7 Best Women’s Summer Bags in 2020

After careful consideration, we firmly believe that the Oct17 Women Mini Transparent Crossbody Purse is the best women’s summer bag you can buy today. We loved the whimsical style that featured a vibrant print, yet still came with an adjustable strap to convert between shoulder and crossbody styles. Plus the interior pockets still gave you space for essential must-have items.

Finding the best women’s summer bag is going to depend on your aesthetic and design preferences. But to create our guide, we focused on the following core features: style, design, size, storage, materials, closure, and straps. We focused on a range of styles along with hues and patterns to create more options. And we know that regardless of the bag size, you need interior storage and pockets to keep select items within easy grasp. Still, we also reviewed other features like materials, closure style, and the straps to ensure durability, versatility, and improved functionality. Keep reading to learn more about the rest of our top picks.

Top 7 Best Women’s Summer Bags

 #1  Oct17 Women’s Summer Bag Mini Transparent Crossbody Purse

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: A bite-sized see-through bag that can be worn as a crossbody or shoulder bag with a vibrant print and strap makes it easy to see why this is a popular bag.

Pros
  • Best clutch design
  • Adjustable shoulder strap
  • Stylish metal hardware closure
Cons
  • Small size may be impractical for some

If you’re obsessed with the mini clutch craze, you’re going to love this popular bag which is our Top Pick. This bold transparent clutch can also pull double duty as a crossbody bag thanks to the shoulder strap that can be adjusted from 16 to 26 inches. The actual bag measures 6.5 inches wide, five inches tall, and three inches deep.

But we also like that it features a metal hardware closure that securely locks the flap to protect your belongings. And even though this is a small bag, you’ll like that there’s still interior storage with an interior zip pouch and an interior open pocket. You’ll have just enough space to keep your phone, credit cards, and a few essential cosmetics with you no matter where your adventures take you. Choose from five unique patterns. If you’re going backpacking, take a look at the best backpacking backpack instead.

 #2  Covelin Women’s Summer Bag Retro Large Canvas Shoulder Bag

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: A roomy soft-sided bag that comes in 29 colors with an adjustable strap for a crossbody style makes this one of the best summer bags in our guide.

Pros
  • Best on a budget
  • Can also be worn as a crossbody
  • Zippered closure with interior pockets
Cons
  • May not be ideal for carrying heavier items

Not everyone wants a heavy bag when the weather turns warmer, and we get it. We selected the Covelin Women’s Retro Large Canvas Shoulder Bag as our Honorable Mention because we think it’s one of the best summer bags in our guide and the best crossbody bag too. First, we like that this roomy bag measures an even 12.2 by 12.2 inches and is 3.5 inches deep. But the adjustable strap measures a total length of 15.7 inches.

You’ll appreciate that this simple canvas bag comes in 29 colors. And since it’s our Best on a Budget pick, that means that you can stock up on several hues so you can change your bag to match your outfit all summer. We like that this bag features a secure zip closure for the main opening, but also is large enough to hold tablets, your phone, wallet, books, or a wide array of items. And you’ll like that there are two internal pockets to keep essentials like your wallet or phone within easy reach. If you need a bag you can take on your next trip, take a look at the best weekender bag.

 #3  Ruiming Canvas Tote Women’s Summer Bag

Award: BEST STRIPED DESIGN

WHY WE LIKE IT: A stylish striped oversized bucket bag that’s available in two sizes with a magnetic closure and enough room to fit a tablet makes this perfect for a day around town or vacations.

Pros
  • Features a magnetic closure
  • Available in two sizes
  • Either size can fit tablets
Cons
  • Magnet doesn’t completely close the opening

No matter what your plans are for the day, you’ll appreciate this canvas tote bag from Ruiming. We like that it’s a beautiful timeless navy and white vertical striped canvas with a classic magnetic closure. The sturdy straps are reinforced with PU leather for enhanced durability. But the straps can also be adjusted so you can choose to wear this bag as a shoulder or crossbody bag.

Note that this bag is available in two sizes — small and medium. The small bag measures 10.5 inches wide, 9.5 inches tall and 5.5 inches deep while the medium bag measures 13 inches wide, 12 inches tall and seven inches deep. Both sizes can accommodate tablets and feature a wide roomy base for enhanced storage. Both bags also come with internal storage that includes a flat zipped pocket and two open pockets. Choose between black and white, or navy and white stripes. Compare this with the best sling bag to decide which is best for your style.

 #4  Tory Burch Women’s Summer Bag Gemini Link Canvas Tote

Award: BEST LUXURY

WHY WE LIKE IT: A roomy designer handbag from one of the most popular names in fashion features bold yet expertly coordinated colorways that make this perfect for transitioning from the office to happy hour.

Pros
  • Large 15” wide shoulder handbag
  • Sturdy coated canvas print fabric
  • Available in 9 vibrant patterns
Cons
  • Only features a magnetic closure

Some people are only interested in designer handbags. If this sounds familiar, then you already know who Tory Burch is and why her brand is a mainstay in the luxury fashion world. We nominated her Gemini Link canvas tote as our Best Quality pick because of the large dimensions, sturdy materials, and available colorways.

We like that this bag features a coated canvas print that’s accented with leather trim, base, and shoulder straps. This classic shoulder bag style features a large roomy interior and measures 15.5 inches wide, 11.8 inches tall, and 5.8 inches deep. You’ll like the simple magnetic closure and that there’s one internal flap pocket to store frequently used essentials. Pick from nine colorful options. If you need a bag you can take on your next plane trip check out some of the best carry on luggage.

 #5  Tribe Azure Fair Trade Large Tote Shoulder Women’s Summer Bag

Award: BEST ECO-FRIENDLY

WHY WE LIKE IT: An ethically sourced fair trade handbag with a secure zip closure that’s roomy enough for overnight trips or unexpected shopping sprees in town.

Pros
  • Roomy fit for carrying multiple items
  • Fair trade artisanal craft
  • Handmade by artisans
  • Features a full zippered closure
Cons
  • Limited color choices

If you’re concerned about where your products are made, we certainly understand why. You’ll appreciate the Tribe Azure Fair Trade hobo bag since it’s ethically sourced and handmade. We like that this is one of the larger bags we’re recommending and the only hobo style option in our guide.

You’ll like the vibrant tribal print that’s made from jacquard fabric and is fully lined with black fabric. This bag measures 13 inches wide and is 16 inches tall. The dual straps give you a 12-inch drop for a true oversized look. The large size means you can easily accommodate your tech gear as well as other must-haves like umbrellas or your wallet. You’ll also like that this bag features a zippered closure with a small interior pocket.

 #6  Scout Uptown Girl Tote Women’s Summer Bag

Award: BEST FOR BEACH

WHY WE LIKE IT: A self-standing bag with four external pockets and a weather-resistant exterior is the perfect choice for outdoor excursions.

Pros
  • Most internal and external storage in our guide
  • Sturdy self-standing bag
  • Weatherproof exterior material
Cons
  • Material is somewhat thinner than expected

Beach days call for a tote that can stand up to a little sand and water without falling apart or getting its contents wet. We selected the Scout Uptown Girl tote bag as our Best for Beach Days option because a large amount of storage, self-standing design, and weatherproof exterior is ideal for these types of outings. Plus we liked that there are 17 stylish patterns to choose from.

You’ll appreciate that this bag measures 16 inches wide, 12 inches tall, and 5.5 inches deep. Plus the shoulder strap gives you an 8.5-inch drop. We were also impressed with the fact that the polypropylene material is lightweight yet sturdy and can easily be wiped clean. The self-standing structure allows you to easily pack this bag without having to hold it. And we loved the fact that there’s plenty of interior and exterior storage. You’ll get four exterior pockets and an interior that zips closed.

 #7  Teeya Straw Crossbody Women’s Summer Bag

Award: BEST MEDIUM SIZED

WHY WE LIKE IT: Stylish woven straw bags in 11 versatile designs that work as the perfect accessory to compliment any fashion-forward outfit.

Pros
  • 11 unique styles to choose from
  • Cotton lined for durability
  • All styles feature a zipper closure
Cons
  • Zipper placket doesn’t completely cover the interior
  • Not all of the styles feature handle straps

If you prefer a summer style bag, we think these straw crossbody bags are a great option. With 11 beautiful handwoven styles to choose from, there’s truly something for everyone here. We like that all of these bags can be worn either on the shoulder or as a crossbody thanks to the lengthy strap. However some bags can also be carried by the included handles — but note that not all designs have handle straps.

You’ll appreciate that these bags are lined so you don’t need to worry about the contents falling through the weave pattern. And these bags are ideal for casual outings where you would need to carry a few core essentials such as your phone, wallet, or select cosmetics.

How We Decided

Considering that handbags are an essential part of fashion, we know that the bag you choose is going to be a personal choice that reflects your style and design aesthetics. But to create our guide, we looked at the following criteria — style, design, size, storage, materials, closure, and straps.

You’ll see in our guide that there are a wide range of bag styles highlighted that include bucket, hobo, crossbody, clutch, tote, and shoulder bag styles. The one that works best for you will be able to accommodate whatever you need to carry for the day. But we did prioritize bags that featured adjustable straps as this can give you more versatility in terms of how you carry a bag. With adjustable straps, you can turn a shoulder bag into a crossbody for added security. In our guide, our Top Pick, Honorable Mention, #3, and #7 picks can all convert into crossbody styles.

For materials, we considered a wide range of options, although the most common included canvas and PU leather which is a more technical term for faux or vegan leather. If you prefer real leather, then we recommend the Best Quality pick which combines coated canvas with leather trim. If you’re interested in ethical alternatives, then we recommend our #5 pick which is a fair trade option.

We know that size is important, but we did want to include a few fun but small options which is why you’ll see that our Top Pick is a mini clutch, and our #7 pick features a range of whimsical straw styles. We also made note of the available storage in each of the bags in our guide. Regardless of size, almost all of our picks (except #6) came with interior pockets. We also noted the type of closure that each bag offers as some people may prefer zippers over an open bag or one that relies on a single magnetic closure. By far, zippered closures were the most popular and can be found on our Honorable Mention, #3, #5, #6 and #7 selections.

Best Women’s Summer Bag Buyer’s Guide

The Most Important Factors to Consider

  1. Style
    Summer bags can come in a range of styles and truthfully this is going to be a personal choice. Common handbag options range from satchels to carryalls, totes, backpacks, waist belt bags, crossbody bags, clutches, and even weekender bags. Think about your activities for the day, the number of items you’ll need or want to bring with you, and pick the bag that best fits those needs.
  2. Design
    Again, this is going to be a personal choice when it comes to design. Maybe you prefer a solid color in a muted hue or you’d rather have a bold print. For summer bags, don’t be afraid to embrace bright colors, prints, or even a classic all-white bag. Also, keep in mind that other features such as metal hardware can be a great way to add visual interest even for a solid color or muted print bag.
  3. Size
    Much like with style, this will be a personal preference choice. Summer bags can vary from tiny clutches that can barely fit a tube of lipstick to larger totes that are great for a day trip or beach excursion. Keep your activities in mind as you pick a summer bag.
  4. Storage
    This will be especially important if you’re looking to buy a summer bag for day trips or vacations. Look for options with plenty of interior compartments or pockets. Those pockets and divisions will come in handy for keeping your belongings organized. But also consider whether there are external pockets that will give you quick access to frequently used essentials like your smartphone or lip balm.
  5. Materials
    Unsurprisingly, bags can be made in a variety of materials. The choice is going to depend on which you prefer. Popular options include fabric, PVC, and leather as well as faux cruelty-free alternatives such as vegan leather. In the summer, it’s not uncommon to see additional woven options such as those made with straw or macrame. If you prefer a sturdier bag, opt for materials such as canvas, leather (or vegan leather), and PVC.
  6. Closure
    Do you want a bag that’s open or one that can be closed? And if it can be closed, think about whether you prefer a magnetic flap closure, a zippered opening, or an alternate option.
  7. Straps
    Considering that you have to carry a bag, think about whether you want a bag with straps or not. But if you do want straps, do you prefer dual straps, a single strap, or an adjustable strap? Crossbody and carryall (also known as Boston bags) styles should feature an adjustable strap so that you can switch between wearing it as a shoulder bag versus a messenger bag.

Women's Summer Bag FAQs

Can you wear a black bag in the summer?

The short answer is yes. Black is a classic color that’s also neutral and timeless. It can serve as an excellent contrast to a brightly colored outfit, or also easily transition between the office and a night out with friends.

Are oversized bags in style?

The better question is, why do you want an oversized bag. If you’re the type who always carries a wide range of items with you, then an oversized bag is a matter of practicality. Also, keep in mind where you’re going and whether it makes sense. For example, for a brunch date, or a night out on the town, an oversized bag isn’t a fit. But a day at the beach or an afternoon spent shopping in town makes sense for bringing an oversized bag.

What is the most versatile handbag color?

Neutrals are always going to be the most versatile because they pair the easiest with almost any outfit without requiring that you consult a color wheel. Neutrals include black, brown, gray, navy, and even some brown shades like tan, taupe, or chocolate and cognac browns.

How do I choose a handbag for everyday use?

First look for durable materials like leather or canvas that are going to last since this is meant to be a daily use bag. It’s also better to choose darker colors that are less likely to show dirt as opposed to a light-colored bag. Also, make sure that you can comfortably carry the bag and that the straps won’t dig uncomfortably into your shoulders. Think about the items that you need to carry with you regularly. If for example you routinely bring a change of shoes or carry a book or tablet with you, you’ll want a bag that’s roomy enough to accommodate those things.

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Dorian Smith-Garcia

Dorian Smith-Garcia is a bridal and beauty expert/influencer and the creative director behind The Anti Bridezilla. She is a diverse writer across beauty, fashion, travel, consumer goods, and tech. She also writes for Inverse, Glowsly, and The Drive along with a variety of other publications. When Dorian's not writing she's collecting stamps in her passport, learning new languages, or spending time with her husband and daughter.

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