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Capsule Wardrobe: 8 Must-Have Handbags

I can feel the beginning of a shift in my wardrobe -- it's been a while since I've created an outfit of all statement pieces.  Instead of a maxi skirt recycled from 80 pairs of jean shorts (it sounds like a joke but it's actually hanging in my closet), I'm more likely to reach for a pair of black skinny jeans.  Here, I enter into the capsule wardrobe.  I have two muses to guide me: Anuschka and Sophie.

While I'm not ready to give up all of my clothes just yet, I figure I'll tackle my wardrobe in sections, starting with the easiest -- handbags.  It takes me an extraordinary amount of time to debate a handbag purchase.  For someone who owns 8 different white v-neck t-shirts, it's strange to find a section of my wardrobe that's not legally insane.

To pare down your handbag collection and determine what you really need and use, start by answering the following questions to evaluate your lifestyle.

1) When do you carry a bag?

2) How much do you carry per occasion?

I have three major areas in my life: work, weekends and occasional special occasions.

- a neutral leather work bag   for an everyday bag, go for a pebble or a saffiano instead of a calfskin. Make sure it's large enough for everything you need on the daily!
TIP: Get two.  If you’re using something every day, it’ll wear out more quickly.  Switching between two bags will ease up on general wear and tear.   I like having one in black and one in a neutral.  If you can, try and have one fit your work computer. 
WHAT I USE: Furla Papermoon Satchel, Zara Bucket Bag –  this is so worn, it desperately needs replacing.

- a messenger bag for errands – large enough for the essentials, and leaves your hands free to do stuff
- a tote for shopping weekends – I prefer these to be fabric, large enough for groceries and my laptop 
- a clutch – for those weekends that are meal-based, and less haul-based
TIP: If you wear 99% black or neutral, get your weekend clutch in a bright pop of colour.  It'll make an entire outfit.
WHAT I USE: Proenza Schouler PS1, Penguin Tote Bag, Proenza Schouler PS13 Clutch

Special Occasion
- A minaudiere – This isn’t an everyday piece, so go crazy with metallic colour or an exotic skin.

WHAT I USE: Nothing.  This is one part of my wardrobe I have yet to conquer. Suggestions welcome!

- Pouches – in canvas or leather, these help me stay organized and switch easily from bag to bag.
A cross body wallet – the best travel wallet, especially if it's large enough for a passport
Weekender – a zippered carry-all is literally a travel lifesaver, in case you over-shop
- Wheeled carry-on – this + weekender = all the luggage you need.

Anything I’m missing? 

For anyone who's making a bag purchase for the first time, check out this incredibly helpful resource Rue La La has put together; a beginner's guide to handbags!   I've been a bag lady some time, but this was still a great read to brush up on my bag knowledge.

PS: In a perfect world, my secondary everyday work bag would be a reversible cognac and gray tote.  Anyone? 


  1. Where's your weekender bag from? I really like the colour.
    For my other bags/purses, I tend to gravitate towards using brown or cognac coloured ones. I tend to ignore my black purses for some reason. My current cognac coloured purse is getting so worn down, it desperately needs to be replaced. Any suggestions? :)

    1. Mine is actually olive, but it's from Everlane! I'm looking at the cognac bag from the brand Street Level, it's a reversible tote!

  2. I am totally digging your bag choices :D all super fun~


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