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It's all in the bag
Tanya Munshi
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January 18, 2007

Dressing attractively for work builds confidence. So does shouldering a good handbag or gripping a neat briefcase.

"A handbag can transform even the dullest outfit," says fashion consultant Shadaab Razak. "Your choice of handbag should depend on your job profile and lifestyle. But most people don't give this any thought when buying one."

For women

Make sure your handbag/ briefcase is not dull. It should not be inconvenient to use either. Here are some bag ideas to match your work profile:

~ Executive

"A checked/ striped bag will do wonders to your business suit," says Shadaab. "You can select a bag with a light background like beige, with darker stripes of brown, black or even red. A beige, brown or dark tan handbag with a sturdy handle is your best choice if you are an executive. Remember, your bag must be able to carry a diary, pens, your cellphone, comb, compact and lipstick." 

~ Senior management

A classic bag with a big buckle will give you just the right image. The bag must have a clean-cut appearance, with just a dash of bling, courtesy the buckle. 

~ Teacher/ professor

Naina De, a 33-year-old senior lecturer in Kolkata, says, "I always choose a sturdy, roomy bag for work; it should be able to carry my books, a purse and my tiffin box and water bottle."

"In Naina's case," says Shadaab, a tote or a large bag is her best option. It's very roomy. At the same time, it does not look obnoxiously big since it's made of soft fabric and has short handles which fit on the shoulder."

~ College student/ athlete

A sling bag, as the name suggests, is flung across the shoulder. It usually has one or two long straps attached to it. Carrying a sling bag keeps your hands free, while adding value to your outfit.

"Women should choose a sling bag that is not too big; it must be just the right size to complement your hips. We Indians have started quite a trend internationally with our glass studded and embroidered slings," says Shadaab.

"This fashion trend has been internationally copied by top Hollywood stars. A sling was a constant in the serial, Friends; it would be slung across Phoebe's shoulder most of the times. This kind of bag is usually preferred by the younger generation, who carry it off easily," he adds.

~ Media/ creative

If you are in the creative field, use a large tote. This tote can be either in one colour like black, or self-printed in chocolate brown, cream or any other flat colour that suits your wardrobe.

"You cannot imagine all the stuff a tote can hold," says Shadaab. 

~ Bags for Indian wear

A good-sized shoulder bag is what you need. They are available in a variety of colours and styles.

There is no standard size -- it could vary from person to person. These days, large bags are in vogue, so those who are fashion conscious are using large totes/ bags.

If you wear a salwar kameez, sari or fusion wear to work, a smart shoulder bag in a bold fabric print will accentuate your attire. 

Shadaab adds, "Most people prefer carrying a bag in a flat colour to work, thinking it's more conservative. Well, not really. You can pick up hand bags which have flowers/ motifs printed on the fabric of the purse, or are embroidered or jewelled."

A medium-sized shoulder bag, with a flap, which showcases a smart buckle, is what you need.

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