More polished than a humble backpack, yet less cumbersome than a whopping tote, crossbody bags can be as fashionable as they are functional, and we’re here for it.
There’s no denying that this hands-free accessory is perfect for everyday use – whether you use it for running errands or want to elevate a dowdy outfit, it’s a wardrobe staple.
Best of all, as the new season rolls in, there’s a fresh crop of designs and colours to get excited about. Whether you think you’d benefit from a more capacious silhouette or would rather have something more sleek and simple, both high-street and designer brands have delivered big.
While Nineties-inspired shoulder bags are getting a lot of air time, we’d go as far as to say that a crossbody is more deserving of such status. So, in order to help you find the one your wardrobe has been missing, we went on a hunt for the best.
How we tested
To make sure we were bringing you the creme de la creme, we kept a close eye on functionality. We also wanted each one to be stylish, but avoided trends as we wanted them to transcend seasons and be something you could reach for time and again – making the investment more than worth it.
So, with this in mind, we’ve rounded up our top tried and tested picks of the best crossbody bags that will elevate an outfit and allow you to go hands-free.
The best crossbody bags in 2021 are:
- Best overall – Charles & Keith quilted flip-lock clutch: £44.10, Charleskeith.co.uk
- Best designer crossbody bag – Polène Paris numéro sept: £320, Polene-paris.com
- Best faux leather bag – Warehouse weave detail crossbody bag: £29.40, Warehousefashion.com
- Best leather bag – Marks & Spencer leather duffle cross body bag: £69, Marksandspencer.com
- Best sustainable handbag – Been London Cecilia crossbody: £245, Been.london
- Best suede crossbody bag – Na-kd faux suede crossbody bag: £32.95, Na-kd.com
- Best small bag – Jeenaa Jee emerald bag: £66, Jeenaa.co.uk
- Best for commuting – Mango minimalist bag: £30, Next.co.uk
- Best quilted crossbody bag – All Saints Eve leather crossbody bag: £199, Allsaints.com
- Best mini crossbody bag – Zara mini crossbody bag with topstitching: £19.99, Zara.com
Charles & Keith quilted flip-lock clutch
The Singaporean megabrand has been a hit with the fashion pack since it launched its website in the UK in 2018, and it’s really no surprise. When it comes to accessories, Charles & Keith really excels.
With an accessible price tag, we were instantly surprised by the high quality of this quilted crossbody bag that resembles Chanel’s signature flap. It’s small and compact, but we managed to squeeze in our mobile, perfume, keys and a couple of lipsticks with ease – plus, at the back, there’s a handy compartment for storing your cards. We loved the contrasting gold chain and found that it elevated even the dowdiest of outfits. Bonus points are also in order because it arrived with its own dust bag. An absolute gem.
If a black handbag isn’t what you’re after, this one also comes in light pink, grey and burgundy – we’ll take the lot, please.
Polène Paris numéro sept
Best: Designer crossbody bag
If you haven’t heard about Paris-based designer brand, Polène, then you need to get to know. It produces handcrafted handbags to an impeccably high standard, with all of its designs completely classic.
Transcending trends, the numéro sept is utterly gorgeous and managed to make even the dowdiest of outfits look chic. It’s generous in size, and the main strap can be removed if you’d rather use the top handle. While it is an investment, this is a handbag that you’ll likely cherish for years to come.
Warehouse weave detail crossbody bag
Best: Faux leather bag
You can’t go far without seeing padded and weave designed handbags and this Warehouse number taps into the trend perfectly. It’s larger than we expected, with plenty of room for all the essentials, and features a handy adjustable strap. Our only gripe was the smell when it first arrived, but after an airing, this soon disappeared. A great, affordable crossbody that will get plenty of wear.
Marks & Spencer leather duffle cross body bag
Best: Leather bag
Resembling Loewe’s balloon bucket bag but for the fraction of the price, this M&S crossbody is an ideal choice if you’re looking for something functional. It’s large enough to house all your belongings, yet doesn’t look too cumbersome when it’s full. We loved the gold hardware against the tan, but if you’re unsure about that colourway, it’s also available in black.
Been London Cecilia crossbody
Best: Sustainable bag
Been London uses waste materials that are destined for landfill to make its bags, all of which are designed using square or rectangular panels to keep waste minimal. What’s more, the brand plants a tree for every bag purchased.
The Celia crossbody is made entirely from recycled materials in its east London studio, and it felt high end from the moment we took it out of the box. It’s small, but we found it could hold our phone (iPhone XS), small coin purse and keys with ease.
Plus, it can be worn across the body or used as a clutch, which only adds to its versatility. The gold hardware contrasts with the off-white colour perfectly, but it’s also available in black should you prefer. A true investment piece that you will undoubtedly fall in love with.
Jeenaa Jee emerald bag
Best: Small bag
A relatively new brand on our radar, Jeenaa is an independent British label that makes affordable bags that we are officially obsessed with. We loved the gold chain detailing against the emerald and the fact the cotton strap could be easily adjusted. Ideal for running errands and dressing up with evening-wear, a must-have.
Na-kd faux suede crossbody bag
Best: Faux suede bag
If it’s suede you’re after then this is the one for you – albeit a faux equivalent. It features three compartments, making it ideal if you want to keep your things separate, for example, your phone away from your keys. It’s unsurprisingly roomy, and for the days when you don’t want a hands-free solution, you can remove the strap and carry it as a clutch bag.
Mango minimalist bag
Best: For the office
This capacious handbag is ideal for commuting into the office, it’s got enough space for a Kindle or small tablet, along with a lunchbox and water bottle. Luckily, it’s got a handy zip pocket in its centre, so you can keep your phone handy. The sleek design means it’ll go with just about everything in your wardrobe too.
All Saints Eve leather quilted crossbody bag
Best: Quilted crossbody bag
All Saints knows a thing or two about leather (case in point it’s leather jackets), and clearly this translates well in its accessories too. This gave us real Bottega Veneta vibes thanks to its quilted and padded design. It’s made from soft leather and finished with gold hardware. Much like many of the other bags in this round-up, you can remove the shoulder strap should you wish to use it as a clutch. A great high-end option.
Zara mini crossbody bag with topstitching
Best: Mini crossbody bag
We were obsessed with this small crossbody even before it had arrived, and it did not disappoint. The lilac added the perfect pop of colour to an outfit – making it a great choice if you want your autumn and winter wardrobe to be a little less monotone. The size means it is bang on trend if you too are obsessed with mini-bags, and best of all, it might look as cute as Lizzo’s, but it’s far more practical.
The verdict: Women’s crossbody bags
Each of the handbags featured is deserving of a spot in this round-up – they are as versatile as they are stylish and are a great hands-free accessory.
For something a little kinder to your pocket, you cannot go wrong with the Charles & Keith quilted flip-lock clutch; it feels far more luxe than the price tag would suggest and could easily pass for a Chanel. A great choice and a clear winner of our best buy accolade.
But if you’re looking for a high-end option it’s got to be the Polène Paris numéro sept, which has a simple yet chic design and comes in a full range of colours.
For the latest discounts on women’s handbags and other accessories offers, try the links below:
Looking to enjoy a sumptuous sleep? Read our review of the best women’s silk pyjamas
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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