How heavy is YOUR handbag? Celebrities reveal their daily burden


Last updated at 10:06 03 January 2008

Most of us would be horrified to lug nearly three house bricks around with us, all day, every day.

But according to new research, that's exactly what the average woman carries around on her shoulder in the form of a handbag that weighs on average 5.2lb - an increase of 38pc in the past five years.

Experts suggest it's our increasing reliance on gadgets which is driving up the load, and there are worries that the extra pressure on backs and shoulders could lead to severe long-term skeletal and muscular damage.

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The ideal weight is said to be no more than 1kg, or 2.2lb - but in the age of the supersize bag, is that realistic?

FEMAIL delved into the handbags of four women to find out exactly what they carry around all day, and how much their bags really weigh.

Television presenter, interior designer and stylist Hannah Sandling, 31, lives with her partner Oliver Felstead, 26, a property developer.


Marc Jacobs sunglasses and case; Osiris glasses and case; wallet; Marks & Spencer diary; keychain with house keys; Samsung P300 mobile phone; Radley umbrella; Black iPod Nano 8GB; banana and banana guard; M&S nut assortment; chewing gum; Highland Spring water 500ml; Christian Lacroix Rouge perfume; toothbrush; mini Colgate; Travel tissues; safety pins; paracetamol; tape measure; dental tape; Post-it notes; Elizabeth Arden Eight-Hour Cream; Nivea Lipcare; Bobbi Brown Bronzer Brush; 2 Suqqu eyeshadows; MAC Select Moisture Blend SPF 15; eyelash curlers; OPI nail polish; face cream; MAC Select cover up; Liparazzi lip gloss with light and mirror; Suqqu mascara; Avon Uplifting Mascara; Elemis Pro Collagen Marine Cream; Dermalogica Multivitamin Hand and Nail Treatment; La Prairie foam cleanser; MAC blusher; Avon Blush; Avon eyeshadow; M&S Raspberry Lip Butter; 4head for headache relief; House Beautiful magazine.

Empty bag weighs: 1lb 14oz (858g) Full bag weighs: 9lb 11oz (4.3kg)

Hannah says: It might seem as though I've got the entire contents of Boots in my handbag, but I regard these as my essential items, and I'd hate to be without a single one.

On a normal day of filming and shoots, I'll leave my house at 7.30am and don't get back until dinnertime, which means I need to be prepared for all possible scenarios.

I once got caught without all my favourite cosmetics when I was out and about filming for the Richard & Judy show, and had to go on TV completely bare-faced - it was a disaster.

Men won't understand how that feels, but every woman will, it's almost as bad as being naked.

My friends nicknamed me 'bag lady' because I always used to have carrier bags full of things I thought I needed hanging off my arms.

Then, about three years ago, I discovered how much easier big handbags were, so nowadays I tend to buy big bags just so I can stuff them with all my things. And it's not just cosmetics, I always make sure I have snacks with me.

My arm and back muscles have definitely become stronger from carrying so much stuff around, and I even do exercises every morning to make sure I don't damage anything.

This handbag was £295 from Kate Kuba. It's trendy and functional, with plenty of pockets.

I have about 200 handbags at home, ranging from High Street to designer, but I've never paid fullprice for a designer bag and always wait for the sales.

The most I've spent is about £450 for my Marc Jacobs bag - it's a combination of blue leather, plum patent and cream leather, and was reduced from £1,000.

But my best bargain was a beautifully embroidered bag I bought from

Cambodia which cost me about 75c. It's amazing, and I'm so scared of ruining it that I don't get it out much.

I can't believe how much my handbag weighs, and it's obvious women are now carrying far more than we should, but everything in a handbag is like a security blanket - that's why I can't bear to throw any of it away.

Socialite, reality TV star and personal trainer Lady Isabella Hervey, 25, is single and lives in London with her Maltese terrier Cleo.

CONTENTS OF HANDBAG: Make-up bag by Brief & Sassy, and contents; Blackberry; 60 GB black iPod; Smythson diary; keys; Oyster card; bank card; Diet System Thermobol Maximuscle tablets; deodorant; Apple Picture CD-Rom; Nurofen capsules; chewing gum; razor; Optrex Red Eye eye drops; Nars bronzer; gym leggings and top; loose change; pen.

Empty bag weighs: 1lb 7oz (660g) Full bag weighs: 5lb 4oz (2.32kg)

Isabella says: I'm not surprised by the weight of my handbag. In fact, I thought it might weigh more as I usually carry around far more than this.

There's usually more fruit in my bag, maybe another gym kit and sometimes even a pair of trainers.

I often carry more paperwork around with me, too, as I find myself going from one meeting to another.

But it doesn't feel too heavy. Being a personal trainer means I'm used to lifting heavy things.

I'm very active and am often out all day, so I have to be prepared for any eventuality.

I got my tan leather handbag about two years ago. It cost around £150 and is definitely an old favourite.

Big bags might be fashionable at the moment, but for me it's just a question of being practical.

Sometimes I don't know where my day is going to take me, so I'm always armed with everything I might need.

Often I have to go from a breakfast meeting, then to work at the gym before more meetings and interviews and shoots. So a big bag is a must rather than a fashion statement.

My favourite is the HermÈs Birkin. The basic leather bag costs around £6,000 and I own three - in pink, red and blue.

They're great for getting lots into. I'll only downsize in the evening if I'm going to a party or for a night out, when I need only a lip gloss, some money and my mobile.

Singer Javine Hylton, 25, lives with her partner MC Harvey, 28, a member of So Solid Crew. Javine is seven months pregnant with their first child. She is carrying a handbag by Kathy van Zeeland, worth about £60, which she bought in Thailand

CONTENTS OF HANDBAG:Gucci sunglasses; book - Guide To Pregnancy And Birth by Adriana Hunter; Bio Oil; Viktor & Rolf perfume; Fake Bake Body Butter; Nokia N76 phone and charger; chewing gum; birthing DVDs;Louis Vuitton make-up bag and contents; keys; lockets; change.

Empty bag weighs: 2lb 5oz (1.04kg) Full bag weighs: 6lb 10oz (3kg)

Javine says: Considering my handbag isn't that big compared with the ones I used to carry, I still manage to squeeze in all the essentials.

You'd never find me without my hair tongs, straighteners, hair brush and plenty more makeup than I ever needed at one time. Everything but the kitchen sink

But with the lifestyle I had before getting pregnant, I never knew when I might need all those things to glam myself up.

My bags used to be so big and so heavy that I'd strain my back. But now that I'm pregnant, I know I can't take that risk.

My doctor and even my partner Harvey told me from the very beginning that I had to be sensible about it. The fact that my life has slowed down a lot has made that easier.

I love big bags. They're just so useful and there are so many beautiful ones around at the moment, it's difficult to resist. But a girl can never have too many handbags, anyway.

I've lost count of how many I have. I'd guess about 50 - a combination of casual day bags and more formal evening bags.

I'll spend money on a designer handbag if I love it, and I don't mind forking out several hundred for one. All I have to do now is make sure they don't do me an injury by being so full of stuff I can barely carry them.

TV presenter and businesswoman Saira Khan, 37, lives with her husband Steven Hyde, 38, an IT consultant. Saira is six months pregnant with their first child. Saira is carrying a E450 handbag by Alexandra Bee.

CONTENTS OF HANDBAG: Bottle of Volvic; Chanel glasses and case; Blackberry; keys and keyring; large Radley make-up bag and contents; small Radley make-up bag and contents; pashmina; Oyster card and holder; Allure by Chanel perfume; lip balm; deodorant; business cards; notebook; wallet; Bobbi Brown Bronze Shimmer Brick; make-up brushes; MAC lip gloss; Miamoo Huggy Lotion; Miamoo Baba Oil; manicure kit; compact mirror and leather holder; Miamoo catalogues.

Empty bag weighs: 1lb 4oz (556g) Full bag weighs: 11lb 2oz (5kg)

Saira says: As I'm six months pregnant, my husband Steve is always telling me not to fill my handbag, but it's difficult to change my habits.

But I was shocked when I found out my full handbag weighs 11lb. That's like carrying a bag of potatoes on my back all day, which is quite ridiculous.

I'm a bit of a handbag addict and buy about five good-quality bags a year. This is definitely one of my favourites.

After I have my baby, it'll double up as a trendy baby-changing bag, too.

I'd be prepared to pay about £750 for a handbag if I absolutely loved it, but at the moment, this is the most expensive one I own.

I don't wear a lot of make-up during the day, but everything in there always stays there and goes everywhere with me. I never know when I might need it.

I've had my manicure kit for the past ten years, and it goes everywhere with me - even around Pakistan for six weeks when I was filming a documentary over the summer.

If I leave it, I feel lost - like I do whenever I leave my mobile at home - but the funny thing is that I can't even remember the last time I used it.

Maybe finding out exactly what is in my bag and realising I could get by without most of it will encourage me to get rid of the things I never use.

I don't have very good habits when it comes to organising my bag and probably clear it out about once every two months.

Carrying a big bag makes me feel important and authoritative. I own about four big bags - I always carry my laptop with me during the day, going from one meeting to the next, and sometimes even a pair of trainers in case my heels start to hurt.

I never take a clutch bag out in the evening, because I'm so absentminded, I just put them down and forget about them.

I've lost so many evening bags in that way, even though I always swear I'll take care of each new one I buy.

Once, my bag was stolen while I was sitting in my car. I was actuallymugged while I was sitting in my own driveway.

Someone opened the passenger door and tried to grab me, but luckily I escaped out the other side.

All he got was my handbag before he ran off. The contents of my handbag were worth about £750.

I have about two dozen bags in total, and I tend to swop between them, but from now on I'll do my best not to put quite so much stuff in them!

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