Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
If there is one accessory that gets more consistent use than almost all others, it’s the everyday purse. No matter how often you wear your favorite sneakers or your best pair of earrings, it’s the purse that’s coming with you every time you leave your house. It’s also the purse that can easily make or break a carefully planned outfit. This is why it's so crucial to do your research before investing in an everyday bag. Plus, there’s a lifestyle to consider.
Meet the Expert
If you’re in your early 20s and need a bag that’s compact enough to go from errands to date night, you might opt for a totally different purse than you would if you’re a mom of young children, or you’re constantly traveling. However, no matter what your needs are, handbag expert Emily Blumenthal says if there was one and only one thing to look for in an everyday bag, Blumenthal says its quality—“always quality.”
Whether you’re searching for the best everyday backpack or you are on the hunt for the perfect belt bag, here are the best everyday bags you should definitely have on your radar.
Best Overall: Coach Willis Top Bag
Coach’s Willis Top Handle Bag is a great option for a versatile, timeless, and high-quality everyday bag. It’s big enough to store all the essentials but small enough to look just as good with a casual outfit as it does with a date night look. Plus, it comes with a detachable crossbody strap for added versatility.
Materials: Glovetanned leather | Colors: Black, 1941 Saddle, Chalk | Dimensions: 7 x 6.5 x 3.5 inches
Best Budget: Madewell The Sydney Crossbody
If there’s any single everyday bag that has a very dedicated group of customers, it’s Madewell’s Sydney Crossbody. With a bag shape that the brand describes as “vintage and modern” and an optional crossbody strap, this bag is incredibly versatile, no matter what your style is like or how it changes over time.
Materials: Leather | Colors: True Black, Burnished Caramel, Dark Forest | Dimensions: 8 x 9 x 4.75 inches
Best Designer: Gucci Jackie 1961 Small Shoulder Bag
There’s a reason the Gucci Jackie designer bag has been popular for just so long. The half-moon design is incredibly classic, and the variety of colors and patterns the bag comes in means you can customize it to match your current wardrobe and lifestyle.
Materials: Leather | Colors: Red, Black, Light Blue, White, Beige, Emerald Green +more | Dimensions: 10.8 x 7.5 x 1.6 inches
Best Crossbody: Clare V. Midi Sac
One of Clare V’s best-selling bags, the Midi Sac is a rectangular crossbody that is perfect for any outfit or occasion. Plus, it comes in nearly a dozen colors and patterns and has options for a longer strap, making it more size-inclusive.
Materials: Leather | Colors: Black Quilted, Pacific Woven Checker, London Green Croco, Leopard, Black Checkers, Gingham, Cognac Metal Cat w/ Stripes, Cream Perf | Dimensions: 7.5 x 6 x 2.5 inches
Best Fanny Pack: Dagne Dover Ace Fanny Pack
With over 260 reviews and an average of 4.6 stars, this fanny pack is as popular as it is stylish and practical. With four pockets of various sizes, it makes it easy to organize and store items when you’re on the go. Plus, its lining and dust bag is made from 100 percent recycled plastic bottles.
Materials: 100% neoprene, 100% recycled polyester lining | Colors: Black, Thorn, Quartz, Stargazer, Electric Lime, Black Cherry | Dimensions: 9.25 x 5.5 x 2.75 inches
Best Satchel: Italic Audrey Embossed Leather Satchel
Complete with an outer pocket, metal clasp closure, and key valet, this satchel would be perfect for work but is still stylish enough that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to bring it to a happy hour date or post-work event. Bonus: The adjustable strap means it can be worn as a crossbody bag or on the shoulder comfortably.
Materials: 100% Mark calf leather; 100% lambskin lining | Colors: Black, Perriwinkle, Saddle | Dimensions: 9 x 8 x 11 x 4.25 inches
Best for Work: Calpak Haven Laptop Tote Bag
With a luggage trolley sleeve, removable shoulder strap, and removable laptop insert, this bag makes on-the-go work duties seem that much easier. Plus, it will fit up to a 17-inch laptop. Even given all its features, the bag weighs less than 3 pounds, making it lightweight enough to easily take on your daily commute.
Materials: Faux leather | Colors: Toffee, Black, Birch | Dimensions: 16 x 12.5 x 5 inches
Best Backpack: Fossil Camilla Convertible Backpack
Looking for an everyday backpack that doesn’t look like a backpack? Meet Fossil’s Camilla Convertible Backpack, which gives you the best of both worlds. Though it looks more like a tote than a backpack at first glance, this bag has comfortable, adjustable, and detachable straps and can fit a 13-inch laptop.
Materials: Eco-leather | Colors: Black, Lagoon, Henna | Dimensions: 13.75 x 4 x 13.36 inches
Best Tote: Cuyana Classic Structured Tote
If the Cuyana tote looks familiar to you, that’s because it is one of the most popular totes on the market—and for good reason. With different color options, customizable options, and optional accessories, this is a tote you can change up to work for your lifestyle and wardrobe. And of course, it’s large enough to hold your most important everyday items without being overly bulky.
Materials: Leather | Colors: Black, Caramel, Cappuccino, Stone, Merlot, Ecru | Dimensions: 13.25 x 19.5 x 6 inches
Best Compact: The Kooples Small Croco-Effect Emily Bag
This bag, named after Emily Ratajkowski, is small and compact while still making a big statement. If you’re in search of a bag that’ll be the perfect addition to a date night outfit, this one is a great choice and can be handheld or crossbody, depending on what works for you and your style.
Materials: Leather | Colors: Black, Red, Green, Purple, Orange, Blue, Yellow, Light Blue, Light Pink, White, Beige, Plum +more | Dimensions: 5.9 x 7.8 x 3.15 inches
Best Saddle: Charles & Keith Gabine Saddle Bag
This medium-sized saddlebag is a classic silhouette with modern details like an oversized buckle that make it seem incredibly current. Complete with a sturdy crossbody strap and gold hardware, this bag would easily pair with almost any outfit.
Materials: Faux leather | Colors: Cream, Black, Pink, Dark Green, Dark Brown | Dimensions: 2.5 x 9 x 7 inches
Best for Moms: Dagne Dover Medium Dakota Neoprene Backpack
The Dagne Dover Dakota Backpack is the “this bag can handle anything” bag, which is why it’s so perfect for moms. It also comes in small, medium, and large versions, so you can adjust your bag choice based on what makes the most sense for you (or based on how many kids you have). It also features a mesh pocket for a laptop or tablet, exterior pockets, and elastic loops for keys and other necessities.
Materials: Neoprene | Colors: Black, Army Green, Navy, Pink, Gray | Dimensions: 9.5 x 5 x 13 inches
What to Look for in an Everyday Bag
“The bag must be made well. It's not a good deal if it isn't made well or if you spend a lot of money and it falls apart immediately," she says. "I always say, try on a bag like you are trying on a pair of jeans. Is it too heavy and you are slumping over, is it unflattering and sits on your body in the wrong spot, does it have options for convertibility—can you wear it more than one way? Most importantly, does it fit with your day-to-day life? It's OK to have more than one everyday bag, but like a pair of shoes, make sure it works with you and your life before you spend any money.”
On a seasonal level, Blumenthal also says to take note of what you’re wearing currently when you’re shopping for a new everyday bag. If you’re wearing large puffer coats, for example, you’ll need a bag with a bigger drop (AKA the length between the inside handle from the zipper, she explains).
What Should You Carry in Your Everyday Bag?
In addition to key items like a laptop, wallet, and keys, Blumenthal suggests keeping hand sanitizer and small package wipes in your everyday bag (because no one wants to deal with more germs than necessary throughout their day).
Another item to keep in your leather bag that’s a bit more unexpected? Vaseline, says Blumenthal.
“A good hack for a leather bag is a mini jar of Vaseline because you can put a dab on your bag to give it a little shine when it gets worn down,” Blumenthal explains. “It's also good for your cheeks for a glow and your lips for the cold weather as well.”
Other helpful things to keep in your everyday bag: A pen, an extra phone charger, some Airpods, and an e-reader or book, if you have the room.
What Color Should Your Everyday Bag Be?
You might be tempted to gravitate toward a neutral black or brown everyday bag because of the versatility to complement a greater number of outfits, but Blumenthal says if there’s ever been a time to commit to a bag with a pop of color, it’s now.
“Reds, yellows, oranges, greens, blues, pinks... this is the time to grab that bag that makes you smile when you use it and not just the drab black bag that you kept under your drab coat and sweats leftover from your 18 months indoors,” she says.
Why Trust Byrdie
Olivia Muenter is a fashion commerce contributor for Byrdie, and she has been published in Refinery29, Bustle, Fashionista, Glamour, and Woman’s Day, among others. Her search for this piece covered retailers of all types. For criteria, she evaluated customer reviews, materials, versatility, and design.