What your bag says about you: A look at an outer branding essential

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This month’s guest blog covers a topic I personally love – handbags! What do bags have to do with personal branding? If look to “outer branding”, those outward representations of our personal brand, then they can say quite a bit!

Our guest blogger is Sarah Haran, founder of luxury handbag company Sarah Haran Accessories. Sarah designs bags that are very much a reflection of her own personal brand, so she knows a thing or two about what handbags can communicate about us. And fear not gents, while this was written with the ladies in mind, a lot of this could be applicable to men who sport bags as well!

One of Sarah Haran’s gorgeous handbags: The Dahlia in tan. Photo: www.sarahharan.com

Here’s Sarah…

The wardrobe staple, the necessary fashion accessory and the piece that has the potential to say a lot about a woman … the handbag. It is our most reliable fashion accessory, the one that we can never walk out of our homes without!

I started my luxury handbag company, Sarah Haran Accessories, because I could not find the perfect handbag that would take me from day to night, that I could use every day and could be stylishly accessorised.

As my customer base has grown I have become more aware of how important a handbag is to my customers. It can say so much about you and your style. Our handbag choice is so personal that the type of handbag that you choose can almost be personality driven. Although I am not a psychologist or anything like that when observing my customers’ handbag choice, I have noticed that there are certain customers that prefer a certain type of handbag. For instance:

The Tote – great for people who like to be prepared for every occasion or situation that life throws at them. They tend to be organised and find joy in a tote handbag because of the space it affords them to carry around just about everything that they think they will need to get through a day. I have seen customers with everything from headache tablets to dressing up clothes in their tote handbags. They are always the one colleagues go to if someone in the office has a bad headache or needs a plaster!

The Shoulder Bag – a bag that is often seen as a status symbol and one of the most popular shapes that high end luxury designers use. Think Dior, Gucci and Prada. A covetable handbag that really is the ultimate mark of success and status. This type of handbag is a status symbol and generally users care about function but also want a handbag that displays all the bells and whistles so that they can turn heads and impress people. The more “IT” the bag is the better.

The Dahlia tote in yellow. Photo: www.sarahharan.com

The Cross Body Bag– tends to be worn by fun, and free spirited types. The type of woman who loves a versatile bag that is perfect for a night out, yet suitable for the office. They are not afraid of spontaneity and tend to only carry the essentials – phone, wallet keys and a small amount of makeup. They don’t like to be weighed down. I have also noticed that those who are in the habit of wearing their handbag across the front of their body you tend to also be quite cautious, preferring to keep their personal possessions close to them at all times.

The Clutch – I have noticed that my more outgoing customers with busy social lives love to use clutches. They definitely tend to be the life and soul of the party. They love dressing up and love a range of different clutches in their wardrobe. They are also quite practical carrying the essentials rather than needing a larger tote bag.

How to Choose the Best Bag for You

As mentioned above, the handbag can allow you to easily change up your look without actually changing your outfit; it can add personality and character and transform your physical appearance. But as much as a handbag can enhance an outfit and really define your style, it can also spoil your look. The wrong handbag can draw the eye to areas you are self-conscious about and make you look bigger or smaller and even ruin your signature image.

  • Choose a handbag that works with your lifestyle, body shape and personality.
  • The handbag should be versatile enough to go with more than one outfit, particularly if you purchase a luxury handbag.
  • Always “try on a bag” – look in a full length mirror, from all angles to ensure it compliments you.
  • Make sure the handbag is proportional to your size – for instance mini bags look better on petite girls, and larger bags look better on bigger girls.
  • Someone who is tall and thin should choose a larger handbag with a shorter, slouchy shape like the hobo.
  • Petite girls should avoid shoulder bags with a long strap as they will weigh you down, making you look even shorter. Our Dahlia handbag comes with a mid-length strap that can be extended easily.
  • Curvy girls need to look at picking a large structured or boxy bag to balance out their curves. Look for handbags that include vertical details which will draw the eye up and down and avoid carrying tiny bags as they will only emphasise a fuller figure. Both the Dahlia and Daisy are ideal handbag choices.
  • Bear in mind where your bag ends will accentuate that area. So ending a bag on your hip will emphasize your hips, wearing a cross body slung across your bag landing on your bottom will emphasise that. You get the drift….
  • If you are self-conscious about your body from the waist down, select a smaller bag with a short strap as this type will draw the observer’s eye upward. Girls who are big busted should consider a larger bag with a longer strap that takes the attention away from their top.

The style of a handbag is also important and I always recommend that you purchase a handbag in a simple and timeless style that will cover the majority of your daily activities. The beauty of a Sarah Haran handbag is their versatility so a couple of our styles will more often than not cover your entire handbag wardrobe requirements.

Sarah Haran working in her studio. Photo: www.sarahharan.com

Nowadays handbags do not have to match your shoes, so be bold when complimenting your outfit. Seek to balance your look with your handbag. For instance, if you are wearing dark colours then consider adding a lighter handbag or a bright colour pop to add colour and interest. If you are wearing bright colours then it’s a good idea to “tone” down your look with a more neutral handbag colour choice – navy or off white are always good choices as black can often look too stark against bright colours.


Thanks Sarah! So ladies (and even gents…), the next time you throw something over your shoulder, think about what it might say about your personal brand!

To find out more about the talented Sarah Haran and her gorgeous bags, check out www.sarahharan.com!




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