The One Bag a Fashion Editor Swears By for Every Occasion

Day to Night Bags
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Another work week, another set of five outfits to wear to the office and beyond—as if it were actually that simple. Well, it turns out there is an item that makes things that simple: a handbag. Since we're always running between meetings during the day and then attending work-related events or catching up with friends in the evening, we know how crucial it is to have a handbag that goes with everything and strikes the perfect balance between form and function. To figure out where exactly to find said dream bag, we decided to ask our fashion-savvy colleagues over at Who What Wear. Unsurprisingly, managing editor Michelle Scanga knew exactly what direction to point us in.

Meet the Expert

Michelle Scanga is the managing editor of Who What Wear and a celebrity fashion and style icon.

"The key is to opt for a bag that has a shoulder strap and top handle (think Loewe's puzzle bag)," she explains. This way, "you get the convenience of going hands-free with the shoulder strap" while you run "to and from the office. And then for the evening, you can go for a chicer look and carry your bag by the top handle." One and done. See? It's pretty simple once you know what to shop for.

With Scanga's style insight in mind, we curated a wish list of the 15 chicest top-handle bags with adjustable (and in many cases, detachable) shoulder straps, from whimsical and colorful to structural and minimalist styles. Since we made sure to choose pieces that'll enhance pretty much any ensemble at a variety of price points, the hardest part is choosing which one your wardrobe needs the most. Some are even roomy enough to schlep your laptop if need be. So without further ado, scroll through the best 15 bags on the market that seamlessly transition from day into night. Your dream purse awaits.

Matt & Nat Parallel Satchel $190

This architectural tote bag is simple, though it's anything but boring. There's also plenty of room for a tablet or even laptop if you're bringing it to and from the office or on a trip!

romy medium satchel
Kate Spade Romy Medium Satchel $378 $265

Kate Spade has crystallized as a go-to brand for cheerful, timeless bags and accessories. With unique but versatile styles and hues, these retro-inspired bags are super durable, guaranteeing that they'll last a lifetime. This Ferrari red satchel comes with a removable shoulder strap, so you can adjust it to your liking depending on comfort and occasion.

Romeo Color Block Handbag
Boyy Romeo Color Block Clutch $995

This butter-soft leather bag is the perfect balance between feminine and masculine design. With a hip oversize buckle, elegant top handle, and classic color-blocked hues, it'll look good with anything and everything.

Snake-effect leather cross-body bag
Simone Rocha Snake-Effect Leather Cross-Body Bag $859

This compact crossbody bag will bring the perfect amount of dressy vibes without being too formal for daytime errands, thanks to the chocolate-brown snakeskin-effect leather style. Pair it with flats and jeans, or a sweater dress and boots as we transition into fall.

Kita Pebbled Leather Crossbody
AllSaints Kita Pebbled Leather Crossbody $298

This basic black pebbled leather bag features everything you need in one place. With a detachable, adjustable strap, you can carry this tote around like a shopper or wear it as a crossbody.

Oversized Hobo
Cuyana Oversized Hobo $395

If you're looking for a bright-white bag to upgrade your daily style, here's your best bet. This Italian-made leather bag marries a classic hobo's soft slouch to the gusseted structure of a shopping tote.

Le Sac Noeud leather shoulder bag
Jacquemus Le Sac Noeud leather shoulder bag $710

You can always count on Jacquemus for forward-thinking, cutting-edge designs. The avant-garde silhouette in this piece brings in elements of intrigue.

Cross 3 Leather Crossbody Bag
Givenchy Cross 3 Leather Crossbody Bag $1,190

Chain handle detailing adds glittering dimension to this textured leather bag crafted. It'll instantly dress up any outfit while simultaneously managing to not overpower it. But don't let its dainty silhouette fool you; there's also plenty of space inside for your knickknacks and essentials.

Bindle Double Knots suede shoulder bag
The Row Bindle Two Bag in Napa Leather $1,590

If you like the look and feel of a slouchier bag, this plush suede piece is for you. Roomy enough to carry everything you need on a busy day, there's also an interior pocket to securely store any valuables.

Pleated Bucket Bag
Mansur Gavriel Pleated Bucket Bag (Coral) $795

This relaxed, simple purse is lightweight in material but packs a lot of style punch. While it does come in a variety of neutral leather colors, we had to include this fun bubble gum-pink variation. It'll introduce some whimsy and wit into your office look and effortlessly transition with you into the evening.

Turnlock Shoulder Bag
Coach Turnlock Shoulder Bag $395

This sleek Coach bag is part of The Coach Originals' collection of archival-inspired bags that celebrate the legacy of the iconic company. This structured design is based on a Coach silhouette from 1998 and reimagined for today. The glove-tanned leather piece is finished with an adjustable strap and a turn-lock closure.

Hozen Mini Bucket Bag (Cerulean) $150

This cerulean blue vegan leather bucket bag is super affordable and easy to style. With a fixed and removable crossbody strap, you can throw it over your shoulder or carry it as a handbag with the top handle.

Oversized curb-chain leather shoulder bag
Marques'Almeida Oversized Curb-Chain Leather Shoulder Bag $763

Aside from being trendsetting and impeccably crafted, this Marques Almeida khaki-green shoulder bag also has a sense of humor, as it plays with proportion and shape. We love that the simple bag is defined by a chunky black-resin curb-chain top handle for an extra dose of personality. The compact shape makes it easy to carry around, making it the perfect piece for anyone with contemporary yet classic sensibilities.

Alix Mini Top Handle Satchel
3.1 Phillip Lim Green Mini Alix Top Handle Satchel $695

This smooth, gray-green top-handle bag is organic and minimalist, adding just the right amount of personal style to any ensemble. It's structural without appearing too rigid, which also lends itself to dressed-up and dressed-down looks.

Leather Sun Bag
Mansur Gavriel Leather Sun Tote (Cammello/Raw) $845 $595

With twin rolled carry handles and a self-tie drawstring, this classic bag is a style staple. It looks elegant and easy when carried by the top handles on a night out and is just as chic when you fasten the shoulder strap for practical use throughout the day.

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