Top-Handle Bags

Top-Handle Bags
Monday, November, 21, 2011 From evening clutches to oversized totes to chic satchels, we've never really met a handbag shape we didn't like. That said, there's one particular style that's on our radar right now: top-handle bags-and understandably so! In addition to being an undeniably sophisticated, ladylike choice, top-handle bags are a truly versatile option that can be worn with daytime and party outfits alike. Whether you emulate Alexa Chung and pair the purse with a casual denim frock or team it with a shimmering number a la Rose Byrne, we wholeheartedly suggest adding one to your repertoire of accessories this season! As per usual, today's Accessory Report wouldn't be complete without a savvy selection of handbags that are just a click away, so be sure to read on to find out which picks made our list!


Not quite sure how to incorporate a top-handle bag into your wardrobe? Simply look to Rose Byrne and actress/DJ/model Leah Weller for inspiration, as both chose to top off their party-ready ensembles with petite, structured versions of our handbag du jour. Byrne attended the Mulberry 40th anniversary celebration in New York in September wearing Mulberry's Pleat Front Dress ($775, 212.835.4700) in Pebbled Beige Metallic Crepe and the Mini Taylor Satchel ($865, 212.835.4700) in Marshmallow White, along with Alejandro Ingelmo shoes and Helen Ficalora jewelry. With its small shape and pale hue, we think her delicate purse was the perfect finishing touch for her prim outfit and made for one darling after-dark look. Snapped at the UK launch of NOIR Denim in London back in September, Weller also accented her feminine party ensemble with a dainty top-handle bag. For the event, she wore an adorable Peter Pan collar Monki blouse with a leather skirt and a structured Dolce & Gabbana miniature purse. We particularly like how the neutral bag popped against her all-noir look, which ensured it remained the focal point as it so rightly deserves!

While Rose Byrne and Leah Weller paired their top-handle bags with sweet evening looks, Alexa Chung and Rachel Zoe expertly teamed more casual (but no less stylish) versions of our spotlighted handbag with daytime outfits. Chung arrived at the Stella McCartney S/S 12 show last month wearing the Washed Dark Blue Denim Dress ($610, 718.645.2600) by said designer along with Chloe's Snake Pumps ($487) and the Brown Faux leather Pembridge Cross Body Bag ($1595, 516.484.7400), also by McCartney. In true Chung style, she fearlessly experimented with an intriguing mixed textures, including denim, woven wicker, and snakeskin, which made for one compelling ensemble in our eyes! Chung wasn't the only attendee at McCartney's show sporting a top-handle bag; Rachel Zoe was snapped with a lust-worthy Givenchy version, which she wore with a Gucci jumpsuit, Louis Vuitton heels, vintage hat, and Illesteva sunglasses. With its chic, long chain strap, her noir purse is an especially versatile option that we're definitely drooling over.

Longing for a top-handle bag of your own? We had a feeling you might be, which is why we searched relentlessly to find you a handful of first-rate options. First up is J. Crew's Edie Purse ($448) in Espresso, which is a clear winner in our books. The bag's simple shape balances out the eye-catching leopard print, making it a must-buy for absolutely anyone! We also think Theyskens' Theory's Atter Medium Turnlock Bag ($545) in Paprika will make a fantastic addition to your wardrobe this season. We're smitten with its clean lines, silver hardware, and head-turning red hue, which make us want to snag this bag pronto! Perhaps you're searching for a neutral version a la Byrne and Weller? In that case, we think River Island's Cream Studded Clasp Bag ($71) is a great find. We're also crazy about Aldo's Gerl Contrast Lady Bag ($72), Michael Kors' Quinn Satchel ($995), BE&D's Maggie Haircalf Satchel ($449), and Aldo's Fretwell Bag ($48), which are all sophisticated choices for the office. Looking for after-dark options? Simply pick up ASOS' Glitter Flip Lock Cross Body ($22) or Topshop's Black Frame Lock Bag ($66), both of which will help get you party-ready in no time.-Erin Fitzpatrick

Photos of Alexa Chung and Rachel Zoe, courtesy of INF; Photos of Rose Byrne and Leah Weller, courtesy of Getty.
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