The 10 best classic handbags to invest in this summer

Posted by
Kitty McGee
Bulgari White Leather Diamond Serpenti bag

Structured saddle bags and boxy cross-body styles made a return to the catwalk for s/s 2019. Invest now and carry forever.

A new sophisticated mood reigned supreme at the Spring Summer 2019 shows, and what better way to celebrate this chic, pared-back style than with a new investment handbag.

Investing in an it bag is the perfect way to master understated statement dressing. Luxe leather was a trend that spanned our favourite ready-to-wear and accessories; Bulgari’s signature Serpenti shoulder bag is having a moment thanks to its elegant and effortless day-to-night appeal, while Dior and Burberry have created structured leather it-bags, perfect for daytime, in an array of classic and contemporary shades. Emerging label DeMellier is fast becoming a fashion-insider favourite and Sandro, Coach and Charles and Keith offer more affordable options for every day.

Don’t shy away from white, tan, rust and burgundy accessories; they are as classic as black and more on-trend. Wear them as part of one of autumn’s most important trends; tonal head-to-toe dressing; think layers of loose tailoring in white, cream and grey. Key pieces include wide-leg trousers, roomy white shirts and boxy blazers worn underneath oversized ankle-grazing Crombie coats.

If tonal dressing isn’t your thing, embrace autumn’s unusual colour combinations by wearing a sleek, non-black handbag with neutrals or bold primary colours; especially blue and yellow which look great with tan, brown and camel.

From satchels that nod to the seventies to minimal leather crossbody bags and practical, roomy totes, here’s Stylist’s edit of the best new classic bags available to shop now and wear throughout autumn.

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  • BVLGARI Serpenti Forever leather shoulder bag

    Best classic handbags: BVLGARI Serpenti Forever shoulder bag
    Best classic handbags: BVLGARI Serpenti Forever shoulder bag

    Italian jewellery and accessories brand Bulgari is currently celebrating the style of the Italian Riviera in the 60s with an inspired Cinemania pop-up at Selfridges Corner Shop. Expect investment-worthy statement bags and jewellery like this beautiful bag; the ultimate accessory to elevate all of your favourite summer looks.

    Leather shoulder bag, £1,530.00, available at Selfridges and at

  • Chloé C leather shoulder bag

    Chloé C mini brown leather shoulder bag
    Best classic handbags: Chloé C mini leather shoulder bag

    Channel the seventies with this C logo shoulder bag in sepia brown from Chloé.

    C Bag, £980, Chloé (

  • Sandro Pépita Bag

    Sandro saddle bag with gold hardware designer handbag accessories fashion style high street
    Best classic handbags: Sandro saddle bag

    This medium-sized black saddle bag from Sandro, with its ring-lock fastening detail, is the perfect wear-with-everything style.

    Saddle bag, £315, Sandro

  • Charles & Keith Chain Strap Shoulder Bag

    New cult high street accessories brand Charles & Keith’s chic navy tote is a practical choice for day-to-day.

    Navy chain strap handbag, £95, Charles & Keith

  • DeMellier Oslo Bag

    Best classic handbags: DeMellier Half Moon crossbody bag
    Best classic handbags: DeMellier Half Moon crossbody bag

    Contemporary accessories label DeMellier counts Beyonce, Emily Blunt and Meghan Markle amongst it’s fans, thanks to it’s feminine designs and minimal branding. The Oslo comes in 20 colourways and optional complimentary monogramming too.

    Leather crossbody bag, £335, DeMellier

  • Burberry TB Bag

    Burberry TB leather shoulder bag black leather designer classic luxury practical accessories handbag
    Best classic handbags: Burberry TB leather shoulder bag

    Burberry’s monogram TB bag is up there as one of the most covetable of the season. First seen on the catwalk of Riccardo Tisci’s debut collection for Burberry it references the initials of the fashion house’s founder, Thomas Burberry and is the perfect mix of timelessness and statement style.

    TB monogram bag, £1,490, Burberry (

  • Coach Parker Top Handle Tote

    Coach Parker Top Handle black leather tote handbag bag accessories designer luxury
    Best classic handbags: Coach Parker Top Handle black leather tote

    This doctor’s-style top-handle tote is a stylish and roomy option for work. Wear it crossbody over a t-shirt and jeans at the weekend or with longline tailoring for the office.

    Top handle tote, £350, Coach

  • Gucci Arli medium suede shoulder bag

    Gucci suede monogram satchel bag burgundy suede
    Best classic handbags: Gucci suede monogram satchel bag

    Gucci’s nostalgic, heritage-inspired handbags have become nothing short of cult. This burgundy suede Arli bag is the ultimate in timeless, classic style.

    Suede shoulder bag, £1,770, Gucci (

  • Celine Besace 16 Bag

    Celine SMALL BESACE 16 BAG IN SATINATED CALFSKIN designer luxury handbag accessories fashion style
    Best classic handbags: Celine crossbody bag

    Celine’s slick, statement handbags are the ultimate in both aesthetics and construction. This leather shoulder bag is the perfect addition to your wardrobe; wear it with everything from printed midi dresses and sandals to jeans and boots.

    Grey calfskin bag, £1,550, Celine

  • Longchamp Penelope tote bag

    Longchamp penelope tote bag
    Best classic handbags: Longchamp Penelope tote bag

    This stylish and refined tote from Longchamp is the perfect travel companion. The fringed drawstring details adds a contemporary twist to a traditional Longchamp classic. 

    Black leather tote bag, £535, Longchamp

Opening image: Harry Pedersen

Product images: courtesy of brands