Beauty & Fashion

6 Summer 2024 Bag Trends to Try Now • budget FASHIONISTA

The bag you carry speaks volumes about your personality or mood. A structured laptop bag, for example, says you’re practical and organized. A fuchsia crossbody shows your creativity and spontaneity. And a soft-sided leather tote demonstrates a ready-for-anything attitude.

With summer fast approaching, it’s a great time to reassess your bag collection to ensure you’re sending all the right messages. To inspire that evaluation, here are six purse and handbag styles that are sure to be on point this summer.

View from behind of woman wearing crossbody bag.
Source: Canva.

Mini backpacks

  • What it is: The mini backpack is a small-scale bag with shoulder straps.
  • The message it sends: Your mood is a complex blend of practicality and edginess. You’re ready to make the most of the day with the least amount of stuff to weigh you down.

The mini backpack first hit the fashion scene in the 1990s. It then came back to the forefront in the late 2010s, on the heels of the tiny bag trend. Today, the mini backpack is a classic in its own way. You can find them everywhere, from Burberry to Target, in the full range of colors, patterns, and styles.

Beige mini backpack on white background.
Stone Mountain Mini Backpack, available at JC Penney.

Whether you’re drawn to minimalist elegance or bold statement pieces, you can fulfill either style need with a mini backpack. It’s a versatile accessory that adds practical touch to your whatever you’re wearing. Spend some time shopping the different types of mini backpacks out there and you’ll agree: Whether you’re feeling whimsical or glamorous, you can find one to match any mood or occasion.

Maxi clutches

  • What it is: The maxi clutch is any large bag you carry tucked under your arm.
  • The message it sends: You are fashion-forward and have the confidence to manage your day with one free hand.

Oversized bags have had many trending moments, and it’s no surprise. A big bag is practical. It holds everything you might need for a full day and night of fun. That includes a phone charger, hand cream, lip color, oversized sunglasses in a hard case, a notepad to document your sudden inspirations, plus your ID and credit card.

Model holds fuzzy maxi clutch bag.
Oversized Frankie Clutch: Teddie Edition, available at Anthropologie.

The maxi clutch is the latest iteration of the big bag. Jessica Alba used one to complete her oversized coat outfit while cruising around Milan Fashion Week. Ferragamo’s AW24 show featured big clutches within heavily textured monochrome looks. Other designers dabbled in the maxi clutch by having models hold oversized bags under their arm, even if said bags had shoulder straps.  

Leather totes

  • What it is: The tote is a large bag with parallel handles attached to the sides of the pouch. Leather can refer to real animal skin or faux materials with the same look and feel.
  • The message it sends: You are prepared for adventure and dressed for class.

Thanks to the iconic Birken bag by Hermes, the leather tote will always be in style. And why not? The shape is simple, functional, beautiful, and easy to carry.

Brown tote bag on brown background.
Woven Faux Leather Tote, available at Anthropologie.

Even better, you can find many iterations of the leather tote: real or faux, neutral or bold, small or large. If the options feel overwhelming, opt for a medium-sized, slightly structured bag in a rich camel tone. You’ll love the look for many seasons to come.

Crossbody bags

  • What it is: The crossbody bag is a fastened purse with a long strap, designed to be worn diagonally across the body.
  • The message it sends: You don’t compromise on style or practicality.

The crossbody style is another classic that comes in many forms, from belt bag to sling bag. The primary appeal here is convenience. Your hands are free and your lip balm is always within reach. Second to convenience is versatility. A well-made and subduedly styled crossbody can keep you organized for many occasions, from casual to dressy.

Model wears green crossbody bag.
Revive Nylon Crossbody, available at Quince.

If you’re looking for a fun statement piece in the crossbody style, shop the fast fashion houses first. You’ll keep your spend to a minimum, which is the right strategy for bolder accessories that may go out of style quickly.

Work bags

  • What it is: A closable bag big enough to hold a laptop and your essentials.
  • The message it sends: You’re climbing the corporate ladder and there’d better not be a glass ceiling in your way.

Thankfully, work bags for women have evolved beyond boxy, masculine briefcases. Today, you can carry your work files and electronics in an oversized tote, a messenger bag, or a stylish commuter bag or satchel. Remember the leviathan Gary carried in Veep? That’s the ultimate work bag. 

Red workbag for women on white background.
McKlein’s Lake Forest Briefcase, available at Macy’s.

The features to look for include a zipper closure and a structure that suits your needs. If you are one to designate pockets for specific items, you need a bag with lots of compartments. On the other hand, if you’ll forget what each pocket is supposed to hold, you’ll appreciate a bag with minimal compartments.

Two bags

  • What it is: The two-bag trend refers to carrying two coordinating bags in different sizes at the same time.
  • The message it sends: You are a trailblazer who knows what you want.

Prada, Bottega Veneta, and Fendi AW24 looks all featured the two-bag trend. The best of them used contrasting colors, sizes, and textures to make this accessory pairing stand out. You can customize this look so many ways. Hold two bags by their handles, wrap the strap of one bag around another, or clip a small coin purse to the outside of a larger bag.

The downside is that carrying two bags could be a budget killer. So you don’t overspend, review your current bag collection to see if you can make a bag pairing with what you already own. If you don’t have two coordinating bags, you probably have one that’s ready to be matched with a new partner.

Bag your style

Finish your look this summer with a handbag that reflects your spirit. Trending styles include cute mini backpacks, dramatic maxi clutches, practical totes, fun-loving crossbody bags, and ambitious work bags. If you can’t pick just one, then carry two. You’ll make a stylish and personalized statement wherever you go.

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