Is Your Bag Killing You?

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  • By Lois Joy Johnson

    You may be paying a higher price than you think for that large but fashionable bag. Stuffed with "essentials," our personal U-Hauls are promoting achy backs, sore necks, poor body alignment and regular visits to chiropractors and massage therapists. Egged on by the fashion industry and the inexplicable need to have all our "stuff" handy 24/7, most women carry huge handbags (or two or three!) weighing ten pounds or more. They wreck our bodies and ruin the line of our clothes. We cart around a bottle of water, a major cosmetic case, an extra cardigan, sunscreen, medications, sunglasses, a Kindle or Nook, a cell, iPad, iPod, iPad or laptop, a foldup umbrella and gym clothes. Enough! Here are the smartest bags to buy and why:
  • A Chic Nylon Bag Lighten the load with hobos, totes and shoppers in nylon. Certain brands like Longchamp manage to combine elegant contemporary shapes, durability and versatility. Choose your favorite neutral- black, navy and taupe always look classy and seasonless. Longchamp Le Pliage Hobo ($195, saks.com)
  • A Lightweight Status Bag Top designers like Ferragamo, Prada and Marni are doing glam nylon versions to suit die-hard fashionistas who have lugged leather long enough to know when to stop. If you want to splurge, try Salvatore Ferragamo Hobo Nylon Desiderata ($445 on sale, neimanmarcus.com)
  • A Shopper, Not a Long Strap Shoulder Bag The closer the weight is to your core the less stress on your neck and shoulders. A light but large nylon shopper with straps that feature an 8 to 9 inch drop fits comfortably under the arm even with a raincoat or jacket and is short enough to be carried by hand too. Look for styles with a zip closure top for security and multiple compartments for organization. Try: Dooney and Bourke Nylon Printed Large Shopper in Zebra; it's chic in black and white and has a gazillion compartments ($168, macys.com)
  • Downsize, Edit and Look for Dual Strap Options Try eliminating all but the most crucial items. Stash extras in your desk at work or car and carry less. Do you really need a wallet the size of a cereal box? Do you need to carry three pairs of glasses and a change of shoes all the time? A bag that forces you to edit down and can be carried in the hand or on your shoulder will give your body a break. Wear this bag, in black and taupe polyester, now and straight into fall. Ivanka Trump "Evelyn" Shopper ($175, nordstrom.com)
  • For Everyday Business Lugging, Try a Small, Hardside Spinner It may be the moment to give up your three bags a day habit and drag your "musts" more efficiently. If you carry a lot of work back and forth from home to office, spend the day going from client to client or commute and are fed up with feeling like a pack mule this is the healthy solution. Delsey Luggage Helium Spinner 21" ($ 200, macys.com)
  • Buy a Nylon Laptop Bag That Looks Good with Your Day Bag C'mon, do yourself a favor and spring for a stylish computer bag, like this one in modern black and white stripes. Of course go for a dual strap version and a distinctive feminine color or print that won't get lost in the crowd at conferences, coat-checks or taken by mistake on overhead commuter train. Kate Spade New York 15" Nylon Chad Laptop Bag ($378, amazon.com)

    About the Author

    Lois Joy Johnson is ThirdAge's Beauty and Fashion Director. She is the author of "The Makeup Wakeup."