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Essential Handbags

When I first moved to college two years ago, I brought all of my favourite handbags. Of those ten handbags, I only ended up using about four of them because most of my bags served the same purpose. Also, attending an Agriculture college in a small town meant I spent very little time coordinating my bag perfectly to my outfit because no one really cared how put together you looked.

My experience may be a little extreme, but it taught me that when it comes to handbags and minimal storage space, you only need the very basics. If I were returning to residence this year, I would only bring: a crossbody bag, a wristlet, a backpack, tote bag and a satchel purse. Each of these bags give a different look and serves its own distinct function.

1. Crossbody Bag: Mossimo Fold Over Studded Crossbody Handbag from Target

I used to be an advocate for larger purses – I love being able to toss everything I need into one bag. It was not until summer school this year that I realized the benefit of a crossbody bag. They are perfect for quickly stuffing into a backpack during the class and are light on my shoulders.

Bring this in a neutral or in a signature colour for sports games, amusement parks, or for other hands-free occasions.

2. Backpack: Settlement Mid Volume Backpack by Herschel Supply Co. from Nordstrom

It goes without saying that as a student, you will need a backpack. Backpacks are a classic, proven way to carry your heavy books, binders, and all the supplies you will need.

Bring this in a classic neutral to get years of use out of it or buy in a fun, playful pattern. Just make sure that it is large enough to fit a couple of binders and your largest textbook.

3. Satchel: Mossimo Satchel Black from Target

For when you need a little more bag room, you can not go wrong with a classic satchel. Store a cardigan or scarf in your bag for your cold early morning classes or keep your agenda with you at all times. Go with a medium sized satchel for maximum storage capacity but in a compact form.

Feel free to splurge on this item in a neutral leather or faux leather – you want a good quality bag that will last you for many years.

4. Tote Bag: Zip-Pocket Canvas Tote from Old Navy

A tote bag is perfect for those days when you only have one or two classes – you can carry your books and supplies while still looking stylish. Buy a tote bag that is large enough to fit at least one binder, your largest textbook, and your basic supplies.

This is where I have fun with my bag wardrobe and choose the whimsical prints or vibrant colours. I love updating my small bag collection each semester with a new, fun tote bag.

5. Wristlet: Legacy Leather Small Wristlet from Coach

A simple black wristlet is THE perfect bag for going out. Not only does black go with almost everything, but the compact size means allows you to bring your essentials without carrying a more casual bag. Choose a classic design that is large enough to fit your phone, keys, cash, and your essential cards.

This is another bag that I would splurge on if I found the perfect one – just make sure to opt for a wristlet rather then just a basic clutch. Such a small bag is easy to misplace if you put it down on a table or beside you when you are sitting – and with your social-life necessities with you, you do not want to lose this!


What are your top five handbag essentials? What bags are you bringing with you to college or what bags would you bring if you had a do-over? Let me know in the comments below!