The perfect bag styles will complement your wardrobe, carry all your essentials and look pretty by your side. You definitely don’t want it falling apart on you after a year of use. And with all the bits I accumulate in mine (Mary Poppins, anyone?!) there’s only so many times I can switch it up.
Whether you’re splashing out on designer or heading to the high-street, buying a handbag feels like an investment. This isn’t a trend-driven fling, you’re looking at a long-term relationship. The right bag needs to tick lots of boxes. Yes, you want the heart-eyes, falling in love as soon as you see it, but it’s also got to stand the test of time.
No surprise then that I’ll reach for the same bag styles time and time again, all year round. Classic totes, rucksacks and crossbody bags are everyday essentials for wearing throughout the week. And on both sides of the size scale, you have mini top-handle bags and XL shoppers for injecting some personality to trips out, airport outfits and holiday essentials. Add in a glam going-out bag, and you have six standout handbags to see you through.
Quilted Chanel, baguettes à la Fendi, Dior saddle bags… some handbags will forever be on our dream wish list. But, honestly, you don’t need to spend a fortune to find styles you’ll use forever. If in doubt, avoid large logos for something classic and expensive-looking. Turn to block colours, from neutrals to brights, for longevity. And consider the fabric depending on how often you’ll be using it (durable leather-like fabrics are your friend for commuting).
All that said, for occasionwear dressing, from wedding guest outfits to night-out looks, don’t be afraid to make a handbag statement. This is your chance to bring your whole outfit together and the high street has some showstoppers.
Classic tote bags
From home desk to hot desk, everyone needs a classic tote bag to stuff everything into and sling over your shoulder for those days commuting to and from the office. Yes, they’ve got to be unapologetically practical and hard-wearing (I want to throw this thing around), but I want a tote to look sleek and expensive too.
I look for lightweight styles (so I can carry more inside without my shoulder aching), luxe-feeling finishes and zip compartments, so I know everything inside is extra safe and secure.
Statement shopper & straw bags
Everyone needs a sturdy shopper, and I can’t resist a colourful print or a basket bag for summer. Not only are they your perfect holiday companion (from carrying magazines at the airport to books and towels to the beach), statement shoppers are useful here too. Packing for a weekend away, the office commute, and of course daily shops, these XL bags are your answer. Some of the best places to find statement shoppers are out and about at local markets, but for a high-street fix these are my favourites.
Carefree crossbody bags
For a bag that’s completely effortless and carries all your essentials, it has to be a crossbody. I wear one every day. No rummaging around to find your phone or your keys, with a crossbody bag everything you need is right there at your fingertips.
For smarter work days, and out to after-work drinks, I love a classic leather style with a chunky strap and hardware details for one of the simple ways to update your office wardorbe. Fabric camera bag styles are perfect for a more relaxed look – layer them up over your everyday blazer or trench coat and you’re ready to go.
Colour pop bags
From pastels to neons, there’s something about a bright colour-pop bag that makes me smile. And lucky for us they come in loads of cool shapes too. There’s really no wonder they’re the influencer go-to. For scrumptiously soft and squidgy top handle bags, JW Pei have the most amazing rainbow selection. Or if you’re after something more minimalist, look to & Other Stories and COS.
Let’s face it, rucksacks won’t be winning us style points. They’re not exactly sexy or chic. But they’re a year-round failsafe and we’d be lost without them. A must-have for those hands-free days and adventuring abroad. I like mine to have lots of useful pockets and enough space for books and a laptop, with strong straps for extra support.
Leather-look with sleek lines, like these vegan leather styles from Matt & Nat, are a polished work option year-round. But colourful fabric rucksacks are your go-to for summer days out.
Glitzy going out bag styles
Sequins, satin, studs… and feathers! Make a statement for ultimate going-out glam. These are bags that’ll elevate an outfit, with stand-out pops of colour and textures. Whether you add a touch of metallic shimmer to a monochrome look, or go all-out with a colourful mini dress and a bright feather pouch, a going-out bag is your chance to add some personality to your wardrobe from day to night.