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I have just returned to a sales position after many years of office work. Can you suggest a purse style that is appropriate for business meetings but not as large and heavy as a briefcase-size purse. Thank You

First, what size writing pad do you use for note taking when in meetings? This will determine the purse size. If you prefer a legal size pad, then obviously you need a bag that is long and deep enough to accommodate such a pad. Use the same benchmark for a letter-size pad or for those smaller. However, don’t go too small (tiny) on the note pad or you will not look businesslike or serious about the meeting.

Generally speaking, the most businesslike purse styles have simple, tailored lines. They mimic, at least somewhat, a briefcase or large envelope, even when much smaller in scale than the standard briefcase. Most fold-over-flap styles (versus a top zipper) that meet the tailored-lines requirement make a professional statement. The color and type of leather depend upon your personal preferences. Black, brown, and burgundy are the most professional colors for women. Consider the colors (and shoe colors) that you wear most frequently.

The other alternative is to carry an organizer and a “small” purse. The zipper style organizer will make you appear more professional as it doesn’t allow papers to stick out from it. Just make sure that it is impeccable on the exterior and neat on the interior when you open it for taking notes. Most organizers include a place for a pen, business cards, credit cards, etc. What to do with your other personal items become the problem if you only carry a standard-sized organizer, items such as keys, eyeglasses, lipstick, Palm Pilots, pagers, cell phones, etc. Some of the larger organizer styles (legal size) will accommodate more of those items.

With a sales position, you are probably on the go, unless you are primarily on the phone. Consider your particular needs during a typical week. Are you in and out of your car frequently? Do you attend meetings or events outside the office? How many and how often? Or are all of the meetings in one building after you arrive at work? In the latter, the typical organizer works only if you have a safe place to leave your purse or other personal items while in meetings.

Another option is to have a businesslike purse or organizer large enough to accommodate all your business and personal needs, then keep a small bag (one appropriate for dinner, etc.) in your car or desk. This is my preference and it works beautifully for me. But, you must find what works for you with minimal time spent changing bags.

Best of luck to you,
Sherry Maysonave


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