The Fashion Memo

The Best Bags To Buy Now And Carry All Season

Clockwise from top left: Bottega Veneta; Jacquemus; Alaïa

Decode this season’s bag trends with our guide to FW23’s key styles and shapes – from red-hot must-haves and slouchy totes to statement silver and soft-touch shearling designs. By CHLOE STREET

Photography Bruce AndersonFashion editor Connie Parkinson

A new bag is one of the most considered purchases of any season. After all, a covetable piece of arm candy will not only safely house your everyday essentials, but also set the mood for your outfits. A hot-red shoulder bag will bring a shot of interest to a charcoal wool suit, for instance, but pair the same suit with a slouchy tote and sneakers, and you’ve nailed cool-girl office dressing. Thankfully, there’s a style for every mood this season, from understated ’90s shoulder bags to cuddly shearling creations and high-shine silver. Read on for the best to buy right now…

Red hot

Red is officially the trending color of the season, but if a top-to-toe tomato-red look feels a tad too bold, a red-hot handbag is a great way to road-test the statement hue. The shiny red shoulder bags on offer at Tom Ford and Jacquemus will bring an unexpected ’90s edge to a simple jeans-white-tee-and-blazer look, but also pair perfectly with an LBD and heels after dark – opt for matching red stilettos if you’re feeling brave. Meanwhile, Stella McCartney has reimagined her signature ‘Falabella’ bag in a bright-red faux fur – wear it cross-body over a camel-hued trench, or carry it as a playful clutch to a chic evening event or cool party.



It’s that time of year when we pull our shearling jackets and fleece-lined boots out of storage; this season, however, the options to embrace tactility are extended, as designers have taken things one step further with arm candy that’s guaranteed to leave you feeling warm and fuzzy. Jacquemus fans will already be familiar with its signature bag, ‘Le Bambimou’, and for FW23, the French brand introduces ‘Le Bambidou Doux’ – a tactile take on the silhouette, complete with padded construction and faux-shearling trims. Other brands have also created cuddly iterations of their signature silhouettes – Loewe’s ‘Puffer Goya’, Saint Laurent’s ‘Jamie’ chain-strap shoulder bag, and Chloé’s ‘Marcie’ bucket style are now more fluffy and fun than ever.

’90s shoulder bags

The influence of ’90s nostalgia on our wardrobes continues apace, with the era’s single-strap shoulder bag a sure-fire wardrobe win for FW23. The simplicity of Italian brand Savette’s ‘Tondo’ shoulder bag is such that it can be passed down through generations; much like Ferragamo’s sleek white shoulder bag, which would add a crisp, modern edge to charcoal suiting in winter. Balenciaga’s ‘Superbusy’ bag, meanwhile, feels bang on-trend – and with lots of handy zipper compartments for when you’re on the go, it is certainly aptly named.


Just as silver jewelry is having a moment, so too are silver accessories, with metallic bags proving to be the statement look du jour. While metallics are definitely after-dark-appropriate, the street-style set proved that silver is in fact a neutral that looks doubly cool dressed down with daywear. Pair Isabel Marant’s ‘Oskan Moon’ studded shoulder bag with a tuxedo jacket and indigo denim, or pair Gucci’s cult ‘Horsebit’ style with everything from silky slip skirts to power florals.

Slouchy totes

Ludicrously capacious bags have been steadily gaining ground in recent seasons, and this winter’s top totes are super slouchy and minimal in design. Like everything The Row creates, its ‘Elio’ tote is the epitome of understatement, crafted in plain beige leather and printed so subtly with the brand logo that it is barely noticeable. Pair with baggy jeans, a floor-sweeping coat and oversized black shades (as co-founders Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen undoubtedly would.) For sleek shoulder-bag styles, look to Bottega Veneta, Proenza Schouler and Gucci, which all have spacious but stylish takes on the trend. Gone are the days of leaving the house with just your keys, lipgloss and phone.


Bottega Veneta