Our need for new handbags has been dubbed Sienna Miller syndrome
For most women the handbag is more of a lifestyle necessity than a fashion accessory.
And it seems having only one - or even two, three or four - just won't do.
Indeed, researchers have found that the average 30-year-old owns 21 handbags and buys a new one every three months. That adds up to 111 over the course of a lifetime - with a total outlay of more than £8,000.
Five per cent of those surveyed even admitted to owning more than 100 at present. The average spend on each handbag is £76, but, of course, prices go far higher than that.
Celebrities such as Sienna Miller and Lindsay Lohan sporting glitzy arm accessories have helped to popularise expensive designer brands, say the researchers, who asked 1,500 shoppers about their handbags.
It emerged that women typically use three on a regular basis, changing to suit the occasion, outfit or even their mood. The remaining bags are stored in an easily reachable place "just in case".
Many handbags are passed down through generations, the survey found, with one in eight women owning one more than 50 years old. One in three of those questioned had guilty consciences about their excessive handbag-buying habits.
When asked what was the most they had ever spent on one, the aver-for women in their 20s was £185, while for 30-somethings it was a purse-popping £380, with designer labels Mulberry and Chloe being most popular.
When asked why women hoard so many handbags, nearly seven in ten said it's because "you never know what they'll go with". One in five said they are so fond of their handbags that sentimental value stops them throwing old ones away.
Angela Poplett is a personal shopper at Lakeside shopping centre in Essex, which carried out the survey. She said: "Handbags can change your whole look and transform a plain outfit into one that's set to impress.
"Often women buy a new handbag to suit a certain outfit and don't want to throw it away after just one use so keep hold of it to use again one day.
"It's clear from the results of this research that British women have some sort of handbag obsession.
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Nicole Richie and Lindsay Lohan are also known for their love of handbags
"Maggie Thatcher started the trend with her love for handbags and today's celebrities such as Sienna Miller, Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie have followed in her footsteps - so much so that I like to call this handbag obsession 'Sienna Miller Syndrome'."
The researchers also asked about the contents of handbags. As well as the usual items such as mobile phones, makeup and house keys, they were found to contain plasters, paracetamol, vitamins and even mini first-aid kits. Other items included dental floss, a spare stocking and insect repellent. As much as women love their handbags, it seems that many just can't keep hold of them with 53 per cent of those questioned admitting to losing their prized bag one or more times.
Sienna Miller syndrome: Why a woman owns 111 handbags in her lifetime | the Daily Mail