What's Your Handbag Style: Interview with Andy Paige

 Andy Paige

What's your handbag style? LoveToKnow turned to style expert Andy Paige to help you answer this question. With her fashion philosophy, "You don't have to spend a fortune to look like a million," Andy has helped thousands discover how to look great without breaking the bank.

About Andy Paige

Andy's Background and Cents Of Style™

Here Andy tells LoveToKow in her own words a bit about her background:

Andy Paige (AP): Cents Of Style™ was born out of my work with Life Coach Rhonda Britten and my time on "Starting Over" (NBC Emmy winning daytime reality show). I had been working towards a career as a "Style Reporter" for years, completing masters programs in media studies and broadcast journalism, working as a model for two decades and a makeup artist for just as long. While working on "Starting Over", I realized that I had more experience, knowledge, expertise and understanding of beauty, fashion, proper fit and effective economical dressing than anyone else working in the industry…I didn't need to report the news, I needed to create beauty and style solutions for busy, thrifty women. So I jumped in with both feet and started Cents Of Style™!

My beloved business has seen the birth of my amazing Andy Paige cosmetic brush set, Cents of Style Accessory Suites, Cents of Style: The Book (published by McGraw Hill September 2008), Cents of Style: The Workshop (sold out seminars held all over the country), I am now a member of the Soap Opera Digest "Style Squad", writing weekly about start-style, I am the fashion contributor to a half dozen TV shows and enjoy working with private clients all over the country. I am blessed beyond measure!

What's Your Handbag Style?

andy paige wearing a cheetah print handbag
Express yourself in handbag shape and texture.

LTK: For women who aren't so sure what their personal style is, what advice would you give them in finding their style choosing the right handbag?

AP: Handbags, and accessories in general, should be a celebration of your likes. The colors you like, the designs you like, the shapes you like and the textures you like should be reflected in your personal adornments. Ultimately your handbag is your style and social barometer. Today's modern woman should take the opportunity of carrying a handbag to express who she is and what she is attracted to…not just what matches her outfit.

  • Think about structure first, do you like clean lines, or do you prefer something more deconstructed or utilitarian?
  • Then, think about function. Do you need to carry a laptop, just lipstick and a credit card or every-golly-gosh-darn-thing in your vanity drawer?
  • Then you think about color. Will a sunshine yellow bag make your snowy winter happier? Will a deep dark green tell the world you are braver than black and environmentally minded? Will a red-hot bag reveal there is a fire under your stoic business suit?

Your handbag speaks volumes!

Showcasing Your Style

LTK: I love your "Uh... Don't Do That" segment of your website. Although the fashion mentality today often seems to be that 'anything goes,' you seem to refute that idea by showcasing the disadvantages of certain fashion, style, and accessory choices. What advice would you recommend for women who want to express their individuality in their handbag without sacrificing class and style?

AP: Handbags and accessories are exactly where you want to showcase your style. You are much better off choosing classic cut garments with little adornment, modern colorful tops and expressive, unique handbags and accessories that reflect your creative spirit.

Wear It!: Choosing Handbags that Make You Look Fabulous

AP: The handbag you carry tells the world who you are, where you are going and what you need to carry. The style is up to you, but the size and shape can make a huge difference in how your body looks. Here are a few general rules for choosing a handbag that doesn't make your butt look big! (wink!)

  • Choose medium size styles proportioned to your height. Tiny handbags make you look larger and an oversized bag can make you look like you're carrying luggage.
  • Handbags should be worn in the bend of your waist and not slung low at your hip. Purses that hang down around your hip visually add girth to that area and make you look shorter. A handbag that fits under your arm and sits at the bend of your waist makes you look taller and shapelier.
  • Richer colors look richer. Don't wimp out. You'll be glad you ditched the black.

'08 Handbags Fashion Trend: Ditch the Black Bag!

andy paige wearing a white leather handbag
White is a hot winter handbag choice.

LTK: With the new year, many women are looking to update their handbags for a fresh new look. What would you recommend in terms of handbags to achieve a new look for the upcoming season?

AP: The basic black bag is a boring unimaginative choice. It is time to ditch the black box with straps and choose a functional bag that expresses your color courage. A fabulous choice for many celebrities this season has been a rich vanilla…like the one featured in my January Cents of Style Accessory Suite for just $49.50. This bag is a gorgeous replica of a Stella McCartney Handbag that sells for $1195!

The choice to wear a winter white handbag is a brave and fashionable one that offers an immediate style boost to whatever you pair it with!

Celebrity Style and Handbags: Is the Big Bag Here to Stay?

LTK: Although the huge, oversized handbag has been very popular, practically speaking, it is cumbersome to carry a gigantic purse. As a fashion expert, what do you really think about the oversized bag trend?

AP: The truth about the larger handbag style is that just because you have the extra room, doesn't mean you have to fill it. The larger bag has become very popular because it adds a layer of color and texture to your ensemble and works to make women look more petite. Nicole Richie, Mary Kate Olsen and Mischa Barton all look like waifs carrying oversized bags but when they tote a tiny clutch they look less impish and fuller. Everyone in Hollywood wants to look petite, so the oversized bag may be around for a while.

Additionally, as we all get more environmentally conscience and choose to walk, bike, bus and subway ourselves through our day, we ultimately need bigger "stuff holders". There is no doubt that the woman who lives in NYC needs a larger handbag than the woman who lives in say Sarasota.

Cents Of Style™ Accessory Suite: Stylish Handbags you Can Afford

LTK: On your website, you offer your popular Accessory Suites each month that feature stylish handbags and other coordinating accessories at affordable prices. How do you choose these combinations, and how can women take advantage of these offers?

AP: My Cents of Style Accessory Suites are sold exclusively on my site and offer an incredible style boost at an amazing value. Each month, I gather three to five accessories, always including a handbag, and I personally style the accessories as I would for a private client.

I choose these items based on trends I see here in New York, fashion shows I attend each season as well as accessory shows that I never miss. I have clients all over the country, of every shape, age and shade, so I also have my imaginary style council (stylish friends and family members ranging in age from 22 to 62) with me in spirit when I shop.

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What's Your Handbag Style: Interview with Andy Paige