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7 Handbag Essentials You Should Never Be Without

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Phone. Wallet. Keys. The three items collegiettes never leave home without (hopefully). While the benefits of these three essentials are pretty self-explanatory, there are a few other key items (pun intended) every girl should have in her go-to handbag. Even the most prepared collegiette can suffer an unexpected mishap, but with a little preparation, you’ll be able to handle whatever comes your way! Why’s your handbag so big? It’s full of secrets!


1. Portable cell phone charger

It’s a known fact that collegiettes are attached to their phones, and it’s important to always have plenty of battery for uploading Instagrams and Snapchatting the weird people on your commute. For the girl who’s constantly on the move, a portable charger with at least one full charge is perfect for days when you can’t make it back to your room to charge your iPhone… ideal for staying calm, cool and connected. Never miss another Insta opportunity!

2. Tampon stash

There’s nothing worse than getting a visit from Mother Nature when you’re not expecting it (and not prepared!). To keep from having to run back to your dorm room mid-lecture, keep a tampon or two in the zippered section of all of your handbags. That way, no one has to know and you can be sure that you’re covered, no matter which bag you grab!

3. Blotting sheets

Whether you’re coming from the gym, busting a move at a party or you just have combination/oily skin, you’ll probably get a bit shiny from time to time—we all do. Blotting sheets are something collegiettes should always carry with them to absorb any excess oil or shine (or even soften any harsh blush lines). Plus, it’s so much easier than carrying around powder and a brush!

4. Gum

Fresh breath is a must, especially when you’re sharing your calculus book with that cutie in your class. To get rid of morning coffee breath, stash some gum or mints in your handbag to freshen up throughout the day. Plus, offering someone gum is a great way to break the ice!

5. Earbud headphones

Speaking of tech accessories, headphones are an absolute must. How is a collegiette supposed to concentrate on her studying without a study playlist? Or on her workout without her pump-up playlist? More importantly still, you’d be nowhere without your headphones providing you with a great excuse to zone out people you pass on the quad on mornings when you just can’t. For easy transport, opt for a pair of cute but compact earbuds that you can fold up and slip into a small pocket of your bag for those times when you just need to zone out and have a little “me” time.

6. Travel-size perfume

A girl’s got to smell good, even on the go! Stash a mini atomizer filled with your signature perfume in your bag for touch-ups or invest in a rollerball version of your favorite scent. Just dab a bit on your wrists to freshen up and you’ll feel as good as new, anytime, anywhere!

7. Extra underwear

This may seem like an odd choice, but hear us out: sometimes you just need an emergency pair of underwear! If you’re heading to class straight from the gym or you’re looking to stash a change of clothes at your boyfriend’s, you’ll probably want to pack an extra pair of undies, but it can be embarrassing, especially if they fall out of your bag (eek!). For example, we always pack a change of clothes in our carry-on bag when we travel, in case our bag gets lost, but things can definitely get a little awkward when TSA starts rifling through our undergarments…

The solution? The Cupcake Panty by Affinitas, which comes in a super-cute cupcake-shaped cardboard silhouette with no labeling to suggest that there might be a hidden pair of adorable undies inside. Genius, right? You can slip it right into your bag without worrying about what’ll happen if anyone catches a glimpse, just like you would a cutely packaged tampon. There are two available styles, and the super-comfy cotton hipster style comes in purple wine, fuchsia and butterfly print, while the flirty thong comes in dot print, zebra print and powder blue options. 

Now you can set your pretty, colorful (and dare we say it, Insta-worthy) Cupcake Panty on your desk, in your bathroom or anywhere else you like, without stressing that people will see. Think of the Affinitas Cupcake Panty as every collegiette’s little secret (weapon)!

What’s in your purses, collegiettes? Share your essentials in the comments below!

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Sophie Dodd


Sophie is currently a senior at Middlebury College in (very) rural Vermont and loves it. In addition to majoring in English and double minoring in Classics and Film, Sophie loves watching makeup tutorials, buying magazines in bulk, obsessively repainting her nails and catching up on The Vampire Diaries. Oh, and she's completely obsessed with Christmas, coffee, and her two kittens, Luna and Zuzu.
Quinn Cohane is the Product Manager at Her Campus. She develops new features for Her Campus's web properties, including HerCampus.com, HerCampusMedia.com, HerConference.com, and CollegeFashionWeek.com, from initial conception to final installation. She collaborates with the Client Services team to implement custom landing pages, content hubs and sponsored content for client campaigns. Quinn also works closely with the Chapter Development team, training new team members on using Her Campus's content management system and leading the onboarding of new Campus Correspondents, national writers and bloggers, and national interns. Additionally, she oversees technical support for Her Campus and the uploading of national content. Quinn first joined the Her Campus team as a remote intern in February 2010; her past roles include Production Associate, Digital Media Manager, Chapter Advisor, and Study Abroad blogger during her semester in Copenhagen, Denmark. She graduated Cum Laude from Bowdoin College in 2013 as an English major and computer science minor. A native of Scarsdale, New York, Quinn enjoys attending theater and dance performances, traveling the world, reading, the beach, and apple crumb pie. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @quinncohane.