Fashion Tips: The 5 Handbags Every Woman Should Own

25 Mar 2013: Kimberly Akinola


Work, errands, shopping, the occasional party—no matter what you’ve got going on, these styles will have no problem keeping up and keeping you looking up-to-date. These are arguably the only handbags you need.

Clockwise From Top Left: Neon Yellow Crossbody, Tory Burch “Robinson – Mini” Crossbody Bag, Legacy Colorblock Leather Swingpack, Colorblock Perforated Leather Mini Bag, And Ted Baker London Large Quilted Crossbody Bag.


The Third Arm

As long as the cross-body bag exists, the world would be just fine. The extra-long strap keeps your arms free so you can text, haul groceries, and multi-task without feeling like your life is about to tip off the balance. Always look for a size that’s just large enough to carry a hardcover book or a 7-inch tablet.

Clockwise from top left: Leather Shopper Bag, Leather Stripe Tote, Dianne Tote, Shopper Bag, and Lauren Ralph Lauren Newbury Color-Pocket Fashion Tote.


The Double Agent
If there’s any bag that we truly depend on, it’s the tote bag. With all of that spaciousness, it is the right bag for everything and everywhere. But we like it best as the getaway bag, as in those all-too-rare weekends when you cram in a change of clothes, a good book and your toothbrush, and head out of town to relax. When buying a tote, pay close attention to the handles. Make sure they’re long enough to easily slide onto your shoulder and sturdy enough that they won’t tear off easily when the bag is stuffed full

Clockwise from top left: Daubs bag, Shopper with Braided Handles, Alexis Barrel Satchel by Ivanka Trump, Color Block Faceted Turn Lock Satchel, and Swanky-Grass Green satchel.


The Secret Keeper
A structured top-handle bag guarantees that no one can tell that you’re carrying eight months of crumpled receipts, two packets of melted gum, and half a dozen pens that don’t write, not to mention your keys and cash. A top-handle bag is neat and well put together. The handbag holds its form so well that it’s the ideal style for the office, making you feel pulled together even on days when you hit snooze too many times to iron your shirt.

Clockwise from top left: Marais Alvina Bucket Bag by Sam Edelman, Lily Drawstring Tote by T Tahari, Drawstring bag, Michael Kors Marina Drawstring Canvas Tote, Pastel Colourblock Duffle

The Throwback
It only makes sense that another late-’90s hit is experiencing a revival: the drawstring (or bucket) bag. Nearly as spacious as a tote, it’s great for women on the run. However, the top closes so you don’t have to worry about the contents spilling out as you dash from one place to another. Plus, the teardrop shape is perfect for switching up your look without changing your outfit—it lends a funky, casual tone to whatever you’re wearing. Like the tote, it’s important to check the handles, since you can (and will) cram a lot into this bag.

Clockwise from top left: Rachel Roy Impulse Small Frame Clutch, Shagreen Embossed Minaudiere, Lila clutch by Tinley Road, Monique Clutch in Coral, Mina Cage Clutch

The Arm Candy
At first glance, the clutch seems impractical—it can barely hold a set of keys—but that’s because you’re thinking of it as a carryall, not what it really is: a bauble with purpose. It’s just as eye-catching as a pair of chandelier earrings, but unlike jewelry, it discreetly holds your bare necessities. When shopping, make a fist around your cell phone and stick it in a prospective clutch. If it fits, the handbag should have just enough space for your night-out essentials.

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