Any more than one at a time seems excessive. They get knotted together and swing around the body inconveniently and generally become less functional as they multiply.
In broader speaking terms, it’s generally dependent on the size of your wardrobe in general. You need enough handbags to go with as many different outfits as you can muster.
If you’re doing it in a ratio of 1 handbag:1 outfit, then you are over the top. The whole point of a good wardrobe should be multiple configurations that work together and collaborate well, saving space and multiplying opportunities for sexiness (and other kinds of prettiness of course, I bundle them all together for simplicity and on account of my bottom, which has a tendency to override).
I think I’ve got three handbags. One of which needs some sewing, one of which is absolutely buggered, and one of which I actually use.
I don’t think handbags are that important. I only have them as pocket substitutes, since I grew up with pockets and now often don’t have them.
I’m still on tiny handbags (though it’s worth noting I normally have a bigger bag with me, which contains at least three books at most times, because I am ridiculous). Like I say, pocket replacements. I trimmed down the number of easily accessible bits necessary to fit the limited pocket space found in a pair of tight trousers.
Then I took off the trousers and needed a new container.
But not always, waistcoats are the finest invention. Tiny pockets, extra layer of insulation. Open at the front so can potentially show off T-shirt imagery. Contrast nicely with skirts. A pleasantly feminine form of masculinity.
But that’s not what we’re talking about here, is it.
The short story is that I don’t use handbags the way that some people do. I have my jumperbag for that. I get the impression that if you are one of those ‘half a life kept in a handbag, just in case’ type of people, you should only have one handbag, and maybe a spare for emergencies. Any more than one or two of an item sturdy enough to contain half a life is going to create a substantial barrier to free movement around the house.
And you should probably try and lighten it up anyway.
The freedom I feel when I am less loaded down with the weight of objects is tremendous. We fill our bags with things we feel we need by our side at all times (emergency jumper, emergency socks, three or more emergency books…actually, now I think about it, that seems entirely reasonable…I’ve obviously already trimmed down my nonsense fairly well…although the fact that I almost never run into ’emergencies’ means I’m still hurting my shoulders for nothing).
I have no idea what point I was making.
Fuck it. Have as many handbags as you want. As long as they’re pretty and don’t hurt your shoulder and you don’t wear them all the time or all at once.
Illustration by Nessa.