Don't be swayed by trends, these bags go back to the basics.
Shopping for handbags can often end in a purchase you love, but don't necessarily need (you know, like that miniature bucket bag you had to have). The next time you're out looking for accessories, go with a plan. Stock up on the essentials first, and you'll never end up empty-handed—especially since bags are one fashion item you can maintain for years. Follow this checklist, and you'll have a purse for every situation, from your work happy hour to a day at the beach.
The only 10 bags you need (SELF)
These are the only 10 bags you'll ever need to own
1. A great going-out clutch
Whether it’s a night out with the girls, a weekend wedding, or a networking happy hour, you need a smaller handbag for after-five occasions. In the case of the clutch, metallics and animal prints are considered neutrals that go with everything. If you’re looking for something more versatile, shop for a structured patent piece.
Get your own: Topshop Leopard Print Suede & Calf Hair Clutch, $60; Nordstrom.com
2. A timeless blag shoulder bag that can work with everything
We love a spacious tote, but there are some days when you need something more medium in size. Shoulder bags are the perfect way to carry everything you need from day to night. And in black, you’ve found a piece you’ll wear day in and day out, no matter the ensemble.
Get your own: Karl Lagerfeld Klassik Textured-Leather Shoulder Bag, $365; Net-a-porter.com
If you’re jetting away for the weekend, you need a durable bag that’s roomy enough for all of your belongings including shoes, toiletries, and accessories. From bold prints to embossed exotic skins, the possibilities are endless. The right piece will upgrade your travel style and meet TSA’s size standards.
Get your own: Herschel Supply Co. Novel Weekender, $80; Shopbop.com
4. A gym bag that can carry your yoga mat and sneakers
Now that athleisure is a full-fledged lifestyle, there are more than enough stylish and functional gym bags to go around. Find one that fits your personal sporty style, but that’s practical enough to hold all your essentials: a change of clothes, any equipment, a water bottle, and more.
Luxury handbags are really good investments because they can last for decades and be passed down through generations. Well-known brands also gain value over time. We all can’t have an entire walk-in closet full of Chanel, but you deserve one or two indulgent items.
Get your own: Chanel Vintage Classic 2.55 Shoulder Bag, $3500; Farfetch.com
If you’re a busy businesswoman, your laptop comes with you wherever you go. This means your everyday bag needs to be large, protective of your most prized possessions, and comfortable for your shoulders. Zippers and a padded interior are two details to look for when shopping for a work-ready tote.
Get your own: Vince Camuto Leila-Saffiano Leather Zip Tote, $198; VinceCamuto.com
You need to keep your hands free while checking things off your to-do list on the weekends. As you jet from the grocery store to the shopping mall, a crossbody bag keeps all your belongings safe and reachable with a just a shift of its zipper.
Get your own: Elizabeth and James Cynnie Nano Leather Crossbody Bag, $195; NeimanMarcus.com
8. A beach bag for days spent in the sand or poolside
It’s always summer somewhere, which means you need a bag that’s beach-perfect in your stash. An extra-large towel, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a good book are just a few of the things you’ll need to pack. Look for a bag with zipper compartments (or an attached pouch) to store wet items and a bright pattern that will match your swim wear collection.
Get your own: South Beach Denim Barrell Beach Bag, $21; Asos.com
9. A bright bag for days when all you want to wear is a t-shirt and jeans
We all have those days when we have to meet our friends for brunch, but literally can’t muster the energy to slip on anything besides a cozy sweater and a comfy pair of boyfriend jeans. Well, nothing uplifts the simplest look better than a bright bag. Always have one neon or all-white piece in your arsenal for your casual days.
10. A fun piece you're head over heels in love with
Brighten up your wardrobe with a lively handbag that makes us smile at the sight of it. Perhaps it has wacky detailing or comes in a vibrant pattern. Either way, it represents the most jovial part of your personality. This is also where you can indulge in the latest trend from backpacks to bucket bags.
Get your own: Ale by Alessandra Kia Fringe Crossbody, $193; Revolve.com