12 In Getting Dressed/ Wardrobe Wellness

Wardrobe Wellness: Short term storage solutions for handbags

Many ways to wear a bow bag

Using my bow bag for a casual daytime outfit


A couple of weeks ago I made a promise to my blog following friends (“I love you guys!”) that I would show you how I store my handbags. Well, I’m not sharing the full scoop on that yet, but I will show you where and how I keep a stash of bags that I use regularly.

I seem to be favoring smaller bags right now and found a nifty way to keep them visible and easy to grab in the morning before I head out the door. And it’s in my office!

I start every day in my home office. It’s where I write my morning pages. It’s where I go to check emails before going to work. It’s where I collect my thoughts and get ready for the day. If you were in my office with me you’d see a tall metal shelf that holds twelve matching gray fabric bins each measuring eleven inches by eleven inches.


An S hook in my home office holds frequently used bags

An S hook in my home office holds frequently used bags


Each bin holds something useful and essential. And now my handbags are being stored there, too! I pulled out an “S” hook and hung it on one of the metal shelves. Then I hung handbags that are in frequent rotation around the curve of the “S” hook. I often switch handbags and it’s quick and easy to do when I see them hanging there. Let me give you a tour of how these bags work in my life.

Python bag goes from decoration to function

Python bag works into many outfits on BrendaKinsel.com

Vintage python bag is in heavy use now


This little vintage python bag, smaller than a lunch bag, has become a favorite. It was merely decoration for the table at Oscar parties at our house but then it turned out to be perfect for an outfit … and then another outfit … and then another outfit. Take a tour of how I wear this nifty little bag.

Here that bag is part of my casual Saturday outfit when Russ and I go to Oso on the Sonoma Square for French-pressed coffee (the best!) and small plates of yumminess.


Using the python bag for Saturday strolls

Python bag hangs out in Sonoma on a Saturday


In this outfit, I wore it to work one day.We were on a shopping trip with a client. I loved how it worked with those sage tones. Oh my gosh, I think I have to wear that outfit tomorrow!


Python bag is chic with neutrals on BrendaKinsel.com

Python bag gets total attention in this work outfit


I carried it with me when Russ and I went wine tasting in the neighborhood. Domaine Carneros is about fifteen minutes from our house, just inside of Napa County. I loved it with my yellow vintage coat. How cute they are together on a sunny day!


Mixing a vintage bag with a vintage coat on BrendaKinsel.com

Vintage bag pairs well with vintage yellow coat at Domaine Carneros in Napa


Bow bag goes from day to night to day


Bow bag gets dressed up for a birthday luncheon

Bow bag goes to a luncheon in Larkspur


Erin found me this black satin bow bag. The label is a handmade one that’s sewn inside the bag. It says, “Holly from Hanoi, Made in Vietnam.” Erin knew it was up my alley which is where it’s hanging from her hand in that picture, right here in an alley in Sonoma. Some people might suggest I not use a fabric bag like this one for everyday wear. Technically, it would be considered an evening bag. But I find it charming and adorable and spend most of my hours in daylight so I’ve expanded its purpose from evening-only to wearing it any old time.


Bow bag purchased at a thrift store

Bow bag on a windy day


Here I really did wear it to an evening event. I was wearing my pleated Carlisle skirt and my Chanel vintage sweater with appliqués, my bow shoes and of course, my bow bag. This was the big evening art event where I discovered my sweater was inside out just as I entered the huge space filled with people. If you don’t want to miss out on those details, here’s my post on the Anatomy of My Public Fashion Mistake.


Bow bag looks great with black

Bow bag goes to San Francisco to an art gallery event


My bow bag was my personal choice the day I visited the girls in San Anselmo, helped them with the signage for their store and ended up having a 35 mph blissful day discovering what me time is all about.


Bow bag with blue

Bow bag visits San Anselmo and has me time


Here’s a closeup of how I wore this bag this week. The full view is up in that first picture against that golden wall. I liked the feminine touch it brought to my white shirt, black Eileen Fisher jacket, my jeans, and my summertime perforated loafers. I was going for a feminine/casual/cute look. The bow bag brings the cuteness every time.


Using an evening bag for daytime on BrendaKinsel.com

Love the mix of textures in this outfit with the bow bag in the middle


Dot bag gets a workout

After the bows come the dots. I bought this iPad bag from a little store in San Anselmo. Was I going to put my iPad in it? Well, I told myself I would but in actuality, it was so darling I knew I had to have it whether it ever held an iPad or not! Turns out, my iPad doesn’t get toted around in it; my normal necessities to. As spring moves into summer, I have the feeling I’ll be leaning on this little bag a lot. It’s so durable and I love how it zips shut. It’s very comfortable on my shoulder.


Dot iPad bag works as my handbag

Polka dot bag goes to visit a client’s closet


Here it goes to work on a day when we were working in a client’s closet. I couldn’t resist adding my patent black AGL tennis shoes with white laces. I was repeating the black and white in my outfit and the dot bag.


Turning an iPad bag into a handbag

Dot bag works with work outfits


On this recent Saturday, I busted out my cotton/linen jacket, put it over my white shirt and jeans. In the work outfit above, I’m wearing the same brand of jacket, Cotelac. They have a similar look. The work one above is in wool and this charcoal one below is its summer weight version. I’ve been trading off wearing them with this fluctuating weather.


Dot bag visits Sonoma

Dot bag goes on a Sunday stroll in Sonoma


Walnut hair on hide bag by Botkier

This brick wall is a dead giveaway that I’ve just finished working at Nordstrom on a shopping trip. I wore this Botkier hair on hide bag quite a bit over the winter months. But our weather has been so unpredictable that I haven’t put it away yet along with the other handbags that feel too wintery. I still love the texture of it. I even wore it with my silk dress, linen pants and a silk cardigan when we had those two days of warmth a while back.


Botcher leather bag goes to work

Botkier leather bag goes to work


And I also wore it when I did this double denim look with my Chico’s indigo jacket and my burgundy ruffled blouse and jeans. It was during one of those almost-warm days. I liked this bag with these darker colors and my Lucky Brand booties.


Wearing my cognac bag with double denim

Wearing my walnut bag with double denim


The day I decided to wear this Botkier bag with my double stripes and denim outfit, I had a hankering to wear a button bracelet I made twenty some years ago. Wait, can that be right? 2017 minus 1989 = 28. Twenty-eight years ago! I used to make all kinds of them and this is one of the most playful because of the colors. They are all vintage buttons. Anyway, I looked around the house to see what I could attach to the bag and found a wooden arrow that my client added to a Valentine’s Day gift bag for me. And the felted apple is something I bought with Mother at the Norsk Hostfest one year. They match the playfulness of the bracelet which, I have to admit, made me smile every time I looked down at it.


Attaching charms to my crossbody bag

My walnut hair on hide bag with do-dads


Nutmeg colored bag in secret Sonoma spots

My Botkier bag seeks secret Sonoma spots to hang out in


So you can see how busy these bags are! Having them in close proximity in the office on that “S” hook gives them all a fair chance to be chosen and worn on any given day. Do you think this storage solution would work for you? Can you put an “S” hook somewhere in your house where you can see it? Do tell!

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    May 17, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Brenda, I LOVE the bow bag. You have inspired me. I have a vintage burgundy silk bag with a an elaboate oval wicker handle. I never use it because I never think of it — it is stored carefully away. Your S-hook plan is a great idea — I’m heading off to do this right now 🙂

    • Reply
      May 17, 2017 at 8:39 pm

      Great, Cynthia! That is one of the biggest problems — we forget the great things we have because we don’t see them. Enjoy wearing your wonderful burgundy silk bag!!!

      • Reply
        May 22, 2017 at 1:38 am

        I, too, love the bow bag – especially for daytime – thank you for inspiring me to switch it up more! I’ve started using a silver cross body bag this spring (after using leather knapsacks for decades) and I’m going to pull out my plum and goldenrod bags too!

        • Reply
          May 24, 2017 at 8:41 pm

          I LOVE the sound of that! Bring on the color!

  • Reply
    May 17, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    You are right that thinking outside of the box (or closet) is necessary if I am to use and enjoy my bags! I purged a number of them last year. They were worn, outdated and tired. Those that I kept get used much less than they should. I am not sure your solution would work for me but I need to explore some possibilities! I always read then re-read your posts because you make me look at things differently and I’m afraid I will have overlooked something that might help me. I was so glad to see you had added this post so soon after your last!!! Love your work! You make my day!

    • Reply
      May 17, 2017 at 8:36 pm

      Thanks so much, Kathy! I love hearing that you re-read the posts to get more out of them. Good for you for culling out the bags that weren’t useful. Now you can see and use the ones that are! Yes, this solution just sort of happened for me but I too am always interested in how people store things. Your comment makes my day!!!

  • Reply
    Cindy La Ferle
    May 18, 2017 at 5:28 am

    I love both the bow bag and the polka dot bag! I have tons of bags, but get stuck in the same old rut, carrying a “neutral” bag unless I am going out at night and switch to something more dressy. I have some very cute vintage bags — and you’ve inspired me to get them out and use them! Thank you, Brenda.

    • Reply
      May 18, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      You’re so welcome. I really had to ask myself one day, “Brenda, why aren’t you using these great bags?” And now I use the ones that I was saving … for what, I’m not sure! I bet you’re going to love wearing those cute vintage bags of yours! Have fun!

  • Reply
    May 18, 2017 at 8:32 am

    Absolutely love that python bag I want one. Have you seen the new sash bag? I’ve narrowed mine down cuz I just hate changing bags with for every outfit. So I keep them lined up on a shelf in my closet now. Some I put on the hangers with a particular outfit as a color only works with that outfit. Have you seen the new Sash bag? I just love all the colors and textures that they offer and it seems perfect especially for travel and walking around hands-free. I just ordered my first one in purple of course and I love it.

    • Reply
      May 18, 2017 at 12:29 pm

      Sounds like you have some great storage ideas! Haven’t seen the Sash bag yet but will look it up.

  • Reply
    Penelope Chandra- Shekar
    May 18, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    Do you use one of those little inside the purse organizers? I tend to be lazy about changing purses because I hate changing all the stuff over. I inevitably leave behind the comb, Kleenex pack or eye drops, so that just when I need them, I am out of luck.

    • Reply
      May 24, 2017 at 8:39 pm

      I don’t use those but I do use small pouches. So I’d have a pouch that would hold those things you’ve mentioned. Plus, I’ve learned to carry less in my handbags. I really do encourage you to use an organizer or just use any favorite pouch to stash your essentials so this is much easier for you. I love little pouches almost as much as I love handbags so this is very pleasurable for me. Say yes to the pouch!

    Leave a Reply