Hands up who loves trading their wintery, leather handbag for something more spirited? Making that swap over signals a true change of season and goes hand in hand with welcoming slides, sunglasses and summer dresses into the forefront of our wardrobes.
But back to bags - the question being, what to swap your faithful black tote for? The good news is that summer trends are much more democratic and playful; a woven basket bag for £20 will look as chic as something that could set you back hundreds. The bad news however is where to draw the line. From girlie and beaded to circular and oversized, you could have a bag with a wildly different personality for everyday of the week.
Our money’s on five key styles – which perhaps sounds extravagant, but is the number which we think best sums up all the varieties vying for our shoulders and wallets right now. So from a woven tote for the park to an slip-handle clutch for smarter moments, don’t buy anything until you’ve browsed our edit below.
The Beaded Bag
Style Notes: Blame it on London label Shrimps, but we're into this unapologetically girlie bag trend. Just the ride side of kitsch, a beaded, top-handle bag might recall childhood dressing up - thus making it a feel good investment. It'll also add a touch of the unexpected to your outfit.
Shrimps pearl bags are a street style favourite.
Of course Zara has its own affordable spin on the style.
Check out US label Susan Alexandra for a plethora of tote styles that are wonderfully kooky and vintage-inspired.
Perfect for injecting colour alongside a white summer dress.
The String Bag
Style Notes: If it's netted, it's in. Whether that's a stringy bag for the beach or netting covering something more structured and luxe, it's the texture to tote right now.
This will make you want to take up crochet.
You can always count on Mango to be in on a trend.
This beauty also comes in black.
A canvas inner pouch and metallic outer make for a brilliant contrast.
The Slip-Handle Clutch
Style Notes: Our inner minimalists are craving this addition to our bag collection. Like a clutch but with the addition of a cut-out handle, it's as practical as it is desirable. A clean shape with straight edges creates a welcome contrast against flouncy summery dresses or, in the case of Penny Goldstone, looks just as good alongside a pared-back outfit.
Chic and smart enough for work.
Bookmark Uterque for the dreamiest, designer-looking bags.
Jade green leather never looked so good.
If you love this shape but would prefer something more autumnal, invest in this Gucci style.
The Round Bag
Style Notes: Simmering away last year, the round bag is everywhere to be seen this season. It may seem impractical, but it's actually genius for adding interest to the simplest of outfits, as Erica Davies shows. If you’re keen on a large style - and practicality - house your essentials in a small zip-top pochette to avoid everything falling to the bottom.
The bag to strike a OOO pose in.
Cult Gaia's bags just get more irresistible every summer.
Simple and classic.
We love this dyed black.
The Straw Bag
Style Notes: OK, this isn't a newsflash - but many of us can't compute a straw/basket bag for the city. Alexis Foreman delivers a masterclass in how to chic yours up for urban surrounds. Simply add a bow and keep everything else sleek and simple to stop it looking like you've lost your way from the beach.
Possesses bags of chic... for your shopping or for holidays.
The little monkey embroidery makes this a playful choice.
Those handles! That trim...