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The Five Key Pieces For Your Bag Collection

The Five Key Pieces For Your Bag Collection

You’ve got the budget, the passion and a tantalisingly empty shelf in your closet waiting to be filled with handbags. But when faced with the sheer variety of styles available online, it can be hard to know when to stop scrolling. Birkin or Bottega? Crossbody or carryall? Whether you’re making your first designer handbag purchase, looking to finesse your collection, or thinking about treating a loved one to their ‘starter’ bag, read our recommendations for the five key pieces needed for a showstopping accessories wardrobe.
Text by Suzannah Wilkinson

The 24/7 Tote

Make a tote the foundation of your collection: a medium-sized bag that’s roomy enough to carry your day’s essentials, and smart enough to take you from desk to dinner and beyond. This will be the hardest working bag in your closet, so it’s a style you should think about carefully before investing. You can’t go wrong with an Hermès Birkin or Kelly bag.

If you prefer a slightly more informal look, opt for a Birkin: it’s less structured and therefore more spacious, with a top that can be carried open and unclasped (all the better for fitting everything in). In contrast, the Kelly has a sharp, ladylike silhouette (particularly if you choose a Kelly Sellier over a Retourne), with a clasp that needs to be fastened. It also has the advantage of an optional shoulder strap as well as its top handle. A classic neutral colour such as Noir, Gold or Etoupe in a hardwearing leather like Togo or Epsom will ensure your tote stays timeless for years to come.

The About-Town Bag

Second on your wishlist should be a shoulder or crossbody bag: a compact style that you can wear hands-free when you’re running about town. It should be big enough to carry your phone, purse, keys and some makeup. Here’s where the house of Chanel really comes into its own. A Classic Flap or 2.55 Reissue are your shortcut to weekend chic, crafted in the brand’s iconic quilted leather with a chain strap. If you prefer an edgier vibe, the Boy Bag could be the about-town style for you: its chunky strap and CC clasp exude contemporary cool. 

For clean lines, the Hermès Constance wins out. It has a sleek and simple ‘60s silhouette that was adored by the likes of Jackie O. The Dior Saddle Bag also fits the bill: first introduced in 2000 by John Galliano, this curvaceous shoulder bag was officially relaunched in 2018 to the delight of fashionistas worldwide. Handily, the newer Saddle Bag styles are roomier than the original design, to accommodate today’s larger smartphones. And finally, if your eye is drawn to It Bags, look no further than the Bottega Veneta Cassette, which makes use of designer-of-the-moment Daniel Lee’s new Maxi weave – especially prized in its padded form. Refreshingly for such a cult hit, the Cassette is logo-free, adhering to Bottega’s ethos of ‘when your own initials are enough.

The Evening Mini

An uber-glamorous mini evening bag is the dash of frivolity every accessories collection needs. Glittering, embellished, playful or delightfully dainty, this is the bag that you could pair with a little black dress and a dab of perfume and feel instantly ready for a night out. High on our hit list is a Chanel Lego clutch – crafted from Plexiglass, it comes in a range of eye-popping shades and fun varieties.

If you’re after something more classic, the Hermès Kelly Clutch is an elegant, elongated twist on this iconic bag, while Bottega Veneta’s Knot Clutch celebrates the brand’s Intrecciato weave in a compact lozenge case, crowned with a knotted clasp. Micro interpretations of classic handbags also make for wonderful after-dark companions: look out for a Mini Dior Lady or Hermès Kelly Mini.

The Weekend Shopper

We’ve all had those moments when you realise you’re carrying multiple bags to fit all your possessions. A shopper will help you avoid that bag-lady look: a large open-topped tote that you can throw some spare shoes, your gym kit and a book into, as well as your usual essentials. Fittingly named, the Dior Book Tote is a perfect example of this practical carryall: released in 2018 to instant acclaim, its simple square shape has been interpreted in multiple fabrics and alluring patterns – durable and stylish.

We also love the Hermès Double Sens 45: a sleek leather tote with a contrasting lining, it has the added advantage of being reversible: two bags for the price of one! Unsurprisingly, Bottega Veneta has also perfected off-duty chic with the Cabat bag, a lightweight and seamless shopper crafted entirely in their luxurious Intrecciato leather weave. 

The Trophy Piece

No bag collection would be complete without a little extravagance. Beyond the bags that you use every week, make room for a style that’s truly special: your trophy piece, the crowning glory of your closet. Already found your 24/7 tote in a classic colour? Why not branch out for a Birkin in a limited-edition shade such as 5P Pink, or a Kelly in exotic crocodile or ostrich leather? Go avant-garde with a seasonal runway bag by Chanel (we’ve always had our eye on the Lait de Coco milk carton), or an artistic collaboration such as Hermès’ graphic Nigel Peake prints. Alternatively, you could set your sights on a unique vintage piece: how about hunting down an original ‘90s Chanel backpack, or a Kelly bag in Rouge H Box Calf leather? Get started by reading our guides to the most lusted-after Hermès and Chanel styles, and get dreaming (and saving)…

Inspired to begin your bag collection? Let us know what’s on your wishlist, and we’ll help you find your forever pieces.


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