No one wants to be left hanging when it comes to knowing what to do with their handbag.
Whether you’re out with the girls or having lunch with peers, your purse is an important part of your wardrobe. How you handle the accessory can also be a telltale sign of your social skills. I am often asked my opinion of purse hooks, and it came up recently when I was a guest on Hallmark’s Home & Family.
Here are some etiquette tips on handling the hook and carrying the bag.
Imagine a table with multiple women in attendance, with their individual purse hooks wrapped around the tablecloth. It may appear more like a closet rather than a gathering of friends. The unappealing look isn’t the only reason you will want to skip the hook. It also makes it easy for a passerby to unintentionally bump into your bag causing it to fall to the ground. It can trip someone or cause them to fall. Your purse is also an easy target for thieves.
The back of your chair is also not a good option. It will protrude out and will cause the same type of troubles. Another option is to place it under the table, or on your lap, and secure it with your linen or large paper napkin. While it’s not ideal, it may be your best choice unless there is an empty chair available.
If your lap is not an option, put your bag under the table, by your feet. Don’t put it under your chair because it will tend to slide out and the waiter will step on it. By all means, keep your purse off the table, along with your glasses and keys.
Some restaurants offer patrons the use of heavy metal stands to keep their purse off the floor. If they are located in a place that is unobtrusive, and the restaurant is obviously encouraging the use, the protocol would still remain, but “when in Rome,” you can make your own decision. Just be mindful you are not blocking walkway traffic and have an eye on your purse at all times for safety measures.
Some additional purse etiquette tips:
- Carry your purse on your left side, freeing up your right hand to greet someone with a handshake.
- A wallet or wristlet sits comfortably on your lap and allows you easy access to your ID and money when meeting co-workers for lunch.
- The key to selecting the right bag is practicality.
- A tote is fine for the work day, and a smaller bag can be removed to take to a lunch meeting with your purse securely locked in a drawer.
- A cocktail purse covered in shiny beads is not appropriate for the office.
- You may place your purse inconspicuously next to you when seated at a booth.
- Wipe it clean regularly to avoid germs and bacteria.
- Organize your purse at the end of each day. Toss wrappers and remove unnecessary items or objects.
You may also like Business Meeting and Conference Etiquette. For more of Diane’s etiquette tips read her posts on Inc., subscribe to her articles on The Huffington Post, “like” The Protocol School of Texas on Facebook, and follow her on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. Buy her new book, Modern Etiquette for a Better Life here.