For most of my life, I didn’t have too much baggage. You see, I’ve always been a shoe girl. Sure, I had the cute “designer” bag that all of my friends were carrying – the Dooney & Bourke, back in the day, or the Fendi before it was trendy. But I never really got what all of the fuss was about until I met My Bag Obsessed Friend. MBOF, as I’ll call her, bought bags with the same ease and frequency that other women buy shampoo, acquiring a new designer bag every month. And in her case, it was designer without the quotation marks. Gucci and Prada were her favorites, and she always went for classic neutrals in subtle styles with a minimum amount of flash. She was so obsessed that she even bought a Prada laptop bag before she had a laptop. We tried on bag after bag together, examining the gorgeous details and the buttery soft leather. In New York, we would hit Canal Street, where she would show me all the telltale signs of a designer knockoff. Eventually, I got it, and though I didn’t share her obsession, I definitely acquired a healthy appreciation that has lasted to this day.
Now I see a bag much the same way I see any accessory. In my day to day, it serves as a glamorous place to conceal the often not-so-glamorous contents, but on special days, it’s an essential element in an overall look. And with that in mind, it pays to have options. As I famously like to say: “If you don’t own it, you can’t wear it.” (I hope you’re taking notes! You don’t get gems like that every day.)
Here are the 8 bags every woman should own, each a guaranteed outfit-maker, categorized as splurges and steals.
Just call me the shopping enabler.
(Note: As always, product pictures are linked, and some might be affiliate links. For all of this gorgeousness, and other current accessories, in one place, check out my Accessories Catalog.)
(Shopping Info: 1) Diane Von Furstenberg “Flirty”, 2) Givenchy “Antigona” bag, 3) Givenchy “Antigona” clutch, 4) Sole Society “Cassidy” weekender, 5) Chloe “Baylee” bag, 6) Stella McCartney “Beckett” crossbody, 7) DSQUARED2 bead embroidered box clutch, and 8) Chanel 2.55)
1. The Statement Bag
At one point in my life, all of my bags, except for my everyday bag, were statement bags. Tiny, expensive conversation starters shaped like hearts or birdcages and just big enough to hold my flip phone (remember those?) and my keys. Statement bags are great for adding a pop of color, fun, and whimsy to an outfit, and have the most impact when worn with something otherwise subdued so that they can really take center stage. Acrylic bags always make a statement, so here are two of my faves.
2. The Structured Everyday Bag
Sure, your everyday style doesn’t need to be structured, but a classic frame bag like this one is so timeless and so chic and just makes you look like a lady, really. And what’s better than that?
3. The Day Clutch
A sleek style for lunches and meetings, this is best in a pretty shade to accent a neutral outfit.
4. The Weekender
This is just the thing for quick getaways or that rare, relaxing overnighter with your husband.
5. The Tote
The perfect carryall for everyday outings, this is your essential canvas standby reimagined in chic leather, faux or real.
6. The Crossbody
This fun, go-everywhere style holds everything and leaves your hands free!
7. The Evening Clutch
The most glamorous bag in your arsenal, this is the go-to for a glam night out. Start with a metallic or other neutral for maximum versatility.
8. The Iconic Designer Bag
This is the ultimate “grown-up” bag and a rite of passage. An investment, for sure, but you can wear it every day for the rest of your life and look stylish every single second. And then pass it on to your daughter. It’s that timeless.
Which of these do you already own, and which will you be shopping for next? Are some of these outside your comfort zone in terms of style or price? Let me know in the comments! And to check out my favorite bags, all in one place, shop my catalog!