Until recently—and coinciding with the dawn of the mid-priced handbag—I was much more of a shoe person. Designer handbags had always felt so far out of reach and cheap bag styles didn’t particularly appeal either. So I would often buy vintage or second-hand bags, or be particularly picky about anything affordable. However, one guiding rule always led me to something that looked chic and expensive, no matter the price tag or heritage: Tan handbags always look sophisticated, and the simpler, plainer styles will not only look classy they’ll also be timeless too—meaning you get more bang for whatever buck you’ve put down.

I’ve always found that tan and brown accessories have worked better with everything in my wardrobe: Black can be too harsh for many outfits (especially during the summer months), white flits in and out of trashy territory, navy is hard to come by and other neutrals are only available as and when they’re in fashion. So tan has always been there, a supportive wardrobe friend in times of great outfit need. Due to the trends aligning and the fashion gods or data crunchers perhaps seeing just how well women like me respond to tan bags when they’re on the market, it’s a category that has more options than ever before.

My latest tan bag addition: A raffia style from Elleme. Last year the look really hit its stride, with cult labels such as Staud, Loewe and Wandler creating the kind of tan bags that felt as classic as they did of-the-moment. I did invest in a Staud Bisset bucket bag, but in all honesty I’ve been collecting different iterations for years now. Scroll down to see the styles I own, plus shop my edit of the best tan handbags to buy right now (and love forever and ever).

Mulberry’s mini drawstring style is one I often use for work.

An unusual box-shaped style from Danse Lente.

Monogrammed and personalised from Coach.

Wandler’s bags are a popular choice in the WWW office.

I’ve been carrying this Staud bag for a few summers now.

Not forgetting a more trend-driven alternative—a belt bag from & Other Stories.

Okay, it’s £100 over the limit here but LOOK AT IT.

The Marni style I’ve been saving up for. It will be mine one day!

Still not over this Chloé bag.

It’s the one with the big fashion following and an even bigger waiting list. It will be arriving back in stock soon.

I’m really into Wander’s clean lines.

I also own this little guy, and it’s great for work days when I don’t need or want to carry very much.

Acne’s quietly cool handbags are gathering quite the following.

When you want a tan tote with a bit more personality, check out Boyy.

Obsessed with this unusual shape.

All the French girls love this brand.

It’s the new brand everyone’s talking about.

This is the Staud style I already own, and I’ve used it so much.

Those teeny tiny shoulder backs you had forgotten about are back.

A trending alternative for summer 2019.

Croc-effect is still going strong into A/W 19.

The perfect little summer companion. Next up, everything you could ever need to know about Chanel bags.

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