Sometimes it’s good to go loud with your wardrobe. Big birthdays, Christmas parties and nights out—they’re all a bit more fun when feathers and sequins are involved. But when it comes to handbags—an accessory you carry with you day in, day out—it’s my opinion (as a stylist of almost a decade) that the quieter and more understated, the better. Less fuss and fewer logos mean the bag will not only be more versatile, but it also won’t age, making it a much smarter long-term investment. It’s also true that a pared-back handbag that lets quality and design speak for it will always elevate your outfits and make them look more expensive.
Alexis styles her simple COS bag with an all white outfit.
You’ll be glad to hear, then, that I’ve compiled an edit below of the best minimalist handbags of all time for you to peruse, just in case you happen to be in the market for your next purchase. Some are luxury icons that have already been around for decades, proving their worth a hundred times over, and some are newer designs I can confidently say have a lot of life in them yet. There are high-end additions and there are some more affordable options too, but they all make for timeless investments it would be hard to regret.
At first sight, there might not seem to be anything particularly special or recognisable about these bags, but put any of them in front of a fashion person, and not only will we identify them a mile away, but you’ll also have us swooning instantly and waxing lyrical about their design history, handcrafted quality or known celebrity fans. Rest assured these are the styles that are perennially on our editor wish lists. They all subtly say “I’m in the know” and quite simply make all outfits look chic, without the need for any shouty logos or cult designs with a short sell-by date.
Keep scrolling, then, to see and shop the 25 low-key luxury bag heroes that make valuable wardrobe investments.
1. Tote Bags
2. Satchel Bags
3. Shoulder Bags
4. Crossbody Bags
This is the only high-street bag on this list because it's one of the few that have the quality and minimalist design credentials good enough to last. I've lost track of the times it has sold out and been restocked, so if you've been thinking about it, add it to your basket quickly to avoid disappointment.
5. Clutch Bags