Handbags are a girl’s best friend. We say this without a bit of cheekiness (ok, a hint), but with the advent and proliferation of fast fashion making your heavily rationalized $700 just bought outfit as pass as football-appropriate shoulder pads, the one thing we can count on is a killer handbag.
Whether paired with a basic white tee or a more dressed up tailored sheath, a quality handbag can elevate an outfit from ordinary to eye-catching never mind what quality construction and some key hardware can do for closet longevity. So when we came across this Terry Richardson shot of curvy girl Doutzen Kroes for the June issue of Vogue, we were inspired to find our own summer “bag it” buy. Check out the handy shopping guide (above) for some of our best online picks.
Related: Closet Staples – The Best Basic Tees
This handbag practically says "vacay." Free People, straw and rope tote, $48 at FreePeople.com.
With this super reasonable price, feel free to experiment with some color like this deep red hue. Ashlee tote, $49.95 at Amazon.com.
Jump on the utilitarian chic fashion trend without emptying your wallet. Plus the handy cross-body strap means your hands will be free for activities like perusing your favorite boutique. Asos cross-body, pocket detail bag, $67.64 at Asos.com.
Add a pop of color for night. Bebe suede patchwork clutch, $98 at Bebe.com.
Another clutch option with a femme twist. Felix Rey, embellished straw clutch, $103 at FarFetch.com.
Want to shop consciously without skimping on trends? This bone-colored shoulder bag offers up a relaxed take on the envelope bags we've seen on Celine runways but in vegan leather. Matt & Nat Varella 'nappa' handbag, $215 at MattandNat.com.
A classic piece doesn't need to translate to beaucoup bucks at the register. This MICHAEL by Michael Kors style is perfect for everyday and just hints at the Hermès Birkin without looking too copycat. Hamilton chain large tote, $298 at Nordstrom.com
The beauty of DVF is that her wares look more expensive than they are. The unique shape and the beautiful detailing denim metallic looped leather of this nighttime piece says "designer" without overloading on the price point. Diane Von Furstenberg Piper shoulder bag, $350 at NeimanMarcus.com
A gorgeous color in a toteable shape. We're sold. Clare Vivier messenger, $360 at ShopJumelle.com.
The simple bucket shape translates well in all sorts of environs from running errands around the city to hanging in Nantucket. Plus we love the contrast trim it adds just the classic touch to the nautical carry-all. Eric Javits Squishee Dame, $370 at EricJavits.com
Sleek but cute, just the way we like it. 3.1 Phillip Lim Adin cross-shoulder bag, $425 at LaGarconne.com
Love exotics but not so keen on the price? Beirn uses more affordable watersnake for its chic yet simple designs. Besides, the drawstring shape and military olive will go well a breezy utilitarian look for the power brunching weekend crowd. Beirn watersnake Trish shoulder bag, $495 at Vivre.com
This South Korean designer adds an edgy spin to your usual black bag from meticulous piecing to mixed leathers for textural elements. From the constantly sold out stock, we'd say the line's a hit. km rii black Giger bag, $638 at OakNYC.com
While Topshop is always great when it comes for a Kate Moss-designed piece, we prefer this Longchamp collaboration with the iconic model. Plus with a name like Glastonbury and the light blue coloring, we're all for a music festival-meets-supermodel summer style. Kate Moss for Longchamp Glastonbury bag, $780 at Longchamp.com
Jerome Dreyfuss is a favorite in fashion offices for good reason aside from the lovely leather dyes and wearable shapes, there's thoughtful details such as internal straps to hold the shape of the bag together and both short and long handles for the girl on the go. Jerome Dreyfuss Billy bag in cognac lambskin, $798 at Otteny.com
Proving good things come in small packages, this Proenza Schouler evening bag isn't your usual beaded, bedazzled thing. Not to worry, you'll still get plenty of attention from girls-in-the-know for its hothouse colors and multi-colored chain. Proenza Schouler Fish Print Mini Sac, $1,135 at KirnaZabete.com
Like your bags super soft? Designer Derek Lam's richly hued blue bag uses glove leather for a soft as butter hand feel. The gold hardware and decorative tassel adds a bit of fun to the day to night bag. Derek Lam deep blue glove leather small Blanche bucket bag, $1,550 at DerekLam.com
Sure investing in basic pieces is a smart move, but in another vein, if you're going to drop some cash, they go for something special. This Balenciaga bag showcases designer handcraft namely beautiful green and blue hues and whipstitch detailing. Balenciaga large patchwork bag, $2,179 at Brownsfashion.com
Bottega is one of those brands that's so quietly riche that it can bank on its trademark latticework pattern instead of a splashy logo. This Spring 2010 style adds grommets for a twist on the classic. Bottega Veneta woven tote, $2,350 at NeimanMarcus.com
The classic Brit brand is taking a walk on the wild side. This upcoming style isn't only an eyecatcher, but the handy shape means you can lug your day necessities with you without unsightly bulges. Mulberry Neely tote in camel haircalf leather, $2,650 at Mulberry.com
For girls who live a gilded life. Givenchy embroidered chain evening bag, $3,670 at Barneys.com