The Guide to Buying a Designer HandbagIt's the ultimate investment.

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A bag is the first place that most women start when entering the world of luxury fashion. A lust-worthy statement handbag, such as a Gucci Marmont, or a new classic like the Givenchy Antigona, will instantly elevate any outfit. The handbag is an accessory that you can have fun with and, unlike items of clothing, there’s no worry it might not fit. A luxury bag will stand the test of time and there’s no risk of it shrinking in the wash like your favourite pair of jeans did. Your handbag shouldn’t get in the way of your lifestyle, it should complement it, and so we’re here to take you through the different styles available for every occasion.

TOTE BAG

Everyone should have a tote bag. If you can only have one bag then consider a tote: open top, oversized with two handles, and made to fit everything you need for the day. An easy bag for everyday wear, a tote is both appropriate for a long day at the office and after-work drinks; pair with jeans, a T-shirt and low-top trainers or heeled pumps, depending on your style. Made for tucking under an arm, a tote is convenient to carry if you’ll be walking around, or carrying multiple items at once. We can’t talk it up enough.

HOBO BAG

Similar to the tote bag but less structured, a hobo bag is traditionally characterised by a crescent shape. More recently, designers have brought hobo bags closer to the structured shape of a large tote but crafted so the material slouches in the middle. The slouchy hobo complements a casual vibe perfectly, but it also works to offset smarter items, such as tailored trousers or a blazer paired with jeans, adding a laidback edge. Make it your go-to for shopping in a rush or relaxed days out.

CROSS-BODY BAG

If this is your first designer purchase then a cross-body is a smart option. Undeniably easy-to-wear and practical, a cross-body works from daytime to evening. Easy to access and also to keep a hold of, it’s convenient when going about your day. While a black leather option will go with everything, cross-bodies work well when brightly coloured as they’re typically quite small. Grab a cross-body in a bright red and the colour won’t overwhelm the rest of your look, or nail the ice cream colour trend and pick one up in pastel pink or blue.

CLUTCH BAG

A clutch bag is another ideal option for someone buying their first luxury handbag. You can pick up traditional black leather clutches that are perfect for daytime, or glamorous Swarovski-embellished clutches for evening, and everything in-between. There are so many available today that there’s one for every occasion, dispelling the myth that clutches are just for formal events.

BUCKET BAG

Whether you choose a mini or a larger design, a bucket bag is a key style for someone who wants to make an instant statement. If you’re looking for a casual weekend bag then choose a large bucket bag to hold all of your essentials. On the other hand, a mini bucket bag is a nice twist on the classic evening bag, as it’s relaxed yet chic.

BOX BAG

If you’re looking for something with more structure than a bucket bag then a classic box bag is the style for you. A box bag’s structured design is reminiscent of luxurious leather trunks once favoured for travelling. The bag itself dates back to the fifties, but the most iconic is the Mark Cross design held by Grace Kelly in Hitchcock’s thriller Rear Window (1954). Incredibly ladylike and elegant, a box bag can be found in a variety of colours and exotic skins, such as python and ostrich. If you favour a classic style and you’re usually attending meetings, dinner and drinks all in the same day, this might be the bag for you.

BACKPACK

Gone are the days of a backpack being an unremarkable sack you’d only take to a festival and never wear again. A backpack can be both functional and fashionable, especially if you’re leaning towards a small leather number to fit all of your day-to-day necessities. A backpack adds a youthful touch to an outfit and is also the most convenient as it is practical and another hands-free option. If that wasn’t enough, it’s the best choice for your posture.

MINI BAG

If you’re good-to-go with just your wallet, keys, and possibly a lipstick, then a mini bag could be the bag for you. It’s another great bag to pick up in a bright colour, and it packs a sartorial punch because of the adorable size and sometimes playful motif. The mini it-bag travelled quickly from the runway to social media feeds, likely due to how much more accessible a smaller designer bag is to a first-time luxury buyer. You might not be able to fit your phone in a mini (especially if you have an iPhone plus) but you’ll be too busy taking pictures of the bag for Instagram anyway.

SHOULDER BAG

A classic shoulder bag can be hard to define, but picture a bag that’s bigger than a cross-body and smaller than a tote. A shoulder bag usually features both a top handle and a strap, making it convenient to hold or wear. It is considered more luxurious than other styles, but remains both fashionable and practical for everyday use. You can style a shoulder bag for either a dinner date or a coffee trip, making it extremely versatile. If you’re looking to go a level above your favourite tote, consider investing in a shoulder bag for the day-to-day and you might never look back.

The essential three bags you should have in your wardrobe

If you can only buy three, invest in a black leather tote for everyday wear, a cross-body in a statement colour, and a versatile clutch for evenings.