The Essential Handbags Every Woman Needs in Her Wardrobe

I have a few guilty pleasures that I just can’t help and collecting handbags is definitely one of them. Out of all the accessories that you can have in your wardrobe, the handbag is what I consider the most important. Handbags (depending on their size) are the most functional – they hold our wallets, phone, lipsticks, makeup, planners and heaps of other junk whilst protecting them from the elements.


The Essential Handbags Every Woman Needs

Making sure you have the right collection of handbags in your collection is also crucial when it comes to creating the polished look and making an impression on others. Let’s face it, we’re an incredibly materialistic society these days and whilst your vice may not be lavish handbags – we will always have those little things that we would like to have but not necessarily need.


Chris is always telling me that I need to differentiate between what I need versus what I want. Whether you’re a handbag enthusiast or not, I am of the belief that all women need a few essential staples in their wardrobe and if you invest in these then you will always find yourself with the perfect bag to match every outfit. Your clothes may change regularly but handbags that you purchase should be timeless and withstand seasonal trends because if they are also seasonal then it can become a very expensive affair to keep up with.


Here’s a guide to the essential categories of handbags that you’ll ever need and I’ve provided you with affordable options as well as the investment options. You definitely don’t always have to buy expensive to get quality and a lot of the times I find myself using the more affordable options because of their versatility and durability.


The Essential Handbags Every Woman Needs in Her Wardrobe

The Classic Day Bag

This is one that I generally recommend splashing out a little cash for because this is the bag you will reach for almost on a daily basis. It’s the bag that will literally go with everything you put on – even your pajamas. It’ll normally be a size that is enough to just fit an A4 notebook inside comfortably along with all your other day-to-day essentials.


If you’re a girl scout like me and like to be prepared for everything and bring my office in my bag then you may want to size up but ever so slightly. Just remember the larger that bag, the more you’ll put in it and think of your poor shoulder.


The Essential Classic Day Bags


  1. Balenciaga Metallic Edge Bag – $3,180 AUD
  2. Meli Melo Thela Medium Zipper Bag – $840 AUD
  3. Status Anxiety Wasteland Tote – $299.95 AUD


The Structured Boss Lady Bag

In other words, the workbag that shows others that you mean business. It’s the handbag that you carry into that dream job interview that impresses the interviewer with how seriously you take your appearance. First impressions last and whilst the way someone dresses is never the deciding factor, the way your present yourself will always be taken into consideration.


The Structured Boss Lady Bag

This bag should be understated and minimalistic with a degree of structure to it so that it will match your work outfits. It should comfortably carry a tablet/laptop or at the very least an A4 notepad and tablet, along with all your other essentials. It should have compartments so that you can organize your keys from your diary because organization is key.


  1. Saint Laurent Sac De Jour Medium Tote – $4,300 AUD
  2. X Nihilo Bank – $720 AUD
  3. Tome x The Daily Edited Rita Tote – $399.95 AUD


The Statement Bag

Let’s just say you find yourself wearing all black one day (or everyday) and you just want something to help your outfit go that extra mile. You want to add something that doesn’t make you feel like you’re perpetually attending a funeral and this is exactly why you need a statement bag. It can be coloured, it can be bedazzled, it can be hexagonal or it can be a mixture of everything together – it just needs to stand out.


The Statement Bag


These bags are perfect for when you’re not particularly inspired by your monochrome wardrobe and wanting to show your style without having to speak. I would generally opt for the affordable options because you won’t find yourself using these everyday but then you don’t want to buy cheap ones that scream tight arse either.


  1. Diane Von Furstenberg Soiree Shoulder Bag – $480 AUD
  2. Jimmy Choo Lockett Petite Shoulder Bag – $2,595 AUD
  3. Simon Miller Bonsai 20 Bucket Bag – $865 AUD
  4. A-Esque Home Bag S Festival Face – $700 AUD
  5. Marc Jacobs Snapshot Shoulder Bag – $380 AUD
  6. Gucci Dionysus Mini Shoulder Bag – $2,265 AUD


The Cool-Girl Backpack

The Cool-Girl BackpackBackpacks aren’t just for sending children off to school with their packed lunches and books anymore. They’re functional and great for when you know you’re going to be walking around a lot during the day and don’t want to end up with a dead shoulder from carrying a standard tote. Did I mention they’re amazing for travels too?


There’s a certain relaxed nature to backpacks that you can’t get with any other bags on the market. You’ll have your hands free and feel carefree.


  1. Mulberry Bayswater Mini Backpack – $985 AUD
  2. The Wolf Gang Mini Mochila Backpack – $299 AUD
  3. Naked Vice Carmen Backpack – $199.95 AUD
  4. Gucci GG Marmont Backpack – $2,130 AUD


The Summer Bag

Pretty self explanatory but when you have a pretty summer dress you will always want the perfect summer bag to go with it. They’re also great to have handy when you go away on tropical getaways with your partner. These don’t need to break your bank because a lot of the time, let’s be real – they’re made out of straw and who needs to pay stupid money for straw?! There are some exceptions but it really just depends on your budget!


The Essential Summer Bags


  1. Clare V Alice Tote – $290 AUD
  2. JADE Tribe Basket Small Fringe Tassel Tote – $220 AUD
  3. STAUD Moreau Macrame & Leather Bucket Bag – $450 AUD
  4. Wai Wai Betina Woven Rattan Box Bag – $859 AUD


The Go-To Clutch

The go-to Clutch


I have a love-hate relationship with clutches; on the one hand, they’re great because it just means you can’t fill your bag up with unnecessary things but then you’re also restricted to just your mobile phone, some cash and a lipstick most of the time. Your curated bag collection wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t have at least one clutch that you can pull out for day and night events. If you keep them versatile then you can also grab them when you have to duck out quickly for errands or a coffee.


  1. Alexander McQueen Croc-Effect Leather Clutch – $2,170 AUD
  2. Valentino Rockstud Pouch – $900 AUD
  3. The Wolf Gang Tejer Woven Clutch – $299 AUD
  4. Cult Gaia Ark Mini Acrylic Clutch – $370 AUD
  5. A-Esque Foldover Midi Clutch – $400 AUD


The Cross-Body Bag

Another handy one to have if you’ve got a big day of hands-on errands like going grocery shopping or browsing through the local markets. They’re great when you’re going for leisurely strolls or walking through museums. You don’t want to get them too small though or you’ll find yourself with a clutch that has a strap and won’t be able to get anything useful in there.


The Cross Body Bag Essentials


  1. Chloe Nile Bracelet Shoulder Bag – $2,710 AUD
  2. Meli Melo Santina Mini Bucket Bag – $608 AUD
  3. Mansur Gavriel Mini Bucket Bag – $885 AUD
  4. X Nihilo Sasha Bag – $515 AUD


The Catch-All Tote

The Essential Tote Bags Every Girl NeedsThis one is for the days when you literally have to bring your life in your bag. For me it’s when I have to bring my laptop, diary, notebook, camera, spare shoes and various other bits and bobs that just won’t fit into your standard bag. Enter – the catch-all tote bag. It’s not going to be the most attractive of accessories but it’ll get the job done and if you invest in the right one then you can look like a stylish nomad.


  1. The Wolf Gang Berber Tote – $349 AUD
  2. Mansur Gavriel North South Tote – $845 AUD
  3. Roksanda Elder Pebbled Leather Tote – $943 AUD
  4. Valextra Sacca Smooth Leather Tote – $2,809 AUD


Wolf Gang Tote


The Heirloom Bag

This is going to be the Patek Philppe of handbags – you never truly own it, you take care of it for the next generation. You guessed it; this will probably be the most expensive bag in your closet and one that your partner will insist you take an insurance policy out on. It’ll make his eyes pop out of their sockets but these bags do a remarkable job of keeping their value and some will even appreciate over time depending on the design!


The Investment Bags Every Girl Needs


These can go on your ‘someday’ list and you may want to start a secret bank account for and set aside some money when you decide to forgo a few lavish brunches with friends. If your partner thinks its ludicrous then just tell him that you’re going to be passing this down to your daughter as an heirloom and then she will do the same for her daughter someday.


  1. Hermes Birkin 30 – $41,000 AUD Approx.
  2. Hermes Kelly 25 – $50,000 AUD Approx.
  3. Hermes Mini Constance Bag – $38.000 Approx.
  4. Chanel Jumbo 2.55 Shoulder Bag – $7,050 AUD
  5. Chanel Caviar CC Backpack – $5,382 AUD


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Helen Chik is a Sydney based fashion, beauty, travel and lifestyle digital content creator and influencer sharing everything from unique style to her adventures around the world through her rainbow tinted lenses.