Handbags are to fashion what a phone is to technology. Without either, we’re pretty much stranded.

Regardless of whether you’re a jeans and tee student or CEO of your own business, handbags keep our look polished and our stuff safe.

It’s easy to get stuck in the rut of owning the same style in four colours but where’s the fun – and practicality of that?

A tote to dinner looks awkward, a clutch would not survive a day in the office – and a crossbody to a wedding is just unforgiveable.

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Here’s my checklist to kickstart your handbag collection

Save as much funds as you can and take your time choosing only what you love. Investments aren’t a rush-job.

The fab four must-haves

1. The everyday bag is the foundation of your collection. It should be smart for the office, yet simple and chic for day events. If you have to choose only one, go for a versatile brown. Black leather may be too harsh for hot summers.

2. The weekender will accommodate a day-to-night outfit change or a stay over with friends. A washable canvas version could even double up as a beach or gym bag.

3. The crossbody day allows for hands-free weekend browsing when you couldn’t be bothered with lugging stuff around. Strap across your torso and you’re good to go.

4. The glitzy clutch loves weddings, clubbing, cocktail parties and date night. Enough said.

02 Fab Four

Above: black organiser R450 and strip ebarrel R350, Woolworths; ‘Chirade’ crossbody, R699 and silver clutch R599, Aldo.

The bonus bunch lust-haves

5. The splash of colour bag will instantly lift your mood and add wow! to the dullest of outfits. Be warned though. Friends will envy you for being brave enough to buy such a wardrobe limiting number. This attention-seeker may also detract attention from your fancy shoes / new hair cut / latest mani, etc.

6. The tote or shopper is a hardworking number. An open top makes it roomy enough for laptops, carry-on luggage paraphenalia or a few groceries. Keep valuables in a hidden compartment or zipped purse as eyes will roam inside.

7. The day clutch started as a trend, then stayed. It should be small enough for bare essentials like a purse, keys, phone and lipstick with a little every room for ballet flats in case of emergencies.

8. The just-for-fun bag is the one which defies logic or reason. You saw it, fell in love and lived happily ever after. The End.

03 Bonus Bunch

Above: Multi-coloured bag R999, Nine West; red shopper R350, Woolworths; blue clutch R399, Nine West and Luella round bag R599, Foschini

Do you agree with my reasoning for owing eight types of bags? Or are you happy with the one that does it all?

Happy shopping, divas