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Fashion 

The Ultimate Guide To Finding The Perfect Bag For All Occasions

From the office to the dance floor.

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Image: Locksandtrinkets.com

If there's one accessory that we'll always have a soft spot for, it would have to be the bag (sorry Valentino stilettos). There's nothing like a chic, unique number slung over your shoulder to complete a look – but like any passionate relationship, it can also be tumultuous. As easily as the right purchase elevates us to sartorial heights, the wrong purchase can have us peering into its yawning abyss with back problems, desperately fishing for our keys. 

But gone are the days of shelling out on bags that break our hearts, on charming satchels that wax poetic about their spacious interiors but aren't able hold the contents of our fashion-obsessed souls. And so we've compiled our ultimate selection of the best bags for all occasions, from morning gym sessions to long days in the office to weekend brunch, and beyond. 

Check out our ultimate guide to choosing the right bag for the right occasion, plus our hand-picked shoppable selections for each category: 

Nowhere is the mariage of fashion and function more important than in an academic or professional setting – we want something that expresses our impeccable style just as much as we need it to fit our laptops. Look for backpacks that have special sleeves and compartments for electronic goods and other necessities, or if you prefer the tote route, go for a carry-all with interior side pockets so that you have plenty of room to store and organize your survival kit for the day.
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Baggu Natural Grid Zip Backpack - $48
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Baggu Ripstop Backpack - $32
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Herschel Supply Co. 'Settlement Mid Volume' Backpack - $60
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Tory Burch 'Small York' Saffiano Leather Buckle Tote - $245
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Topshop Harlow Winged Holdall - $70
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Nordstrom BP. Faux Leather Tote - $49
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Mark and Graham Skinny Laptop Tote - $179
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When you're getting down on the dance floor, you don't want a wristlet weighing down any arm-action. There are only two ways to carry your credit card and iPhone in the club: cross-body or fanny pack. Both options allow you to keep your belongings with you at all times without adding too much weight or strain. Plus, fanny packs are not only a major bag trend this season (and thoroughly practical), but you can co-ordinate yours with your outfit for double disco style points. 
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Vince Camuto Monro Leather Clutch - $178
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Chi Chi London Angular Metallic Clutch - $58
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ASOS Ruffle Crossbody Bag - $23
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Glint Crystal Floral Velvet Clutch - $100
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Urban Outfitters Dylan Belt Bag - $29
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Skinnydip Flame Bumbag - $30
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ASOS Lifestyle Soft Metallic Fanny Pack - $18.50
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Everyone's workout looks different, so the most important thing to do when looking for your perfect gym bag is to figure out your non-negotiables. If you're in and out of the yoga studio, a bag with a built-in mat carrier would be ideal, and if you live in the Pacific Northwest, you'll probably want water-resistant material. But whether you're a hardcore Sporty Spice or an occasional stationary-bike-with-magazine gym-goer, we all want something that's lightweight, holds all of our gear and is so stylish it'll put our co-workers to shame.
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Nike Gym Bag - $35
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lululemon Throw and Go Tote - $98
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Reebok Les Mills Unisex Backpack - $80
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adidas Tiro Team Bag Medium - $40
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Patagonia Lightweight Black Hole Duffel - $79
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Transience Black Scuba Yoga Bag - $275
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adidas by Stella McCartney Run Convertible Backpack - $130
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The weekend is when any fashion codes or constraints we're subject to during the week go out the window – including any fussing involving "functionality." Any bag you bring to brunch should definitely emphasize that it's the freakin' weekend. We're talking brightly colored bags, fashionably well-structured that are definitely too small for your work diary (but big enough for impulse purchases on your way to the restaurant). We went for a selection that was fun, modern and trendy, without being basic. After all, weekends aren't about thinking too hard – just go with your instinct.
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Zara Mini Crossbody Bag - $26
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Zara Fabric Handle City Bag - $70
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Tommy Hilfiger Gigi Hadid Denim Patch Backpack - $173
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ASOS Cat Velvet Cross Body Bag - $28
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Alexander Wang Mini Roxy Studded Crossbody - $295
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Mansur Gavriel Bucket Bag Avion - $595
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Anthropologie Madeline Petite Satchel - $298
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No matter how excited you are about that upcoming trip (Paris for Spring Break, anyone?), the hours spent packed in a plane or bus on the way to your destination can be infuriating, even for the most zen among us. That is why we invest in quality travel carry-ons that perform double duty, making packing easier and improving our mood by the sheer beauty of their design. For luggage cases, we're a fan of 360-degree wheels, plenty of accessory compartments and hard – but light – shells to protect any fragile items. For weekenders and carry-on purses, the essential is that they are spacious and sturdy – all those TSA security checks eventually take a toll.
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Everlane The Petra Market - $365
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Calpak Astyll Carry-on Luggage - $125
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Herschel Supply Novel Duffle Cloud Pink - $85
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Madewell The Transport Weekender in Canvas - $148
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Alice + Olivia Basquiat Ascent Weekender - $355
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Coach Turnlock Carryall in Crossgrain Leather - $395
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Delsey Helium Titanium Spinner Trolley - $121
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Let's admit it: at the end of the day, the best bags on the market aren't made for any occasion in particular. They don't speak to a specific event or context, but rather, the artist and child in us all. These are the bags that will both turn heads and make us feel warm and fuzzy inside.
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Kate Spade Whimsies Triceratops Leather Crossbody Bag - $378
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LYDC Game Monster Clutch Bag - $31
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Serpui Panda Shoulder Clutch Item - $539
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Rose Gal Cute Cat Pattern Design Bag - $44
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Loewe Mini Panda Bag - $869
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Forever 21 Pom Pom Tye-Dye Backpack - $25
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Dolls Kill Local Heroes Rainbow Transparent Purse - $58
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