They can be our closest friends. They're with us day after day, night after night. They carry our valuables ... and they carry our necessities ... they may even carry our secrets. They're our handbags, and they become a part of our fashion family ... for better or worse.
And since many of us love to splurge on this accessory when the seasons change, here are a few of the latest handbag trends to check out this spring and summer:
—The Structured Top Handle Bag — It's one of the biggest statement bags of the season. The ladylike satchel is one of the best investments you can make. From boxy Birkin-inspired silhouettes to futuristic trapezoid shapes, this is a bag to hang on to for years.
—The Shopper Tote — The bigger the better this season, ladies. You can find it in casual basket bags and more-sophisticated perforated leather bags. These are the perfect bags to take to the beach or take to the farmer's market.
—The Cross-Body Bag — Some of my favorites, these bags can free up your hands for much more important tasks ... like picking out the perfect heirloom tomato or riding that vintage bike. My old Prada nylon cross-body bag has served me well for years.
—The Camera Bag — It looks as it sounds — and these smaller handbags will not weigh you down, but they will carry all those basic accessories in style ... even a camera.
—The Duffel Bag — If you're a traveling woman, then this is the bag for you. This spring, the duffel shape comes in every size, from small mini shapes to larger, luggage looks. An embossed black leather duffel is my go-to bag for weekend getaways.
—The Fringed Bag — Get ready to swing with a little fun this season. Detailed with long fringe and tassels, this bag is one of the hottest fashion accessories of the year. Think '70s with a Western flair. Hee-haw!
—The Exotic Bag — Got a special evening event coming up? Or just want to show off a little fun fashion spirit at work? Check out the latest embellished clutches trimmed with feathers, bohemian beads, embroidery, crystals and even artsy prints and florals.
—The Bold Bag — It may be your evening clutch, or it may be your everyday bag, but the handbag du jour is a scene-stealer in bright color blocks or graphic prints. If you really want something that will wake up your wardrobe, look for a handbag in an eye-popping neon or candy pastel. Sweet!
Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association. To find out more about Sharon Mosley and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.