How to style handbags with every outfit: 12 Style Panel-approved tips

how to style bags lee vosburgh
how to style bags lee vosburgh

They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but handbags are the real MVPs. What else holds your wallet, phone, lipgloss and adds the finishing touch to any outfit?

Whether you’re heading to the office, a formal event (ahem, a summer wedding), or even to the gym, you’re bound to have a handbag at your side.

We’ve asked our Style Panel to showcase their favourite handbags. From beaded vintage bags to free-spirited crossbodies to structured satchels, our Style Panel’s got you covered. Flip through for the best handbag styling tips and inspo.

Question 161: How do you style your handbag? Read the answers now! »

how to style bags neguine boustantchi

Neguine Boustantchi
Toronto | Persian Brunette

I always tend to fall in love with black bags as they are timelessly elegant and can be worn whenever with whatever. My favourite bag of the season is Nano Sac de Jour by Saint Laurent. I am obsessed with its classic shape and how practical the size is.

During the day, I find myself wearing simple and comfortable pieces like this little black dress from F21, duster coat from Zara and Balenciaga-esque ankle boots from Maje. What I love about this kind of outfits is that I just have to switch the boots with classic black pumps and the coat with a tailored blazer to go out at night. For the bag, you already know which one I will choose.

Neguine’s wearing: Dress, Forever 21. Coat, Zara. Boots, Maje. Bag, Saint Laurent.

how to style bags mikayla kuehn

Mikayla Kuehn
Toronto | MAK Style

My go-to bag has to be this black Celine inspired cross body from DAILYLOOK. I am a broke college student, so the faux Celine will have to do (for now). It goes with everything and I think it looks adorable with this cute little pom-pom keychain I put on it. As for my outfit, I am wearing this black turtleneck tank top with a leather jacket draped over my shoulders for daytime. I also have a pair of distressed boyfriend jeans on to make the look more relaxed in contrast to my pink satin heels. To take this look from day to night, I would put on the leather jacket to wear over my outfit, ditch the sunglasses, and tie my hair up to show off a pair of statement earrings and my bold, dark red lip.

Mikayla’s wearing: Tank Top, H&M. Jacket, Ardene. Denim, Forever 21. Bag, DAILYLOOK. Shoes, Betsey Johnson. Sunglasses, Calico.

how to style bags adrienne naval

Adrienne Naval
Toronto | Adrienne Naval

For me, crossbody bags are always my go-to handbag. The one I’m wearing in the photo surprisingly fits way more than you’d think. Also, if you’re going to take this bag from day to night, crossbody is the best option because you don’t want to be lugging around a huge tote bag the whole night! I love structured bags because I think they are chic and can totally go from day to night without any extra effort needed. My bag also has a longer strap that you can take on and off which I find very useful if you want to have a small shoulder bag instead of a crossbody for night time!

Adrienne’s wearing: Top, American Eagle. Pants, Topshop. Shoes, Converse. Necklace and Bracelet, Cherry Pick. Bag, Topshop.

how to style bags carleton eckhardt

Carleton Eckhardt
Toronto | Carleton Eckhardt

Being on the go I prefer an oversized bag that will hold all my essentials. This particular style is my personal pick because it’s stylish, lightweight and holds all my necessities including my camera, clothes, shoes and makeup. Something like this the perfect accessory to get me through a busy day.

Carleton’s wearing: Bag, Wish List YYZ. Top, Brandy Melville. Jeans, Zara. Sunglasses, The Manor Salon.

how to style bags amanda montgomery

Amanda Montgomery
Toronto | Latest Wrinkle

I am loving printed bags for this season. It’s such an easy way to incorporate some print mixing into a look. This bag, The ‘Sammy’, is from a collection I curated with the brand Society+, launching this Friday.

This bag is a perfect structured bag, with handles that fall by the side when you wear it on the strap, which was a detail that was important to me for those hands-free moments. Because of the print and gold details it is easy to style this bag for a day at work or running errands, and then with a LBD for a night out!

Amanda’s wearing: Bag, Society+.

how to style bags laura mitbrodt

Laura Mitbrodt
Victoria | Laura Jane Atelier

My favourite handbag for the summer is my pink Kate Spade hand bag. I love this bag because it adds the cutest pop of colour to any outfit and can be worn with any look. If you wanted to dress it up you could add a fun key chain or perhaps a vintage silk scarf to add some extra colour and print.

Laura’s wearing: Bag, Kate Spade. Sweater, Chic Wish. Braceletes, Alix and Ani.

how to style bags lee vosburgh

Lee Vosburgh
Guelph | Style Bee

I like to keep things lean when it comes to my bag, especially in the Summer. I usually opt for something hands-free and low profile that’s easy to wear all day whether I’m at a festival, a wedding or just out and about. I love this circular cross-body I designed in collaboration with OPELLE because it’s so easy to wear, packs all the essentials and adds the perfect punch of interest to a minimal look. Plus, the strap is removable so it instantly becomes a cute clutch for dinners out with good friends and cold drinks!

Lee’s wearing: Bag, Opelle x Style Bee. Top, Elizabeth Suzann. Sunglasses, Celine. Pants, Jesse Kamm. Cuff, Stvdio Brooklyn. Necklace, Young Frankk. Wedges, Rachel Comey. Ring, Claus.

how to style bags kayla short

Kayla Short
Halifax | Short Presents

We love our handbags, we love to have our choice, but I do tend to go through phases with certain ones from time to time. One that I come back to a lot during the warmer months is the cross-body. There’s something about it’s carefree low maintenance personality (hello hands free) that lends itself to activities of the same nature. I tend to opt for this bag when i want to tote less which usually is in the spring / summer months.

Kayla’s wearing: Jacket, Silver Icing. Top, Ardene. Jeans, Rag and Bone via Aritzia. Shoes, Le Chateau. Bag, Forever 21. Watch, Bulova. Sunglasses, Celine via Smart Buy Glasses.

how to style bags becky kung

Becky Kung
Calgary | Velvet & Vino

When it comes to handbags this season, I look for two characteristics that make for that perfect go-to bag. I prefer a lightweight, smaller version as there’s something about the summer months that mean I’m always on the go and need that piece I can carry around everywhere with me in comfort without sacrificing style.

The second characteristic I look for is cute handbags in soft colour palettes. I love feminine hues for summer and this light pink handbag is perfect for me. I pair this piece with almost any colour and especially love wearing it with dresses.

The way I take this cute bag from day to evening is by adding and removing the shoulder strap. For a daytime look I like to have the shoulder strap on so that I can wear it as a cross body for running errands and keeping it comfortable. In the evening, I remove the shoulder strap and carry it as a handbag/clutch. It also feels like I have a new handbag each time I change it up!

Becky’s wearing: Dress, Vera Wang. Bag, Micheal Kors.

how to style bags felice granados

Felice Granados
Vancouver | Felice Granados

This season, I have been sporting my trusty black, leather hand bag as my favourite accessory! As we all know, a black accessory pairs with almost any outfit, whether you wear it during the day or night. In the daytime, I usually wear a monochromatic outfit with a light trench coat. During a night out, I would usually clip on an adorable beige fur keychain to the handbag to dress it up. As a commuter, I prefer using a rather spacious, yet stylish handbag to fit all my necessities in, and this bag seems to do just the job. As you scroll through my instagram (felicegranados), I tend to stick to black or brown handbags as neutral colours seem to compliment any outfit.

how to style bags liat neuman

Liat Neuman
Toronto | Yomanchic

As a big fan of the effortless look, I am always looking for a practical yet chic bag, that will suits my day to day needs, but also will be elevate an off-duty looks. This structured cross-body bag, which frees up my hands, is also very versatile. I can wear it with any outfit I can think up. I simply adore the mixed textual and the bold contrast element that creates a playful retro vibe. I paired it with stacked heels sandals for a modern and up to date look that will suit these after-work hours. Sneakers are a great option for a casual day look, since it will bring the look down to earth in a sporty luxe way.

Liat’s wearing: Bag, Misha Nonoo x Aldo Rise. Shirt, French Connection. Jeans, Zara. Sandals, Misha Nonoo x Aldo Rise.

how to style bags rihannon berthelot

Rihannon Berthelot
Calgary | File It Under Style

A wise woman once told me that you can never have too many handbags, this truth sunk in deep. To this day I have over 100 handbags, ranging from giant tote bags to teeny change purses. What’s the rule? The larger the purse the more you can fit inside! That is certainly my reality, so I like to keep things small and simple so I don’t hold up the latte line on Monday morning. Being a vintage lover and a crow in a past life I would like to call your attention to this stunner. A hand beaded black and gold satin cross body bag. It’s the perfect accessory because it goes with everything. It dresses up the most casual attire,and adds the perfect element of glitz to an already glamorous ensemble. It has a beautiful metal chain strap, top clasp closure, hand beading (did I mention HAND BEADING) and finally a pocket inside that perfectly fits a credit card. Need I say more? Feast your eyes on the ultimate in chic companionship.

Rihannon’s wearing: Bag, vintage.



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