In uncertain times, a classic handbag feels like a certain choice. A bag is forever; there’s no chance it won’t fit, it’s not season-dependent, you won’t have to wash it, and it’ll go with everything you own. The only hard part is selecting the right one that covers all your needs.
First up, you’ve got the classics - the styles that exude staying power, that have outlasted trends and fads. Think the Givenchy Antigona, Balenciaga City, Loewe Puzzle… Which is not to discount the smaller, niche labels creeping up to cult status: Wandler, Elleme and Little Liffner, to name but a few. Not to mention all the different shapes and styles, but that’s where our guide comes in...
Ah, the tote. Capable of fitting pretty much your entire life into one convenient (and stylish) space, there’s nothing the tote can’t do which is why we think it’s a worthy investment. Consider your overall height and size when choosing, so you aren’t upstaged by your bag: totes can run from the larger side to the smaller, more petite-friendly side. Tried-and-tested favourites include Stella McCartney’s Falabella, Fendi’s Runaway and Saint Laurent’s Manhattan.
The top-handle bag
The structured design of a top-handle bag makes it look oh-so elegant - which is why it’s the perfect style for the workplace. And if the idea of carrying a bag entirely by hand sounds exhausting, worry not: lots of current bags feature detachable shoulder straps, too. As well as go-to brands like Cult Gaia and BOYY, we’re also championing fresh styles from the likes of GU_DE, Elleme and Eudon Choi.
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The shoulder bag
Not quite as large as a tote, but not quite as small as a cross-body, the shoulder bag hits that sweet-spot balance between size and style. Designed to be artfully slung across the shoulder, this bag comes in many forms from the slouchy to the more structured, in leather, canvas or even velvet. Our personal favourites include Saint Laurent’s cult Loulou and Niki designs, as well as contemporary classics from Staud and Jil Sander.
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The cross-body bag
Perfect for busy weekends and casual occasions, the cross-body bag has become ubiquitous due to its hands-free appeal. Generally more petite in size, it’s ideal for carrying the bare essentials: wallet, phone, keys. Now’s the time to add a playful punch of colour to your outfit with eye-catching options such as Marc Jacobs’ vibrant Snapshot bags or Jacquemus’ Insta-famous mini bags.
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A should-be essential in every woman’s wardrobe, the clutch is a fallback item for special occasions and wedding season (closely related is the wallet-on-chain, which can be either hand-held or worn with a strap for versatile styling). Opt for a neutral hue that’ll complement the majority of your event outfits; strong contenders in this category include Perrin Paris’ intricate clutches that prove the ultimate investment in your occasionwear wardrobe.
The mini bag
Are you someone that prefers to tote around the bare minimum? Then a mini bag might just be for you. From cross-body phone cases (see: Loewe, Balenciaga and Givenchy) to bags that push the boundaries of micro sizes (hello Jacquemus Le Chiquito), what they lack in size these bags make up for in attention-grabbing adorableness.
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