Monday, October 1, 2012

Manners Monday: Handbag Etiquette

Happy Monday and First of October! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend. :) Mine consisted of doing a little bit of work, trying some fun juicing & frozen dessert recipes in our Vitamix- and might I add, there isn't anything that it can't do! It is officially my new favorite kitchen appliance (and likely to become the most used). I also took some quiet time for reading some new fall magazines that arrived last week and several e-mails that I received from you, my readers!

Today's etiquette post was sparked by a recent e-mail that I received from Kaley S. of Maine asking where the proper area is to place a handbag when dining out.

A handbag carried during the day is usually larger than the one that you'll be taking to dinner. No matter what the occasion, it is never appropriate to put one's handbag on the table-it is considered extremely rude no matter how expensive or beautiful it is. We often place our handbag on the kitchen counter, a bench, and some even momentarily meet the floor so for hygiene reasons alone, it is not acceptable.

Daytime Handbags 

For larger daytime handbags, it is appropriate to place your handbag on an empty seat next to you (provided that there is such space available), the next option is to hang it from the corner of your chair, and in the case of rounded-back chairs, you may have to place it on the floor next to your chair. In particularly tight spaces such as small cafes, you could also place it under your chair so it's out of the way of servers. Of course an option to you is to purchase a purse hook. While I don't own one, I have a few friends that do and they like that option. A purse hook is a small device that you can carry in your bag, it pops open and hooks over the edge of a table to keep your bag off the floor.

Evening Bags

Generally speaking,  evening bags such as a clutch are much smaller than your average daytime handbag. It really belongs in one of these two locations: behind you in your chair or lying flat in your lap underneath your napkin. Due to its small size, placing it on the floor is not a good option as items may fall out or it may get kicked by someone passing by. If you are using a clutch during the daytime, follow the same protocol-lap or behind you on the chair. If you have a small cross-body handbag you can place it in the same location.

As with all large bags, when squeezing into tight spaces such as a subway train, passing through the aisle on an airplane or even through a busy restaurant entrance, be mindful that while your bag is on your shoulder (or worn in the crook of your arm) it may hit someone while passing by. In these instances it is best to take it off your shoulder and carry it in front of you or at the very least hold it down with the arm of the side of shoulder its carried on.

When meeting new people at a work networking event, a wedding or a social gathering always carry a clutch in your left hand (do the same if you are carrying a handbag during the day to an event). This allows you to greet others and shake hands much more easily which is always polite.

One last thought on handbags as it pertains to their cleanliness. A classy woman is not only hygienic but presents herself with a tidy appearance-this includes the bag she carries. If she looks put together but then opens up her handbag to pay for something, grab her cell phone or even her lip gloss and it's clear she has 3 years worth of crumpled receipts in her bag along with money just randomly tossed in the bag, food wrappers and way too many things that don't belong, this has the same overall effect as a messy car-it just takes away from her overall look and how other's perceive her. Keeping the bag's exterior clean is also important-they can be wiped down with a cloth (I sometimes use a baby wipe in a pinch if coffee has been splashed on it, etc., or use a cloth with leather cleaner. If you find that you have only had the option of placing it beside or under your chair due to a round back dining chair (and no extra available seating at your table), you'll want to be mindful to do this anyway if it's been on the floor which unfortunately sometimes is the only available option.

If you're currently toting around a messing bag, here are some tips that I put together on how to organize your handbag in just a few minutes to keep it neat and clean on a daily basis. :)


Let's Socialize!

Have a great day!


*photo credit


  1. Great pointers Karla, also in these days, one also need to be cautious if placing your bag hanging on the back of your chair.

    Art by Karena

  2. I can't believe it never occurred to me to put my clutch behind me when dining out. I have a favorite one that I use often and holding it on my lap is a bit of a nuisance. Great suggestion.

    1. Thanks Karen, I'm glad I could suggest something to make your dining experience more enjoyable. :)

  3. Always love your posts Karla. I am a HUGE fan of the purse hook. I have an awesome giraffe print one and a blingy closonne one. I use them everywhere I can. Also, many finer bars have purse hooks right under the bar near your stool. :-)

    1. Aw, thanks Jonnie! It's true, I've noticed when we've had to wait in the bar area at a few nicer restaurants that they always have hooks under the bar which is always a plus! :)

  4. Okay, correct my spelling for "Cloisonné". :-)

  5. Excellent advice. I usually put my bag on the floor as close to my chair as possible or carry a small bag into a restaurant and leave the big one in the car. I'm not fond of hanging it over the chair unless it's on a chain and will hang down. If the handle isn't just right, the bag will stick out in the aisle.

    I clicked over to how to organize your handbag and that's essential to keep your bag nice. Great post and something we all need to pay attention to for good manners while dining out.

    1. So true, Sam! Usually, I can place my bag on the chair next to me if we are seated at a larger table. I try to make hanging it over the chair back corner a last resort. I'm so glad that you liked the handbag organizing post! :)

  6. I LOVE big bags, but I usually have a smaller pouch inside that I can just lift out and move to another bag. My bags are sorted at the end of each day, so no old receipts, sweets, kleenex in mine ;-)
    Great advice as always Karla xx

    1. Smart idea, Vanessa! Having that smaller pouch with everything contained makes changing handbags a breeze! :)

  7. Great pointers, Karla! I am guilty of bag messiness and with your post in mind I am going to be more organized in this department.

  8. Dear Karla, I so enjoy your posts on etiquette! I always learn something I didn't know before or hadn't thought about! Thank you for your graciousness.

  9. Great blog on women handbags . Thanks for this blog

  10. Put the purse on the floor? The whole reason to look for these ideas is to avoid that. That's gross.

  11. I love ravishing handcrafted handbags. I usually prefer big bags to put all my things together but when I go to party, I prefer Small cool bags. Great advice.


Thanks for stopping by, your comments make my day! I read every single one and will answer any questions you have. I hope you'll visit again soon! :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blog Design by Get Polished | Copyright © The Classy Woman ®