Think about the way you carry your favorite bag on the daily—do you typically grab it and arrange it on your arm (or shoulder) the same way, no matter what? According to body language experts, it’s not a totally random decision. Instead, we’re revealing a lot about our personality whenever we’ve got a bag in hand. Kathlyn Hendricks, Ph.D., has made a living out of talking about this exact kind of stuff, deciphering hidden messages in how we move and coauthoring a dozen books (her latest is Conscious Loving Ever After). She talked fashion with us, diving into some of the most common positions to carry a bag.
You’re practical and driven by utilitarian motives. “It points to the wearer prioritizing her freedom of movement over the display elements. She’s not a peacock, just getting things done,” Hendricks explained. The read is true of this carry style in general, but especially so if, like Jessica Alba, you tend to use bags of the smaller variety.
“The way bag is swinging and open indicates a priority on ease and functionality over display.” Keeping it buckled, closed, and situated at the front of her body might allow passerby to better check out the brand/shape/fabric/color, but it wouldn’t be as practical.
Placing your accessory in front of your person, à la Gigi Hadid, is almost a form of armament. “This style of bag-wearing often indicates a more cautious personality, someone who is reticent or shy. Her downward gaze and slightly folded up body posture support the suggestion of a slightly defensive personality.” Per Hendricks, it’s not uncommon to see celebs holding their purses like this as a way to avoid contact with paparazzi photogs.
Pair the carry with Kendall Jenner’s wide stride and loose limbs and you find “an urban warrior with a clear goal. The bag is incidental to her independent self-image, flung on for its functionality.” Clearly—we can’t even get a proper view of it to identify the brand or style.