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Heavy Handbag? We’re Not Alone, According to Style Survey

Let’s face it: most of us let out a gym-worthy grunt when hoisting our heavy handbags, right?  Now we know why;  according to the 2013 style survey conducted jointly by BlogHer, Inc. and Taubman Centers (over 1,600 women, 18+ responded to style, trend and technology-related questions), one third of us are toting around six or more pounds of must-have goodness in our handbags.

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For crying out loud, that’s almost like carrying a gallon of water around all day!  And for fashionistas living in the northeast, we bow to your biceps: ladies there are three times more likely to carry 10 or more pounds.  Wow.

I’m not going to lie. The heavy handbag survey results ring true for me. Try as I may to carry a clutch or wristlet, I can’t. For an evening, yes. But eventually it starts bulging at the seams thanks to those “just in case” extras.  

At that point, it ends up in another purse and so begins the whole purse within a purse within a purse situation (anyone know of those stack-able doll figurines where several dolls are tucked inside each other?  Yeah.  Kinda like that). Anyway, I couldn’t resist checking my handbag’s heft, so I weighed myself and then again with my bag and yes, I’ve got 6.4 pounds of my life in my handbag.  It looks like this:

What 6+ pounds looks like in my purse: a camera, water bottle, lint roller, mini photo album (hey, it's good for some #ThrowbackThursday laughs) and of course, beauty products.

What 6+ pounds looks like in my purse: a camera, water bottle, lint roller, mini photo album (hey, it’s good for some #ThrowbackThursday laughs) and of course, beauty products.

The Case for Bigger (and Heavier) Handbags

Another lady who can relate to the 2013 BlogHer-Taubman Style Survey heavy purse finding is 30-year-old Meredith Blake Matthews, Director of Public Relations at Chemistry Communications in Pittsburgh, PA.  

My purse weighs anywhere from 5-10 pounds on a given day.

Meredith Blake Matthews, Director of Public Relations at Chemistry Communications

She gives the low-down on her contents:  a MacBook, phone, a notepad, huge wallet, (and…take a breath), random pieces of jewelry, a sunglasses as well as a glasses cases (again, catch your breath), up to six bottles of antibacterial soap and a book to read while commuting to work.  Whew.  It’s a workout just reading this, isn’t it?

Jennifer Newton, a 34-year-old entrepreneur living in Los Angeles, CA is also no stranger to carrying around, well, almost everything.  

Newton recalls the time when her business partner moved her purse off a chair, saying it “dragged her down, cartoon-style.” Because of her roles as a professional, a mom to a 4-year-old and a lady who loves beauty products (ah, don’t we all), her purse is filled with elements from each part of her life. Everything from Band-Aids and Barbie shoes to a laptop, tweezers and lip gloss are in her purse, which she swears sometimes weighs as much as her child. When does it stop being called a “handbag” and start nudging towards luggage territory, I wonder?

Smaller Bags for a Healthier Body?

However, like all things disrupting our body’s health (poor computer posture, tight shoes, a bad diet) a too-heavy handbag comes with its warnings.  Barbara Bergin, M.D., Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon in Austin, TX tells us to “lighten up,” adding that heavy purses may cause “shoulder bursitis, tennis elbow and trigger fingers.” Yikes. 

All of the items we accumulate and carry add up, which she says ends up feeling like we’re “carrying a hay bale on our shoulders.”  She strongly urges ladies get smaller bags, or at least empty and organize the ones we have once a week.

Sigh. I’ll try, Dr. Bergin, I promise. I really will.

Smaller Bag Suggestions

Here are a few smaller bags, for ladies who are serious about paring things down:

Royal blue handbag
Bright Companion Bag, $40.99 (was $57.99) from Modcloth
Dark brown handbag with metal embellishment
Women’s Stud Hadie Crossbody, $9.99 (was $16.99) from Payless
Floral handbag
Vera Bradley Frannie, $29.00 from Zappos
Pink handbag with chain strap
Five Speed Clutch, $34.99 (was $49.99) from Modcloth

The 2013 BlogHer-Taubman Style Survey opened our eyes to lots of trends, beyond our tendency to have hefty handbags. Other survey topics ranged from changing hemlines (turns out there may be a correlation between length variations and feelings about the economy) to style excess (hint: we love shoes. A lot). Stay tuned for that post, coming soon.

So tell us, are you among the women carrying around six or more pounds in your handbag? Do tell!

PSA. It's time to dump Google and switch to Ecosia. Get answers faster and make the world a better place. Download the Ecosia iOS app and make your browser's homepage.


Wednesday 5th of August 2015

Just found out my two years of painful and expensive treatment of tennis elbow or Lateral Epicondylitis has been caused by my adorable leather Coach Clutch Purse. It fits my credit cards, phone and lipstick.

I searched to see if anyone else is talking about it. Doesn't seem so. Perhaps you can post a blog on it.

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