13 best leather cross-body bags

From high-street gems to luxe designer buys, we find hands-free accessories to see you through summer 

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The Independent Online

Cross-body bags never go out of fashion, but they’re everywhere this season. If you can, opt for a quality leather one that can become a wardrobe staple; there are some keenly-priced pieces on the high-street and we think we’ve found the best of them. We’ve also listed some designer options if you’re looking for an investment piece. Happy hands-free summer. 

1. Suede and Leather Tassel Bag: £35, riverisland.com

 

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There’s a lot going on with this two-tone bag. The beige section is in textured snakeskin-effect suede, contrasted with matte black leather. There’s a removable tassel and the whole thing zips up to keep your valuables safe.

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2. Studded Leather Messenger Bag: £39.99, zara.com

 

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Zara calls this effect “crackled” leather; it’s essentially a metallic gold that looks like it’s been to a festival or six already, in a good way. Inside it’s divided into three compartments (note: there’s no zip-up bit) and the studs and two buckles on the strap give it a gladiator vibe – just add roman sandals.

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3. Selected Leather Round Across Body Bag: £40, asos.com

 

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This is a good price for a leather piece and, with the pouch pocket on the front, this zip-up circular bag from the Danish brand will fit your essentials, though it’s small enough that even if it is stuffed you’ll be travelling light. 

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4. Tender Moment Bag: £65, clarks.co.uk

 

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Clarks might be known for its comfortable and increasingly fashion-forward shoes, but it also has some quality leather bags, including this pretty dusky pink saddle bag. It’s unlined, but there is a pouch you could slip your mobile into. Also comes in tan.

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5. Modalu Twiggy Leather Across Body Bag: £79, johnlewis.com

 

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This pretty slimline bag from the British brand will fit your essentials, and the chain extension of the strap makes it a good day-to-night option. It comes in four spring-like colours, including this powder blue. 

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6. Block Colour Leather Bag: £89, cosstores.com 

 

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There’s a lot of raw-edged leather bags around, but we think this little one is particularly special; in a striking monochrome and red palette, with two front pockets, it’s simple but eye-catching. The shoulder strap’s not adjustable so it might be worth trying for size in store if you can.

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7. Zip Code Bag: £145, russellandbromley.co.uk

 

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You can see why this well-thought-out, compact bag is one of Russell and Bromley’s classics. You get two zip-up compartments and a middle one that doubles as a purse – there are slots for your cards and notes and a magnetic closure and then the whole lot is secured with a turnlock clasp. Made from luxe leather and available in 16 colours, we’re fans of this colour-popping red, pink and orange version. 

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8. Kaylee Leather Cross Body Bags: £150, lkbennett.com

 

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This is small, but we think it’s perfectly formed. In smart grained leather, the unusual shape and bright yellow combine for a seriously eye-catching accessory. The zip’s silver, as is the discreet branding, and there a small pocket inside.

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9. Clerkenwell Bag: £159, radley.co.uk

 

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You might know Radley for its signature doggy motif, but the brand has been increasingly going for pared-down, more trend-led designs. This one, with perforated detail on the front pocket, is a case in point. Radley does inside pockets well, too – this one has ones to fit a smartphone and pens or other valuables. And Radley dog fans, don’t despair, you can still buy the tags separately to clip on.

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10. Michael Michael Kors Bedford Gusset Cross-Body Bag: £170, selfridges.com 

 

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New York-based designer Michael Kors has seen an explosion in popularity on this side of the pond in recent years and the brand does chic bags very well. This one, from its diffusion line, available in grey or this bright pink, has three zipped sections to keep you super-organised when out and about. 

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11. Mini Elwin Bag: £227, lostpropertyoflondon.com

 

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If you’re after a designer piece by an up-and-coming brand, try Lost Property of London. This Mini Elwin is one of its original designs; a luxe structured bucket bag, made from vegetable-tanned leather with a copper-tone zip. It comes in seven shades, including this pretty pink, which is new for spring/summer 2015. 

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12. Marc by Marc Jacobs Donut Leather Shoulder Bag: £325, net-a-porter.com 

 

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Marc Jacobs is closing its diffusion line, so now’s the time to buy from the collection before it is no more. We like this unusual coral saddlebag with distinctive cutouts on the wider-than-average strap.

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13. Topshop Leather Tassel Crossbody Bag: £40, topshop.com

 

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You can’t escape 70s influences this season, including fringing. A lot of fringing. We’re sold on this good-value bag, which means you can work the trend without spending too much. It’s lined with an inside pocket to keep your phone safe.

Buy now

 

 

 

Verdict:

For a decent-sized leather saddle-bag, we think Clarks has nailed it with the Tender Moment. Opt for tan if you want a colour that will work for winter, too. If you have a bit more to spend, Radley’s Clerkenwell or Russell & Bromley’s Zip Code are both cleverly-designed pieces.  

 

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing

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