An essential part of creating a professional image as a woman is your handbag. Of course, figuring out what to stock in your bag is always a pain. Many of my clients who work fall into two camps with their handbags. They either attempt to stuff way too many items into their bags or they don’t have a clear idea of what they should have on hand. A modern professional should carry or add the following additions to their handbag staples:
- Tablet or small laptop.- Whether you have presentations for clients, update your company’s social media content, or simply stay ahead of the curve by reading industry publications, you must stay connected. As much as I love my workhorse 15″ laptop, a good tablet with a case or Surface Pro does make life easier. Make sure you protect your tablet with a case or purchase many of the new more colorful sleeves for your laptop. Don’t worry, designs aren’t cold and sterile anymore. Fashion designers like Kate Spade have designed some beautiful and functional sleeves.
- Charger- For all the money we shell out for cell phones that are more expensive than our laptops and tablets, none of the companies are developing a battery that doesn’t drain by 5 p.m. Either keep a charger in your purse or purchase a purse with a charger. The thought of having a charger built into my handbag is such a spiritual experience that I may give up my devotion to Kate Spade, Furla, Guicci, and Prada bags.
- Your phone…if it isn’t already tethered to your hand or ear at this point.
- Business Card Holder- While some of my peers think business cards are outmoded, I love them. Of course, you want a holder for them. I use vintage cigarette cases for this purpose.
- Makeup bag- A makeup bag’s true purpose is to give you tools to improve your appearance for emergencies and help you renew after the chaos at work. I keep a set of items to ensure I can look my best in most situations. This includes a perfume rollerball, a mini mascara(I use my samples from gifts with purchase from Sephora and Ulta), your lipstick or chapstick, bobby pins, oil absorbing papers, and hair creme. I’ve recently added essential lavender oil to mine as an aromatherapy treatment. Sniff and unwind.
- Lotion-No explanation needed.
- Umbrella- Am I going to let that $75 blow out get ruined by nature? No.
- Shoe shine wipes– You never know what’s going to happen to your shoes, okay?
- Planner or journal with pens- Some people swear by paper planners while others love apps. I still encourage my clients to follow a reflexive practice journal to improve their performance. It doesn’t matter if you use Moleskin, Rhodia, or a bullet journal, having a notebook is an easy way to capture random fits of inspiration.
- Folding ballet flats- Those awesome Loubotin heels are going to feel like hell by 6 p.m. Have backups.
- Sunglasses-The sun is strong and I am vain. Buy a great pair with a case. You’re golden.
- Protein bar and water- Because you need to eat occasionally.
Organizing your handbag contents has its perks. I’ve tried to add or detract different items from this checklist over the past 3 years, but I’ve found these basic essentials help me survive business meetings, presentations, and corporate politics. I couldn’t get through the day without these items.