How to Take Measurements of a Purse: A Step-by-Step Guide for Perfect Sizing

Ever found yourself eyeing that perfect purse online but held back because you weren’t quite sure if it’d fit all your essentials? You’re not alone! Knowing how to take accurate measurements of a purse can save you from disappointment and ensure you get just the right size for your needs.

Why accurate measurements matter

When you fall in love with a purse online, it’s easy to hit ‘add to cart’ without second-guessing. But there’s a catch. Accurate measurements are crucial. Here’s why:

Avoid Unwanted Surprises

You wouldn’t buy shoes without knowing your size. The same goes for purses. Dimensions determine whether a purse works for you or ends up collecting dust. Imagine ordering what you thought was a spacious tote, only to receive a clutch-sized disappointment.

  • Length
  • Width
  • Height
  • Strap drop

These are the bare essentials for measuring up your potential purchase.

Compatibility with Your Lifestyle

Do you carry gadgets? Need space for makeup? What about that extra pair of shoes for after-work events? Your purse isn’t just an accessory; it’s a daily companion.

  • Laptops: Check your device size against the purse’s dimensions.
  • Travel: Look for sizes that comply with airline carry-on restrictions.
  • Events: Smaller may be better for convenience and style.

Optimizing for Organization

A well-sized purse can improve organization. A place for everything and everything in its place. But their measurements dictate the actual organizational capacity. Consider pockets, compartments, and how they’ll accommodate your essentials.

  • Pockets: Size and location matter for ease of access.
  • Compartments: More doesn’t always mean better. It’s about practical layout.

Ensuring Comfort

Size affects comfort. A too-large purse can lead to shoulder pain, while a small one might necessitate carrying extra bags — a balance is key. The strap drop measurement is vital for how the purse fits over your shoulder or in your hand.

By now, you’re aware that the right measurements are more than just numbers; they’re the blueprint of your daily convenience. Keep these factors in mind, and you’ll master the art of online purse shopping.

Essential tools needed

Before you start measuring that chic purse you’ve eyed online, make sure you’ve got the right tools. You don’t want to end up with a bag that doesn’t fit your tablet because you guesstimated the size.

First, you’ll need a flexible tape measure. Fabric ones work best since they can easily wrap around curves and corners. For those tiny pockets and slim dimensions, a ruler can come in handy—it’s great for precision.

Next, grab a notepad and pen. You’ll want to jot down measurements as you go. Trust me, it’s easy to forget whether that pocket was 5 or 6 inches wide.

Don’t overlook the significance of good lighting. You’ll need to clearly see where edges start and end to avoid mistakes. Fluorescent lighting can create shadows, so natural light or a well-placed lamp is your best bet.

  • Flexible tape measure (fabric preferred)
  • Ruler (for small pockets and precision)
  • Notepad and pen (for recording measurements)
  • Good lighting (to ensure accuracy)

Remember, these tools are key to getting accurate measurements. Double-check your work as you go. It’s better to spend a few extra minutes now than to deal with the hassle of returns later. And imagine the satisfaction of knowing your new purse will be the perfect fit for all your essentials—it’s worth the effort.

Step-by-step guide to measuring a purse

Before you start, make sure you’re in a well-lit space with your tools at hand. Lay your purse on a flat surface to begin.

Step 1: Measure the Length

Start with the length – the longest side of the purse from left to right. Place one end of the tape measure at the left edge, and extend it to the right edge. Record the number where it stops; this is your purse’s length.

Step 2: Determine the Height

Stand the purse up to measure its height. Measure from the bottom to the top edge of the purse, excluding any handles or straps. Jot down this measurement as it dictates how much you can stack inside.

Step 3: Width or Depth Assessment

Next, you’ll measure the width or depth. This is the narrow side running from the front to the back of your purse. Measure at the bottom of the purse if it tapers towards the top for the most accurate number.

Step 4: Strap Drop Calculation

If your purse has a strap, measure the strap drop to check how it’ll fit over your shoulder. Clip a tape measure onto the strap and let it hang; measure from top of the strap to the top of the purse where it connects. This determines how comfortably you can carry the purse.

Step 5: Interior Measurements

Don’t forget the inside! Measure the interior length, width, and height. Subtract a bit from each measurement for the lining and padding to get an accurate size of the storage space.

Step 6: Additional Features

Take note of pockets, both external and internal. Measure their length and depth, as this affects what items you can carry and access easily.

Step 7: Document Everything

As you go, write down each measurement. Double-check your numbers to ensure they’re precise. Adequate documentation saves time if you need to reference these while shopping online.

Remember, patience is key – hurried measurements lead to errors. Take your time for accurate results.

Measuring the width

To gauge the width of your purse, place it on a flat surface. Ensure it’s fully empty and not distorted in shape. You’re aiming for the most accurate measurement of the bag’s actual width.

Start at the bottom of the purse to get a true sense of its capacity. The width is the dimension across the base from one side to the other. This is the area that determines how much your purse can hold. Clamp one end of the tape measure at one side, then stretch it straight across to the opposite edge.

Be precise. Even a fraction of an inch can matter, especially if you’re measuring for fitting purposes. If the purse has exterior pockets, don’t include them in your width measurement. Here you’re focused on the main compartment, the heart of the purse’s storage space.

Some purses have a structured base while others are more flexible. If yours has a firm base, measure it as it is. For sloucher styles without a defined shape, simulate structure by gently filling the purse. Use tissue paper to maintain its form without adding bulk or weight, then measure.

Record your width measurement alongside the other dimensions you’ve compiled. Ensure consistency in your documentation – if you’ve been noting down figures in inches, keep to that. If you started with centimeters, continue accordingly.

When you’ve captured the width, you’re ready to move on to assess other features of the purse. Work systematically to ensure you don’t miss any aspect that could affect its functionality or the way it fits into your wardrobe.

Remember, an accurate width measurement is a key component in understanding how your purse will perform in everyday use. It tells you how much the bag will protrude from your body and how it will fit in various storage situations, such as in a locker or on a shelf.

Measuring the height

To gauge the height of your purse, stand it upright on its base. If your purse tends to slouch or collapse, it might be necessary to fill it with some lightweight items to give it shape. This ensures you’re measuring the height at its full potential. Again, precision is key.

Start from the bottom, placing your tape measure at the base, and extend it vertically to the purse’s highest point, excluding handles or straps. The measurement should run parallel to the side seam for accuracy. Ensure the tape is taut but not stretching the material.

Purses can have varying heights due to their designs:

  • For purses with a flat top, measure to the exact point where the material ends.
  • With a curved top, find the tallest point in the curve before the purse starts to descend.
  • For those with a zipper closure, measure to the zipper’s ends, but do not include the zipper head.

Record this height alongside the width you’ve previously documented. Here’s how you can display the measurements:

Width Height
12” 9”

Remember, the height determines how much you can carry vertically. Have you ever bought a purse that didn’t fit your tablet? That’s the frustration you’re looking to avoid. Other items to consider range from glasses cases to travel-sized umbrellas—knowing the height helps assess if these items will stand upright or have to be laid flat, potentially changing how you’ll organize your belongings inside the purse.

For purses with slouch or unstructured tops, do your best to capture the middle ground of the height. Do not flatten or overextend the purse; measure it as it typically stands. When done right, you’re setting the stage for a well-informed purchase or sale, ensuring the dimensions genuinely reflect the purse’s carrying capabilities. Mark the height on your documentation and move on to the last measuring step.

Determining the depth

Depth can be tricky to measure, but it’s a cinch once you get the hang of it. Place your purse upright, similarly to how you measured the height. Check if there are any bulging sides or pockets, and make sure they are empty. You want the purse’s natural shape, not its stuffed form.

Next, locate the widest part of your purse. That’s your starting point. Use a flexible tape measure for accuracy, especially if your purse is soft-sided. Extend the tape from the front panel to the back panel of the purse at the widest point and record the measurement in inches.

Remember, don’t squeeze your purse to flatten it or pull it open too wide. Both actions can distort the true depth, and you don’t want that. If your purse has a structured shape, it’ll be easier to measure as it should stand on its own without caving in.

For slouchy or floppy purses, you might need a helping hand. Prop the purse up with some light stuffing—just enough to display the true depth. Be gentle, as overstuffing can warp the measurement.

You might wonder about bags with angled sides differing in depth. Simple—measure the shallowest depth and the greatest depth. Providing multiple depth measurements can be extremely helpful, especially when listing a purse online or checking if a specific item will fit inside.

Here’s a quick reference to ensure accurate depth measurements:

  • Empty the purse
  • Measure at the widest part
  • Use a flexible tape
  • Be gentle and avoid distorting

By now, you’ve got the length, height, and depth of your purse. With these dimensions, you’re better equipped to gauge its size and truly understand what your purse can carry. You’re becoming quite the expert, aren’t you? Keep in mind these measurements for a future purse purchase or when detailing your current collection.

Additional measurements to consider

When you’ve got the length, height, and depth down, strap drop is your next measure. It’s the distance from the peak of the strap to the top of the purse—essential for proper fit on your shoulder. Lay the strap flat, measure end to end, then halve it. What about adjustable straps? Note the shortest and longest lengths possible for versatility.

Another key aspect is the handle height. If your purse has a handle, measure from the top of the handle to the base of the purse. This determines whether it can sneak under your arm or if you’ll be hand-carrying it.

Don’t overlook interior space. While outer dimensions provide the purse’s size, the interior reveals usable space. Open the purse wide, assess the main compartment and any additional pockets. This knowledge informs if your essentials fit without a bulge in sight.

If pockets are your thing, count and measure them. Each pocket has a purpose—phone, keys, or lipstick—making organization a breeze. Note the width and depth of each to ensure they meet your needs.

  • Strap Drop
  • Handle Height
  • Interior Space
  • Pocket Measurements

Purses with expanding features like accordion sides deserve attention too. Extended, they offer more space; zipped up, they slim down. Measure both ways to understand the range of use.

Materials can trick the eye. A slouchy leather might seem expansive but when measured, it’s smaller than you think. On the flip side, structured purses maintain shape and can deceive by looking smaller.

Lastly, record the weight of the empty purse. No one wants a heavy bag adding to the daily load. Knowing the starting point helps balance weight distribution once you load up.

Tips for accurate measurements

When you’re measuring a purse, precision is key. To ensure you’re getting the most accurate measurements, always use a flat surface. Lay your purse down on a table or hard floor to avoid inconsistencies that soft surfaces might cause.

It’s best to use a flexible measuring tape for the contours and soft edges. Unlike a ruler or a yardstick, a measuring tape can curve around the purse’s shape and give you a precise reading.

Zero in on the starting point. Place the end of the tape at one edge and ensure it’s exactly at the point you want to start measuring from. Any offset can skew your measurements.

Don’t forget about the context. If you’re measuring for a specific reason, like fitting your purse into a storage space or comparing to bag sizes for travel restrictions, remember to measure accordingly. Consider the outermost points including latches, buttons, and bulges that may affect how the purse fits into the desired space.

Here are some additional pointers for accuracy:

  • Flatten bulging pockets before measuring.
  • Measure strap length including the hardware, unless it’s detachable and you plan to replace it.
  • When measuring width, don’t pull the sides of the purse apart. Let it sit naturally.
  • If you’re selling purses, consistency is vital. Stick to one measuring method and keep it throughout all your listings.

Lastly, remember to write down your measurements as you go. Relying on memory can lead to mistakes. Keep a notepad handy or use your smartphone to note down the numbers.

Ensuring accuracy when measuring your purse will save you time and trouble later on, whether you’re planning to sell, store, or simply organize your accessories. Always double-check your measurements and take the task seriously—after all, in fashion, details make all the difference.


You’ve got all the tools you need to measure your purse with accuracy now. Remember, taking your time and doing it right pays off, whether you’re fitting it into a snug spot or listing it for sale. Just imagine how smoothly things will go when you know your purse’s dimensions like the back of your hand! So grab that flexible tape measure, ensure you’re starting at the right point, and jot down those numbers. You’re not just measuring a purse; you’re unlocking the potential for hassle-free travel, storage, and selling. Happy measuring!

Frequently Asked Questions

How should I prepare the purse for measuring?

Ensure the purse is empty and placed on a flat surface. Flatten any bulging pockets to get accurate dimensions.

What type of measuring tape is recommended for measuring a purse?

Use a flexible measuring tape, which can easily contour to the purse’s shape for precise measurements.

Where should I start measuring from?

Begin at the zero mark of your measuring tape, ensuring it’s lined up accurately and not skewed.

Is it important to keep the purse’s sides natural when measuring width?

Yes, do not pull the sides apart; measure the purse’s width as it naturally lies.

How should I measure the strap length?

Include the hardware when measuring strap length, extending the measuring tape from one end of the strap to the other.

Does the method of measuring change if I’m a seller?

Consistency in the method of measuring is key for sellers to provide reliable information to buyers.

What should I do after measuring the purse?

Write down all the measurements to avoid forgetting them and to provide accurate information for any necessary context.

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