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Don’t @ me when I say this, but summer bags are kind of a nuisance. During the summer, all you want to do is bask in the sunlight, frolic around the park and find excuses to go to the beach—at least, that’s all I want to do. And all these genuinely active activities are hampered by the addition of a handbag, clutch or even a crossbody. (No matter how many times I adjust the strap on my go-to crossbody bag, it seems to thump, thump, thump against my leg with every step I take. This is a cry for help.)
I’m of the mind that life would be better if all our belongings could fit neatly in our pockets, thus maximizing our mobility as we do our summer basking in the sunlight, frolicking around the park, and so on. But reader, that isn’t what reality looks like. On my best, most pared-down day, I still need my go-to crossbody—and on my worst, I need a full-on backpack. Summer bags are a necessary evil (really, bags during any season are a necessary evil, but nuisances feel far more inconvenient when it’s humid AF outside). And if something’s going to be vaguely annoying, it better be cute.
Thankfully, this summer’s bag selection fits the bill. There are tons of summer bags on offer right now—most of them so adorable I don’t even mind the idea of carrying them around all day. Seriously, I hate clutches and everything they stand for (if you expect me to hold anything but a drink or phone in my hand for hours on end, you’re legitimately deranged), but I encountered a summer 2019 clutch or two I actually feel tempted to purchase and carry. (That’s excessively high praise coming from me, an excessively curmudgeonly bag shopper; in other words, it’s a BFD.) And that’s just the clutches. There are countless bucket bags, totes and crossbodies that have me just as enticed.
Bags aren’t my thing, but this summer’s bags definitely are. The selection is so incredibly vast that everyone from the handbag-obsessed to the handbag-reluctant can (clearly) find something they’re looking for—or, in my case, something they weren’t looking for at all.
The cow spot trend continues to endure.
A classic crossbody in an anything-but-basic palette.
A decidedly fresh take on beaded bags.
Mini-backpacks are equal parts cute and convenient—what’s not to love?
When the options are this fun, who could ever have straw bag fatigue?
You might not be able to turn yourself into a mermaid, but at least you can feel like one.
Fodder for your next Instagram.
I’m typically a little wary of belt bags, but this one is too cute to pass up.
Here for iridescent anything.
A more office-facing take on cow spots.
The kind of tote a superhero would carry.
Not sure how much you could fit in this mosaic crossbody, but it’s so cute it kind of doesn’t matter.
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: If buying every beaded bag in sight is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
Chartreuse is an endlessly underrated color, and this teeny-tiny bag just wants to rectify that.
A classic with just enough contemporary detail to feel fresh.
All kinds of fun—and big enough to hold all your shit.
Not your average summer crossbody.
A handbag that feels vaguely aughts-y—emphasis on vaguely. (When it comes to the early 2000s, vague allusions are definitely better than outright ones.)
Umm. I mean. Need I really justify the inclusion of THIS ADORABLE BAG?!
An anything-but-basic animal print to round out your summer collection.
Mesmerizing and mermaid-y all at once.
Because one can never have too many summer crossbodies, right? (RIGHT?!)
OK, you could def fit your groceries in that.
A handbag so cute it basically warrants display.
I mean, doesn’t everyone need a go-to beach bag?
Not quite an animal print. Not quite anything else, either.
A bucket bag worth taking everywhere this summer.
A tote sure to play well with your favorite bohemian pieces.
A clutch sure to complement any look you pair it with.
The cutest damn lunchbox I’ve ever laid eyes on.
A bag that nods to 2018’s Western obsession without taking it too literally.
Basically an optical illusion in handbag form.
A bag so fuzzy you might catch yourself carressing it.
A belt bag that actually skews…chic?
I mean. It’s just. So cute.
Could probably only hold, like, three of your lipsticks. But it’s cute.
A different kind of animal print bag.
I’m typically clutch-averse, but this little beauty is too damn delightful to pass up.
A bag that compartmentalizes your shit for you.
A decidedly unique take on the bucket bag.
Because tortoiseshell transcends seasonality.
Don’t think this one fully shuts, but it’s sure to be a delightful cherry on top of any summer ensemble.
Because everyone needs one killer tote bag.
Simultaneously campy and chic.
A floral bag, done the three-dimensional way.
So fun you won’t care that all your stuff is basically fully exposed.
A classic (and it’ll stand up on its own!).
Just give me every crossbody on offer, please.
TINY AND DELIGHTFUL.
Everything you love about beaded bags—combined with everything you love about woven shoppers.
It’s bedazzled—what more could you possibly need to know?
Two pops of color are better than one.
Zebra stripes are endlessly underrated.
The perfect statement accessory for your next vacation.
Tassels! Beads! Hot pink straw!
All. Iridescent. Everything.
That statement buckle, though.
This year’s aughts resurrection is filling the zeitgeist with all kinds of sparkly, beaded pieces—and I’m here for all of them.
A clutch cute enough to justify its inconvenience.
It might only manage to hold your phone and wallet—but really, what more do you need?
A trendy crossbody you’ll be carrying for years to come.
I mean. An absolute classic.
Honestly I just want to buy these and display them in my room.
More of an aesthetic choice than a practical one, but hey—it’s pretty cute.
Can’t stop, won’t stop shopping! beaded! bags!
Not your average crossbody.
A raffia tote with just enough detail to keep things interesting.
The sleekest belt bag I’ve laid eyes on in a while.
A beaded bag even the minimalist in your life could appreciate.
Our mission at STYLECASTER is to bring style to the people, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale.
A version of this story was originally published in May 2019. Updated July 2019.