The 15 Best Everyday Bags to Casually Carry Your Daily Essentials in Style
If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, WWD may receive an affiliate commission.
In this article
A casual handbag for everyday use is arguably one of the most important items in your wardrobe. Yes, it needs to be practical, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful, too. If you’re considering a designer bag, the cost per wear needs to make sense, while more affordable options should be equally well made and versatile. Ask yourself, will it go with lots of items in your closet, and will its fabrication stand up to the challenges of day-to-day life?
The best everyday bags for women should also suit your lifestyle and fit those essential items easily and comfortably — from your gym kit to your wallet, keys, family essentials (if you have kids), tech, sunglasses, and phone. It may also need to be work appropriate if you’re heading to the office, and align just as well with smart tailoring as it does sweatpants and baggy jeans on the weekend. Emily Blumenthal, a handbag industry and design expert, says that while there’s so much choice available, there are a few key styles and shapes to focus in on.
“In this day and age, a great everyday bag consists of a crossbody bag, an oversized shoulder bag, or a soft hobo that has a wide-enough strap that could be worn as a crossbody as well,” Blumenthal says. “Although backpacks are still going strong, carrying a fashion-driven bag is still key. Having a pop of color integrated on the strap, top stitch, or pop-lining continues to bring the element of joy to the handbag purchase”.
If you’re ready to make the commitment but don’t know where to start your search, we’ve got you covered with classic everyday handbags. From super-luxe trophy bags by fashion heavyweights such as Louis Vuitton and Dior, to the more affordable everyday totes from contemporary labels such as Cuyana and Uniqlo, we’ve found a bag for every daytime occasion. Ahead you’ll find 15 of our favorite picks for 2023, chosen with the help and guidance of Blumenthal and Samantha Brown, a professional and celebrity stylist.
Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars
Michael Kors Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.7/5 stars
If you travel and commute a lot, you’ll need a well-organized bag to get you from A to B in style. This compact, crossbody bag from iconic American designer Michael Kors fits the bill with a rear slip pocket for your passport and tickets, front zipped compartment, and card slots for valuables. The logo coated canvas is a signature of the label that goes with almost everything and is easy to clean, too. Reviewers also say that this casual handbag for everyday use can fit practically everything you need for a short flight.
What the reviewers say: “It’s very practical: I carried my passport, small wallet, small packet of wet wipes, packet of tissues, charging bank, pen, 2 lipsticks, sachet of paracetamol, iPhone 11 Pro max and still had more space! It had a front zip compartment for things like tissue packet, lipstick, pen, etc. Middle large compartment for main things like wallet, charging bank, passport. It even had a sewn-on side pocket where I’d slide my passport without it getting damaged or bashed around. The outside sewn on flap pocket (back of bag that rested again your body) was great, hidden and secure to slide my mobile in.”
Carried by Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner, and Lori Harvey, Prada’s Re-Edition 2005 Re-Nylon bag is one of the bags of the season. It’s inspired by the Italian fashion house’s original mini hobo but is updated in a fabric made from purified plastic trash collected from the ocean, textile fibers and fishing nets. Aside from its sartorial kudos, it’s practical, too. The bag fits snuggly under the shoulder and can also be worn as a crossbody. Yes, it may be small, but it packs a punch like no other.
MyTheresa Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.7/5 stars
Saint Laurent’s gold logo plaque brings a ‘90s feel to its cult Le 5 à 7 hobo bag. Often carried by Hailey Bieber, this compact accessory is loved by celebs and fashion editors alike for the easy way it elevates a look. The craftmanship is also exceptional with gold hardware, a suede lining, and neat shoulder strap that can be adjusted to alter the drop. Choose from five very chic shades, including classic black and cream, and swing it proudly from your shoulder at every occasion.
Ssense Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars
If your work week requires you to look slick and put together, you’ll need a bag to match. This understated and elegant bag from Medea looks like a luxury shopping bag. But the minimalist bag is actually made from beautiful Italian vegan leather with a removable strap and convenient top handles. We think its beauty lies in its simplicity, plus it’s super easy to find what you need as it’s spacious but not expansive. Note that this may not fit larger laptops.
Gucci Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars
Net-a-Porter Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.9/5 stars
Gucci’s Ophidia bag is an icon of the bag world, characterized by its slouchy half-moon shape, signature GG canvas and red and green stripe. We love that the strap is adjustable so you can wear it cross body or slung over your shoulder, plus it has an internal zipped pocket for keeping valuables secure. An unmistakable work of the Italian fashion house, this is the kind of bag that will have a place in your wardrobe forever. Treat it well, and it will pay you back in spades.
Nordstrom Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars
Bloomingdale’s Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars
Kate Spade is a beloved handbag label, and the Sam Tote remains one of its core heritage styles that appeared in its very first collection. This incarnation is updated in sustainable recycled nylon, recycled polyester, and patent leather making it super lightweight yet structured. Ideal for the working week, this casual everyday bag has an external pocket to house your cell, a secure zipped top and internal pockets for your wallet and keys. It also has room for a small tablet or laptop, so it’s sure to become an essential part of your everyday roster.
Cuyana Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.4/5 stars
An editor favorite, Cuyana’s Classic Easy Tote has quite the following thanks to its versatility, elegance, and practicality. It’s made from butter-soft pebbled leather that looks better as it ages, and LWG certification that means it’s tanned using environmentally friendly methods. One of the best elements of this bag (other than its soft, unstructured shape that fits so much inside) are the customizable options. Choose from a range of shades such as terracotta and stone, and classic, tall and small sizes. You can even choose between having a zipper or open top.
What the reviewers say: “It’s everything you could ever want in a tote: the design is simple but polished, the leather is soft and beautiful, and the quality is so high that we’ve all owned ours for years.”
If your everyday bag needs to comfortably hold a larger laptop with room to spare, consider Clare V.’s Agnes backpack. Made from vegetable-tanned Italian cowhide, it’s super soft and spacious with space for tech up to 14 inches, plus an easy access front-zip pocket that makes the ideal spot for your keys, phone, and wallet. Best of all, it can be carried on the shoulders or toted by the short top handle for a more elegant look. The top also secures shut with a double zipper, adding extra peace of mind when you’re traveling to and from the office.
Nordstrom Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars
If you’re looking for a sporty and practical bag that’s also beautifully made, consider this sling pack from Coach. Its front zipped pocket and main compartment make it brilliantly practical and ideal for commuting, while rich pebbled leather maintains that luxury feel Coach is loved for. One busy mom reviewer says that it’s also surprisingly spacious — even holding room for diapers, wipes, a wallet, and phone. Sling it across your body and take it with you everywhere.
What the reviewers say: “I have been looking for a slingback and I really like this one. I love the quality of the leather and the fit. I am very short, and this bag does not look large on me. It has enough room for my wallet, phone, hand sanitizer, makeup and tissue. It has a total of three different zipper pouches and slots on the inside as well. You can actually fit quite a bit. I was able to put a diaper and some wipes in this bag when I had to run out of the house with my baby. Highly recommend.”
Net-a-Porter Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.9/5 stars
Ssense Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars
Home of quiet luxury, The Row is a go-to label for the most beautiful and coveted accessories of the season. The Park Tote is one of its must-haves, carried by the likes of Kendall Jenner, who uses hers for running errands and sessions at the gym. With such a spacious size it’s no surprise, as it can easily fit a laptop, wallet, and workout leggings in its suede-lined interior. The Row’s everyday shoulder bag also comes in four very chic yet versatile colorways that will work with plenty of existing looks in your wardrobe. In terms of investment, this is a bag you can take everywhere and rely upon to elevate everything you carry it with.
Dior Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.6/5 stars
Trust Christian Dior to make the tote bag into a seriously luxurious investment piece. The fashion house’s now iconic Book Tote was introduced by creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri and features the Christian Dior Paris logo along the centre. The tote is available in a range of backdrops such as this beautiful Toile de Jouy motif, and it can also be personalized for a truly bespoke finish.
“I personally look the Dior Book tote in the medium size,” says celebrity stylist Samantha Brown. “It’s large enough to fit all the essentials, plus a laptop or tablet. It’s lightweight and doesn’t have any hardware, which is a nice chance from the clunkier bags I sometimes carry.”
Farfetch Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.1/5 stars
Louis Vuitton has taken the classic bucket bag silhouette and made it into one of the most wanted accessories of 2023. Enter the NéoNoé MM. Compact yet beautifully formed, this slouchy bag has all the space you need for those everyday essentials while making a serious style statement.
“I’m currently carrying a bucket bag from Louis Vuitton,” says Brown. “I find bucket bags to be very comfortable to carry, easy to access and that they give a more casual vibe to an outfit,” she says. The fashion house’s Monogram Empreinte Leather also elevates this everyday Louis Vuitton bag shape to luxurious new heights.
It’s very rare that the season’s ‘It’ bag costs below $20, but Uniqlo’s Round Mini Bag has become just that. This cute everyday bag has a lightweight, banana shape and is designed to be worn across the body or on the shoulder with the adjustable strap. One of the most notable things about this bag, however, is the amazing number of items it can hold.
One TikTok user posted a video of how much she could easily fit: Her haul comprised a packet of biscuits, a lip balm, phone, wallet, keys, phone charger, headphones, perfume, EpiPen, and a hair clip. If you don’t have one already, buy one immediately in your favorite color.
What the reviewers say: “Great bag! It holds so much for its size and squashes up to fit in hand luggage on a budget airline”.
Parker Thatch Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars
Californian, female-owned brand Parker Thatch is a destination for love-forever bags with a streetwear edge, and Brown is a big fan. “Parker Thatch makes a perfect tote in nylon, which is lightweight and timeless,” she says. The Medium Mimi she speaks of is crafted from camouflage-print nylon with orange top handles and a colorful grosgrain striped trim.
Functionality is key to this designer tote bag, with a zip-top opening for keeping your valuables secure on the move, and space for a 13-inch laptop. The brand’s flat clutches fit in perfectly if you want to add more internal organization, and you can also purchase an additional longer strap that attaches at the ends for further customization.
What the reviewers say: “This is the most functional and stylish bag I’ve owned! May we never be parted”.
“This is a year of many bag trends, so there is something for everyone,” says Brown. “Big designer brands typically lead the way,” she continues. “Then there’s a trickle-down effect to contemporary and fast fashion. Celine became popular again, Fendi released their baguette again, and YSL became very hot.” Classic bags, like the Gucci Jackie 1961 seen on the arm of Dua Lipa, were also refreshed in more contemporary shades such as red and white.
Brown says that bucket bags, quilted styles, large and shrunken totes (such as The Row’s Park Tote carried by Kendall Jenner) are all key trends this year, in addition to minimal hardware and branding. Y2K bags, like baguettes and smaller shoulder bags, such as Celine’s Ava bag favoured by celebrities such as Kaia Gerber, have also made a big comeback.
What to Look for In an Everyday Bag
Color and fabric: “Neutral colors in good quality leather or nylon will hold up over time,” advises Brown. Blumenthal also adds that muted tones are key this season. “However, expect to see the bright greens, the Barbie pinks, and at least one bold color in every designer’s assortment,” she says.
Design: “Smaller or more minimal branding feels modern right now, while logo mania comes in and out,” Brown explains. She adds that when investing in a higher ticket item, consider the cost per wear and how much use you’ll get out of the bag over time.
Comfort: “Comfort is key when purchasing a new handbag,” advises Brown. “Make sure it has a supportive strap and isn’t too heavy when empty.” If it already feels cumbersome, you should rethink — no matter how beautiful the design. Don’t forget that the beauty of the everyday bag is the way it marries style and practicality, and its ability to take you anywhere.
Size: Empty your current everyday bag and think about what you actually need on a day-to-day basis. If you simply need a wallet, phone, keys and lip balm, a smaller bucket bag or crossbody style will suffice. If you want a bag to also take you to the gym after the office, with space for other essentials like your child’s water bottle and a small laptop, you’ll need something bigger like a slouchy tote or backpack.
The Different Types of Everyday Bags
The bucket bag: Bucket bags got their name as their shape largely reflects that of an actual bucket, with a cylindrical shape and tall sides. Most have drawstring closures, like the Louis Vuitton NéoNoé MM or Gucci Ophidia. Versatile and chic, Brown adds that “A bucket bag is comfortable, casual and fits all the essentials.”
The tote: Characterized by its large, unstructured size with parallel handles, a tote bag is super versatile and ideal for those days when you need to carry a little more. You can find a number of materials, such as canvas tote bags or leather tote bags. From the Marc Jacobs’ The Tote Bag to Mansur Gavriel’s beautifully understated large tote, practically every brand has one in their collection.
The backpack: While backpacks are traditionally a utilitarian essential, they can also make a super chic style statement, too. Backpacks in lightweight nylon have a sportier feel, but if you want a smarter look, opt for one made from butter-soft or quilted leather. A backpack is also a good option if you find that cross-body or shoulder bags affect your posture.
The crossbody bag: “A crossbody is very versatile and can be styled many different ways,” says Brown. Blumenthal adds that “clutches have experienced a resurgence with brands cautiously adding at least one to their offerings. However, unlike their older contemporary, they will come with an option to be worn as a crossbody”.
How We Selected the Best Everyday Bags
Since 1910, WWD — often referred to as “the fashion bible” — has been the leading industry voice of authority for senior executives in the global women’s and men’s fashion, retail and beauty communities, while also informing the consumer media that cover the market. Today, WWD’s breaking news and trend coverage continues to be a trustworthy resource for both fashion insiders and consumers alike. Our shopping editors continue to uphold WWD’s editorial standards and values with quality, expert-backed product selections.
To select the best everyday bags of 2023, one reporter interviewed two style experts for their input on the best styles to invest in this season and the key designers, silhouettes, and fabrics to consider. Using our expert’s advice, we combed through offerings from multiple retailers to find top-rated everyday bags that are both practical and stylish as well as considering hundreds of online reviews — both good and bad. Our shortlist comprises a mix of backpacks, cross-body bags, totes, and bucket bags from luxury, contemporary and luxury brands to suit a range of budgets. Learn more about WWD here.
Meet the Experts
Samantha Brown is a professional and celebrity stylist who works with her clients to refine and elevate their personal style. Her styling credits include Vogue, GQ, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Nylon, Fox, Real Simple, and The New York Post.
Emily Blumenthal is known as the “Handbag Fairy Godmother” as a designer talent scout, handbag industry and design expert, Author of “Handbag Designer 101,” which has sold over 50,000 copies, Founder of The Handbag Awards, National Handbag Designer Day, and is Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Fashion Institute of Merchandising.
Meet the Author
Cat Hufton is a London-based fashion and beauty journalist who has written for some of the world’s best luxury e-commerce companies and publications, including InStyle, Harper’s Bazaar, Byrdie, and WWD. Hufton is an avid online shopper and has tested hundreds of products during her career giving her a keen eye for what’s worth your hard-earned dollars and what’s not. Hufton wrote this story on the best everyday bags using her extensive knowledge in the space.