More than 8 years ago I suggested the three bag complement for handbag minimalists who don’t like to swap out their bags regularly. One bag for Autumn and Winter outfits, one for your Spring and Summer style, and a dressy clutch for formal events. This simple handbag capsule was inspired by clients who would carry a single large black or dark brown handbag throughout the year. It tended to look seasonally confused with soft, light and lightweight warm weather outfits, and looked even more out of place with their formal attire. 

Over the years I’ve changed my mind about having the dressy clutch as an on-hand option in case you need to go to a formal event. First, because it’s best to purchase the clutch as and when you need it and after you know exactly what you’re going to wear to the event (which includes footwear). That way you’ll ensure the very best choice of clutch to finish off your look. And second, because fewer of my clients are going to formal events these days, which means that a formal handbag option is not an essential stand-by anymore. That’s why a TWO bag complement makes more sense. 

Madewell Oversized Button Front TunicTrouve Sleeveless Jacket & Crewneck Sweater Hudson Jeans Beth Bootcut JeansCity Chic Coat & Floral Print Dress

An Autumn and Winter handbag needn’t be dark, but that’s the traditional and practical way of making it seasonally appropriate. A cold weather bag usually has a rich integrity — for example, leopard print or tweed — and tends to be more structured. A Spring and Summer handbag needn’t be bright, pastel, a light neutral or metallic, but again, those traditional options make the bag look more seasonally appropriate. Casual linen, canvas, wicker and beach bags look very Summer-y and are best reserved for warm weather. 

My clients who are handbag minimalists select two bags to wear for the year (excluding formal events). They sport each bag for about six months. This wears out their bags at a much faster rate, especially when they frequently travel for work. They often retire a non-designer bag after one season because it’s worn out, or because they’re ready for a change. They tend to keep designer bags for longer because they’re generally more robust, but they might stop wearing them regularly after one year. They purchase another for the next season. 

I am not a handbag minimalist at all. In fact, I’m a handbag maximalist because I LOVE handbags. I thoroughly enjoy shopping for them, across all price points, and regard them as an important part of my outfit. I have many in rotation in one season. I swap them out daily because I like the way they change up the vibe of my outfit. I will also pair formal handbags with jeans when we go out for supper. My wardrobe pets are dear to me and last a long time because they’re frequently rotated to share the wear. I pass on my bags to dear friends when they’re still in good condition so that they can be enjoyed even longer, and so I know that they went to a good home.

Over to you. When it comes to handbags, are you a minimalist or a maximalist?

Banana Republic Linen Boyfriend BlazerEileen Fisher Stripe Boatneck Top & Boyfriend JeanKaren Kane Faux Wrap Dress & Accessories