As a reformed overpacker in danger of developing a back problem, I was able to slowly wean myself off oversized, chaos-disposed totes with the help of versatile crossbody bags that are large enough to hold all the essentials (and some extras).

——— Wallet Replacement: Coach Noa Pop-Up Messenger ———

Price: $178 (“seasonal” colors now on sale)
Color Range: Solid colors and colorblock
Size: 8.25″ W x 5″ T x 1″ D with 23″ detachable strap; weighs about 6oz

Earlier this year, I replaced my large overstuffed zip continental wallet with the Coach Noa Pop-Up Messenger, a crossbody bag with several zippered compartments and card slots. The Noa is compact and secure enough to casually toss into my work bag, obviating the need to transfer content when I am going from work to dinner.

The Noa Messenger is conceptually similar to wallets on chain, but offers a little more flexibility: it’s more capacious, and the removable pouch is a nice touch, in case you need to further transfer the cards/cash portion to another bag.

Close but no cigar? Try the (super affordable) faux leather Kenneth Cole Alpine Mini Bag, which is currently on sale, or these two Amazon options (Sukri/MKF Collection) that look promising.

———— Convertibility Winner: SENREVE Maestra Bag ————

Price: $695/$775 (depending on the material) for the mini, $795 for the midi, and $895 for the “regular
Color Range: Two dozen solid colors in four leather finishes (Pebbled, Mimosa, Smooth, and Dragon) with two hardware options (gold and silver)
Size (for the “mini”): 11.5″ W x 7.5″ H x 5.5″ D; weighs 1.8 pounds

SENREVE is a DTC brand that’s spent a lot of social media marketing dollars… successfully, I would say, as my decision to try this bag was heavily influenced by near-daily exposure to it on Instagram. After trying all three sizes, I decided on the “mini,” though it wasn’t an easy decision.

The most appealing aspect of the Maestra (imo) is its convertibility (you can wear it as a backback, over-the-shoulder, as a crossbody, and also handheld) and the built-in organization (seven interior compartments + one exterior pocket). As someone who carries an assortment of random objects that can’t be easily organized, I have found the Maestra helpful in keeping the contents separate, and thus easier to locate in a pinch.

———— Day-to-Night: Salvatore Ferragamo Ginny Bag ————

Price: $1250
Size: 10″ W x 6″ H x 2 D with 18″ strap

I like the Salvatore Ferragamo Ginny Bag enough to have bought four of them, and consider them among my more practical (in terms of use) purchases. Though I often wish the straps were more adjustable and the interior capacity 50% larger, it is a bag that I bring with me on nearly every trip, as it complements both casual and dressy outfits.

Another day-to-night option that I really like is the Chanel Small Flap Bag with Top Handle.

———— Super Light: Longchamp Le Pliage Neo Crossbody Bag ————

Price: $110 (or $260 for the all-leather version)
Size: 8.75″ W x 5.5″ H x 2.75 D with 25.5″ strap

Why would someone buy the Le Pliage Neo Crossbody Bag? Probably for the same reason that person buys any Longchamp nylon bag: because it’s lightweight and durable. It’s got some flaws–the straps are fixed in length, and the bag doesn’t have much organization built in (which could be a pro viewed through different lenses)–but (again) it’s lightweight, and waterproof, and surprisingly capacious considering its size.

Need something larger but similarly lightweight? Try the Longchamp Le Pliage Neo Flat Crossbody.

—— The In-Between: Madewell The Zip-Top Transport Crossbody ——

Price: $148
Size: 10″ W x 9.5″ H x 3″ D with 3.5″ handheld strap drop and 20″ – 23.5″ convertible strap drop. Weighs about 1 lb

For those who don’t need to commute with a laptop, but like to travel with a water bottle or other bulky items, the Transport Crossbody is the perfect size: it is not large enough to encourage mindless packing, but it can comfortably house full-size wallets, dopp kits, tablets/Kindle, sunglasses cases, etc. But my favorite thing about this bag is the durable top zip closure, perhaps the most underrated feature in a bag, as it inhibits both pickpockets and spills. The strap also adjusts easily to suit both the petite and the tall.

For a more affordable alternative, consider the Old Navy Faux-Leather Bag.

———- Travel-Friendly: Lo & Sons Pearl Crossbody ———-

Price: $248
Color Range: 15 solid-color options in two leather types (Saffiano and Nappa)
Size: 9.5″ W x 7.75″ H x 3″ D; weighs about 1 lb

The Lo & Sons Pearl Crossbody is marketed as the ultimate travel bag, with its multitude of pockets and zippered compartments, and the convertible strap options. And convertibility (with regard to bags) is like catnip to me. Sure, it’s unlikely that I’d ever wear something like the Pearl as a wristlet, but the idea of it is seductive.

While I like The Pearl’s (relative) sleekness, I can see how someone (who has been inured to the traditional tote) might find the built-in compartments limiting; it also doesn’t work well (especially in saffiano leather) with objects that are bulkier in size, like a water bottle or a pocket umbrella.

An alternative to the Lo & Sons Pearl that I am contemplating is the Kate Spade Polly Medium Double Gusset Crossbody.

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Tell me about your favorite crossbody bag. Why is it your favorite and what’s important to you when choosing a crossbody bag?

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