Purses are a necessity in a woman’s closet… I mean, we’ve got a lot of shit, and we need something to carry all of it all in. Enter the purse. But purses are so much more than just a bag for all the shit; they are a major accessory to any outfit.

That being said, finding the perfect purse is often tough. Like fashion version of Goldilocks,some purses are too small, some are too big, some are the wrong color, others are an awkward shape the list goes on and on.But we know the purse has to be just right!

Today I am here to ease your purse shopping pain. Our lives boil down to 5 occasions: Casual Days, Work Days, Exploration Days, Dates, and Party Nights…and each of these occasions requires a different purse (one with qualities specific to the occasion’s requirements).

Today I am outlining what those requirements are, providing two of my top purse picks (from my favorite retailers) that fulfill these requirements. I’ve paired these purses with outfits I’ve styled that are also suited for each occasion.

1. Casual Day

A casual day can mean sitting at home, in which case you probably won’t be needing a purse. But if your casual days (aka weekends) are anything like mine, they are full of running errands and fulfilling tasks that couldn’t be squeezed into the busy work week.

So for this you need a purse that is cute but that is also extrememly functional. A purse should always add something to an outfit, but on a day full of running around it needs to be able to hold everything you need. While fulfilling these two tasks it also needs to stay out of your way!

That is why the perfect casual day purse is a small-to-medium sized cross body purse, preferably with multiple pockets.  The cross body style & smallish size will ensure the purse stays tucked away while you’re scurrying about, while the pockets will allow for maximal storage keeping everything organized and accessible. Don’t forget to pick something cute: suede or maybe an animal print!

Black Suede Crossbody

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Cheetah Print Crossbody

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2. Wear to Work

Going to work…blah, but luckily you don’t have to look blah. Spice things up a bit.

Now I know most of us are guilty of bringing our work home (I sure was); so in addition to  everything you bring to work (laptop, aspirin, water bottle, sweater just in case, maybe a change of shoes etc.) you need a purse that you can also fill up with papers, binders, etc. And, as with the casual day purse, organization is key so pockets, pockets, pockets.

A work day purse’s main duty is function, but there is no rule that it can’t also be stylish. As an item you will be using almost daily, it is something you should splurge on (if you can), and you want it to last and look great while doing so.

To recap, you need something stylish and professional but able to support all the items you might need for a long day at work. For this, I suggest a structured tote, or briefcase style bag. They are large enough to hold anything you could need (basically your whole life fits in there); they generally have various compartments; and the structures/styles are very professional and chic! You can stay simple with a nice black leather bag with a little flare in the handle, or go bold with a bright color to add a pop to your outfit!

Classic Black Structured Tote

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Pop of Color Red Tote

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3. Adventure Day

So what is an adventure day? Well any time you are out exploring, where you don’t know what you might need. Or maybe a day trip to a different city, or a day out adventuring while on vacation…basically any long time span where you won’t be coming home and are not sure what you might encounter/need.

Usually these days are filled with uncertainty and as I always say “better to be safe than sorry;” so naturally I pack anything and everything! You’ll probably want: layers (if it’s cold), water, aspirin, camera, a charger, wallet, keys, tissues, makeup, sunglasses, etc. You never know what you might want later on, and you can’t go home to get it; so it’s better to bring it.

What better to hold all of this than a cute, fun backpack! Now as far as stylish backpacks go, pockets are not really an option (most have 1-2)…you’ll have to stay organized another way. The great thing is that they can hold all your things, plus whatever you might purchase on your day out…and they won’t start hurting your shoulder from a long day of lugging it around! And just because it’s a backpack doesn’t mean it can’t be an awesome accessory. Keep it classy with a black leather version, or try something different with pink suede!

Classic Black Backpack

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Pink Suede Backpack

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4. Date Night

Date night is always tricky! But the main function of your bag for your night out is to accessorize. You don’t need much for a date: phone, keys, cards, and lipstick…so big is not necessary. Keep your bag small. There won’t be room for it at the table, movies, etc. anyway. And remember it’s date NIGHT; so try to pick something that matches the tone of a night setting (not your cross body from your casual day of running errands, blah).

When you don’t need your bag to be ever so functional why not have fun with it! I like my purses to reflect my personality, a little bit quirky. It’s a great way to show your date your fun side. That’s why for date night I would pick a bag that makes a statement! Your bag doesn’t always have to match: maybe tonight it stands out!

Try something fun like a beaded bucket bag or go crazy with a metallic lips clutch!

Beaded Bucket Bag

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Metallic Lips Clutch

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5. Party Hard

Don’t deny it, we all have these nights! Where we just go out with the girls and let loose. The most important aspect of this purse is that it is easily carried. You don’t want to be the girl that sets her purse down at the bar and loses it!

Opt for a purse that’s mini (even smaller than your usual cross body). It only needs to hold a few items (keys, cash, cards, lipstick)…,and yes, I left off phone cause we all know it’ll be in your hand snapping photos. You want to remain unencumbered; so you’ll be less likely to set it down.

That is why a mini cross body or wristlet are the best options (I prefer a cross body, but I know a lot of people who like wristlets for a night out). They will hold all the essentials, are kept close to you at all times, and can be a fun accessory with the array of styles and colors! Go for a furry option in a bold color or a wristlet in a fun metallic!

Furry Mini-Crossbody

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Metallic Wristlet

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Which purse is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!