One of the best things about a new season is the fresh crop of handbags that come along with it. If you’re willing to spend the money, a designer bit of arm candy can be an investment.
From cross-body bags to sleek saddles and shoulder shapes, the handbag world has its fair share of trends, but there are plenty that never go out of style too.
If your 9-5 wardrobe is looking pretty drab, then showcase a little spring time flair through your accessories - we think the brighter the better.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for something more pared back that will see you through season after season, opt for a chic, classic style with a playful twist.
The hunt for a spring accessory is on, and to save you some time, we’ve rounded up our pick of new season dream bags to suit all tastes, styles and daily needs.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
1. Gucci Marmont Mini Shoulder Bag: £640, Harvey Nichols
Designer brand of the moment, Gucci is absolutely everywhere right now but to make sure you invest in a bag that stands the test of time we suggest opting for something subtle. This mini shoulder bag features chevron-quiltong and is finished with those distinctive interlocking Gs. Inside, you’ll find a suede-lined interior and a slip pocket encased by a secure zip fastening across the top. We love the 90s feel of this one and the fact that it comes in three classic colours: black, red and our favourite, off-white.
2. J.W.Anderson Pierce Medium Leather Shoulder Bag: £1095, Net-a-Porter
It’s been a firm favourite among the fashion crowd since making its debut on the AW16 runway but J.W.Anderson’s Pierce bag is still going strong with a flurry of new colour-ways each season. This luxurious piece is crafted from butter-soft leather in an antique-rose hue and features a bold septum piercing-inspired detail in gold. The bag also has an adjustable chunky strap, accordion sides and an interior pocket pouch. A blend of elegance and attitude, this is a great option for those looking for a classic style with a hint of an edge.
3. LK Bennett, Dakoda Leather Shoulder Bag: £145, Selfridges
If you’re after a bag that will add a pop of colour to your spring wardrobe but not break the bank, this could be the one for you. L.K. Bennett’s Dakoda shoulder bag is crafted from ruby-red Italian textured leather that will instantly brighten up any spring ensemble. Fitted with a detachable adjustable leather and chain strap, it can be worn crossbody by day or transform into a cocktail clutch for the evening.
4. Marc Jacobs Small Nomad Satchel Bag: £320, Farfetch
We love the icy blue colour of this small satchel bag from Marc Jacobs that just oozes springtime verve. Fitted with an adjustable, detachable shoulder strap it can be worn long over the shoulder or cross body and is finished with silver hardware. Inside, you’ll find a zipped pocket as well as a front zip pocket on the outside, sealed with a foldover magnetic closure. We also really like the addition of the zip detailing and hanging branded leather tag which serves to toughen up the exterior a little.
5. Burberry The Buckle Bag, £795, Harrods
Ready to make the ultimate handbag investment? Then you can’t go wrong with Burberry. The Buckle bag will never go out of fashion. Made in Italy from the finest textured leather, the small bag is finished with a polished gold metal buckle and comes with the option of two straps: a detachable wide leather shoulder strap and a slim leather crossbody strap. Inside, there’s one zip pocket and two slip compartments concealed with a magnetic fastening, allowing super-easy access to all your essentials.
6. Aspinal The Letterbox Slouchy Saddle Bag: £495, Aspinal of London
Our pick of the season from the British leather specialists is this slouchy saddle bag. Available in five colours, “peacock pebble” is a new addition to the spring/summer collection and we love it. A deep blue-green, it promises to add a splash of colour without being too over-the-top. Crafted from textured Italian calf leather, this soft-structured bag is super-roomy with a spacious interior, one zipped and two mobile sized open pockets. Trendy but classic at the same time, this is a great all-rounder.
7. Furla Bucket Bag, £250, Furla
Another colourful option here from Italian handbag brand Furla, the bucket bag comes in a bold orchid purple colour palette for the new season. Designed using saffiano printed leather, polished hardware and logo detailing, it straddles functionaily, simplicity and stylishness with ease. Wear yours with the long shoulder strap hanging loose and carry it using the sturdy top handle instead.
8. Kate Spade Healy Lane Lilith Bag, £268, Kate Spade
It might be spring but if colour’s not your thing don’t be tempted to splurge on something you might not wear. If it’s a classic black handbag you’re after, that’s fine and it doesn’t mean it needs to be boring. This option from Kate Spade fits the bill with classic styling and fresh, modern twists throughout. The pebbled leather outer is seriously soft and comes finished with 14-carat gold plated hardware. Under the flap magnetic closure you’ll find an internal open and zip pocket and monochrome stripe lining.
9. Birkin Basket: £110, Blooming Dreamer
Are you a boho lover? Then this could be the one for you. Inspired by fashion icon and actress Jane Birkin, who famously carried her belongings in a petite basket, the straw bag is officially back on trend. Unfortunately, a good one is hard to come by but we’ve got you covered. This version from Blooming Dreamer is handmade in the Algarve by an older generation of artisans. Each one can take up to three days to make and they are handcrafted using completely natural local straw. What’s more, it also comes with a detachable lid and is available in three different sizes; mini, small and large.
10. Rebecca Minkoff Medium Julian Backpack: £209, Rebecca Minkoff
A backpack with a twist, this option from Rebecca Minkoff is ideal for girls on-the-go. The medium size means it has just the right amount of space for all your daily essentials as well as handy exterior pockets for easy access. Crafted from 100 per cent cowhide leather, chunky zippers and trailing tassels it features all the hallmark touches you’d expect from the brand and comes in a variety of colours. From black, red, denim and tan, our favourite has to be this off-white putty colour that promises to go with pretty much any ensemble.
The Verdict: Spring handbags
For a serious fashion investment, we suggest Gucci’s Marmont Mini Shoulder Bag. Not only is it seriously on trend but it also promises to last you a lifetime and never go out of style. It’s a perfect size for day-to-night wear and will go with absolutely everything in your wardrobe no matter the season. If you’re after something a little roomier, J.W. Anderson’s Pierce bag is a great option if your budget permits, but we also love Kate Spade’s modern twist on the classic black handbag - plus it’s a fraction of the price.
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