No matter where you are going or what the occasion entails, having a handbag is almost a necessity for completing the perfect look for yourself. However, because of the huge popularity of handbags and what they mean for women’s fashion, there are just too many handbags to choose from. And while it may seem like a good idea to have a great big collection of handbags, the reality is that if you go that route, most of your handbags will just be collecting dust in your closet. Definitely not a good investment, especially considering the fact that handbags are not exactly cheap. Through various polls and research, we’ve narrowed down the only 5 handbags you should own, in order to cover a variety of social situations, without breaking the bank on unnecessary additional bags!


#1 – Medium Satchel for work (Leather)

This bag is perfect for work and is an absolute staple for any women who works in the office. In particular, make sure to find bags that have the shorter shoulder straps only, and always make sure that this bag is large enough to carry all of your work belongings as well as your essentials – always remember that this bag is going to carry everything you need from as soon as you leave the house until you get home after a long day’s work, which is typically 10 hours or even more (depending on what sort of errands you have planned for the day). As this is a bag suited for work, be sure to select a neutral to dark color, such as black or dark brown.


#2 – The Day-to-day clutch (Clutch #1)

This is perfect for your trips to the mall on the weekends or other casual activities that don’t require many essentials. All you really need are your various forms of ID (including your driver’s license) plus your credit cards, plus some small accessories such as makeup or Chap Stick, and you should be good to go for the day. The big thing here is that your day clutch is fairly casual, so while you obviously want a stylish clutch, it doesn’t have to wow everyone who sees it.

Bonus tip: Popping your daytime clutch directly into your medium-sized work bag is perfect if you are planning on going out to lunch in the middle of the day. Your work bag has the space, so definitely make use of that space in cases such as this!


#3 – The night clutch (Clutch #2)

Yes, you need at least two clutches to be totally in style. These should not be used for everyday use and instead used only for relatively special occasions. Things like weddings or parties (that are on the more formal side) are perfect times to use your night clutch, but they can even be used on a nice date at a decent restaurant as well. These clutches typically are less vibrant in color and more elegant in their material and overall design. However, this doesn’t mean that they are expensive! You can get plenty of great clutches perfect for the most formal gatherings


#4 – Over-the-shoulder bag

This is your fallback bag, the one that is the most versatile, but most fitting for the most casual of situations. The biggest reason to use this bag is when you are in situations where your bag may get dirty. Since these are typically the cheapest bags out there, they are perfect for these situations. Places like malls or theme parks where you never know what your bag will run into, a cheaper over-the-shoulder bag is the perfect choice. Especially considering that it typically holds a lot of stuff, making it versatile in these situations. Think of it as a mom bag – but don’t worry, you can make it work in a stylish way that doesn’t make you look old and outdated.


#5 – Designer Bag

Because let’s face it: Designer bags are something to brag about and a large part of the appeal in handbags in general. Whether it be Gucci or Chanel or any other big-name brand, it is perfectly fine and in fact encouraged to splurge on something to wow your friends (assuming your budget allows it!) However, you definitely don’t need more than one of these expensive designer bags. This category is defined more by the price rather than by the style itself, so feel free to select any sort of bag that tickles your fancy. But since these bags are typically on the order of one thousand dollars or even more, make sure you only buy one of these expensive bags. Anything more is a huge, huge waste of your money!


If you stick with just those five bags, you should be covered for just about any situation that life throws at you, ranging from the casual weekend activities to more formal settings where you particularly want to impress those around you. This number of handbags is also the perfect number to maintain a sense of variety and fashion sense, not just in terms of the bag style but also other factors that surely need to be considered by any women serious about fashion, such as the handbag material as well as the color. And perhaps, you most importantly save yourself quite a bit of money by not overdoing it on handbags (not to mention precious closet space!). So if you are still looking to hit that magic number five, be sure to focus on this specific variety to get the most bang for your buck. And if you are over the limit – at the very least keep this in mind the next time you need to start phasing out old bags for a newer collection of handbags. Keep it to five and you’ll surely thrive!