If you’re in the market for a bag that will work for whatever your Monday through Friday schedule will bring, your best bet is a crossbody bag. Oftentimes, you can find one big enough to carry all of your essentials, from a travel toothbrush to hair clips. Then, there are the ones that will best serve you for a night out when you only need a makeup compact and some cash. In either case, though, the bag’s benefits are multifold: It allows you to keep your things close and generally well-organized. And with everything packed away neatly, your hands and pockets will be free and clear.
While stylist Samantha Brown wouldn’t necessarily recommend one to round out a formal look, the bag can make many other looks feel more polished and put together. “By using texture, color, and unique design elements, crossbody bags can even dress up a pair of sweatpants,” Brown adds.
When choosing a bag, consider your most essential items and how they’ll fit, always striving for practicality. The tiny nature of Billini’s Maya Ivory Woven Crossbody Bag makes it feel more like an exterior pocket than a purse. And style-wise, it even nods to Bottega Veneta’s intrecciato design. But unlike any of the Italian brand’s iterations, it will cost you less than $100. There are also smooth leather options by Madewell, Coach, and Chloé if you’re OK spending a bit more money for something classic.
Madewell The Transport Shoulder Crossbody Bag
When looking for our best overall crossbody bag, our criteria included a durable material, intuitive design, timeless look, and under-$200 price point. This Madewell bag checked all of those boxes and more. Personal style advisor Jordan Stolch recommends this soft-shaped crossbody bag to those looking for a blend of vintage and modern vibes. “With its smooth, luxe leather, and zipper closure, it’s sure to take you from the office to the weekend with ease,” she says. Achieve a classic French girl look and style this bag with a pair of mom jeans, ballet flats, and a neutral sweater.
Price at time of publish: $158
Material: Leather | Dimensions: 8.25 x 11 x 2.5 inches | Colors: True Black, English Saddle (camel), Summer Dune (ivory), Forest +more | Closure: Zip
A New Day Refined Crossbody Bag
Take it from us: Run to your nearest Target and pick up this $30 crossbody bag before it’s sold out. The affordable piece can comfortably secure all of your necessities, such as a wallet, your phone, and some of your lip balm. It’ll become one of your favorites in no time.
Price at time of publish: $30
Material: Polyurethane | Dimensions: 6.75 x 8.5 x 2.38 inches | Colors: Pink, black, green, beige +more | Closure: Turn-key
Chloé Tess Small Flap Canvas Leather Crossbody Bag
We love that this Chloé bag comes with a shoulder and crossbody strap, that way it’s more versatile when it comes to styling different dress codes. Chloé has been producing superior handbags for almost 70 years, so if you’re looking for a bag that will stand the test of time and serve as an heirloom for years to come, look no further than this classic, feminine crossbody.
Price at time of publish: from $1,950
Material: Leather, linen; leather, suede | Dimensions: 6.9 x 8.1 x 2.4 inches | Colors: Blue, Lichen Green | Closure: Magnetic
Charles & Keith Gabine Saddle Bag in Black
Don’t worry about breaking the bank with this Charles & Keith saddle bag—it’s under $200. The envelope-style magnetic closure keeps your items secure while still offering quick and easy access to them.
Price at time of publish: $149
Material: Leather | Dimensions: 6.5 x 23 x 18 centimeters | Colors: Chalk, Black, Brown | Closure: Magnetic
Mark & Graham The Essential Crossbody
At 8 x 6 inches, this bag isn’t too big or too small, making it a great option for everyday wear. It’s compact yet spacious with two separate compartments to keep your essentials isolated while still organized.
Price at time of publish: $119
Material: Leather | Dimensions: 8 x 2.5 x 6 inches | Colors: Camel, navy, red +more | Closure: Zip
Best for Outdoors
Lululemon Clean Lines Crossbody Bag
This chic yet practical Lululemon crossbody bag is ideal for outdoor activities, from overnight camping to a quick hike with friends. Its water-repellent fabric, deep pockets, and adjustable shoulder strap make this bag a well-equipped companion. Choose from four versatile neutral colors, then add it to your checkout cart.
Price at time of publish: $58
Material: Polyester and nylon | Dimensions: 30 x 5 x 20 centimeters | Colors: White Opal, Java, Grey Sage +more | Closure: Zip
Billini Maya Ivory Crossbody Bag
Add this white crossbody bag from Lulus to your cart to round out your summer outfits. Brown considers it a wardrobe staple given its minimalist design and subtle gold hardware. Its weaving and tubular twin straps evoke Bottega Veneta’s signature intrecciato handbags. Though, Lulus’ is made from faux leather and Bottega Veneta’s designs are true handbags and shoulder bags. Lulus’ version is far less expensive, too, by at least $1,000.
Price at time of publish: $65
Material: Polyurethane | Dimensions: 7.5 x 4.5 x 2.5 inches | Colors: Ivory | Closure: Zip
Coach Bea Crossbody Bag
If you’re looking for a bag that can meet all your styling needs, from an outfit to run errands in to the one you’ve picked out for your bestie’s birthday party, consider this one from Coach. It has a classy and luxe look and feel but still maintains functionality with its boxy shape that contains eight credit card slots, three interior compartments, and one exterior pocket. For versatility, convert it from a crossbody bag to a handbag by removing the matte black chain strap and carrying it by the top handle.
Price at time of publish: $275
Material: Leather | Dimensions: 7.75 x 4.75 x 2.25 inches | Colors: Red, Black, Denim | Closure: Snap
Best for Moms
Canvelle Fanny Pack
This isn’t technically a crossbody bag, but you can wear it as one. The fanny pack style is great for moms who want to keep their personal belongings separate from their baby’s. For easy access, they can simply sling the style across their body. The strap is adjustable so you can fit it closer to your chest or lengthen it as needed. It also comes in two sizes, original and oversized.
Price at time of publish: $95
Material: Canvas made from recycled plastic | Dimensions: 5.5 x 13.5 x 4 inches or 7 x 18.5 x 6 inches | Colors: Black, gray, olive green +more | Closure: Zip
Dagne Dover Micah Crossbody
This bag may be small, but it sure is mighty. Although it’s lightweight (it weighs under one pound), it’s structured and organized, featuring three compartments (one main and two exterior pockets). From the photos, it looks like you can fit a small notebook, a phone, sunglasses, and perhaps lip balm. Material-wise, the neoprene is durable, waterproof, and machine washable.
Price at time of publish: $110
Material: Repreve® recycled polyester | Dimensions: 8.75 x 3 x 7 inches | Colors: Onyx (black), Heather Grey, Dark Moss, Dune, Storm +more | Closure: Zip
Free People Sindy Suede Crossbody Bag
Get in on the fringe trend with Free People’s Sindy suede crossbody bag. It boasts a buck shape with three compartments for easy organization. It’s also versatile—when you need something more simple, you can detach the fringe, and when you don’t need to be hands-free, you can detach the long strap and carry the bag by the top handle.
Price at time of publish: $108
Material: Suede, leather | Dimensions: 7.75 x 7.75 x 3.5 inches | Colors: Azure (teal), Bitter Kelp (yellow), Cognac (brown), Black | Closure: Magnetic and zip
Brandon Blackwood Bianca Duffle
Puffer bags are having a moment, so why not give them a try? Go with Brandon Blackwood’s Bianca style. The cylindrical bag is made from water-resistant nylon and leather details, and it comes in a happy assortment of colors that includes green, hot pink, and light blue. Wear it casually with baggy jeans and a cropped graphic T-shirt.
Price at time of publish: $200
Material: Nylon, leather | Dimensions: 9.06 x 5.12 x 5.12 inches | Colors: Black, green, dark brown +more | Closure: Zip
Ani Mairis Marigold Zaza
For nights out on the town when you only need your ID, phone, keys, and lip gloss, Ani Mairis’ mini crossbody is perfect. At $425, it’s certainly a splurge (especially given that it’s a statement bag that you can’t wear with most things), but we love the angular shape and embossing over anything else on the market in this size.
Price at time of publish: $425 (crossbody strap sold separately for $50)
Material: Leather | Dimensions: 6 x 2 x 4.5 inches | Colors: Marigold, Aquamarine +more | Closure: Flap
Madewell’s Transport Shoulder Crossbody Bag is timeless and adaptable—key features of a standout crossbody bag. It’s a great value given how easily you can style it with jeans and a top. However, if you’d rather keep your purchase under $100, then go with Target’s Refined Crossbody Bag—a statement bag that will impact your look but not your savings account.
What to Look for in a Crossbody Bag
Going hands-free while still having access to your most important belongings is the whole point of a crossbody bag. To make sure a given crossbody bag works for you, Brown recommends paying extra attention to the closure, be it a zipper, an envelope-style flap, or a magnetic button. Wear the bag with your belongings inside. Then, try to access them. Brown has found that a zipper is preferable to those who value privacy over the most ease of access. A magnetic closure is slightly less secure to make accessibility easier.
Consider the purpose of this bag and your wardrobe when choosing a material. Generally, “leather or faux leather make for excellent everyday choices because they’re sturdy,” Stolch says. They’re also sleeker. Meanwhile, polyester, nylon, and canvas are less expensive and can be easier to maintain given that they’re typically machine-washable fabrics. Both are commonly used in everyday bags. If you’re looking for a more formal or festive crossbody bag, Stolch recommends suede or velvet.
Regardless of what material you choose, Stolch stresses the importance of caring for your bag. Be sure to look out for care instructions in the product description. Keep in mind that leather absorbs oils from your skin, and suede picks up dirt and grime quicker than most other materials. To keep them looking fresh, take them to a professional leather cleaner.
“Select a strap that allows you to tailor the bag to the correct length for your body—the shorter you are, the shorter you’ll want the strap,” Stolch says, adding that the opposite is often the case for taller frames. “There’s not one strap length that works universally, so it’s useful to be able to adjust it.” Of course, there are some straps, like the chain strap on Coach’s Bea Crossbody Bag, that aren’t able to be adjusted. As far as material, Stolch says leather, faux leather, and fabric straps are casual and work well for everyday use. “A chain strap is dressier, making it a great option for [dressy weekend attire].” Chain strap bags can often be worn like a clutch by simply tucking the chain strap inside the bag if the chain can’t be detached altogether.
Since crossbody bags have the potential to put a lot of pressure and strain on your shoulder, Brown suggests sticking to bags under two pounds. “Bags with a lot of hardware tend to be heavier,” she says. And while bold hardware often adds a bit of panache, it’s worth prioritizing comfort to avoid causing damage to your shoulder in the long run.
What is a crossbody bag?
A crossbody bag is a purse style worn diagonally across the body, from shoulder to opposite hip—hence the term crossbody. The bag is designed to hold only the essentials, like your phone, wallet, keys, and glasses. Doing so often helps make an active schedule more organized. “Unlike large shoulder purses, which often need to be adjusted and have the tendency of falling off, the crossbody style stays in place all day, allowing you to go about your life with ease,” Stolch says.
How can you style a crossbody bag?
“Because crossbody bags come in a variety of shapes, colors, styles, and hardware, they easily pair with what’s already in your closet,” Stolch says. It’s just a matter of choosing the right style for you, i.e., understanding how the bag would fit with the outfits you’d like to wear it with. A casual sundress and a pastel leather crossbody are such a cute combo for summer. Meanwhile, a nylon or neoprene bag is perfect for the athleisure you’d wear in a pinch, to run to the grocery store, the bank, or the post office.
What’s the difference between a crossbody bag and a messenger bag?
“A messenger bag is a type of crossbody bag, usually reserved for travel and work settings,” Stolch says. Sitting at the bottom of your back, a messenger is larger and can typically fit a laptop, a water bottle, and notepads along with the essentials a typical crossbody bag is known for holding. “Because of its size and [super] functional purpose, the messenger bag is not categorized as a purse or handbag,” she explains.
Why Trust Byrdie
Meguire Hennes is a copy editor for The Everygirl and a freelance writer for Bustle, Byrdie, Elite Daily, The Zoe Report, and The Everygirl, covering fashion, sex and relationships, beauty, decor, and more relatable lifestyle content. While earning her B.A. in fashion studies from Montclair State University, she learned the ins and outs of handbag design, branding, and marketing. As a part of her research for the best crossbody bags available, she spoke with stylists Samantha Brown and Jordan Stolch to provide readers with great recommendations.