As I was getting ready to write this post, I remembered Adrian Grenier in The Devil Wears Prada when he questioned a woman’s obsession with having multiple handbags and that, really, all women need one bag to put all their stuff inside to be done. Clearly, Adrian Grenier, just like most men, don’t get it. However, I do think the average woman falls somewhere between the handbag obsessed, change-everyday type and the woman who just needs one purse. As much as most women enjoy ogling beautiful handbags, few have the desire, energy and/or interest to change theirs daily.
What most women are looking for is one beautiful handbag that they can carry pretty much exclusively. While this goal may seem as impossible as finding the perfect man, trust me, you have a better chance of finding a stylish and versatile handbag than you do the perfect specimen of a human being.
The goal is to look beyond the idea that a functional handbag has to be a boring one. I have talked about this many times before, but today I wanted to throw a new color into the “bags that are tremendously versatile” category: Olive Green Handbags. It today’s post I am showing you how versatile they can be. Check out the looks and all the ways you an carry one.
Olive Handbags: What to Wear with Them
When I started with this casual nylon handbag from Coach, I thought of a pair of red, suede driving loafers, like this pair from Donald J Pliner. I happen to love olive and red together. It manages to work as a combination without looking like Christmas. After choosing the shoes, I kept the rest of the look elegantly simple with a pair of skinny jeans from Lucky Brand, a relaxed white button down from Madewell, a layered necklace from Bauble Bar, bangles from Nordstrom and leather wrap watch from Tory Burch.
Women who don’t like the way they look in warm, autumnal shades tend to avoid olive like the plague. However, olive handbags can work no matter what your coloring is for a few reasons. First, handbags aren’t worn anywhere near your face and, second, olive is actually a gorgeous color with many cool based colors and jewel tones. Olive and just about every shade of pink is beautiful. Olive and colors like violet and lavender? Stunning. I can go on. Think about it, all colorful flowers have green stems. So don’t avoid olive as a versatile handbag shade simply because your personal coloring doesn’t work.
In the outfit above, for example, I styled this olive handbag from Furla with these magenta pumps from Charles David. These accessories add a stunning pop against the basic navy dress from J. Crew that I finished with a statement necklace from Stella & Dot and chain link bracelet from Bauble Bar.
In the last look, you saw how olive can play well with colors. Furthering the versatility of this shade, it also plays well with neutrals because olive is technically a neutral color. In this outfit, I added this olive handbag from Sanctuary to the taupe pants from Reiss and a basic crew neck sweater in ivory. I finished the look with a pop of burgundy (burgundy and olive are gorgeous together) through these flats and scarf from Nordstrom and these decorative hoop earrings from Max & Chloe.
Olive handbags don’t have to packed away once the weather gets warmer. You might be surprised how well they work with your summer prints, bright colors and even when wearing white.
Take this look above. I styled this yellow dress from Boden with an olive crossbody from Tommy Hilfiger, tan wedges from Seychelles and chandelier earrings from Karen Kane.
If you are someone who prefers that your bag matches your shoes (more on this), the good news is that olive makes an excellent shoe color. Here, for example, this olive Sole Society handbag and olive stacked heel pumps from the same company work together to give this grey pencil skirt from Theory and burgundy button down from Hugo Boss a lovely finish. The rest of the outfit is styled with the same scarf I used in a previous look and statement hoop earrings from Nest.
While on the hunt for purses you can carry regularly, don’t discount olive handbags. You’ll be surprised by how versatile they are.
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I actually bought a (second-hand) olive purse this fall because I love olive (and it loves me back) and thought I would have lot of uses for it. I haven’t used it yet. Maybe I should try harder. However, I have noticed that I love some colors for clothes and some for accessories. Has anyone else noticed this about themselves? I *love* teal blue, so I was very excited to find the perfect shade of teal sandals last summer. I knew they would work great with my wardrobe. But every time I tried them and looked in the mirror, I decided I’d prefer different sandals (usually tan). After a month or so of that, I returned them. Ditto with the perfect for my coloring red-orange shirt. I love the color, but I realized I like it better as my shoes, purse, scarf or coral necklace. I haven’t given up on the olive purse, but this is something I am noticing about myself that I’m trying to keep in mind as I make decisions about what to add to my wardrobe. However, I will be referring back to this post for sure as I play with ideas from my closet for my unused purse. 🙂
Heather, I understand perfectly! I love color but find I am very selective in the placement and amount worn at one time. I have started following Bridgette’s tips to utilize a small, bright cross body bag in lemon and burnt orange. With a bracelet or pair of earrings, it seems to be enough. Please keep Bridgette’s followers up to date with your new wardrobe revelations. It’s so helpful. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Pat, I think what you sound drawn to are bags that add that final pop of color to your looks. Olive won’t necessarily do that, but it is a great option to consider when you might want your pop in other places, sort of like the first look with the red shoes. The bag works perfectly, but the shoes are the standout.
I’m also loving my yellow purse and my orange one. It was this blog that convinced me to try them. And I like them both with my olive tops + a piece of coordinating jewelry. 🙂 I am now determined, though, to try an outfit with shoes or a scarf that pop where the olive purse can coordinate but take a supporting role.
I think maybe a good point (one Bridgette has made) is that the purse can be a great way to use a color that doesn’t work well near your face. For some people that’s olive. And for some (like me) it’s a sunny yellow. So some people will look fabulous in their jewel tones with their olive purses. And some will look great with their muted tones and bight yellow purses. 🙂
Hi Heather, I more than understand! Just because a color is in our “wheelhouse”, so to speak, doesn’t mean that it will work for us or that we won’t prefer something else. I have a pair of turquoise Vince Camuto flats that I wore for a few seasons. Last summer, I was getting dressed and the flats would have worked perfectly. However, when I put them on, I just didn’t like the way they looked and I grabbed my gold Tieks instead. It just felt better to me, despire the fact that the turquoise flats worked just fine. We can’t discount personal preferences or what we consider to be our style. I am wondering if you just might have a handbag that you enjoy carrying more and feel more included to grab.
As a redhead, there is a whole spectrum of color that would be perfect for me that I still don’t gravitate towards because it’s just not me to wear a lavender sweater, for example.
Let’s see if you can’t make that olive bag work, but don’t kill yourself to do it. If you feel like you are forcing it then it might just not be your thing.
I gave away my unworn olive handbag and acquired a much favored streamlined leather olive backpack – Even if I’m wearing a sheath dress or a suit, my footwear and bag of choice will be more casual (upscale grunge). I will wear cross body bags also, but they serve a different purpose than the larger backpack.
I love olive and I am determined to create a Seasonless wardrobe using olive as the primary neutral. Now, to pull up all the olive archives to formulate a plan. Thank you, thank you.
You are the best!
A faithful fan,
You’re always so kind with your comments. I love olive in the summer. I had a pair of olive sandals that were always perfect. It really all depends on a person’s wardrobe but there certainly are ways to make olive summery if you wear a lot of grey, khaki, or other earth tones like I do in the warmer weather.
I’m with Pat – my fav neutral basics are olive and grey!
I love olive, and yellow for that matter, but they don’t love me at all… I love my yellow purse, and have been looking for a polished looking olive tote for a while now. Thank you for confirming my instincts!
I am glad I could!
Thanks again for expanding my color combining horizons! On look no.5, what color tights/stockings would be good with this look?
I would probably go with nude stockings, but you could try olive too!