We know that an outfit is never complete without a bag. They can elevate your look from basic to stunning, add a touch of sophistication, or bring your colour coordination together in seconds.

Of course, bags are not only fashionable, but they’re also functional. As well as considering how they’ll go with your ensemble, you need to consider where you’re going and what you’re doing in order to pick the perfect bag.

Here, we cover the five essential bags every woman should own.


A professional and polished handbag

A handbag was destined to be first on the list. But not just any handbag: we’re talking a structured piece that will look as good in a business setting as it does in a social one.

With many of us shifting to homeworking for the first time ever in 2020 and adopting hybrid office and remote working in 2021, chances are you might have a work laptop to carry to the office and back now. That means your trusty handbag needs to be roomy enough to accommodate this extra equipment in addition to your makeup, lunch, and anything else you bring with you to the office. In the past, it’s been a struggle to balance style and practicality, but many designers have now taken this into account.

It’s well-established that designs like structured totes, briefcase-style bags, and doctor bags are the most suitable silhouettes for professional settings – leave your slouchy totes and beach bags at home. Opting for this sleek, professional style means you’ll be able to find a bag sturdy enough for your work gear. We recommend bags in durable materials like leather or woven fabrics that’ll last a lifetime.


A practical but fun backpack

If you’re an adventurer, you’ll know that the most practical way to carry your snacks, drinks, and sunscreen is a backpack. These weight-distributing bags will limit shoulder pain and give you the freedom to move, whether you’re taking a summer walk to a picnic park or a more strenuous hike.

For those shorter, more casual trips, you can find a backpack that’s both practical and pretty. Gone are the days when the only backpacks you could get were ugly, school-style items. These days, some of the most renowned bag designers are creating fashionable backpacks in smart, boxy shapes. If your style is more laid back, there are loads of options in this space too.

If shoulder bags aren’t your thing, you could also use a smart backpack as your work bag. You can find backpacks that mimic rectangular flap-over handbags or a traditional backpack silhouette that’s structured and sleek.


A stylish clutch

Whether you love a night out on the tiles or you favour glamorous sit-down cocktails, no night out is complete without a classy clutch. Depending on the event and your outfit, you can opt for a classic envelope style, a pouch clutch, or a box bag.

The great thing about clutches is that many come with an optional strap, giving you the opportunity to play with your look. There’s something effortlessly chic about loosely holding your clutch or tucking it under your arm while you’re out and about, but you can pop it over your shoulder when you’re ready to hit the dancefloor.

To really glam your look up, you can go for a classic minaudière style. These hard-shelled, rounded box styles were inspired by the metal cigarette cases used by affluent 1930s socialite Florence Gould. These gorgeous pieces are usually embellished with beads or crystals for a look that’s dripping in opulence and style.


An everyday casual shoulder bag

For a day at the beach or a shopping trip, a casual tote or beach bag is ideal. You can mix up the size of your bag depending on how much you carry around with you (no judgment if your handbag is always stuffed like ours!).

We favour a slouchier silhouette for these kinds of days because there’s no use wasting your gorgeous designer trapeze bag on a trip that might damage it. Bucket bags and droopy totes are the best for days out – and look for waterproof or wicker designs if you’re heading to the beach.

Choosing a bag that has plenty of room means it’s also perfect for those impromptu situations, like last-minute food or drinks with friends, an urgent petrol stop, or an unexpected trip to the doctors.


A roomy travel bag

Many of us will be taking staycation this year instead of our usual week on a beach in a sunnier climate. If you’re heading off on a short weekend break, we recommend a durable overnight bag instead of a bulky suitcase to fit your outfits and toiletries into.

Whether you travel by car, bus, or train to your holiday destination, these bags can make a style statement. Compact enough that you don’t need to store them in luggage holders or your boot, but large enough to fit your staycation essentials, they’re the perfect choice.

If you find yourself needing something a bit bigger than a shoulder weekend bag, you can get hybrid cabin bags that can be carried or wheeled like a suitcase if they get a bit too heavy!


There’s no doubt that bags are essential for every woman, both for style and practicality. There’s a bag for all occasions, whether you’re in a professional setting, on a night out, or on a day trip. If you’re starting to build out your collection, this is the perfect place to start. By investing in quality items and rotating them based on your activity and outfit, you can be sure your pieces will be practical and long-lasting.