Sales can be a dangerous thing. One of favorite places to shop used to be the designer handbag sale section at department stores. The only problem is that the bags that were usually on sale, were the seasonal and trendy bags. Over the years of scouring this section I started to amass quite a collection of bags, many of them that I don’t like to use very often anymore and none of them classic or practical.

Now that I’m on the road so much, handbags have become more about function over fashion for me. But don’t get me wrong I still want to be stylish. The past two years I’ve sold or donated most of my handbags that never seemed quite right and have worked on building a complete capsule handbag wardrobe. Seven bags that that are classic, high quality, match most everything and that hopefully I will own for a long time.

Building a capsule handbag wardrobe isn’t something that you should do all at one time. Take inventory of what you already have, and while you’re getting rid of your older bags slowly replace them with classics that you love. No impulse shopping here. Here are my essentials for a perfect capsule handbag wardrobe.


Large Carry All Leather Tote

A simple black all purpose tote that can carry everything you need. I usually use this as my bag when I’m traveling or when I need to carry my laptop or papers around the city with me.


Summer Tote

Often I find black leather to be too heavy for summer so I like to have an alternative lighter tote. I usually choose one that’s not leather and less expensive so I feel like I can abuse it a little bit more and don’t feel as bad replacing it if I need to.


Small Tote or Satchel

I like to use a small tote or satchel for work if I don’t need a large tote. Great to carry just the essentials and an extra pair of shoes or a tablet if I need it.


Bucket Bag

I love bucket bags. My favorite is the Baggu Drawstring Bucket Bag. They’re casual and stylish and I can throw everything inside them. The wider base makes them much roomier without seeming too bulky. I can even fit my camera inside.


Small Day Crossbody

Sometimes you just don’t want to lug so much stuff around with you. A small daytime crossbody is a great bag to have if you don’t want to be weighed down and just need your wallet, phone and a lip gloss.


Evening Clutch

A classic evening clutch is essential for evenings out, weddings or more formal events. Choose something simple and classic.


Statement Bag

Even though I like to keep things minimal I still believe in a little fun. I think you should always allow yourself to have one statement handbag that isn’t necessarily practical or useful, you just love it and it brings you joy.