8 rules of etiquette to wear a luxury handbag

woman wearing hermes pink birkin handbag

At any event or social occasion it is imperative to make the best possible impression; whether it is a family gathering, a business meeting or an outing with friends. It is always important to demonstrate the right attitude and manners.

If you are the proud owner of a Hermès handbag or a collection of them, you will know that these beautiful accessories are capable of bringing great status to your outfit. However, handbags are not everything, because your attitude needs to do them justice.

To help you in this purpose, we have organized 8 rules of etiquette to wear your luxury handbag in the right way and make a great impression on your relatives and friends.

  1. Upright posture
  2. Greetings and protocols
  3. Keep the right distance
  4. Hands positioning
  5. The right place for your bag
  6. Combinations and occasions
  7. Cleaning and maintenance
  8. Modesty and elegance

1. Upright posture

woman wearing chanel flap bag

First of all, we must mention an extremely important issue, it is the posture you adopt when walking and wearing an outfit. An upright posture, with a straight back and shoulders, indicates that you are a confident and determined woman, and that you are open to social interactions.

So, it’s key that you adopt this posture and incorporate your bag into the way you carry yourself. This way people will be inclined to interact with you, see you as an equal and respect you.

Remember, a good attitude and posture can be the best accessory of all if they are implemented in the right way.

2. Greetings and protocols

woman with colorful outfit and hermes bag

One of the most important moments of a social event are the greetings and protocols, these must be done properly to give a good impression to your acquaintances, especially if they are older people or someone with a higher position than yours in corporate affairs.

So, in these situations, your bag should not be an impediment to developing greetings and protocols, but should remain part of your total outfit, without getting in the way of social interactions.

To achieve this it is necessary to carry the bag in your left hand or arm, no matter if it is a small bag, one with straps or an envelope type. By carrying it in your left hand you will have your right hand completely free to properly greet anyone who approaches you.

3. Keep the right distance

Woman in coat and white jeans with brown handbag

Whether in social interactions or in situations where you are on the move, you should never invade the personal space of individuals around you, since this is considered impolite.

That is why, if you carry a bag with a heavy or large structure, you should keep it as close as possible to your body when you are in crowded places or in very closed spaces. This way you will avoid disturbing other people.

If you must occupy a limited space, we advise you to carry the bag with both hands and place it in front of you, that way you will be able to keep it very close to you and keep control of the space you occupy.

4. Hands positioning

Trendy outfit woman in stylish beige coat and jeans with black big bag

Luxury handbags are considered extensions of your body when you carry them with you, so, in that sense, the way you position your hands is also an extremely relevant point when it comes to having manners and showing off your luxury accessory.

All this will depend on the type of handbag you have chosen, here are some examples of how to position your hands when carrying different types of bags:


Fashionable woman with a red bag in her hands and black evening dress

These bags are characterized by being compact, small and without shoulder or elbow straps. So it is important that when wearing a clutch you hold it with both hands in front of your body, fingers pointing down, with a good grab of the bag.

If you need your hands free for greetings and protocols, you can hold the clutch in your left hand and keep it at your side or in front of your body at hip level. Under no circumstances should you place a clutch under your arm, as this is unhygienic and impolite.

Handbags with straps

Young woman with stylish leather bag outdoors on summer day, closeup

Bags with straps are a bit more versatile in this regard, as they can be worn slung over the shoulder or at the elbow. However, the strap should not be excessively long if worn at the elbow. In case you wear it on your shoulder you should keep your hand holding the base of the strap and a portion of the top of the bag.

These bags are also usually worn across the body, but on elegant or semi-formal occasions, this is not fashionable, as it looks careless and unsophisticated. Keep this in mind!

Short handle handbags

Businesswoman summer outfit for office. Fashionable woman wear high-hells shoes, blue cotton pants with white stripes and hold hermes grey birkin bag

Generally this type of bag is not used too much in formal contexts, but they are worn in daytime occasions or business meetings. So when carrying a short-handled bag, ideally you should wear it at your elbow, preferably on your left arm, to leave your right hand free for greetings. You can also hold it with your left hand and let it hang with your arm.

If the handles are long enough to carry the bag on your shoulder, you can do so. However, in tight or crowded situations, you should hold it with both hands in front of your body.

5. The right place for your bag

Smiling young female in white shirt sitting in sofa at table in cafeteria with glass of drink and cutting delicious dessert with knife

In addition to the position of your hands, when using a luxury handbag you need to know where to place it when the occasion calls for you to take a seat, or have both hands free.

In this case it is imperative that you know these simple tips:

  • Never place your bag on the floor. Apart from being unhygienic, it can be an obstacle for the people around you, or even for the waiters in a restaurant.
  • When sitting at the table, you should not place your purse on the surface of the table. Whether you are going to participate in a dinner, lunch or business meeting, it is not wise to place your bag on the table, as it can be a bother to other diners, even if it is small.
  • Do not hang your bag on a chair in a restaurant or meeting room. This can also get in the way of waiters or get in the way of other meeting participants.
  • If your bag is a clutch or envelope, you can keep it on your lap and then place the cloth napkin on it if you are participating in a lunch or dinner party.
  • If it is a large bag, you can place it on your seat, right behind you. If there is a free chair at a nearby end, you can also place it there.
  • Choose to buy a bag hanger, so you can place it hanging from the table in an ideal space that does not bother others.

6. Combinations and occasions

stylish woman with blue mini kelly hermes handbag

Mostly, the way you carry your luxury bag will also depend on the occasion and the combinations you make with your different outfits. First of all, the most important thing will be to denote what the nature of the event is and how formal your outfit should be.

So, if it is a gala party or a large event, your bag should be small, like a clutch or envelope, but it should contain some luxurious features, such as inlaid precious stones, a fancy design or a very exotic material.

For casual or semi-formal occasions, it is appropriate to choose bags with simpler features, without too many adornments or gemstones. This way the accessory will not be so flashy or will contrast with the outfit you have chosen.

Luxury handbag etiquette also involves combinations, and knowing the right place and time for each garment.

7. Cleaning and maintenance

hermes gold birkin handbag

The key to making a good impression involves the combination of all the above elements, but there is something that should never be missing if you intend to attend a social event carrying a luxury handbag. It is hygiene and cleanliness, this is something essential for your accessory to look its best.

If you attend an event and your precious handbag shows a very obvious stain, or its skin looks tarnished and unkempt, other people will most likely get a negative impression of you.

That is why you should always keep your luxury accessories properly cleaned, and implement the specific maintenance required by the type of leather they are made of.

If you want to consult a guide of maintenance tips for your exclusive Hermès handbags, follow this link.

8. Modesty and elegance

Close-up of stylish female handbag. Fashionable woman holding beautiful accessories outdoors on city street.

By wearing an exclusive handbag with your elegant or casual outfits, you have a very positive advantage, because sometimes your outfit may suffer some kind of malfunction that you may find difficult to solve at the moment, but if you have your handbag you can use it to cover such details.

This can also be beneficial if you are wearing a mini skirt or any dress that might be revealing at a specific angle, so if you apply your bag as a shield or if you rest it on your lap, you will have a good way to maintain your modesty and elegance.

This technique has been applied by celebrities countless times, and even by royalty, such as Princess Grace Kelly, who covered her pregnant belly from the press using a Hermès Kelly. Would you like to know this curious story? See more about it here.

Did you find these luxury handbag etiquette rules useful?

Now that you know these essential rules of good dressing regarding luxury handbags, you can apply them to perfection and show an ideal image to your family and friends.

If you don’t yet have a luxury handbag or want to expand your collection, we invite you to enter our online store, a wonderful space where you’ll get access to a great variety of brand new Hermès handbags, with authenticity certificates and without waiting lists.

Discover this easy way to buy Hermès handbags online and show your elegance!

You may be interested in the following article: How to travel with a Hermès bag?