Exploring the Advantages and Disadvantages of Hands Free Bags

Exploring the Advantages and Disadvantages of Hands Free Bags

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Older women with hands free bags

Exploring the Advantages and Disadvantages of Hands Free Bags

The idea of hands free bags is so convenient for many times in our lives. When the three of us are out exploring or even shopping, it’s so much easier not to have to have your hands tied up carrying your purse. Or in the past, my shoulder would have tension from the weight of my bag.

Quote of the day: “The rules, like streets, only take you to known places.” Ocean Vuong

This was a suggestion by Gina asking if a purse should reflect the outfit or the season. Since this is a loaded question for a fashion blogger, we went hog wild with possibilities. So much so that we split it into 3 blog posts.
We started with the idea of different colored purses with these same outfits. And then ended with seasons vs. size of purses. I hope you check them all out.

Today we are thinking about hands free bags with our outfits and I’m including the advantages and disadvantages below. We are showing a cross body purse, a belt bag and a backpack for these options.

Charlotte’s Column of Color Outfit

My mom wore a column of color with the olive green pants and top, and then threw on a leopard cardigan. Even though there is a print in the outfit, it’s still a relatively neutral base of an outfit!!

Woman in her 80's with a column of color

Pants: Dana Buchman~~ Cardigan: Yemak~~ Top: Croft & Barrow~~ Boots: Journee

Cross body purse as part of hands free bags

Grey Crossbody

My mom chose this grey crossbody Fossil purse for her example.
By choosing a color that blends in with the cardigan, it’s not quite as obvious.

Hands free bags that are safer

Hands Free Belt Bag

This white belt bag is a different shape than most that I see. It’s nice because it can hold a little more stuff and has more vertical dimension to it.
Charlotte wore the belt portion UNDER her cardigan so you really only see the purse part. This is a great idea so you don’t focus on the belt OR if you want to take off the cardigan later.

Hands free bags for older women


This light colored, floral backpack is actually mine. My mom doesn’t have one, but we wanted to show how this one would work.
The fashion backpacks can be smaller than a full sized one which is nice for shopping.

Insider tip: Don’t forget to check the girl’s department for purses. They can be smaller, more fun and less expensive!!

Jodie and Color

Of course, I had to wear a colorful outfit. While you might think this would limit the handbag options, I hope to prove that wrong.

Colorful outfit for women over 50

Pants: Kancan (I won these last month) ~~ Sweater: Belong Lifestyle ~~ Boots: DSW ~~ Necklace: Gifted from an Instagram friend

Cross body bags disadvantage


Any long shoulder strap could be counted as a crossbody purse, but I do prefer the thinner and flatter ones.
This beauty was made by my mom from a placemat. This was way before everything was online, but I found some directions if you want to try it.

Insider tip: If you choose the strap color to match your top, then you don’t notice it as much.

Hands free bags making the half tuck easier

Quilted Belt Bag

This is the cognac version of the belt bag that Lesley has worn many times on the blog (not this time though). It’s from Amazon and this one is a close match.

Print mixing with hands free bags

Mini Backpack

I really like the smaller backpacks like this for our exploring. This snakeskin print one was from our cruise last year.
The outside pocket is a nice detail so I can keep my phone in it for easy access.

Lesley’s Neutral Outfit

Lesley started with an all neutral outfit. I also like how she wore a belt with the under layer. I feel like it helps with proportions.

Woman over 70 in neutrals

Pants: Chicos ~~ Cardigan: JM Collection~~ Top: Chicos~~ Shoes: Alfani

Keeping the purse close with hands free bags


This is Lesley’s grab and go purse that holds all of the must haves including her phone, wallet, comb, lipstick, mask and glasses. She keeps this full and always ready to go, and then throws it into a bigger purse when she goes out.
That makes it easy to use for running errands but she can still have all the extras in the bigger purse which waits in the car.

Another hands free bags option

Belt Bag with Many Uses

Lesley thrifted this Cold Water Creek purse and has styled it as a cross body bag, a clutch or like today as a belt bag. It goes to show how your hands free bags can be versatile with the right straps.

Adding color to an outfit with hands free bags

Colorful Backpack

Lesley purchased this backpack at Target when she found the same print in a tote bag that she wanted. It’s her way to have purses she can “layer” especially for traveling.
Keep your eyes peeled for a short Instagram video where Lesley will show her purse layering technique!

Advantages and Disadvantages of Hands Free Bags

Depending on which purse you choose, there can always seem to be a good and bad point about it. You always have to figure out what works best for the activity and your preferences.

Your backpacks are a nice option to be hands free and distribute the weight of your bag evenly.
However, they aren’t easy to get into without taking them off. In fact, these aren’t wonderful if you are in a crowd and are worried about having things stolen from it.
Don’t forget you can always sling the backpack over one shoulder too.

Insider tip: There are theft proof bags available.

I have to admit that I never thought I would embrace the belt bags again, however, they are easy to access and more secure since the opening is in the front.
Many women worry about the extra “surface area” but I think you can camouflage it if that’s an issue. Find a color that blends with your pants, and you won’t notice it as much.
Most belt bags can be carried over one shoulder too. You don’t always see the front as well this way, but it’s an option.

Insider tip: For most of these bags, you can switch out the belt with a belt you already have.

As for the most popular cross body bags, they are a safe and easy option. The only thing I don’t love is how it can mess up the look of my outfit (especially since I was wearing a fun necklace in these looks) or seems to put the focus on the girls if the purse is heavy.

Hands free bags with outfits

Photo credit: Rob Filogomo

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