Sometimes it’s good to go loud with your wardrobe. Big birthdays, weddings and nights out—they’re all a bit more fun when feathers and sequins are involved. But when it comes to handbags—an accessory you carry with you day in, day out—it’s my opinion (as a stylist of almost a decade) that the quieter and more understated, the better. Less fuss and fewer logos mean the bag will not only be more versatile, but it also won’t age, making it a much smarter long-term investment. It’s also true that a pared-back handbag that lets quality and design speak for it will always elevate your outfits and make them look more expensive.
Alexis styles her simple COS bag with an all white outfit.
You’ll be glad to hear, then, that I’ve compiled an edit below of the best minimalist handbags of all time for you to peruse, just in case you happen to be in the market for your next purchase. Some are luxury icons that have already been around for decades, proving their worth a hundred times over, and some are newer designs I can confidently say have a lot of life in them yet. There are high-end additions and there are some more affordable options too, but they all make for timeless investments it would be hard to regret.
At first sight, there might not seem to be anything particularly special or recognisable about these bags, but put any of them in front of a fashion person, and not only will we identify them a mile away, but you’ll also have us swooning instantly and waxing lyrical about their design history, handcrafted quality or known celebrity fans. Rest assured these are the styles that are perennially on our editor wish lists. They all subtly say “I’m in the know” and quite simply make all outfits look chic, without the need for any shouty logos or cult designs with a short sell-by date.
Keep scrolling, then, to see and shop the 18 quiet luxury bag heroes that make valuable wardrobe investments.
An ageless, all-time classic.
This is every fashion person’s dream tote right now.
These Demellier totes have been spotted on the arms of many of our favourite influencers.
This understated bag is minimalist perfection.
This is a bag that will transcend years, not just seasons.
If you’re after a beautiful luxury bag with a slightly more affordable price tag, I always recommend A.P.C.’s timeless styles.
In true The Row style, this cross-body is understated but oh-so sophisticated.
Savette is relatively new on the handbag scene, but the fashion crowd got behind it very quickly thanks to the elevated, minimalist designs that will undoubtedly look good forever.
The Cleo is a cult favourite for a reason.
The curved lines! The buttery leather! The shining gold clasp! Gucci’s Jackie is undeniably a minimalist hero.
A truly beautiful bag from one of our beloved Scandi labels.
This pared-back shoulder bag is my personal favourite that will only get better with age. You can adjust the length of the strap, too.
A bag that has already proven its timelessness.
The abstract shape makes this such a winner.
It’s impossible for this bag not to pique your interest.
This is the only high-street bag on this list because it’s one of the few that have the quality and minimalist design credentials good enough to last. I’ve lost track of the times it has sold out and been restocked, so if you’ve been thinking about it, add it to your basket quickly to avoid disappointment.
A simple zip pouch clutch is an invaluable wardrobe piece.
This oversized clutch bag would elevate so many outfits.
A satin clutch is an evening wear saviour.
This cult bag has now gained classic status, and its minimalist yet luxurious design features will elevate all your outfits for years to come.
This piece was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.
Opening Image: @anoukyve