THAT big =/ I see everyone with such cute clothes and cute bags on my campus at school and I just think to myself "Someday I'll be able to buy things like that.."

In regards to your question, holding the bag by its handles or putting it on your shoulder really depends on the style of the bag. What bags do you have now that you're having issues with?


10-13-2009, 01:29 PM
i have no advice but i am having exactly the same problem! will be watching this thread with interest!
at the moment i have one of those short handled bags and i kinda carry it in the crook of my arm, or else just in my hand. its very awkward!

10-13-2009, 01:52 PM
I am addicted to purses!! A lot of purses are meant to sit in your crook by your elbow. The ones I prefer can go over my shoulder, and still have shorter arm straps. A shoulder bag.. like the picture I've attempted to attach.. hopefully it works! A good purse is hard to find, so continue your search until you find what you want! Weirdly enough I've managed to find purses at Aldo Accessories.


10-13-2009, 02:02 PM
Purses were the one thing that I could always find to fit. :)

I want my purse to fit on my shoulder slightly under my armpit next to my breast. I don't usually have a problem in a department store with a fairly good selection. Like you, I need to try it on to be sure that it works. The hard handles do not work for me and I like leather straps. I just look at the straps and can usually get a pretty good idea if it will work. There is a length between the short straps and the ones long enough to hang to your hip. The bag also can not be too big or it will irritate me.

Hobo bags work well for me.

I have been lusting after this bag but probably won't get it, too expensive.

Dooney & Bourke (http://www.dooney.com/OA_HTML/ibeCCtpSctDspRte.jsp?section=45997)

10-13-2009, 02:11 PM
Please forgive me for intruding on your thread, but I saw this and thought I might be able to help. As you can see from my ticker, I am a very big lady, I am 5'7" tall. I own around 65 bags and am a true handbag junky. I have all sizes and colors and if you want your bag to "hug" up under your armpit, close to your body, you probably want a bag with about a 12-14 inch "drop" unless you have thin upper arms. That is the distance between the top of the bag to top of the straps. I absolutely hate bags I can't put over my shoulder and carry, though I do own several. I buy a number of my bags at HSN or QVC and find they are great as they show them on models so you get an idea of how they drop. Unless you are a very short woman, don't carry itty bitty bags. Buy a bag that if it hugs your armpit hangs to a bit below where your bra bottom is. That is a pretty good size. I love bigs bags and carry the kitchen sink but for a medium sized bag, aim for one that is about 10-12 inches wide and about 10-12 inches tall. Hope that helps!

Shannon in ATL
10-13-2009, 02:18 PM
I hate bags right under my arm, I like the ones that have a long enough strap to go across me so the strap is on one shoulder and the purse hangs down at the opposite hip. Hard and harder to find that style these days. I got my last one on clearance at a Coach outlet. Crossbody Coach Bags (http://www.coach.com/online/handbags/-handbags_silhouettes_crossbody-10551-10051-5000000000000015030-en?t1Id=62&t2Id=5000000000000015030&tier=2) they actually have a section on the website that shows purses that will hang across like that.

10-13-2009, 02:19 PM
i have no advice but i am having exactly the same problem! will be watching this thread with interest!
at the moment i have one of those short handled bags and i kinda carry it in the crook of my arm, or else just in my hand. its very awkward!

Thank you! I'm doing the same thing and I feel like I must look like Queen Elizabeth. A nice looking lady but I'm not that old!

10-13-2009, 02:27 PM

Wow!! Thank you! I am so going to write that down and take it with me to shop. That helps a great deal.


see, that pic is the kind of bag I am confused about. If i put that on, it doesnt "hang" down like it does on that mannequin... it sticks out because I am big, and then my huge arm is over top of THAT and I wonder if I look like a linebacker wearing it. Maybe I am just not used to them, but I *DO* want to learn, and be fashionable.

I was trying to find a picture online of the bags I usually get, but can't. They're hard to find and thus probably not very fashionable. The strap is so long I put it on my shoulder and the bag is actually by my hip. I buy a flat type bag so it doesnt stick out. My hip is actually my biggest part so now I am wondering why I thought this was more attractive or slimming in the first place, hmm.

10-13-2009, 02:28 PM
I'm sorry to hijack this thread, but I just can't resist quoting that commercial.

From the lady with the giant accessories, including the purse, "It's just...All these giant things make me look small."

I myself love a big purse! I'm also patiently waiting for cross body bags to come back...

10-13-2009, 02:29 PM
I usually stick to hobo styles, I tried a bag with handles (Rebecca Minkoff Morning After Bag) and it looked completely ridiculous on me.

But I haven't sold it yet, waiting to see if I like it more after I lose weight.

10-13-2009, 03:30 PM
big girls with teeny tiny handbags is a no no i think LOL Personally, I swear by my Roots "cross body" bag, leaves my hands free and it lays flat, not bulky but it holds all my stuff. AND it's the only cross body bag that has enough strap length to go around me and lay lower on my hip where i want it, some of the others the bag is stuck somewhere under my boobs NOT a stellar look LOL

Alana in Canada
10-13-2009, 04:36 PM
That purple bag is actually meant to be carried in your hand and not over your shoulder--though I realise that's how most people carry it.

I need a hands free "cross body" bag too (I've never heard the term "cross body" before, but that's exactly it.)

The strap on my purse is 48" long--and it has a buckle for adjusting.

Google "saddle bag" and see what comes up. This one came up when I did it.

Shannon in ATL
10-13-2009, 04:42 PM
Ooo, I love that bag Alana. That is exactly what I'm talking about. My current bag has a long strap with adjustable buckles as well.

10-13-2009, 04:55 PM
I have alot of smaller-medium purses with the shorter straps. I hope they dont look ridiculous! ha

I also really like a bag I have. It has long straps and hangs down by my hips. I can fit everything in it and its pretty casual. Its what I usually use.

I love purses and bags and could pretty much adjust to anything. Just make sure you get what you're comfortable with! Target has alot of cute purses and bags pretty cheap. They always seem to have a good variety. Or if youre still having a hard time finding something check online.

Good luck with finding one you love! =)

10-13-2009, 05:11 PM
I have been lusting after this bag but probably won't get it, too expensive.

Dooney & Bourke (http://www.dooney.com/OA_HTML/ibeCCtpSctDspRte.jsp?section=45997)

Cheryl, I have that in a smaller size (I think it's the small instead of the medium, because I paid a little less for it). I haven't regretted it for a moment. I'm not usually a $200 purse gal (although I've done it before!), but these are really NICE bags and I haven't babied mine a bit. I carry it every day and it looks great. So if you need a reward.......just sayin'.......

10-13-2009, 05:15 PM
See, I like smaller bags. Big bags look like granny bags to me (Queen Elizabeth, hehehe) but I do see a lot of them that look cute when other people carry them. They just feel too big for me. And what would I PUT in a big bag? All I carry is my little zippered wallet thingie, my cell phone, keys and a pack of gum. Maybe I'll throw a lipgloss or a checkbook in there but really--what else would I need? My sister carries everything from a digital camera, blackberries, phones, medicines.....it's like a carry-on bag. All she needs is a pair of jammies and a toothbrush and she could trek across the country with that thing. LOL

10-13-2009, 05:16 PM
So I have to jump in here and say that I have not Purchased a Purse/Bag in many years . I now make my own I find the material and I can make it any way I Like . I like the fact I can put different sizes on for straps and even make as many Pockes in the inside that I want. I guess thats the purkes for being a craft Junkie I have to try every thing. But this is what works for me.

10-13-2009, 08:37 PM
When it comes to bags with shorter handles, I think it's just a matter of trying a few and finding one that you like. Myself, I really dislike cross-body styles for two reasons - one, strap across my chest equals awkward purse strap cleavage and two, my hips are too wide to add a bag too!

My advice is shop around for a bag you are really comfortable with and that you really, really like!

I know that Fossil carries cross-body styles if you're set on that longer strap. Some of the styles are super cute! And of course, they are a little pricey, but they're really well made, and it would make a great holiday gift to yourself! Also my friend has the cutest Vera Bradley cross-body bag - not too big - I think it's from the Hipster collection?

Good luck on your search - I absolutely LOVE finding the perfect new purse!!!

Thighs Be Gone
10-13-2009, 09:00 PM
I adore purses. I have probably 50. I just bought another last week--orange leather contraption that is awesome for the FALL in me! I see the models and women in magazines carrying them with their hand as they traipse a city sidewalk. I like something on my shoulder. I like the strap long enough that it comes off easily--not trying to wrangle it off myself.

You could always go with a fanny pack. :)

p.s. Also, when I shop for purses I put the thing on my arm and tote it around the store a while---after ten or fifteen minutes of moving about I know whether or not I have a keeper.

Thighs Be Gone
10-13-2009, 09:02 PM
So I have to jump in here and say that I have not Purchased a Purse/Bag in many years . I now make my own I find the material and I can make it any way I Like . I like the fact I can put different sizes on for straps and even make as many Pockes in the inside that I want. I guess thats the purkes for being a craft Junkie I have to try every thing. But this is what works for me.

POST PICS--I am dying to see them! I love homemade things.

10-13-2009, 09:39 PM
I like something that leaves my hands free and doesn't feel like I'm trying to hide it under my armpit. I loved the backback bags when they had them in slightly larger sizes (everything is small small small now). Right now I have a brown leather sack-type bag with canvas strap that hangs to my hip if I have the strap on my shoulder, I found it at Payless Shoes. You might also want to check Ebay -- you can sometimes find really good new or gently used merchandise for cheap, just have to wait for the shipping.

10-13-2009, 11:25 PM
big girls with teeny tiny handbags is a no no i think

oh my gosh, I just saw a pic of myself with a tiny bag...I looked so funnY! I had no idea, because I love small bags...I think I'll put them away for a short bit

I'm a total handbag junkie too!

I'm loving Vera Bradley right now, and the Hipster along with a few others have longer drops. (cross body) - Just went and tried a few the other day and the "On the Go" works for me also.

I also love Tignanello - they have long enough straps for me - and are really nice

10-13-2009, 11:33 PM
I was *just* thinking about this the other day, since I've decided I need to start carrying a purse again. I dug out an old one and have been keeping an eye out in the stores.

I do see so many women carrying those short-handled purses over their shoulder and tucked under their arm, whether or not those specific purses were meant to be carried with the hand I don't really know. All I do know is that me trying to carry them on my shoulder just doesn't work; even if I try to tuck it under my arm it just won't stay there! I'm wondering if my side just sticks out too much for the purse straps to be able to rest properly on my shoulder . . . I end up holding the entire thing up with just the side of my arm and it's not at all comfortable. I'm wondering if this may change as I lose more weight.

Come to think of it, I've always had a bit of trouble getting a purse to sit on my shoulder properly unless I cross it over my chest, which I'm not entirely comfortable with either. Maybe I've just got really rounded shoulders?

10-13-2009, 11:52 PM
LOL! I like the cross body bags too but the "strap cleavage" thing IS odd...

Is it okay to wear a crossbody bag just over one shoulder? Because I think that is what I have been doing. Letting in hang off one shoulder. I didnt realize I had a crossbody bag.

Is there some kind of rule about when to wear what color bag? Is a black bag ok for casual or daytime or do you have to match it to your clothes? I never knew so I always bought medium-brown, plain bags because I figured it would match everything. But then when I wear black I wonder if it is dorky to have a brown bag.

10-14-2009, 12:09 AM
I love mixing colors. I found that if I have a few colors to choose from, I don't need a neutral. For shoes and bags, I find that if I get muted colors (burgundy, teal), I can wear them with most things.

10-14-2009, 01:32 AM
When I wear a bag like the purple one it just sits on my shoulder and hangs down, doesn't really poke out that much. I gotta wonder.. why is that such a bad thing to wear the bag like that? I thought it could go on the arm, or on the shoulder? Technically it's a shoulder bag. Thats the style I prefer because then I have my hands free.

Yeah, the weird cleavage you get from a cross body bag isn't so great. I can pull it off in the winter with a jacket on though!

I have a few coloured purses depending on the day - brown is my day-to-day purse though. I have purple, pink, black, black leopard-ish print, hot pink. I even bought a special shelving unit for my purses.. :lol:


10-14-2009, 01:38 AM
I have a small Kathy Van Zeeland purse with a really long strap (that can double up to make it a smaller strap, but i keep it long). it falls off my shoulder sometimes, but other then that it fits perfectly into the crook of my waist and if i need to have more freedom i can wear it cross body.

Thighs Be Gone
10-14-2009, 03:50 PM
I have a couple of those long strappy things that come down to my waist. If I put them across my chest though it only emphasizes the fact that I have NO BOOBS!!!

10-15-2009, 02:58 PM
I just carry a handbag (it's a smallish red leather Marc somebody or other dealie. LOVE it) with short handles; it tucks under my armpit quite nicely. I've honestly never noticed what kind of purses overweight people carry, so I guess I've never really considered the problem!!