If your shoulders are aching and you're tired of schlepping that heavy leather tote bag all winter long, then it may be time to get your hands on a brand-new bag. And it's the perfect time to put some pizazz into your purse portfolio — it's an instant way to update your wardrobe weeks before spring is finally sprung. Here are the top handbag trends to get carried away with this spring:
—Get carried away with belt bags. These "new" bags at one time had a somewhat dubious reputation as the must-have accessory of American tourists who strapped on "fanny packs" and took to the streets in shirts blooming with giant Hibiscus and huge chunky tennis shoes. Now these fanny packs have morphed into "belt bags" upscaled by fashion designers who have transformed them into the latest rage from tiny coin purses to large pouches attached to belts. Still a very practical hands-free accessory, the new belt bags in all their bold colorful glory are just as easily slung over the shoulder as they are buckled around the waist. Some of the best belt bags can be found at Kate Spade.
—Get carried away with plastic. See-through vinyl handbags may be one way to sail through security, but they are also one way to cruise into the office with the newest handbag this spring. The best way to carry off these transparent bags is to take the bag within a bag approach and stash a smaller clutch inside a larger clear tote. And if you really want to get carried away with the trendy look, try matching your clear boots or shoes with your handbag. Very Chanel.
—Get carried away with shape. It may be time to trade in your old rectangular-shaped handbag for something a little more architectural — a circular hatbox wristlet, a geometric cube crossbody or a triangular hobo. You can even get cozy with a fluffy fur pillow bag. Check out the circular embossed leather handbags at Brahmin.
—Get carried away with print and pattern. It's all about graphic designs and brand logos this spring. The more whimsical designs the better. From Keith Haring graffiti at Coach to Parisian poster art at Balmain to cartoon images at Prada to labels like Moschino and Lanvin splashed across bags, artistic statements are giving handbags even more pop. Give your wardrobe a real graphic punch and check out the Keith Haring designs at Coach.
—Get carried away with straw. Spring and summer means switching to a lighter palette and straw, raffia or wicker is a great way to lighten up your load. Make the change to cage-like handbags, woven totes or craft-inspired beaded macrame bucket bags. These new bags are no longer just for island girls bound for the beach. Check out the "Loren" raffia market handbag at Michael Kors.
—Get carried away with embellishment. Just like shoes this season, the more extra details dripping off handbags, the better. Put some personality in your purses with tassels, fringe, punky spikes and studs, floral appliques or sequins and beads. Whether it's an embroidered minaudiere, a rhinestone clutch or a studded backpack, there's always room to add some whimsy to your handbag collection...and it's always fun to get a little carried away. Check out the exquisite floral applique designs on Nancy Gonzalez's handbag collection at Bergdorf Goodman.
To find out more about Sharon Mosley, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.