The Fashion Memo

The Best Bags To Buy Now And Carry All Season

From refined top-handle totes and tactile woven designs to slouchy boho styles and beautiful burgundy shades – make a sartorial statement with this season’s most-wanted bags

Photography Janneke van der HagenWords Grace Cook
Fashion
‘Sardine’ shoulder bag, Bottega Veneta

Chain straps

Furnishing an outfit with a hint of sparkle doesn’t have to come in the form of body adornment. This season’s chain bags will lend bijou glamour to everyday outfits and can negate the need for further accessorizing (which is ideal for mornings when you’re pushed for time). Bottega Veneta’s signature intrecciato leather gets a modernist update this season: its ‘Sardine’ tote features a sculptural top handle in the shape of its namesake – and looks and feels like an artwork in its own right. Meanwhile, Tom Ford’s glossy black croc-effect ‘Nobile’ bag is an understated choice for after-dark; Valentino Garavani’s ‘Vlogo’ features a chunky curb chain that riffs on a ’90s-era choker; and Loewe’s ‘Flamenco’ bag, in a rich beige hue, is a timeless choice, with a second chain strap that drapes like a necklace when not in use – ideal for spring, styled with a lightweight knit and trench coat.

Deep burgundy

Merlot and burgundy shades are the perfect choice for something that steps you out of the black-bag comfort zone, while not being too much of an eveningwear look for your morning commute. The rich jewel-toned bags at Jil Sander and Savette make a case for casual, colorful accessories and are perfect paired with navy tailoring and chocolate-brown shades, but are equally divine with a black midi dress and heels after dark. Gucci’s glossy burgundy shoulder bag, replete with horsebit buckle detail, becomes an everyday must-wear thanks to its signature red-and-green webbing strap. Wear it cross-body and pair it with sneakers, a crisp white tee and jeans for off-duty chic. Meanwhile, Hunting Season’s boxy miniature tote is perfect for parties – smart, sharp and sleek, it’s neat enough to store just the essentials, while the detachable strap is ideal for evenings spent on the dance floor.

Woven textures

Spring/summer is the season of tactility – and this applies to SS24’s accessories, too. From Saint Laurent’s woven basket bag (perfect for packing on vacation) to Isabel Marant’s chic embroidered woven raffia tote (a cool choice for beach-to-brunch days), and Khaite’s sculptural shoulder bag that blends a beachy, artisanal mood with a city-ready sensibility, there’s no shortage of textured silhouettes for every occasion. Looking to channel the insouciance of far-flung travel into your working wardrobe? Look no further than Chloé’s signature ‘Penelope’ bag, which comes updated in a summery raffia this season. Pair it with crisp tailoring by day and billowy cotton dresses come the weekend.

Soft and slouchy

This spring’s most coveted totes are super-slouchy, with a carefree, bohemian air. Like everything Jonathan Anderson creates at Loewe, the ‘Squeeze’ bag has all the trappings of a cult silhouette, with its uniquely gathered construction, super-soft leather in a striking shade of green and signature playful details. Meanwhile, Toteme’s supersized bucket bag is spacious enough to store the day’s essentials, and understated enough to wear with everything; Isabel Marant’s ‘Oskan’ bag, with its studded embellishment, taps into the season’s mood for all things Western; and Khaite’s ‘Frida’ tote is beautifully refined, in a buttery suede that feels elegant enough for evenings and cool enough to pair with jeans or cut-off shorts.

‘Squeeze’ tote, Loewe

Top-handle

A structured bag will perfectly offset SS24’s relaxed silhouettes, bringing juxtaposition to aesthetically balance even the most languid pant silhouettes. Enter the top-handle bag. This elegant silhouette draws reference from the ’50s – but, this season, is enhanced by contemporary proportions that transform it into a modern must-have. Jacquemus’s signature ‘Le Chiquito’ bag remains a cult favorite – and, in a deep-green croc leather, will feel just as appealing come fall. Meanwhile, Versace’s baby-blue bag will feel cool against monochromatic looks; Valentino Garavani’s ‘Vsling’ is the perfect boardroom-to-bar accessory; and Gucci’s laser-cut leather style is the ultimate vacation buy – perfect paired with flowing maxi dresses for alfresco afternoon occasions.

‘T-Knot’ pouch, Loewe

Everyday clutches

Neat and minimalist, a classically understated clutch will never go out of style. These wear-with-anything silhouettes are a go-to when bolder outfits or prints demand a pared-down accessory, but seamlessly come into their own when worn with simple separates that lean into the fuss-free mood. Loewe’s exquisitely soft zip-top silhouette features a handy wrist strap and is the perfect accompaniment to tailoring worn with sneakers, while Lemaire’s is large enough to fit a laptop – making it the ultimate boardroom ally. Meanwhile, Toteme and Ferragamo both offer sculptural versions in squashy leathers and suedes that lend a softer edge – and are best paired with floaty midi dresses and ankle boots.

Silver

This is a style that continues to endure, for both day and evening, despite its somewhat statement finish. Perfectly chiming with the rise of silver jewelry, mirror-shine metallic handbags add a fashion-forward feel to off-duty looks – and are a no-brainer for after-hours. Nineties-era styles with curved silhouettes strike the right note for dawn as well as dusk – miniature carry-handle bags from Valentino Garavani, Ferragamo and Coperni are a dream pairing with stone-washed denims; while Dolce&Gabbana’s embossed clutch is practical enough for day, thanks to its cross-body strap, but slick enough to wear with your favorite LBD, too.

How to take care of your bags

Ensure your bags last longer with expert advice from repair-and-alterations service The Seam:

1) Store handbags to maintain their shape and protect the fabric

When they’re not in use, leather handbags should be stored away from any light source to protect the pigmentation and finish of the leather. You can achieve this by storing it in a dust-bag when it isn’t in your regular wardrobe rotation.

It’s important not to store handbags hanging by their handles, as this can distort the handle’s integrity over time. Structured handbags should be stored empty – even ones you wear frequently – to give them the opportunity to air out. Less structured bags can be stored with crumpled paper inside to help maintain their shape and avoid creases.

2) Use maintenance products with caution

Leather cleaners and moisturizers can be an effective way to renew handbags at home and preserve them over time. That said, it’s important to ensure that the product you’re using is suitable for the treatment, pigment and finish of any given bag.

You should never use leather cleaners or moisturizers on ink or grease stains, as these products can make them worse. When in doubt, enlist an expert at The Seam. For bags that you use regularly, an annual professional clean is a good idea.

3) Don’t wait around for needed repairs

When handbags begin to show signs of wear, acting quickly on these services can reduce the cost. Some of the most common handbag services performed at The Seam include refinishing scuffed leather surfaces and repairing cracked piping.

The sooner the damage is addressed, the simpler the fix. It’s also true that scuffed leather is more prone to permanent stains, because the seal on the leather finish has been broken, so bringing it to a specialist before continuing wear is advised.

Find out how to extend the life of your clothes and accessories with our Repair & Rewear service, powered by The Seam