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In the Bag

This summer, there's no reason for your purse to not be the focal point of your warm-weather outfits.

Ryann Gordon
Marc Rains
April 29, 2017

It’s that time of the year when you’re probably going to be hauling loads of baggage as you bounce from picnics to cookouts, swimming pools, the zoo and just about any outdoor area you can find. And, it’s going to get hot; you’re going to need that backup makeup, extra deodorant, baby wipes, face wipes, hair spray, and body spray.

So, how’s a girl to lug around her entire vanity while also trying to brave the Oklahoma heat and stay looking fabulous along the way?

Mary Poppins taught us that a woman’s bag can never be too big, while modern trends have trained us to shrink our purses. Well, neither rule is right or wrong — you can do both.

It seems that every summer purses expand from cute and dainty spring clutches to oversized, overly-colorful duffle bags that are not always appropriate for every situation. Don’t toss out your adorable, little Thumbelina purse just yet, though. Keep a sizable bag handy for those days when you’re towing a load and stay true to the old airplane trick and throw your mini-purse inside the carry-on.


Go Big
For those summer afternoons, you’re going to want to bring all your goodies and essentials. So, it’s time to break out those larger-than-life purses that resemble something closer to a travel bag. We’ve seen celebrities sporting these handheld duffle bags from Soho to Los Angeles, and it’s a street style that is functional as well as fashionable.

Another trend is massive, reusable bags that can contain all your groceries as well as your beauty products. Large, floppy tote bags in crisp, fresh colors (especially white) could be your No. 1 summer essential as you bounce from farmer’s markets to parks and pools.

If the oversized tote or duffle bag isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, don’t forget about our favorite, childhood accessory — the backpack. Opt for a large printed backpack that will fit your nighttime purse, makeup bag, towels, bathing suits, and a change of clothes. For something a bit more chic, like a cinch-top, leather, fashion backpack that will bounce casually from day to night without breaking any rules.


Although the oversized bags are a necessity for the summer, they aren’t always appropriate for all nighttime looks or scenarios. Inside your backpack or tote you’ll want to have a smaller purse to throw over your shoulder before dinner. This year, it’s all about the teeny, tiny purses. Miniature matchbox purses and coin bags dolled up with chain straps and frilly add-ons make an adorable addition to outfits that already have a lot going on. And although they only fit nothing more than your card and phone, they’ve got enough sass.

Clutches are one of the more timeless looks that will dress up any nighttime ensemble. Semi-clutches that double as purses, with a wrist strap or one thick handle across the side for grasping, are also popular.

Mary Poppins taught us that a woman’s bag can never be too big, while modern trends have trained us to shrink our purses. Well, neither rule is right or wrong — you can do both. (Photo: Marc Rains)
Mary Poppins taught us that a woman’s bag can never be too big, while modern trends have trained us to shrink our purses. Well, neither rule is right or wrong — you can do both. (Photo: Marc Rains)


Old and New
Much like the circular handles that take us back to the ‘70s, many other purse styles seem to have returned from the past with a vengeance. Hippy prints and floral box bags from the ‘60s will add character to any simple outfit, but only if worn correctly. Don’t throw a mod-style purse on a frumpy ensemble, or you may surely end up looking like your grandma (and we’re not talking about her pictures from the past.

Box handbags and other uniquely-shaped purses have gained momentum in recent years, although they aren’t necessarily a solely modern trend. Lunch box and picnic basket resembling bags are a perfect summer trend, and they can be worn with outfits both simple and outrageous. Utilize unheard of containers as a purse for a playful, fun addition to your ensemble. Go outside of the box — literally — and throw your essentials in a shoulder-strapped camera case or binocular case. Designers have begun making purses from drums, guitar cases and stuffed animals reminiscent of Miley’s famous teddy bear backpack.

Shiny, metallic bags like Madonna used to rock in the ‘80s have become modernized as designers started combining fabrics and incorporating materials like metal plates and snakeskin. And don’t forget about our favorite styles from the ‘90s. One of the most popular this year is the drawstring-topped cinch bag. Rock a boho-chic cinch bag with drawstrings that wave in the wind and allow easy access to all your goods.


Frilly Frills
It’s all about doing the most with your bags nowadays. Probably the most influential purse trend of the year is bags that are decorated with frilly and flashy attachments. Keychains, tassels, balls of fur and other useless adornments that bounce and jingle add a level of excitement to a simple bag.

Other frilly bags like long, fringe-covered satchels, wild, animal print and furry bags were a wild hit at fashion week. Stand out with a flowing, Wild West-style, tasseled purse or an eye-catching, fluffy handbag made from faux zebra or leopard fur. Or add an extra edge to your ensemble with a bag so loud that it yells at you.