I’m a Handbag-Obsessed Fashion Editor—This Is My All-Time Favourite

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Mulberry Lana Bag
(Image credit: Noorunisa)

Welcome to I Can't Live Without, our fashion feature series that celebrates the most loved items in our wardrobes. Here, the shoe lovers, bag worshippers and jewellery collectors who happen to be some of the world's most stylish people will pen an ode to their most cherished piece and showcase exactly how they style it in their everyday life.

If I asked you what you couldn't live without, what would you say? Your phone? A morning coffee? Maybe your pet cat? Whilst I won’t argue with all of the above, as a fashion editor, there are certain items in a wardrobe that I’m adamant life wouldn’t be the same without. A quality cashmere knit, a tailored wool coat or a pair of jeans that fit sublimely—I simply can’t imagine getting dressed without these capsule wardrobe heroes. When considering the staples that determine our style DNA, one should also contemplate our must-have accessories. I’d like to make a case for the wear-everywhere-with-everything designer handbag. It’s the one you reach for day after day that goes with everything without much thought. You dress it up, you pare it back and it’s attached to you like a third arm or a small child. For our fashion editor Remy Farrell, that bag is the Lana by Mulberry.

Founded in Somerset in 1971, Mulberry's leather bags and accessories have come to represent the epitome of luxury British design. Its pieces, along with the iconic Mulberry tree logo, are to British fashion as pubs are to our street corners or Heinz Ketchup is to our kitchen cupboards (or fridges, if you’re clinically insane): ever-present, forever valued and always cherished. Celebrated for making quintessential, timeless styles which not only uphold traditional British craft techniques but are also built to last, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Mulberry's bags could be boring. But no—they’re anything but stagnant. Whilst the brand always proudly nods to its heritage, its designs can be bold, modern and even, at times, irreverent.

I’d like to make a case for the wear-everywhere-with-everything designer handbag. It’s the one you reach for day after day that goes with everything without much thought. You dress it up, you pare it back and it’s attached to you like a third arm or a small child. For Remy Farrell, that bag is the Lana by Mulberry.

Mulberry Lana Bag

(Image credit: Noorunisa)

But back to the bag in question. Remy and I have often spoken about our shared love for Mulberry bags, and I have to confess that my own collection includes more than one. My first was the Alexa in leopard print (it was 2011 and the peak of the Indie Sleaze movement), my go-to wedding guest accessory is the Mini Lily, and I’m yet to find a bag better at holding all my essentials for the office than the Bayswater Tote.

Remy’s first Mulberry purchase was the mini Alexa Satchel, but it’s the Lana that she uses most often "What can I say? I’m a sucker for a crossbody, but it helps to have a bag that crosses into evening territory with ease too." Made from glossy nappa leather accented with polished brass hardware and featuring a long crossbody strap and a top handle, it has all the timeless yet practical features of the perfect everyday bag.

"Quiet luxury", in case you somehow missed it, has had a huge impact on the fashion world of late. This idea that owning a collection of understated yet elegant staples is the true mark of sophistication—and let’s be honest, wealth—has made us forget our former obsession with garish logos and trend-led prints or motifs; instead, we're making space for timeless pieces that won’t ever go out of style. The Lana is exemplary of this. It doesn’t belong to a trend or aesthetic; its appeal is in its versatility. Winter, summer, day or night—it doesn’t really matter, because the Lana will always work hard in your wardrobe and never fail to elevate a look.

Don’t believe me? Well, I asked Remy to put it to the ultimate test. To showcase how truly versatile and indispensable this bag is to her, I asked her to style it in four ways. Here, she documents the outfits and where she wears them, and through a Q&A, explains how the least difficult part of curating a look in the morning is choosing her handbag.

Mulberry Lana Bag

(Image credit: Noorunisa)

Style Notes: "Jersey basics are the foundation of my wardrobe, and I find the easiest way to elevate these staples is to add a touch of polish (quite literally). Glossy leather never lets me down, and whether it’s an oversized biker jacket, kitten heels or a sleek top-handle bag, I feel most comfortable and confident in a high/low mix of business-casual, armed with elegant accessories."

Describe this bag in three words.
"Classic. Cute. Versatile."

When did you buy it and what did you consider?
"It’s a new style for the brand, so it’s actually my most recent designer handbag. I had been looking for a small but structured crossbody for a while, and have always loved this shape with the top handle because it’s so timeless and really speaks to my love of vintage. I had seen a few influencers and editors I follow on Instagram with it, and then one day I was on the tube to work and saw the chicest woman carrying it wearing a big, beige, wool coat and ballet flats. That was it—I was sold."

Mulberry Lana Bag

Style Notes: "My 9-to-5 schedule is rarely the same, so whether I’m between meetings, attending shows or on set, I like to keep things fuss-free. Sporty athleisure might be my go-to for comfort, but on days I need to look my best, swapping for a desk-to-dinner shoe and bag combination ticks every box.”

If you were to empty this bag right now, what would you find?
"Obviously, my phone (if it’s not in my hand), my card holder, blister plasters (if you know, you know), lip gloss and sunglasses. Oh, and hopefully my keys, if I remembered them today."

Tell us about the Lana's the finer details.
"Okay, so my absolute favourite thing about the Lana bag is the Foundry lock. This design is part of Mulberry’s new interpretation of the iconic Postman lock. I love the soft edges that make it look like it's almost melting. It reminds me of a Dali painting."

How often do you use it, really?
"Honestly? Every single day."

Would you describe it more as practical or pretty?
"This is so hard because it’s both. It's practical in the sense that it’s a crossbody and goes with everything, but you can’t deny just how pretty it is."

Mulberry Lana Bag

(Image credit: Noorunisa)

Style Notes: "My secret to dressing up? Scaling back. When the temptation is to over-accessorise, a simple silhouette and a versatile mini bag are all you need for a standout look. I’m currently drawn to elegant maxi dresses for dinners, parties and weddings; and find that 'the longer the hem, the smaller the bag' works well as a rule of thumb for choosing accessories for formal occasions."

Can it fit your phone inside?
"Easily. And my mirror, portable charger, cardholder, lip balm…"

Can it fit your laptop?
No, definitely not, but that’s the idea! For that, I have my Bayswater tote."

Would you recommend it to a friend?
"Wholeheartedly, yes."

What has it done for your wardrobe?
"In essence, elevate it. Anything I’m wearing, be it leggings and trainers after the gym, a suit in the office or a cute dress for dinner, it somehow always brings my outfit together and makes it look stronger."

Mulberry Lana

Style Notes: "Once the working week is over, I relax into denim and slouchy tailoring for a weekend of running errands. With no need to carry my laptop, I gravitate towards bags that are big enough for the essentials but not too bulky. Crossbodies, clutches and mini totes are ideal for this, but it’s even better when you find a bag that can do all three in one."

What do you think it looks best with?
"That's a tough one! As much as I think an all-black ensemble is the chicest way to dress, the Lana bag in black looks best when it has contrasting clothing to sit against, so I have to go for my casual 'out to lunch' look. I love this bag most as an everyday accessory with jeans, a blazer, a loose button-down or a pretty dress. It’s so effortless."

And finally, tell us—why can’t you live without it?
"I’m not someone who buys designer pieces all the time (I wish I was), so every purchase has to be carefully considered; a real investment. I’ve had black bags before, but not like this. I know that I will be able to carry this in 10 years and that the bag will age well with me, never feeling 'too old' or 'too young' for my style. Also, I think sometimes we can be so caught up in seasonal trends which, by nature, come and go, whereas what I love about my Lana bag is that it transcends all that—it’s special."

More of My Favourite Mulberry Picks

Want to see more of the Mulberry collection? Discover spring/summer 2024 here.

Rebecca Rhys-Evans is a London-based fashion and beauty editor with a decade of branded content and editorial experience. She started working at Who What Wear UK in the summer of 2022, where she was hired to lead all branded content for the UK site. Be it appearing on-camera to showcase how to style the latest designer collections, or reviewing the most recent beauty skincare products, Rebecca is the voice (and often face) for Who What Wear UK’s commercial partnerships. A self-confessed internet obsessive, she loves all facets of content creation—be it writing, filming, art directing or styling—and revels in collaborating with brands to help harness their product and tell their story. After graduating from University of Liverpool in American Studies, she travelled around North and South America before moving to London to pursue her career as a fashion journalist. Before she landed her position at Who What Wear, she was a freelance writer and content consultant, writing for Polyester, Screenshot, Marie Claire, Refinery29 and Culture Trip, reporting on everything from internet culture, vintage shopping across the world, sustainability and sex work. Adding to this, she has also held editor positions at FLANNELS.com, BURO., Koibird and SHOP Magazine.