Comfort and Construction: Cross-Body Bag Buying Tips
If you have ever tried to juggle packages and parcels along with your handbag, you know how convenient cross-body bags can be. While they are not as roomy as hobo bags or backpacks, with careful packing you can fit all your essentials inside. Best of all, men can wear cross-body bags as well, which means that you won’t get stuck carrying half of your boyfriend’s or spouse’s stuff that won’t fit in his pockets.
If you are an avid traveler, a cross-body bag is an ideal deterrent against theft because your valuables are in the front of your body, not tucked away in a back pocket or backpack that is prone to pickpockets. If you commute to and from work, you can drink your coffee in comfort without juggling your handbag or leaving it unsupervised on the seat next to you, where it could disappear. A cross-body bag is also convenient for shopping, because your arms will be free to carry all the bargains you find to the checkout counter – and your bag will be safe at hand to allow you to pay for them.
Cross-Body Bag Materials and Construction
Many cross-body bags are made of leather. Brown leather is more common, but black and even tan leather cross-body bags are also popular. Leather is a durable material that looks great even as it wears. With a little care, leather cross-body bags can stand up to years of wear. Periodic cleaning with leather cleaner and a soft cloth are the only maintenance necessary. Treating the leather with a water-resistant coating can extend the useful life of a cross-body bag by preventing the leather from cracking, especially if you live in a climate with fluctuating temperatures.
Canvas is another popular material for cross-body bags. Bags designed for young adults, teens and children are more likely to be canvas than bags designed for adults. Canvas cross-body bags that are intended for adults are often neutral in color: gray, sand, black or dark green. By contrast, canvas cross-body bags for children are often available in bright colors. Plaid, striped or patterned bags are also common
However, many women’s cross-body bags are smaller than those for men. This is especially true for petite women, whose small stature can be overpowered by oversized bags. Larger women often carry cross-body bags that are somewhat larger than those carried by their petite sisters, but smaller than those carried by men nonetheless.
A common design for cross-body bags for both men and women is a simple single chamber with a fold-over flap or a zipper top. Some cross-body bags have internal compartments for pens or a cell phone. However, since much of the appeal of the cross-body bag is the fact that it can be worn on your person, you don’t want a cross-body bag to have too many bulky compartments.
Cross-Body Bags for Men
Cross-body bags for men, also called “man bags” or “man purses,” tend to be very simple in style. The flap-over style is more common than zipper-top style for men’s cross-body bags. Men’s cross-body bags tend to have thicker, sturdier straps than bags designed for women. The largest men’s cross-body bags can double as briefcases, with separate compartments for a laptop or tablet, papers and a cell phone.
Cross-Body Bags for Women
Everyday cross-body bags for women can look very similar to those for men, with simple styling and sturdy, wide straps to hold up to everyday wear and tear. Office-worthy bags are usually constructed of leather in natural-looking colors, while casual weekend bags may be bright and playful. Larger women’s cross-body bags also frequently double as briefcases, providing women with a more stylish means of toting a laptop.
Cross-body bags can also dress up for formal occasions. Cross-body bags meant to match up with cocktail dresses or evening gowns are frequently very small – large enough only to hold essentials like a cell phone, a set of keys, ID and credit cards and perhaps a bit of cash. The bags themselves are often metallic or encrusted with crystals. Plain satin or silk bags in elegant colors are also popular. The straps for evening cross-body bags are usually delicate chains or thin leather strands. Cross body bags meant for evening wear also often hang lower on the hip than conventional cross body bags.
About the author:
Megan Barnes loves fashion. She especially enjoys writing about accessories and shoes on style blogs.