Arm Candy: 31 of the Best Handbags for Summer

Let’s talk handbags. During the last 18 months, it’s safe to say that handbags have been widely neglected – after all, bar a trip to Sainsbury’s and carrying masks, wallets and hand sanitiser, we’ve not had much use for them. But now, well, we can’t wait to carry a handbag with purpose again.

Handbags are like the mascara or lipstick of the accessory world – sure, any will surely do when you’re in a rush but get the right one and they’ll make everything about your look pop. With a plethora of shapes, styles and colours to choose from, a new handbag can be the ultimate mood booster. We’ve trawled the internet to pull together our favourite summer styles, perfect for swinging from your arm once more.

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Totes Amaze

There’s nothing like a handbag that you can lob everything but the kitchen sink into. Marni Market’s exclusive drop at Matches Fashion sold out super quickly this season but there’s an abundance of big bag energy out there – from tasseled boho styles structured woven straw – just make sure you don’t fill it to the brim!

Aubrey tote, £150, Reiss

Cross Body Brigade

Let’s face it, in the heat the last thing you want is another thing to carry – the juggle between masks and sunglasses is enough to keep us all busy. The ideal solution? A cross body bag that will keep you cool all through summer. Look for interesting shapes and details such as additional pouches to elevate the classic style.

Basket cases

Want to feel like you’re wafting through Provence rather than Peckham? A basket bag is the ultimate holiday-vibe-without-the-plane-ticket accessory. While we might be dreaming of Prada’s logo numbers, there’s plenty of more affordable classic styles that will last the test of time.

Camber beach tote, £99, Hobbs London

Grab and Go

As the name suggests, these bags are designed to well, grab. With cute top handles, carry them in your hand or in the crook of your arm.

Leopard nylon grab bag, was £22.99, now £14.90, Topshop

Shoulder it

The last time these armpit-cuddling bags were cool Britney was number one and we all wore low slung boot cut jeans but they say that with trends, what goes around, comes around. Make like Gen Z and scour eBay or Depop for a vintage Louis Vuitton pochette or Fendi Baguette for added cool points. Personally, we’re all about the bright colours this summer.

Pink Tabby bag, £395, Coach at

Rucksack attack

Cast aside any back-to-school associations because there’s nothing better than a backpack for the ultimate hands-free experience. There’s a reason Fjallraven have sold over 3 million of their Kanken style, popular with children and hipsters alike – not only is the minimalist design lightweight and roomy, it can also be comfortably carried in three different ways.

If you’re looking for something a little less utilitarian, look for fun prints and colours to add a twist to the practical style.

Black nylon backpack, £85, Fjallraven Kanken at Urban Outfitters

What style will you be investing in this summer? Let us know in the comments below!

Main image: Hobbs London

Other images: courtesy of brands

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