Guide to Handbag Charms and Accessories

Whether you’re a handbag lover, tote carrier, or a belt bag enthusiast, we can all admit that we love a good accessory. While handbags are designed to be beautiful on their own, there’s something to be said about adding a little something extra. From tassels to critical rings to furry pompoms, adding a whimsical extra to your purse will instantly add visual interest.

Why Accessorize a Handbag?

There’s no reason needed if you want accessories because it’s a personal preference. It’s why they are called accessories – they are simply add-ons or extras that may not serve any function but look pretty. If you like your bag the way it is, then great. But if you like a seasonal upgrade or put a new spin on it, then accessorize all you want!

It’s a good idea to accessorize a bag if you’re a bit tired of how it looks because you’ve been using it for a while. Adding an accessory may spark a bit more joy and make you feel excited about your old bag again. Accessorizing is also a solution if you want to make a statement with your bag but don’t want to leave a dent in your bank account. In the meantime, you may enjoy decorating your handbags with a charm or accessory to add instant personality to your bag.

Rather than choosing an option and hoping it pairs well, be more thoughtful in accessorizing. Consider the personality, style, and functionality of your handbag and choose an accessory that aligns with all these. As with purses, it’s best to invest in one that will last and look good and complements your bag in all the right ways. If you have a designer bag, don’t cheapen it with cheap accessories.

Accessory and Charms Ideas for a Handbag

If you want inspiration on how to accessorize your bag, here are some fun ideas:

1. Tie up a scarf in a bow along your bag strap

A scarf is a super helpful accessory, and it can instantly add a wow factor to your bag. It’s sophisticated, and mixes different textures and textiles, keeping things interesting. Everyone has that one scarf that remains unused, sitting in a drawer or closet, waiting for something to pair with. If this is your scarf situation, use it to accessorize your bag to add an instant flair of style. Tie a pretty scarf in a bow along the strap of the bag.

Silk scarfs are an excellent option because the material creates a contrast to the leather. You can also choose to accessorize your bag according to the time of the year. For instance, you can add a bright floral scarf during the summer or a bright red scarf during the Christmas season.

2. Switch up the straps

Bored with the look of your trusty old purse? Add a statement strap to make a small but powerful change. Colorful or patterned straps can make a great accessory, so if your bag has a detachable strap, perhaps it’s time to switch it up with something else. Switching a plain strap for a colorful or patterned strap is an easy way to transform an everyday work bag into a fun weekend bag.

3. Try a chain strap

Like a statement strap, a chain strap offers another way to change the look of your handbag. Gold metal chains bring your bag a Chanel vibe, and it looks more expensive and elegant than your typical bag strap. Elegant but edgy, chain straps are like jewelry for your purse, allowing you to add an understated metallic element. It’s minimalistic, but it has a huge visual impact.

4. Add a chain charm

Speaking of jewelry for your purse, why don’t you try adding out a purse chain charm in front of your bag? 

It’s like your bag is wearing a necklace. It dresses up the look of the bag. It’s a bit bolder than your usual charm because it attaches to two ends of the bag, making it a more prominent accessory. You can buy chain charms in simple chains draped like a necklace, but there are some that come with actual charms, like those you see in a charm necklace or bracelet. Pearl chain charms look pretty and elegant as well.

5. Put your initials in it

Female leather bag

Adding initials to a bag is about as personalized as it gets. While it’s not technically an accessory, a monogrammed add-on can make your favorite handbag much more special. Nothing shows that a bag is really yours unless it has your name or at least your initials on it. It adds a touch of personality while keeping things simple. 

You can go the DIY route by hand-painting your bag with your initials (or even your signature, if you like) or add a monogram. You can also buy some metal letter plates that can be added to your handbags. If you want to be careful with your bag and don’t want to alter it too much, at least you can add a keychain with your initial on it.  

6. Tie up a Rodeo charm


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Hermes offers a Rodeo charm in many different colorways and leathers. It comes in monotone, dual-tone, tri-colored, and quadruple-colored leather options. Some even provide ones made of exotic skins and real horse hair! It’s the brand’s most popular bag charm, which is a perfect final touch on a Kelly or Birkin bag. While this charm is designed by Hermes for Hermes bags, there’s no rule saying you can’t use it to liven up any other handbag.

7. Wrap up a scarf around the handles


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Here’s another one from Hermes: the Twilly scarf. It serves both an aesthetic and functional purpose. Over time, the oils from our hands can wear down and discolor the leather handles of genuine leather bags, like original Hermes bags. To keep the bag in excellent condition, tie a Twilly scarf around the handles.

Many other bag designers replicated this idea, and it remains a popular accessory today. You can replicate this style with other leather handbags using any silk scarf.

8. Replace the strap with a sturdy ribbon

If you’re bored with the strap of your bag, you can try to replace it with a pretty but sturdy ribbon. Unclip the existing strap, then knot the ribbon to the hardware attached to the bag. Knot it one and add a couple of stitches and matching thread to secure it. Then, cut the excess ribbon and paint a thin strip of clear nail polish along the edge to prevent fraying.

Note: It’s best to try this on your occasional bags, though – not on your everyday bag or any bag that handles your heavy items.

9. Add some tassels


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Some bags automatically come designed with tassels, but if your bag does not, you can consider adding one. Colorful tassels bring a lively effect to a simple bag. It’s best to pick one that has exactly the same hue as the bag or something contrasting to make its decorative power effective. It dresses up your arm candy really well.

10. Look for a plush toy keychain


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You’ll never be too old for a little toy accessory in your bag. Plush toys can help cheer you up anywhere you go. Show off your uniqueness using furry animals or plush characters as charms for your bag. If you have a favorite animal or favorite pet, it’s great to flaunt it in your handbag for people to see a side of your personality. This adds a soft and playful element, which can help lighten up a structured handbag.

11. Go for pompoms


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There’s just something irresistibly adorable about a furry little pompom. It adds a whimsical extra to your tote, adding cuteness and personality. It offers a playful effect to a big-girl handbag, keeping things balanced.

12. Add bling charms

Keep your handbag pretty and dazzling by using charms with sparkly elements like rhinestones and crystals. These charms will dress up your basic handbag and adds an eye-catching decoration to any of your purses.

13. Make it girly with flowers and bows

Flowers and bows are the ultimate feminine detail – nothing says “I’m a girl” like them. If you want to add a feminine touch to your rather simple bag, add some flower or bow details through charms or keychains. You may also opt for ribbons or faux flowers that can be sewn onto a portion of your bag.

14. Make it an art project

Sky blue handbag purse and beautiful woman hand with red manicure isolated on pink background

Got some plain purse or clutches that can benefit from a little bedazzling? You can use craft supplies like studs, beads, rhinestones, buttons, and badges to decorate your bag if you’re feeling crafty or if a bright, creative idea strikes your mind. Glue them or sew them up, and you’ll be good to go.