Building Your Collection: The 5 Bags Every Girl Needs

Tashi Delek

Nov 16, 2010
I recently realized that I’d been accumulating too many bags of the same style/color/shape and wasn’t getting maximum use out of anything. I decided to stop buying random bags and invest in a few good pieces that would be able to carry me through every occasion. I wanted to have a diverse, versatile, and usable collection. In the end, I came up with a list of 5 essential bag types. For any of you considering purging your collection or looking for advice on how to build a collection without accumulating 20 purses you don’t use well, I hope this is helpful!

Note: The bag suggestions I made are based on personal preference and what I’m aware of out there. Feel free to add to the list or make suggestions about adjustments to this!

Building Your Collection: The 5 Bags Every Girl Needs

  • The Catch-All Tote
Every girl needs one of these carry-all totes for the beach, travel, shopping, or books. While extremely useful, they don’t have to be utilitarian! Totes often come in fun colors and patterns and because they’re so big, they’re capable of immediately sprucing up an otherwise drab outfit.
What to Look For: To get the most use out of your tote, look for one that it large enough for you to be able to throw in any and all miscellaneous items (for me, it absolutely MUST fit my laptop and still have room for at least a few books). It should also have long enough straps that you can carry it on your shoulder and hands-free while running errands.
Suggestions: Goyard St. Louis, Louis Vuitton Neverfull, Longchamp Le Pliage (long handles)

  • The Everyday Favorite
This is the bag that you automatically reach for every morning on your way out the door. Because this is something you’ll be using a lot, make sure it goes with your wardrobe and is large enough to fit all your everyday needs (cell phone, wallet, make-up bag, etc). Of all the bags in your collection, this is the one that should scream personality. It’s all about YOU and your style.
What to Look For: Look for a bag that is versatile enough to be worn with most of your closet, as well as something that is easy to use and carry. For me, this means detachable shoulder straps! Also pick something that is classy enough for nicer daytime events or casual dinners (for example, a last minute lunch downtown with friends). You’ll get the most use out of this bag if it’s day-to-evening. I actually have two bags that I consider my ‘everyday favorites’ but between the two, I have my whole wardrobe pretty much covered: one dark gray satchel with silver hardware, and one brown Boston bag with gold hardware.
Suggestions: Balenciaga City/Part-Time/Work, Louis Vuitton Speedy, Chanel GST or Jumbo Flap, Rebecca Minkoff MAB, Mulberry Alexa, Proenza Schouler PS1, Gucci Jackie

  • The “Instant Dresser-Upper”
This bag is your go-to for nights out on the town, receptions, nice dinners, and special events. Whether it’s a clutch or small purse, these bags are capable of instantly dressing up any outfit.
What to Look For: You want something relatively small since all you need to be able to fit in here are your phone, a small wallet, keys, and lipstick. Depending on your style, your purse can be leather, exotic, rhinestone-covered, studded or patent. I’ve never been much of a clutch person (prefer cross-body and shoulder purses) but for those of you that don’t mind not having handles/straps, clutches look lovely and chic.
Suggestions: Rebecca Minkoff MAC, Chanel M/L or Small Flap, Judith Lieber Clutch, Lauren Merkin Clutch, Fendi Baguette

  • The Office Bag
Every girl needs one bag that’s office appropriate: not too flashy or conspicuous but elegant, refined, and understated (if you work in the fashion industry, disregard!).
What to Look For: You want a bag with clean lines and at least a little bit of structure. Avoid conspicuous logos, monograms, tassels, flashy hardware, patterns, and distracting colors.
Suggestions: YSL Muse, Bottega Veneta Campana, Mulberry Bayswater

  • The Slouchy Bag
This is the bag you reach for on lazy, comfy, casual days. It’s buttery soft and slings right over your shoulder making it the perfect companion for a quick trip out to the grocery store.
What to Look For: A hobo with a wide opening (so it’s easier to use) and roomy strap that sits comfortable on your shoulder. The softer the leather, the better the bag will fall, so look for leather you love.
Suggestions: Balenciaga Day, Bottega Veneta Hobo, Marc by Marc Jacobs Faridah Hobo, Rebecca Minkoff Nikki


Aug 22, 2010
Thanks for this! You've summed the essentials up nicely :P

..but I think it'd be impossible for most of us to stick to just one of each!!


Nov 7, 2007
^ highly possible if you're NOT a PFer! :biggrin: you've definitely covered all bases, op. like!
Nov 24, 2010
I enjoyed this post and agree on most of the bag choices!

Like bregitta said, it's probably rather impossible for most of us to stop buying new bags, however your list was great (especially for people like me) who don't necessarily(sp?) have a lot of money to invest into bags.


Oct 30, 2009
Thats very difficult.

If I get an "catch all tote"...I might want to buy an LV, Prada and Chanel for variety.

Am addicted (sadly) to designer bags for life I reckon..thus my Avatar..sigh....


Mar 29, 2006
Is this not the same subject? The other thread you created:

Handbag Staples (by Style)
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Feb 6, 2008
I dunno. What's the difference between the Office Bag, the Catch All Tote, and the Everyday Bag? To me that's the same bag.