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designer bag

Choosing the right bag for the occasion

By Melanie Kruger on 17th March 2021

If there’s one thing we know for sure about life, it’s that you can never have too many handbags. With so many different varieties and colours to choose from and a brand new ‘it’ designer must-have emerging seemingly every season, it’s more than possible to have one for every type of occasion, adding the icing on the cake to any glamorous outfit and a stamp of your own personality, too.

One thing we usually forget to consider when choosing a handbag, however, is practicality – and often, that beaded clutch just won’t cut it when you have a million and one things to carry for a long-haul flight (first class, of course). For most of us, style over comfort is the mantra we live by – but what if, with a few careful considerations, you could have both?

To help you make the right choice on your next designer shopping spree, we’ve broken down the best bags for every occasion, all of which are guaranteed to elevate your outfit and provide all the practicality you need, too.

The cross-body bag

cross-body bag

Smart, stylish and functional, the cross-body bag is essential for busy days and an essential for travelling, whether you’re rushing around a new city, going hiking through the valleys, or strolling along golden sand beaches. These stylish and sophisticated bags come in a variety of different styles, and not only look good, but keep your hands free for other things, too. While backpacks and shoulder bags may serve a similar purpose, the former is the fastest way to ruin any carefully selected outfit, while the latter may leave you vulnerable to pick-pocketers and can become heavy and uncomfortable to carry.

Often, cross-body bags will come with a variety of pockets for added functionality and safety rolled into one. Featuring mobile phone compartments, zip-pockets for valuables and a slot or two for your passport and other documents of note, if you’re heading off on your travels then it doesn’t get much better than this. Check out these crossbody bags for a bit of inspiration.

The clutch

clutch bag

While the clutch bag might not be the most practical choice for a weekend getaway, it certainly has its place in our wardrobes, and is the perfect choice for a glamorous red carpet event or an evening out with friends. Subtle, chic and sophisticated, a simple, plain-coloured clutch will carry the limited essentials you’ll need for the night – including your phone, lipstick and credit card – without over-shadowing your outfit or adding the kind of unwanted bulk that can quickly ruin your silhouette.

Of course, that’s not to say that the right clutch can’t make a statement. Add some fringing, gold studs or other embellishments and you have the perfect partner for a more pared down look. If you’ve ever wondered how to add some interest to that classic LBD then this is it, and paired with some simple jewellery and some great shoes, will have you feeling like a million dollars.

The straw tote

straw tote bag

Although there is little competition for the crossbody bag when it comes to travelling, a day on the beach calls for something a little different, and a straw or rattan tote is just the ticket. Casual yet chic, the classic straw bag oozes summer vibes and pared down sophistication and looks as perfect paired with a bikini and kaftan as it does with designer denim shorts.

Roomy enough to hold those beach essentials – think a book, magazine, sun-cream and earphones – it’s perfect for carrying those bulkier items. Granted, they rarely have many additional pockets for valuables, but for a truly relaxing day on the beach, these are best left behind in your safe.

The duffel

duffel bag

Don’t have the time to be waiting around at baggage reclaims after your first class flight? Taking a carry-on only might seem like a tall order, but you’d be surprised what you can fit into a duffel bag. With some of the biggest name designers already on top of these in-flight essentials, there are some super-stylish options to choose from that will fit just about everything but the kitchen sink – ticking all the right boxes when it comes to both style and comfort.

From clothing to toiletries, the humble duffel will have you covered – but be sure to invest in some zip-up packing compression bags to save space and keep your designer garments safe from harm.