A change in the seasons always prompts a big wardrobe switchover. But while it might have seemed obvious to pack away the winter coats and swap the boots for sandals at the start of the season, it’s easy to forget to pay attention to one particularly transformative accessory; your handbag.
Should I use a different handbag in the summer?
The black leather style that you loved all winter now reads as, well, wintery. It’s time to switch things up, and investing in a few classic summer bag styles can transform any outfit – even jeans and a white tee – into something that instantly looks ready for the season ahead.
Which handbags are on-trend for summer 2023?
For summer 2023, the high street is full of exciting options; new takes on basket bags, timeless neutrals and fun pastel colours. Best of all, though, is that while all the new shapes and fabrications feel new, they are also perennials – pieces that you will love in your wardrobe for summers to come. Here’s the best bags for summer 2023.
1. The crescent moon bag
The ’90s’ favourite shoulder bag style is back in a big way. The sleekest incarnations now, though, feature a half or crescent moon shape bag on a shorter shoulder strap. Perched on your shoulder, carried in your hand, or slung across your body, this is one bag silhouette that truly does work for day and night outfit scenarios and looks even better when teamed with the barely-there strappy sandals, which have also made a comeback from the era.
2. The satin pouch
Say hello to your ideal summer wedding guest bag. Inspired by Japanese-style silk purses, there are several new takes on the knotted pouch that you could try this season. Typically found in jewel and pastel colour satins, these make for a perfect alternative to the classic evening boxy clutch bag and modernise any occasionwear look.
They are also, typically, just the right size to carry your essentials. Hai (we love the Whistles X Hai collab) and Ganni offer two of the best affordable designer iterations. For anyone on a tighter budget, see Daisy Street, Never Fully Dressed and ASOS’ offerings.
3. The mini basket bag
The giant straw basket bag has dominated for several summers now and the chances are that you already have a beach-ready trophy version in your wardrobe. But now wicker has a new guise and a new city-ready purpose. The mini basket bag is a more rigid style, with a top handle or crossbody strap making it ideal to carry during summer in town.
Ted Baker’s little case style with a floral top would look great worn with a white Broderie Anglaise dress and tan flat sandals, while H&M’s mini basket should be packed in your case for evenings out on holiday. Pull & Bear and Mango’s larger options are great for brunch, BBQs and date nights, but they may take up a tiny bit too much real estate in your suitcase to take them on holiday.
4. The off-white bag
Swapping out your black leather bag for a lighter option is an instant, easy summer styling hack. This year, the off-white bag is queen of the neutrals, and looks particularly good when paired with similar colours in a fully tonal look (try ecru jeans and a classic white tee). For those who love colour, don’t be afraid to pair your white bag with pastel heels for a fresh, modern look.
5. The pastel purse
So many of summer’s best printed dresses are just calling out for a great bag to pair up with. Use a pastel coloured bag to pick out and match up with a hue elsewhere in your outfit. Danish label HVISK has dozens of tones available in its collection this season, including bags in lilac and baby blue. Charles and Keith uses washes of light colour on some really statement bag shapes. If you want a pastel duotone vibe and have a little more stretch in your budget, look to JW Anderson.
If you’re going all soft with your colour, think about how you might give your outfit a tougher edge; raw denim jeans, or clompy sandals could offset the prettiness if going super-sweet isn’t your vibe.
6. The tote bag
Your summer carry-all needs to be versatile – suitable to lug down to the beach, into town, and even to use as an airport hand-luggage bag if circumstances need it. Enter: the humble tote bag. Effortlessly stylish and practical, everyone should own at least one.
These roomy totes in unmissable stripes, chic leather and colour block combinations can be taken anywhere and can even collapse flat if you need to get them into your suitcase. They’ll have plenty of room to fill it with books, beach towels and ice cold drinks, too, and are ideal when you need extra room post-holiday and a packed suitcase.