While the incoming fall season doesn’t necessarily need to mean a whole new wardrobe, it could mean it’s time for a new handbag. This essential piece for your next arm party may be available for purchase in all shapes and sizes, but it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. A handbag can be heavy. It can make or break an outfit. It can steal the sartorial spotlight… and not always for the right reasons. So if you’re wondering which purse is best for carrying (on) in the new year, we’re here to keep you on course with the biggest trends of 2023.
From the dystopian styles that have infiltrated runways to the Y2K comeback that has yet to cool down, there’s plenty of fashion fodder to sift through for accessories inspo these days. If you belong to the “pandemic killed the micro purse” camp, we’re happy to report that a scattering of more practical picks is in for the season ahead, along with some other more fanciful trends worth trying out.
Below, we’ve broken down the top seven handbag styles that are bound to be big throughout the year (though not always in the literal sense of the word).
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. All product details reflect the price and availability at the time of publication. If you buy or click on something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.
Handbag Trend 2023: Utilitarian Style
“Futuristic utility” is a major style aesthetic this year, and bags are following suit, too. With the rise in popularity of cargo pants and compartment-rich coats comes a variety of practical purses to match. Think: lots of room, zippers, and pockets that are fashioned out of fabrics fit to take on all the elements.
Handbag Trend 2023: Forever Pieces
The combined influence of classic-core (capsule wardrobes, closet staples, etc.) and conscious shopping have many people gravitating toward quality over quantity. And it’s certainly no coincidence that brands have been dipping back into their archives to revive the iconic pieces of the past that have stood the test of time — from Prada’s ’90s-inspired Cleo bag to Gucci’s Jackie purse from 1961. Whether you’re interested in an investment purchase to last a lifetime or seeking out a retro-leaning silhouette, a sleek black shoulder bag is one of the smartest trends to grab onto this season.
Handbag Trend 2023: Top Handles
Ever the lady bag, these particular purses are not for slinging over shoulders or dangling off the elbow. Made to be handled with care, the look-at-me pieces command the constant attention of your fingertips… unless, of course, they come with a longer shoulder strap for days when you’re in a crossbody kind of mood.
Handbag Trend 2023: Styles That Shine
The sartorial energy we are carrying into 2023 is “shine on.” Ever since fashion week made its glittering return to in-person programming, there’s been an undeniably festive feeling across many of its runways. So when it comes to our closets, we’re compelled to keep the optimism party going with all that sparkles: metallic mesh, rhinestones, sequins, and diamanté details galore.
Handbag Trend 2023: Woven Fabrics
If you’ve got a Spidey sense for all things style, you’ll know that woven fabrics make for a web of chic options this season. Shiny leathers, smooth suedes, vegan alternatives, and puffer fabrics are among the range of materials that have been intertwined for your wearing pleasure. Look at it as Bottega Veneta aesthetic fit for any budget.
Handbag Trend 2023: Scoop Tops
The way toward finding your personal style this year might not necessarily come in the form of a straight line, and this extends to handbags. Architectural shapes may be adding structure to the chaos of our closets this season, but some of the edgier iterations of this trend feature a slight curve or dip at their enclosures to add a touch of whimsy to your look.
Handbag Trend 2023: Personality Purses
We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: the best trends to try out are the ones uniquely suited to you and your mood. And with the style world fully leaning into kooky collabs and OTT outfits right now, there’s endless opportunity to find the perfect “thing” purse for your personality. Love love? Heart-shaped bags à la Alaïa — spotted all over street style — and Kate Spade have got you covered. New York or nowhere? There’s a bag for that, too.
Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?
Why Dystopian Fashion Is Trending For 2023
7 Shoe Trends That Are Dominating 2023
5 Style Aesthetics ThatTake Over Fashion In 2023