fashion

A Guide to 5 Must-Have Bags

06.16.14

The Ultimate Handbag Guide: 5 Must-Have Vegan Bags via High Heels and High Morals | vegan fashion | brands | cruelty free fashion | designers | style | faux leather | pleather | woman | chic | black | simple | classy | accessories | vegan handbag | vegan purses | faux leather purses | vegan leather | vegan suede bag | vegan fashion brands | guide

Image via Zara
Purses are something that we use every day and for some of us, they are such a regular staple that they sometimes blend into the background of our wardrobes, and consequently get overlooked. There was once a time a mere couple years ago that I was a one-bag-fits all kind of gal, and my friends often made fun of me for carrying around the same large purse everywhere I go. Although said purse checked all the right boxes for style, storage, and durability, the reality is that it just didn’t work for every occasion and outfit. After coming to terms with this newfound realization, I finally opened my eyes to the wide world of purses. There are many different kinds of purses, each with their individual styles and purposes for every fashion, occasion, or season. After perusing my favourite websites, I have round up some picks for the 5 essential purses that every girl should have in her wardrobe (and best of all: they are all vegan leather!)

1. Satchel/Crossbody Bag

A satchel or cross-body bag is perhaps the most important bag in your wardrobe, as you will be using it everyday. Because of it’s frequent use, this is a bag that you may want to splurge on, so you can ensure that the materials are durable, and the craftsmanship is high-quality. This is the perfect everyday bag because you can carry it on your shoulder, or across your body for a more comfortable fit. This bag is great for wearing around downtown and on-the-go, or any activity that requires a hands-free purse (like shopping or antiquing). Due to their form and design, these bags are generally casual, and would therefore compliment a casual outfit. That being said, when you have one in a punchy colour or with interesting details or embellishments, it can elevate an outfit from casual to chic. The trick to finding the right everyday purse is getting one that is not too big (then you may find yourself subconsciously putting extra/unnecessary items in it to fill the space), but not too small that you can’t fit all of your essentials that you need day-to-day.

The Ultimate Handbag Guide: 5 Must-Have Vegan Bags via High Heels and High Morals | vegan fashion | brands | cruelty free fashion | designers | style | faux leather | pleather | woman | chic | black | simple | classy | accessories | vegan handbag | vegan purses | faux leather purses | vegan leather | vegan suede bag | vegan fashion brands | guide | zara

Zara Flap Over Messenger Bag

2. Structured Bag

A structured purse with a stream-lined shape and a sturdy silhouette is key for exuding a professional vibe with your work outfits. When choosing a purse for work, you want one that is not only sophisticated and polished, but one that can fit your work essentials (i.e. notebooks, folders, etc.) in a way that doesn’t compromise them. It is ideal if it can carry legal size documents either horizontally or even vertically, with minimal room to move around and get bent. Also look for small pockets on the bag that can store everyday items like your wallet, phone, iPod, and a few must-have make up products that you need for the day. It is a no-brainer that you should go for neutral colours (black is my favourite) to maintain a professional look, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have small, unexpected details like interesting hardware or a coloured zipper. A bonus about this kind of bag is that you can get more fashion mileage out of it by tieing a bright floral scarf around one of the straps to take it from workplace formal to downtown casual. Again, because this is a work bag that you will be using five days a week (or more!), you should be willing to splurge a little to ensure that it lasts the test of time, and fits the look of a young professional.

 

The Ultimate Handbag Guide: 5 Must-Have Vegan Bags via High Heels and High Morals | vegan fashion | brands | cruelty free fashion | designers | style | faux leather | pleather | woman | chic | black | simple | classy | accessories | vegan handbag | vegan purses | faux leather purses | vegan leather | vegan suede bag | vegan fashion brands | guide | zara

Zara Combined Office City Bag
The Ultimate Handbag Guide: 5 Must-Have Vegan Bags via High Heels and High Morals | vegan fashion | brands | cruelty free fashion | designers | style | faux leather | pleather | woman | chic | black | simple | classy | accessories | vegan handbag | vegan purses | faux leather purses | vegan leather | vegan suede bag | vegan fashion brands | guide | zara

Zara Combined Office City Bag
The Ultimate Handbag Guide: 5 Must-Have Vegan Bags via High Heels and High Morals | vegan fashion | brands | cruelty free fashion | designers | style | faux leather | pleather | woman | chic | black | simple | classy | accessories | vegan handbag | vegan purses | faux leather purses | vegan leather | vegan suede bag | vegan fashion brands | guide | matt and nat

Matt & Nat Toujours Handbag in Taupe

3. Bright/Patterned Clutch

A bright or patterned clutch is your go-to purse for nights out, and this is the one purse that you can really go crazy with in terms of colours, textures, and hardware. The beauty of the clutch is that it forces you to carry only the absolute essentials like cash, credit/debit cards, ID, and lipstick. The reason this purse is ideal for going out is because it is small and doesn’t take up too much space on your body, whether you’re going out for drinks or dancing. You don’t have to put too much thought or money into a simple going-out clutch, you just need to make sure it’s durable, lightweight, and can hold all of your stuff. It should be of decent quality but relatively inexpensive, because due to it’s small size, there is a likelihood that you could misplace or lose it, and have to buy more in the future. Pro tip: if you’re prone to drink spillage (or frequently go dancing where other clumsy people spill drinks on you), find a clutch that has a hard case shell; that way you can simply wipe away spills with ease.

The Ultimate Handbag Guide: 5 Must-Have Vegan Bags via High Heels and High Morals | vegan fashion | brands | cruelty free fashion | designers | style | faux leather | pleather | woman | chic | black | simple | classy | accessories | vegan handbag | vegan purses | faux leather purses | vegan leather | vegan suede bag | vegan fashion brands | guide | brit and co.

Infinite Candies Zipper Clutch from Brit + Co.

4. Neutral Clutch

A neutral clutch is the purse you want to reach for when you’re attending a formal event, need a neutral purse to balance out a bright outfit when you’re going out, or even to add a touch of polish to a causal daytime outfit. As mentioned above, the key things to look for when finding a clutch is that it is durable, lightweight, and can hold all of your essential items. When choosing materials and colours/patterns, opt for classic neutrals like black and white, or colours found in nature, and soft materials — plastic is a formal no-no! Preferably, because this is a clutch that is mainly intended for formal use, it should be structured and geometric, not lumpy (you don’t want it bulging when you put your stuff in it). My personal favourite is the envelope clutch. If you want to add a little edge to your outfit (or can’t live without embellishments), then a clutch with small studded detailing can add a special something. Just make sure that the craftsmanship is high quality (see if you can find online reviews), because you don’t want to wind up with studs falling off of your purse after only a couple of uses!

The Ultimate Handbag Guide: 5 Must-Have Vegan Bags via High Heels and High Morals | vegan fashion | brands | cruelty free fashion | designers | style | faux leather | pleather | woman | chic | black | simple | classy | accessories | vegan handbag | vegan purses | faux leather purses | vegan leather | vegan suede bag | vegan fashion brands | guide | zara

Zara Flap Over Messenger Bag

5. Tote Bag/Carry-All

A tote bag or carry-all bag is the cornerstone of bags. Although it isn’t a bag you would necessarily use every day, you will be thankful you have it when you need to carry a lot of items in one bag. Perfect for overnight trips and long car rides, you can fit magazines, novels, sketchbooks, snacks — just about anything — in this kind of bag. Just make sure that it’s roomy, durable, and has comfortable straps (you don’t want to hurt your hands or strain your arm if you’re carrying a lot of stuff at once). In terms of style, you can opt for neutrals for a no-fail polished look while travelling, or spice things up with a pop of colour or funky details for a more carefree vibe.

The Ultimate Handbag Guide: 5 Must-Have Vegan Bags via High Heels and High Morals | vegan fashion | brands | cruelty free fashion | designers | style | faux leather | pleather | woman | chic | black | simple | classy | accessories | vegan handbag | vegan purses | faux leather purses | vegan leather | vegan suede bag | vegan fashion brands | guide | zara

Zara Perforated Mini Shopper in Light Pink
Here’s a list of some of my favourite vegan handbag retailers:
Matt & Nat
Angela Roi
Lulu’s
Olivia + Joy

So there you have it, my guide to 5 must-have vegan handbags. What’s your go-to handbag style? Do you have any favourite vegan handbag brands? Share your suggestions in the comments, and I will include them in future posts!