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Today I am joining my friend Kim from Northern California Style for our monthly Signature Style Series. This month we are talking bags, totes, or whatever you like to call them. We covered this topic three yers ago and it is time for an update. It’s hard to go wrong with a great bag. For those of us over 50 and beyond they need to be stylish as well as functional. Regardless of what our husbands claim (tee hee) one handbag will not serve every purpose. Let’s talk about four must have handbags every savvy women over 50 needs.

Four Handbags Savvy Women Over 50 Need

Before we get into the bag styles, if you are a bag switcher you need a good purse organizer that you can switch in and out of your bags. Forbes has a good list here. I think everyone’s favorite is LED lighted Littbag that made Oprah’s favorites you can buy here.

led lighted purse organizer


Just for fun. When you are dressing in all one color, or void of pattern, an artistic statement bag can add much needed pizazz to your outfit.

cashmere and artemis design co-cindy hattersley

It is no mystery I am a big fan of Artemis Design Company. I love their shoes and their bags. Yes they are an investment. This baby duffel bag can be carried by the handles or with the cross-body strap.


This great Columbian Wayu bag is a favorite of mine and of many of yours. Love the wide strap. It is a cross body but it also makes a statement with it’s unique handwoven columbian design. I think it would also be great with the knitwear separates I shared in this post 12 stylish ways to rock knitwear here. If you if you are wearing a cross body bag like this you might want to keep your accessories to a minimum. Adding a necklace or scarf would be too busy.

Left to Right-Mark and Graham really has some great bags at good pricepoints. I love the leopard tote. Laura Shepherd on Etsy carries these fabulous suzani inspired bags (they are pricey). Another etsy find, this calf hair tote is a fun find. I own one of the simple kilim totes from another Etsy seller. They are only $22, and are big enough for a wallet, sunglasses, water bottle and more! The Anthro sherpa bag is reasonable and fun. The croc tote from Dooney has always been a favorite and their bags are made so well. I love the Mark and Graham camo bag. I seem to have a thing for camo currently. The Columbian Waguu bag is a reader favorite (and mine) and very reasonable. I own the Artemis duffel and love it.

Artistic Statement Bags



Oh boy, if I could only take one bag on a long trip what would I take? One that is semi-safe from theft and comfortable to carry. For ideas, you might enjoy reading Travel and Leisure 12 Cute Crossbody bags for Travelers. Travel Fashion Girl’s Five Best Anti-Theft Travel Bags

Travelon is the leader in anti-theft travel bags. I had a version of the baggalini that I had for years. I finally pitched it in the move, so I am on the hunt for a new one. A couple of these have the advantage of being carried as a backpack or a crossbody. The Tumi and Cole Haan are a bit more stylish, so it boils down to how important the anti-theft option is.

6 travel bags recommended by experts



I have to confess I am smitten with the cross body trend (hopefully it is not a trend I hate that word) In my opinion it needs to be big enough to carry a small wallet, makeup essentials, glasses, and keys. I personally prefer a wide strap as well. If you find a bag you love you can always add a wider strap. You can find many cross body staps on Etsy here.

MZ Wallace bag, BR skirt, Quince cashmere

I am a big fan of the MJ Wallace Quilted Crossbody bags. Here I am wearing the Crosby Sling in Magnet. It has a nice wide strap which I appreciate, it comes in multiple colors and it is not too bank breaking.

Eileen Fisher T shirt dress & Ralph Lauren/Mermade Brooklyn Jean Jacket-cindy hattersley

I scored this MZ Wallace quilted cross body on eBay last summer. I would not pay full price for a fun color like this, but I carried it a lot through the spring and summer. I found one for you on the Real Real here.

Cindy Hattersley in Athleta Red Leggings and Sling

Another favorite of mine is the Athleta Excursion Cross body waist bag. It can be worn on the waist (I never do) or as a cross body. It is super lightweight so I can wear it when I am going on long walks. It is big enough for a water bottle keys and a small wallet. When I am walking it would be a water bottle, credit card, a few bills and sunscreen. I carry this more than any other bag I own. It is simple and practical. It is great for travel because it folds completely flat.

I found this Rag and Bone Enfield Leopard bag on eBay last year. I don’t think it had ever been carried. I found several for you on eBay and Poshmark. If you like this bag jump on it because it is discontinued.


I have become a huge crossbody fan. I love having my arms free and not having to constantly hoist my shoulder bag back up on my shoulder. The rag and bone leopard can be found on eBay here, and Poshmark here. The Rag and Bone Belize has my heart. I am loving the Mark and Graham messenger. It comes in black as well. The two Dooney cross bodies are timeless. I love my quilted MJ Wallace bags. They are comortable, and I love the texture. Everlanes version is a nice size and a classic style. I love the chocolate brown bag from Banana, and you know I love my Athleta excursion bag.

nine cross body bags that are on my radar 5



That you can carry everything including the kitchen sink and your laptop.

I tend to favor the larger totes because I can put everything but the kitchen sink in them. I have a couple this size. When I was still shopping for clients, I could tote my laptop, fabric samples, bottled water, etc. Now that I am blogging full time I need a smaller one that will fit my laptop and other essentials. I do like these bigger ones for Farmers Market and other shopping excursions so I don’t need another bag. I am particularly drawn to those that have texture, a woven leather, or croc-embossed.

Over 50 Style Blogger Cindy Hattersley in cp-shades-lily-skirt-BR-turtleneck-feed-bag

I love this work bag from FEED ( if you purchase from them you will help provide meals to school children in need). It is my new go to bag. It is just big enough for my laptop, sunglasses, wallet and a few other essentials. I am coveting this Belize bucket bag from Rag and Bone, but the price tag keeps me from pulling the trigger. I know it is practical (love the combination of black and tan) and classic.

Rag and Bone Belize Bag


From left to right-Vivaia makes a great tote that is made from recycled materials that is under $65. This Dragon Diffusion tote is on my wishlist (I keep watching eBay & Poshmark). The Rag and Bone Belize bag is also on my wishlist (a little pricey as well). I love the FEED work tote. I have (they generously gifted me) the smaller size and carry it all the time. The larger one would be great for travel. It has three compartments (something difficult to find these days). The slouchy tote from Antho has a relaxed appeal. The Montauk travel tote from J Crew is on sale. My travel bag has seen a lot of love. I am tempted by this one! Love the crossbody strap. The Everlane is another tote that can be carried as a crossbody as well. The Sak comes in multiple colorways and the J Crew tote is on sale.

Nine Tote Bags-cindy hattersley


I know this post has a lot of information in it. Many have requested an updated handbag post. Thank you for reading FOUR HANDBAGS SAVVY WOMEN OVER 50 NEED IN THEIR CLOSET. You might also enjoy my post from a couple years ago In search of the perfect cross body bag.

FYI Dooney and Bourke is having a big sale going on right now if you love their bags.

J Crew is offering 40% off many of their bags if you are a cardholder

Now pop over and visit Kim. She always keeps me abreast of current fashion trends.


Reader Interactions


  1. Mary Ryberg says

    Hello: New to your blog and so far I’m enjoying your fashion tips. I’m a minimalist when it comes fashion and home decor. In the above blog about handbags you are standing in front of a garage door, the black slack your are wearing look comfy and nice are they E. Fisher? I love her cloths but I’m short and pear shaped and I find them hard to wear.
    Oh, and my favorite bag; a 1990 Cole Hahn black leather backpack. We’ve lived around the world and this bag has been a trusted companion. Thanks for all the smart tips!

  2. Linda Klein says

    I would love to wear a crossbody and I like your choices ,but I am a plus size person.If you are busty can you wear a crossbody?

    • Terry says

      I too am a plus size girl and yes, I regularly carry a crossbody bag. I think there are several tricks to using a crossbody. First, I like the strap to be narrow so that it doesn’t accentuate or add folds in my clothing. I also think that the strap should be extra long so it doesn’t look like I’m wearing a bag meant fora petite girl. Additionally, I think the bag itself should be narrow in depth so it doesn’t add mass to my frame. These are just my thoughts. I hope you give a crossbody a try. It certainly does free-up your hands for other things.and makes my day a bit simpler when shopping or just out and about.

      • Cindy Hattersley says

        Hi Terry

        That is so interesting. I love crossbody bags but prefer a wide strap for sturdiness. I totally aqree with the length. I think the flatter they lay the better as well!!

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      I am busty. That is why I like the wide strap. I guess it is personal preference. Terrry prefers a thin strap. I never trust a thin strap.

  3. Elizabeth@pineconesandacorns says

    So many great bags Cindy!
    I love bags and shoes. Cross body are my new favorite. Otherwise I like a a hand bag, like the Mark & graham that you pictured.
    Thank you for sharing!

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Eliz

      The cross body’s are just great aren’t they. I have a hard time carrying anything else unless I really need a big tote.

  4. Judy says

    My personal issue with any backpack is the way some people just toss them around to their backs, paying no attention to people around them. Airplanes are where I’ve been hit in the face often.
    And carrying something one can zip open behind you is not safe at all. IMO
    I travel a lot and use a Pacsafe crossbody bag. It’s not fancy but great for travel. Locking zippers and Slash proof strap.
    I take it on all my travels. There are similiar brands but this is what I use. Around home, I would love any of the purses you featured today, depending on cost.

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Judy

      You know it is interesting. I formerly had them on my list but prefer a cross body. I think they are much more versatile and you are right on all accounts. They aren’t safe.

  5. kim says

    Cindy , Super nice how you organized all the bags ! Much easier to get through than my disaster post! I can’t tell you how many bags I love here. This could get me in some trouble. I right away gravitated to the Uzbekistan bag and I have been to the shop on Bainbridge Island ! They have the most amazing pillows too. I love that bag… and the J. Crew suede tote.. among others.
    It was great you gathered all the travel bags. I was just shopping yesterday for one that slips over the trolley handles. My Longchamp is my favorite and holds a ton, but does not have a shoulder strap. I just got the Lululemon one, but may check out these.
    Going back now to see which bags I missed. You found so many gems! Cindy I would love to see your collection.
    Loved doing this with you.

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Kim

      I do not own all of these bags but I do a few! I am heading to read your post now!!

  6. Pamela says

    The MZ Wallace quilted crossbody is my go to bag when I’m out running errands or walking the dog. I’m amazed at how much you can fit into this small bag.

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Pamela

      I couldn’t agree more. I am amazed as well. I can stuff a lot of “loot” in that bag!

  7. Jeanne Henriques says

    You always knock it out of the park Cindy, love all these choices. I have the Artemis duffle bag, it is one of my favorites. New this year for me is The Midi New York by DeMellier. Love it! Thank you for all your helpful shopping tips!

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Jeanne

      That DeMillier bag is gorgeous! I am always looking for a. bag with silver hardware now that my hair is of the same hue!!

  8. Marcia Rayne says

    Cindy, you may want to take a peek at Nordstrom Rack. They have over 300 backpacks marked down, including several brands on your list. Longchamp, Madewell, Amy Kestenburg, All Saints, etc. ,

  9. Annie Diamond says

    Cindy! Love all of your bag ideas! I do love a crossbody bag both small and large enough for my laptop, It’s so great for city life and even the grocery store, I do need a statement bag though!

  10. Homebeforedark says

    My go to bag is a vintage Hobo hobo bag. It is soft and supple. The negative is that it doesn’t have a top zipper, only a snap so it doesn’t get to travel. I have some lovely D&B bags that wear like cast iron. My Brahmin leopard bag (no longer made) is fun. And a Sundance bag woven wool with a concho type strap is different, At 72 with some rotator cuff issues weight is a problem.. My boyfriend of 46 years sometimes carries my bag (yes we are those kind of people) when I need to give my shoulder a rest! Once again thanks for the great research.

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Patricia

      Thanks for bringing up the weight issue. I know it is a problem. As I said my daughter broke her neck in high school and has to be careful of not carring too heavy a bag. I agree the Dooney bags do wear like iron. I donated my last one in the move. It was still in great shape but I hadn’t carried it in years. I still have a brahmin (alligator embossed) that is in great shape as well.

  11. LA CONTESSA says

    I was at a FASHION SHOW/LUNCHEON yesterday so a room FULL OF WOMEN and ONE MAN and there was a lady with a backpack on………….I couldn’t get around her had to double back!Just pointing that out and I know YOU would never go to something like that with a BACKPACK!Just making a comment.The backpacks you showed are beautiful…………I wouldn’t feel comfortable with one.Don’t ask me why I have NO idea…………..didn’t even have one in school well maybe High school as I would carry my stuff in my arms!Maybe thats why I have a BIG PROBLEM WITH MY RIGHT ARM NOW!!!!

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Elizabeth

      There are times when a backpack is really handy and not offensive to others. I think a giant bag can be a problem in a crowd too. A small cross body is probably ideal in a crowd but somethimes we need a larger bag for all of our loot!

  12. Nancy says

    Yikes, you listed so many reasonably priced bags and the first one I like is $578!! What’s wrong with me? I really don’t need any new purses at all. My most recent purchase was at an estate sale, a Paloma Picasso little tiny black leather crossbody. It’s really inexpensive on eBay and other places, I love it so much.

    My son lived in Rome for several years and he said they used to laugh at the white American women wearing their travel safe backpacks on the front. Dang kids. We use the little flat waist bags Rick Steves promotes for real valuables, like passports and an extra credit card. Then, relax and have fun.

  13. Susan R Gordon says

    Change of subject – I, too, love the layered look in my home’s decor, and I would love your thoughts on everyday style for my dining table. After retirement, we downsized to a condo. We brought several pieces of furniture from our former home, including my burl wood parsons style dining table that I purchased in the very early 1980’s. We have an open floor plan here, and the kitchen is not eat-in. We eat all our meals at our well-loved dining table. What are your thoughts about styling it between meals? This subject might make a good post after all the holiday decor topics are in the past.
    Thank you.

  14. kim says

    Oh I forgot to say that the Uzbekistan bag is gorgeous! There is a shop on Bainbridge Island that carries bags and pillows from there and they are all so fun. I can see that black tote in your collection. Cindy it’s so you! xx

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Apparently, Sarah is thinking the same thing! I am hoping someone from my family takes the hint!

  15. kim says

    Cindy loved your choices as always! The backpacks are especially appealing to me. I never knew about Aimee Kesterberg before, but all her things seem lovely. The AllSaints also is chic, but with a really unique design. Love it. I also want one of the braided bags from Bloomingdales! As usual Cindy you get me with all the cool details and texture! This was fun as usual and I always learn so much doing this with you and Sarah. Thank you for including me in your style group. I’m grateful . xo Kim

  16. Marcia Rayne says

    I screenshot several of your choices, I have a shoe fetish but bags are a close second . I like a tote and a hobo but heck, I can’t pass up a good bag. They all have their purpose. I tote when I am traveling but a lightweight crossbody when I am shopping or for lunch. My fav is an old Coach hobo. It is 18 yrs old. I have used leather conditioner on it which helps maintain it’s appearance. Has a zipper and a nice shoulder strap. The best thing about it is it is lightweight. I have noticed there are vintage Coach handbags on EBay. Good post . Now I need a backpack too! Lol

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Marcia

      The coach and dooney bags are of such good quality. I used to have several Dooney bags that I finally purged in the move. In my new life as a full-time blogger, I can really dress how ever I want (sweats most of the time!!) so I tend to lean toward those that are more artistic. I think you all are making good points about the weight of bags. The black woven one that I carry a lot is pretty heavy. My daughter broke her neck years ago and she has to be really careful about that.

      • Marcia says

        I bought a LV several years ago. The Artsy which is very large and unfortunately heavy with all my necessities. I still use it because it never wears out and it reminds me of my mom who always carried a Speedy. I always thought she liked LV because of the brand name. Now I know it was because of the quality.
        Hope your daughter has recovered completely from her fracture. Serious stuff !

        • Cindy Hattersley says

          Hi Marcia

          I have a friend that loves vintage LV but wouldn’t think of carrying one of the newer versions. I know exactly what you mean!

  17. Lauren says

    You forgot Pacsafe which is mentioned just as often on Travel Fashion Girl as Travelon
    And the backpack that has taken on a life of its own is Rebecca Minkoff’s Julian which comes in 4 sizes and can be leather or nylon

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Lauren

      Thank you for sharing your favorites. I always read and research and pick my favorites. I am not an expert on anything. I just try to pick the ones that I would personally use. Please share your particular favorites.

  18. Wren says

    I always thought your black woven back was a Bottega! I need to look into a purse organizer. I never knew there was such a thing but I would make a transfer easier. One year I made the mistake of buying a backpack at a duty free store before flying out. It was a beautiful Cole Haan but in the end, I realized that it was too heavy. Just the bag alone weighed a lot but filled with travel stuff made it over the top. Lesson learned and I consigned it.
    Thanks for doing the homework for us and finding some good options.
    I like the idea someone proposed about an evening bag. Yes, I do scale down to something small when going out to dinner.

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Wren
      Bottega is a little out of my reach even on eBay even though I love their work. Weight is definitely a concern, many thanks for bringing that up

    • Ginger says

      Love all the beautiful bags! It is tricky to find just the right size and weight wether a tote, backpack or crossbody. I have a very soft black leather backpack that I found at a consignment boutique years ago that I rarely use but still love it!

      • Cindy Hattersley says

        Hi Ginger

        Most of my bags have been purchased on Ebay. I have found great ones that have been barely used!

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Elizabeth

      Thank you so much. I try to do my research but I have my own biases as well.

  19. Kim says

    Thought of another possible item for the list: a clutch or evening bag? Does anyone use a purse for evening or formal events?

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Kin

      Great point. I should have included an evening clutch. I just wasn’t sure if that many of us are going to events like that quite yet. Next year for sure hopefully!!

      • Kim says

        Of course 🙂 Looking forward to “normal”, however that might look. Was just wondering if the evening bag was no longer a “thing”. So many wonderful, glitzy, examples out there. Not very practical, but fun.

        • Cindy Hattersley says

          Hi Kim

          I have a collection of vintage bags that I use for that occasion. Maybe topic for discussion if things do return to “somewhat” normal!

  20. bonnie says

    Hi Cindy,
    I’m a fan of the MZ Wallace bags. Over the years, I’ve bought 4 or 5 when they had their great end of season sales. They wear well and are lightweight. As I’ve aged, I find leather too heavy, if I’m going to be out and about for a while. I don’t have any of their quilted line, as I already have TOO M ANY bags! But, I would love to have one.
    These are all great suggestions for a range of needs.

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Bonnie

      I am so glad to hear that. I love the quilted look and the lighter weight, Thanks so much for weighing in

  21. Barb says

    Hi Cindy! I have the Dooney crossbody that you showed in black on your graphic. I actually have two—a cream colored leather for spring/summer and a gray one for fall/winter. It’s the perfect size for me—roomier than many crossbodies but still slim in profile. Theses are the only purses that I travel and shop with! I have several Dooney bags, and they are very good quality (and not covered in logos!)

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      HI Barb

      I have had many Dooney handbags over the years and I agree their quality is unsurpassed and worth the $$. Thank you so much for weighing in. I bought their bags back when I had to save up to purchase because they literally never wear out

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi MP

      The pants are from J Crew. If you go to my post on knitwear you can find the link. I can’t link here. You can also follow me on liketoknowit where I am trying to get better about posting things there.

  22. Karen says

    Love this posts, as Handbags are my fetish
    I have always love love the bigger the better purse., everything but the kitchen sink.

    I still have my Ralph Lauren handbags from years ago. Also have one my fav from Sundance store, I tend now to go smaller, going to do errands etc.

    This is awesome posts, simply the best.
    Thank you❤️❤️

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Karen

      I still love Ralph anything. He is our American Designer. Sundance I love too!

  23. Kim says

    As always, a visual treat! Thank you for including suggestions and links. Have a few of these, but looking to complete the list 😉 One of my favorites is a Vintage Berber handbag from Morocco. The leather is weathered and I make sure to treat it with leather conditioner on a regular basis. Lots of pockets/compartments to hold everything. Definitely checks the statement bag requirement off of my list.

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Lynne

      If you go to my blog and search knitwear you can find the link. They are sweater pants from J Crew

  24. nancy says

    Bags are my weakness. I have many but find the leather ones get too heavy for travel. The Travalon anti-theft are also a bit heavy for all day. I have a small Lo & Sons and a Tumi, but they are too small. My bags need to be less than 1 lb empty. I’m such a wimp! Loved your post on bags.

    • Cindy Hattersley says


      Thanks so much for sharing. I will check out Lo & Sons. I agree with what you are saying…travel bags need to be lightwweight but functional.

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