Wednesday, 09 March 2016
The Dressing Well Blog
Kathy Smith

Get a Handle on Your Totes

By Dressing Well Stylist Kathy Smith

Does the thought of organizing your closets for spring seem overwhelming? Consider starting your seasonal wardrobe cleanse by getting your pocketbooks, totes and briefcases under control. By tackling this more manageable project first, you’re likely to be more motivated to take on your closets next.

Here are 5 fresh tips to get you started:

#1 Schedule an Internal Review. The first step in gaining control over your bags and totes is to review your day-to-day activities. Do you travel regularly? Having totes and bags that allow you to move quickly through airports with your core luggage is ideal. Do you like to switch bags? Creating an in-home staging area of sorts where you can quickly switch contents each day might make sense. If you only like to carry one bag, scaling up might be in order.

 1 internalreview

Editor's Note: Purchase this fun oversized tote for $138 – we love it!

#2 Men, The Details Really Do Matter. We often see guys blow their style by ignoring the finishing details that belts, shoes, briefcases, laptop bags and other totes provide. Like shoes and belts, it’s important to take good care of your briefcases and satchels so that they don’t detract from your overall professional image. Walking into a meeting with a scuffed, bulging briefcase, for instance, can make you appear harried and disorganized, no matter how otherwise well-dressed. The person who enters with accessories that set a business tone and a sense of order will often get a leg up.

2 mens details

Editor's Note: Read Dressing Well Stylist Sarah Zengo’s “Leather Weather” Blog for more pointers on refurbishing leather bags.

#3 Function & Flair. What do you currently own that could be working better for you? If the tried-and-true tote you love is getting worn out because you’re cramming too much into it each day, consider adding whimsical and colorful laptop bags or cross-body bags to accent your utilitarian totes and stand out in all the right ways. They also give your back and shoulders a break!

3 function flair

Editor's Note: Purchase this cheerful yellow cross-body bag for $69 and the scarf for $59

#4 Small Pouches Can Work Wonders. Are you always digging for loose change or your keys from the bottom of your pocketbook? Do you have trouble locating your lipstick? Would you eat better if you had a place to store healthy snacks? If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, consider buying small zippered pouches to contain these small items, making it a snap to organize, replenish and locate them when needed. Jewelry rolls and folds are an excellent tool for toting small beauty objects and jewelry around, making you ready for anything!

4 small pouches

Editor's Note: This coral jewelry roll can be yours for $39.
Shown above open (middle left) and folded (middle right).

#5 Incorporate Regular Bag Checkups. Finally, bags tend to get filled up fast. Sunday night is a great time to be sure you start the week off energized and organized. Include your bags as part of your weekly prep, cleaning out last week’s files, gum wrappers and the like, and then refilling your bag with what you need to head into your week. Some people do this daily. Many people never do it! It’s a small step towards better time management and style—promise!

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Kathy Smith

For Kathy Smith, clothing and fashion are an extension of who she is. Raised by a mom who was a professional model, Kathy had a bird’s eye view into styling at an early age as she accompanied her mom on photo shoots and watched as a styling team pulled together an eclectic array of clothing and accessories for her mom to bring to life. She recalls being stimulated by the colors, shapes and silhouettes of the selected fashions and speaks fondly of the impact this experience had on her career path.

Learn more about Kathy »

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Dianne Webster 2016-03-11 20:27

Hi Kathy, I am in the habit of wearing the same things in the same ways too often. I love your philosophy of reviewing what I have and switching things up to get more mileage out of my wardrobe. Adding a scarf or a new bag can give me more options without the expense of purchasing a whole new outfit. Thank you! Dianne

Veronica 2016-03-14 06:29

Thank you for this article it was very helpful. I started hanging my purse with outfit I wore it with. Example my hot pink shirt and jeans I would hang the fushia purse with outfit on hanger. That way I wouldn't have find I'm nin. It be ready when I was ready leave to go to work.

Kathy 2016-03-15 09:03

Thanks Diane! I will purchase a good dark neutral, like a black tote that will work for any occasion. One that is not to big or to small. Then for each season--spring/summer or fall/winter I will purchase one tote in a fun fashion color to change things up a bit and update all my outfits.

Great idea Veronica! I love that is makes getting out of the house quicker, faster and more stylish each day!

Carol de Lemos 2017-09-06 12:47

I have a black suede small bag that I love but am not able to use because it sheds whatever it touches. Is there a spray or treatment for this problem?

(I am a long time admirer of Organize by Design)

Mary Lou Andre 2017-09-06 13:41

Hi Carol! It's Mary Lou. Good to hear from you. If you are still in the Needham area, I suggest taking the bag to Sam at Needham Shoe Repair. He is fabulous and always knows what to do with all things leather and suede!

Hope all is well with you and yours.


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