Bags are so much more than just a place to hold your phone, wallet and keys or something to cart your stuff around in.
They’re one of the best ways to use fashion to express yourself, in fact. Not everyone has the time or inclination to experiment much with their clothes, but it’s a lot easier to show off your taste and personality in your accessories.
The right bag – whether it’s an unusual colour or an on-trend shape – can transform an unremarkable outfit into something completely different. It’s the ultimate cheat code for lazy dressers: if you can’t be bothered to create a full look, adding a statement accessory can immediately make you feel put-together and cutting-edge.
However, you can’t just pick up any old bag and call it a day. Luckily, there were plenty of new styles and shapes on the spring/summer catwalks to help inspire you to up your accessories game. Here’s our pick of the best bags to, well, bag now…
The most interesting new bag shape to come off the catwalks was a box silhouette. These aren’t large totes – just small, square shapes you can either hold in your hand or sling over your shoulder.
London-based cult fashion house Roksanda created a boxy bag for its SS20 collection, which immediately captivated everyone’s attention. It’s hard to get a really new trend in the world of bags – after all, it feels like everything has been done before – but this style is a true breath of fresh air.
Roksanda produced the bag in all colours of the rainbow, but our favourite has to be the white version – mainly because it looks like a couture version of a classic Chinese takeaway box, and what could be more fun than that?
ASOS Design Luxe Vanity Box Clutch in Glitter, €28.27 (was €44.24)
Miss Selfridge Alexa Tan Croc Crossbody Bag, €18.75 (was €25.00)
One of the more unexpected bag trends of the season is all about buckles, as expertly modelled at Michael Kors and Proenza Schouler. We say ‘unexpected’ because this is a style that might remind you of the handbags your grandma carries about, which perhaps isn’t what first springs to mind when you think of catwalk fashion.
For this trend, just make sure the buckle really is the statement-maker of the piece – the bigger you can get it, the better. Let’s face it: it was only a matter of time before the world of fashion realised our grandmothers are trendsetters.
Our advice? If you really want to do it like nana, keep a packet of boiled sweets in your bag for emergencies.
Dorothy Perkins Crocodile Design Buckle Detail Cross Body Bag in White, €27.20 (was €32)
ASOS DESIGN Cross Body Bag with Statement Buckle, €24.89
Fashion is all about extremes, which is why the trend for miniature bags has proved so enduring. The style isn’t particularly new anymore, but the spring/summer catwalks showed there are plenty of different ways to wear a tiny bag. Yes, that means the Jacquemus Le Chiquito bag – which spearheaded the trend – still reigns supreme.
Luckily, most of the bags you’re likely to buy on the high street aren’t the size of a bottle cap like Le Chiquito, but just big enough to fit your wallet (providing it’s a compact one!).
This season, it’s all about playing around with the miniature style. Wear it in new and interesting ways – that might be attached to your belt, worn as a wristlet, or slung across your body with a long strap. Lean into the silliness of the look too – fashion is meant to be fun, and that’s exactly what teeny-tiny bags are all about. They’re undoubtedly impractical but who really cares?
New Look Black Leather-Look Mini Pouch Bag, €19.99
M&S Leather Bum Bag, €42
Every few seasons, a key colour rules supreme. The past few years has seen an obsession with neon green and this year that’s been replaced by another bright hue: orange. And it’s the perfect way to bring some summer sun into your wardrobe, as well as injecting personality into a look.
If you’re the kind of person who lives in all-black clothes, an accent bag in highlighter-orange will help keep drabness at bay.
Choose any style you want – clutch, baguette, tote – the sky is the limit. All you have to do is make sure the colour is bright and joyful.
Oliver Bonas Georgina Duffle Crossbody Bag, €50.50
M&S Leather Purse in Orange, €35