Tuesday, June 27, 2006

10 Handbag Essentials for the Prepared Fashionista

If you're like me, you embrace the handbag mantra, "bigger is better." Why be choosy when you can carry it all! On an everyday basis, I've been known to stash no less than ten different lip gloss varieties in my purse. And I can justify a reason for carrying each individual color. But what about those evenings when your ensemble calls for a tiny clutch? How does a gal choose to fill her purse?

Of course, there are the "givens." You need your choice of plastic and your Swarovski-encrusted cell phone. But what else? What do you really need to survive?

Only ten additional items will fit into your miniature arm accessory. Here are ten items vital to an on-the-go Fashionista's survival:

1) Tinted Lip Gloss: Combine a product made for softening lips and a product made to enhance beauty and you get the tinted lip gloss. It's practical, yet plays up your pucker. The tint will come in handy when your cheeks need a quick flush. Simply dot a little and smooth for a last-minute blusher.

2) Pressed Powder with Mirrored Compact: It's amazing how a translucent pressed powder can instantly smooth a complexion, hide shine and freshen an eight-hour-old look. A light dusting works wonders in a pinch. Lightly wetted pressed powder is also successful at hiding a surfacing blemish. And a mirrored compact is absolutely necessary for discovering stray mascara smudges or a quick teeth check.

3) Fold-up hairbrush & Clear Elastic Hair Bands: After-work engagements can be tricky. You're still in your 9-to-5 powersuit, yet you've got dinner plans in thirty minutes. A hairbrush and some clear elastic hair bands can turn your work coif into a sexy updo or a flirty ponytail. In the interest of saving space, stash a brush that folds up or is miniature. The clear elastics are useful because they blend with your own hair color and are discreet.

4) Nail File: A broken nail won't just stay a broken nail. We have a tendency to worsen the situation by attempting to even the nail out but we never have the necessary tools to do so correctly. You don't need an arsenal of oddly-shaped nail clippers to do the job---a simple nail file will do just fine. My favorite on-the-go nail file is a mini nail file matchbook. It comes with two tiers of tiny nail files, that you break off just like a match. Each file is approximately two inches in length. You can find these little pink and purple books in the travel toiletries section of Target for only 99 cents!

5) Safety Pins: I don't think I can begin to stress the importance of keeping a variety of safety pins on hand. You can go a year without needing one and then in the blink of an eye, pop a button and curse yourself for not being prepared. Case in point---I busted a zipper in my favorite pair of jeans at work just recently. Thankfully, I was wearing a longish shirt that sufficiently hid my fashion snafu, but my barn door was wide open all day long. And why? Because I was not prepared. Another time I was backpacking in Amsterdam and the strap on my backpack broke. I was able to find a drugstore that sold safety pins, but otherwise, I would have been dragging my pack behind me all day long. Don't follow me. Be prepared. And don't forget to include some industrial-strength safety pins for those tough jobs!

6) Bandaids: New shoes may look fabulous, but the look on your face says it all--you have a blister and you are in pain. Sometimes, all you need is a buffer between that strappy sandal and your heel. Try these clear bandaids so you don't detract from your Manolos!

7) Sugarfree Gum or Mints: It doesn't matter how pretty or put-together a gal can be---if you've got bad breath, it's an instant turn off! Sugary gums and mints only contribute to bad breath, so stick with sugarless. All of mankind will thank you. And remember not to smack!

8) Stain-Fighting Apparatus: This is not the first time I've sung the merits of having a Tide Pen or a Shout Wipe on-hand for an unexpected spill. Both work exceptionally well at quickly removing stains. That ketchup smear will never be considered an accessory, so be prepared!

9) Antibacterial Wipes or Gel: I can think of a hundred reasons why a prepared Fashionista should always have this on hand. Truth is, we and the world we live in is pretty darn germy. And seriously---another restroom out of hand soap??? Antibacterial wipes or gel will not only give you extra germ-fighting protection during a meal on-the-go, but will also be useful to wipe off a dirty table or chair.

10) Ink Pen: It may seem like common sense, but how many times have you needed an ink pen and one was nowhere to be found? From slipping your phone number to the hot waiter to jotting down directions to a chic boutique, an ink pen will always come in handy.

What are your on-the-go, prepared Fashionista essentials? Leave your suggestions in the comment box.

All photos linked to online vendor.