Women have a bad rap for having too many purses. And, quite honestly, I can tell you that I don’t have that many bags, so I’m not sure who the jerk that let that rumour out is. It’s definitely an unnecessary stereotype.
Seriously, I live in a 700-square-foot apartment that I share with a roommate. There is no way I want to stuff it full of a bunch of shoes and purses. OK, I might want to but it’s just not feasible.
But having one purse isn’t exactly conducive to a fashion-forward lifestyle either. You want at least a few bags to go with a few different looks—business casual, casual, professional, fun…
So, what is the happy medium?
How many purses is too many? What’s an acceptable amount to have so you cover your bases but ensure you don’t go wild with your checkbook or space?
Personally, I have around three or four bags. Here’s a breakdown on the purses that you should probably have in your closet:
EVERYONE needs an everyday bag. This is something that you can grab and go— if you’re a minimalist purse collection kinda gal, this bag is going to need to do almost everything for you.
I spend A LOT of time walking to do my errands (it’s my #1 choice if I can), which means having my hands-free is very valuable.
I’ll admit that not everyone is an everyday backpack kind of gal. However, the feminine, sleek design, makes this bad boy blend it nicely.
What I love most about this bag is the security features that are built right in. You can’t slash through the material or straps, and the main zippered pocket locks.
This bad boy fits my wallet, iPad (11-inch iPad Pro), doggy poop bags and treats for Benny and Romi (my adorable pups), and personal items like a small bottle of hand sanitizer, sunscreen and keys!
2. Quality Choice: Classic Easy Tote
Color: Black, Cappuccino, Caramel, Stone, Dark Olive, Dark Coral, Sage (pictured), Biscuit
Features: Relaxed, versatile, made from genuine leather (LWG certified)
Cuyana’s Classic Easy Tote is perfect for any style. I like that it’s a very basic and minimalistic choice that goes with anything.
This bag is listed in our “quality” category, which means it’s a bit higher priced. However, it’s well worth it if you want a bag that you can rely on.
This bag comes in three different sizes, plus you can buy a zippered or non-zippered model (depending on your needs).
It’s an overall versatile option. However, it is worth noting it’s made of leather, so if that’s not your thing, this isn’t going to be the bag for you. But fear not, we’ve got lots of choices!
3. Budget Find: Performance Twill Tote Bag
Brand: Vera Bradley
Color: Black, Cabbage Rose Cabernet, Navy, Floating Plum Pansies, Lavender Sky, Mayfair in Bloom, Navy Garden, Olive Leaf, Seawater Bloom, Rain Forest Toile, Tangier Paisley, Twilight Garden
Features: Machine washable, durable and lightweight
If you need a budget find, I love Vera Bradley bags. Their Twill Performance Tote is perfect for an everyday bag, regardless of what you’re doing.
What I like about it (besides it’s quilty-look) is the fact that it’s weather ready and water resistant. You can head out on a rainy day in your coat and boots, and not worry about ruining your things.
I will note that the price of this bag varies depending on where you buy it. I find that Amazon usually has better priced bag, but the brand has more variations to chose from, so shop wisely!
I would argue that your most important purse is your professional one, the one that you’re going to cart back and forth to work on a nearly daily basis.
This bag should be higher quality, so I would recommend a slightly higher budget, a neutral color and be functional for what you need.
Even if you don’t work in an office like me, it’s still important to have a nice bag for the times that you might need it, like client meetings or a networking event.
4. Professional Work Bag: Zip Top Tote
Color: Chalk, Black, Green, Brown, Demin, Red, Shell Pink, Watermelon, Military Green, Sage
Features: Made of leather, zippered closure, 9-inch straps
If you’re an office gal, you need a professional bag that you can cart back and forth to the office. From business lunches to after-work happy hours, you’ll need something trustworthy.
My go-to is a classic bucket-style tote in a neutral color like black. I LOVE Coach’s Signature Zip Tote for this bag. It has a stubble brand nod, while still maintaining a professional feel.
They’ve been making variations of this bag style for as long as I’ve been old enough to purchase purses, and they sell them in pretty much any reasonable color under the sun.
I recommend going for a classic bag like this in a neutral tone like black, brown or beige, especially if the main purpose of it is to use it as your professional tote!
5. Modern Briefcase: Haven Laptop Tote Bag
Brand: Calpak Travel
Color: Toffee, Black, Birch, Petal, Taupe, Forest (pictured), Espresso, Hydrangea
Features: Removable laptop sleeve, durable handles, lots of room
If you’re someone who has to cart your laptop to work then you’re probably better off with a women’s laptop messenger bag like the Haven Laptop Tote Bag by Calpak Travel.
This is one of the best purses for commuting to work because of its crossbody design and the fact that you can fit your average 15-inch laptop in it. Not to mention it has a serious boss lady vibe.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re headed to work or you’re a digital nomad exploring the world around you, this bag has your back. It has a trolly sleeve so you can use it as your personal item, and there’s a pair of handbag handles and a crossbody strap.
Before you press by, make sure your laptop is going to fit in it! This one IS built to handle most average laptops and tablets up to 16 inches. The laptop compartment can be removed, so you have more room if you don’t need it.
There are three small interior pockets and four on the outside, making it easy for you to organize your bag. The best part is, if you prefer non-leather bags, this one is made with a PU exterior and polyester internal.
When I pick a work bag, I tend to gravitate towards a leather-like material (real or vegan) that’s from a reputable brand. I also recommend sticking with a neutral color — black, brown, beige — so that it can blend perfectly with any business outfit. This bag meets that criteria!
6. Professional Backpack: Kaya Laptop Backpack
Brand: Calpak Travel
Color: More than 20 colors, including Caramel Black, Charcoal Gray, Mauve (pictured), Blush, Stone
Features: Fits up to a 15-inch backpack, interior pockets for organizing, stylish and functional
Backpacks are my go-to bags, and luckily there are plenty that will meet your professional needs.
I find the average backpack to be better than a traditional briefcase because they’re considerably easier to cart around, especially if you’re commuting. For an all-in-one style that will work for work, home and travel, I’d check out the Kaya Laptop Backpack.
This backpack is not only style-friendly, but it’s perfect for those who are prone to go on trips and don’t want to own a dozen different styles (hello, digital nomads!).
This bag can hold up to a 15-inch laptop, has interior pockets that can be used for organizing, and has a trolly sleeve so you can put it on your carry on.
While backpacks can look a little elementary, if you gravitate towards one that has a neutral tone and a trendy look you should be good to go in the office.
The only catch when it comes to using a backpack for your business bag is that they’re not ideal when you have to go to client meetings. If you’re someone who has to make visits out of the office, I recommend keeping an alternative bag in your office!
Your evening purse is the one you take out on the town for a Friday night with the girls. This bag should be smaller and functional (likely with a strap or a handle) and needs to be able to hold your basics, and maybe a lipstick or two. But beyond that, it can be anything you want!
7. Convenient Crossbody: Knott North South Phone Crossbody
Brand: Kate Spade
Color: Watercolor Blue, Mochi Pink, Black
Features: Phone sized, cute and easy to carry
Every single girl should have a little black bag, that’s my professional opinion. The jury’s out on the little black dress considering I tend not to be a dress-wearer, but a little black bag is completely necessary, and my favorite is this cute Kate Spade Knott North South Phone Crossbody.
I carry a classic and simple crossbody every chance I get, which is hard considering I’m a notorious over-packer. But date nights, girl’s nights, trips to the store and you can find me sporting it (okay, maybe not the last one).
This bag is a simple crossbody with one main cavity and a discrete pocket inside. The closure is a simple flap and it looks good with pretty much any outfit—from jeans to a dress. It’s the perfect evening bag, definitely my top choice!
8. Budget Friendly Wristlet: RFID Wristlet Envelope Wallet
Brand: Bella Taylor Country
Color: Delicate Floral Charcoal, Bicolor Floral Black, Delicate Floral Blue, Dotted Daisy Charcoal, Dotted Daisy Navy, Vintage Black, Vintage Navy
Features: RFID protected, cash envelope budgeting concept, cute design
If minimal is your thing when you’re headed out on the town, then a wristlet wallet might be your best choice for your evening handbag. Using a wristlet means that you have to keep your packing to a minimum — and I mean really minimum, money, keys and phone. That’s it!
This cute pattered wristlet probably isn’t appropriate for the fancy bar with the hidden doors and $25 cocktails, but it can definitely work for your average Friday night out. It has room for your phone, cards, cash and even a little change purse, making it great for the minimalist packer.
Wristlets are great because they keep your valuables close, but the downside is you have to carry it constantly, unlike a crossbody where you can go hands-free. But the strap on this cute little wallet can be removed, so you can tuck it right into your casual purse once you’re home and use it as your regular wallet!
For those days that your night crossbody or clutch is too small but you’re not willing to sacrifice any possible wear on your professional bag, a casual purse is in order!
Your casual purse can be pretty much anything under the sun, this is a great chance to show your personality and have a little fun but you definitely don’t have to break the bank for a casual bag.
You can find a nice casual purse that will last you a while in the $50 to $60 range, but if you’re looking to mix it up or stick to a tighter budget, you can easily pull off a casual bag for about $30.
Some ladies prefer their casual handbags simple with one large main cavity to hold all of their personal items, it that sounds like you, the Molodo leather handbag is a great choice!
I like this style of handbag because it’s easy to dig and grab your things out of the open-top, but there’s a detachable zip pocket inside so you can have that extra security if you want.
These open-top bags (or faux open-top if you use the zip pocket) are a great casual bag, but they can also double as your work bag if you’re dressing down for casual Friday or going out with the girls after work and don’t want to bring your pricer professional purse.
While you can’t cart a laptop around in this baby, you can safely store most iPads or tablets, and anything else you need to cart along with you.
But be careful with these bags, because they’re bigger it’s really easy to accidentally pull a Mary Poppins and throw a bunch of completely unnecessary items in it (no, you don’t need six books for your coffee date with Karen).
Working with a tight budget and wanting something that has a genuine casual style?
If that’s the case a zipper close canvas hobo-style shoulder bag like this Fanspack bag is perfect for you. Unlike some of the other bargain bags out there, it has genuinely good reviews!
Casual shoulder bags a great because they not only work in pretty much any setting from dinner and a movie to a Walmart trip, they’re easy to carry and have more than enough room for the things you need (note that I said need).
This cute shoulder bag comes in five colors (besides the grey I lean towards the dark blue) so you can pick the best for your personality, and they work great with jeans and a tee!
Optional Fun Purse
Because some girls like to have more than three bags, I threw a reasonable fourth option in here: the fun bag!
I’ll be the first to admit that I have most definitely owned a few fun purses in the past, my last one was a yellow faux-ostrich skin bag that was adorable (and purchased for under $50).
But, if I had all the money in the world (or simply an extra few hundred dollars kicking around that I could spend on anything) my fun purse would be this one pink flamingo patterned Kate Spade bag I saw a few years back when I was in Las Vegas.
At the time, the bag was almost $500 USD, which I most certainly could not afford, and now the line, as far as I can tell, has been discontinued. Alas, I still find myself daydreaming about the bag.
11. Dream Bag: All Day Flower Bed Tote
Brand: Kate Spade
Color: Blazer Blue Multi
Features: Detachable wristlet pouch, fits up to a 13-inch laptop bag
The purpose of a fun bag is to show off your personality with a great piece that you absolutely love to carry.
Purses can be the bane of any woman’s existence considering you have to constantly babysit things that you’ll never take out and use — but they can be a lot of fun if you have the right bay!
This adorable Kate Spade Tote is on the top of my list. It’s not quite a flamingo bag, but still fun!
How Many Purses Is Too Many?
Honestly, babe. You can have as many purses as you want. So long as you have room for them and the money to afford them. When I pick a new bag, I like to ask myself:
- How much am I really going to use it?
- What outfits does it go with?
- Where can I store it?
- Why do I want it? Note: “because I do” is an acceptable answer.
Because when it comes down to it, how many times are you really going to use that hot pink faux-crocodile skin bag?
Just make sure your purse collection reflects you, fits in your closet, meets your needs and doesn’t break the bank — besides that girl, you do you!