STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: The Purr-fect Handbag

You can spice up any neutral outfit by adding a powerful print. This Fashionista took a walk on the wild side with one of my favorite winter patterns: leopard.

Leopard is a warm print that can often double as a neutral, and this Fashionista’s leather-and-leopard handbag is the perfect addition to any ensemble. This lovely animal-print bag would make a great everyday tote to carry throughout the season—especially during the cold winter in Iowa City, where fashion often comes second to warmth. As the temperatures inevitably drop, Fashionistas are forced to bulk up with heavy winter coats when they hit the streets, taking a little color out of the area until spring comes. Prints are a fun, practical way to bring a pop of color to your winter wardrobe and some life to the desolate Midwest winters.

Remember that time your mother told you that only solid brown or black handbags will match every one of your outfits, therefore making them the practical choice? Let’s erase that rule of thumb from the fashion handbook, because it is time to give those old-fashioned taboos the boot. A Fashionista should never be afraid to play with print. Patterned accessories can take a basic outfit to a whole new level, and they are a great way to create a unique look that’s all your own.

Now that we have established that the perfect handbag comes in more than one color (and pattern), we can move on to finding it. This Fashionista chose a cross-body style, making her bag efficient and adorable. And the great thing about the messenger style is that it can double as a stylish bookbag when classes are in session. Functionality and quality are the first factors I consider when making a long-term handbag investment. With its versatility and charm, this Fashionista's leopard handbag has earned my approval.

Looking for a leopard-and-leather handbag of your own? Check out this oversized bag from ASOS that could also double as a bookbag. If leopard is not quite suited for your taste, Urban Outfitters has bags in floral, tribal and several other patterns that can serve the same purpose. Prints definitely have a huge presence in trends for this season, and adding more patterned accessories like handbags, scarves and hairpieces to your wardrobe is an affordable way to be stylish on a budget and maintain some color in your winter look.

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