Bags have become a vital accessory for women in both the fashion and functional sense. In fact, many variants and styles have been born from women’s need to carry their essentials while still staying true to their style.

But with so many to choose from, it can be difficult to know what kind of pre-loved designer bags to invest in. To avoid wasting money on items you’ll only be able to use occasionally, here are five essential carry-ons you’ll need for every situation:

1. Casual and Formal Day-to-Day: Tote Bags

Tote bags – or totes for short – are trendy pieces that are also quite functional. These large, spacious bags have become a vital fashion accessory for many women who lead busy lives and carry everything they could ever need wherever they go.

In fact, some argue that this oversized bag could be the ultimate essential bag.

Running errands all day before heading to the gym? Doing overtime at the office? Spending the night at your friend’s house for an evening soiree? You can put almost everything you need to complete your day in a tote.

Aside from being big enough to hold things like a laptop, books, makeup and a change of clothes, tote bags also have the added benefit of matching most casual and formal day-to-day ensembles.

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Wear it with a little black dress, or strap it on with your shirt-and-jeans ensemble. Most outfits will look spot on with the right style of tote.

2. Hands-Free Fashion: Crossbody, Belt, Wristlet Bag

Crossbody bags, belt bags, and wristlet bags have one thing in common – they give a free-range of motion for your hands. More importantly, they don’t get in the way of fun while still helping you stay stylish all day long.

Crossbody bag

Whether small or medium, crossbody bags serve as excellent “permanent” bags for people who don’t like swapping bags for different occasions. It slings across the body, keeping balanced when carried.

It also works for both day and night, especially when you’re out running errands and partying the night away while keeping your phone and wallet safe and secure.

Belt bag

Considered as the more stylish cousin of the fanny pack, the belt bag is a sophisticated option that also leaves your hands free so that you can get stuff done.

It can be worn as a belt over an oversized dress to cinch the waist or with your most comfortable shirt-and-jeans ensemble.

Belt bags come in many shapes and sizes, each tailored for different occasions. Some designs are as versatile as totes but not as bulky.


The wristlet can be considered an improved version of the clutch bag. Unlike the latter, wristlets have a bracelet strap to make sure you don’t leave it unattended without having to hold it all the time.

When compared to crossbody and belt bags, wristlets are also more appropriate for semi-formal and formal situations. It is a great choice for occasions where you wouldn’t want a full purse but still need a few small things handy, like your phone, handkerchief, and some basic touch-up tools.

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3. Trips and Full-On Luggage Days: Backpack or Duffle Bag

Next on the list is the backpack and duffle bags.

As you may have guessed, the primary feature of these bags is the ample space they have. This makes both bags excellent choices for weekend getaways, business trips, and other situations that warrant bringing more than your day-to-day essentials.

Backpacks are also essential for specific lifestyles. Women who bring many items absolutely need at least one backpack in their closets. This type of bag also makes carrying many heavy things with the weight distributed evenly to both shoulders, thanks to its two shoulder straps.

In short, backpacks are convenient, comfortable, and easy to carry.

Some backpacks are also designed for formal and casual attire. Leather backpacks are preferred for more official, sophisticated looks, while canvas and synthetic materials work great for casual get-ups.

4. Special Occasions: Clutch Bags

Clutch bags are one of the few carry-ons that exude an air of elegance, sophistication, and glamour. In fact, clutch bags are deemed as the bag for formal occasions.

As the name suggests, you carry this type of bag by clutching it in your hand. It doesn’t usually have a strap, though some styles may have a structured handle that come together to form the bag’s opening.

While small, the clutch bag is an elegant must-have for women who want a convenient yet stylish carry-on without having to lug around a massive tote. It also comes in a wide range of shapes, styles, and materials.

Of course, the use of clutch bags isn’t limited to formal ensembles alone. Some can also work for casual attire, especially those that need a delicate and feminine accent.

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5. Daily Multipurpose Use: Shoulder Bags

Another bag – probably the most popular – that is considered a must-have for women is the shoulder bag.

Basically, this type of bag is carried on your shoulder – hence, the name. But unlike the backpack, the two straps of these bags are worn over one shoulder.

Shoulder bags are a crowd-favorite and are considered one of the most versatile, as they come in a variety of designs, colors, shapes, and styles. They come in elegant leather and casual fabric. They can even be used in almost any situation.

If you’re looking for a good shoulder bag to invest in, you should definitely consider looking into pre-loved Hermes bags, especially those under the Birkin line.

A Bag for Every Occasion

A bag is one of the most useful accessories ever invented. 

From totes and backpacks to crossbody, wristlet, and clutch bags, you can find one that’s perfect for you by matching their features to your lifestyle needs.

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