For the past six months or so (although it feels like we’ve had a perma-winter), I’ve been lugging around any bag that’s big enough to fit jumpers, scarves, at least 17 lip balms and sometimes even a hot-water bottle. As a result, I have a sore shoulder and a heat rash. Not to worry, though, for now spring has broken through the gloom and we’re about to be met with a shower of sunshine, daffodils, Easter eggs and more bank holidays than you can shake a stick at. So, in the spirit of embracing a new, (hopefully) sunnier season, it’s high time I chuck my holdall out in favour of something new and improved.
And what would you know? There are so many great new bags! I know, you weren’t expecting that. But there are, with five key styles that are currently among my favourites. And not one of them will give you an injury.
Oversized cross-body bags
It’s become a true perennial but, if your classic cross-body needs an update, the new breed of oversized styles is your answer. Cooler than a satchel but with all the practicality, they go with absolutely everything, allow you to take everything with you and – crucially – don’t need to be hauled around.
Slouchy tote bags
While last year was all about mini bags that couldn’t hold much more than a lipstick, big bags are back (again). And, as well as the oversized shoppers, massive rucksacks and traditional totes, there’s a selection of slouchy shoulder bags that are particularly great, given the combination of how much they hold (a lot) and how easy they are to carry (very).
They’ve been around for a while, but the high street has just received a brand-new influx of these circular carriers in time for spring. They feel fresher than their boxier counterparts and all have a long strap, meaning you can go hands-free. Which is often a necessity – but always a bonus.
They were everywhere last summer, but raffia bags have now been adopted by the fashion crowd all year round and, as a result, there are hundreds of different shapes, styles and sizes on offer. If you’re looking for a Jane Birkin vibe, Topshop’s basket has a handy lid, while Zara’s version can be worn as either a cross-body or carried by the wooden handles. They look as chic at the weekend with jeans and a floaty blouse as they do with your beach dress on holiday. An all-rounder, if you will.
An unlikely trend, granted, but one that’s gathering pace at an alarming speed, given the amount of people posting pictures of these bags on Instagram. Add to that the fact that Céline and Margiela have both made their own (very expensive) versions and they officially become A Thing. They’re actually very practical, given that you can chuck anything and everything into them (including groceries) and the high street is selling them in abundance. While the likes of Urban Outfitters and Arket have the slightly flimsier net bags, if you’re after something more structured, Uterqüe has a lovely tote bag available in both black and white.