If you're tired of the mass-produced offerings you tend to find at the mall, the online handbag, purse and fashion accessory market is an exciting and exotic new world.
The variety of unique handbag and purse designs keeps getting bigger, better and more innovative all the time, but as with every kind of fashion accessory, interesting trends emerge with every new season.
Here is a brief rundown of what's coming in unique purses and handbags in 2006.
Cloth Purses Cloth purses are very casual fashion items, so colorful fabrics and whimsical patterns are the strongest trend.
If you love bold colors and striking contrasts you'll have a great time shopping for cloth purses this season.
A cloth purse is mostly a spring/summer fashion accessory, so expect to see warm colors, and light breezy cotton or nylon fabrics.
Fresh, summery patterned fabrics with flowers, fruits and ladybugs are always popular.
Also very fashionable is the clever and practical reversible cloth purse.
You can literally turn the purse inside out to reveal the alternative fabric pattern, so you have two purses in one.
Monogrammed handbags Monogrammed bags and purses never really go out of style, and this season we'll see a huge range of colors, shapes sizes and styles.
A strong upcoming trend isleather sling hipster handbags with elegantly embossed initials or a name.
Soft leather is a beautiful fabric for handbags because it's durable, always very stylish, and it goes with everything.
Sling handbags are very comfortable to carry, and perfect either for business or as a casual accessory.
Monogrammed tote bags Tote bags are the most casual fashion accessory of all, and perfect for the beach, for picnics, or for a little shopping.
Monogrammed tote bags are also great for kids to carry their school books or gym clothes, and having their initials or name printed on the bag means they won't lose it.
Soft cotton canvas is the classic fabric for tote bags, and we'll see an abundance of canvas tote bags this season.
The big trend for monogrammed tote bags will be big initials, printed across the whole side panel of the bag in big, bold colors.
A single first initial of your first name as a monogram has a casual, whimsical kind of feel.
Dog purses Everyone loves dogs, which is why the fashion for handbags, tote bags and purses decorated with a full panel photo of a gorgeous dachshund, poodle, beagle, yorkie or dalmatian just keeps getting stronger and stronger every year.
Dog purses are a great gift idea for anyone whose best friend is their beloved hound.
Custom-made dog purses are also becoming more and more popular.
You can have your own photograph of your dog printed onto a handbag, so your bag, like your dog, will be truly one of a kind.
Photo purses Photo purses are simply ultra-cool, and the most individual and personal of fashion statements.
You can have your own photo of anything you like printed onto a purse or handbag, like a special person in your life, your cat, dog or bird, or even your car.
A very trendy idea is to use a romantic old photograph of a relative as a model for your photo purse, so you can cherish their memory wherever you go.
Initial purses Initial purses are a fashion accessory with a personal touch, and they make wonderful gifts.
You can have just about any kind of purse printed, embroidered or embossed with a single initial or set of two or three initials in a wide variety of styles.
As for handbags, leather will be a big trend in the upcoming season for purses.
We'll see lots of small leather purses with a comfortable sling shoulder strap, elegantly embossed with two or three initials.
Cigar box purses Cigar box purses are another strong trend for the coming year.
They're literally made from a wooden cigar box, fitted with a clasp and a handle, and embossed with an artistic or photographic image.
The most fashionable cigar box purses are decorated with advertising images from the glamorous 1920's and 30's.
European advertising artwork from that period has a particularly elegant and alluring style, so we'll be seeing a lot of Cinzano, Cognac and French Perfume labels on cigar box purses.
Hobo purses Hobo purses can be cool and casual for shopping, or groovy and glamorous to go with evening wear.
Casual style hobo purses come in suede or leather, and soft colors like pastel pinks, beige, cream and white are very much in vogue.
A new look for hobo purses which is on the way in is a small purse in a gold or silver mesh fabric, or even ultra-glamorous sequins and rhinestones.
These purses are a new take on the traditional evening purse, and make an eye-catching alternative.
Clutch handbags Clutch purses and handbags have an elegant, streamlined look, but they're the perfect size to carry all those little necessities.
The big look for clutch purses and clutch handbags in the coming year will be all glamour.
Shiny metallic gold, silver, bronze and platinum shades will be the strong colors of the season, in soft suede leather.