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Radley Stories

Style Notes

The Five Classic Handbags You Need In Your Wardrobe

09 May 2024

What makes a classic handbag? Well, as legendary designer Yves Saint Laurent once said, “fashion fades, style is eternal”. We couldn’t agree more. The finest leathers and materials go in to making every Radley London design. Paired with decades of expertise from our artisan makers and the best leathers, so you can love yours for years to come. 

“What makes a great handbag? Quality craftsmanship, attention to detail and amazing design both inside and out. The size, colour and shape are obviously important, but the handbag has to work with the needs of modern life.” Zizi, Director of Design

Our London-based designers make it their mission to create bags you’ll always want by your side. Here’s our guide to some of the best classic bag styles for ladies.


Designed to work as hard as you do. Tote bags are the ultimate in form-meets-function. Ours are made with sustainably sourced leathers, spacious interiors and zip fastenings to keep your essentials safe. Often, we even add separate laptop sleeve, so there's no need for the extra (usually not-so-stylish) laptop bag. Side pockets provide the perfect place to stash your keys or a bottle of hand sanitiser.


Any classic camera cross body bag shape gets an A+ from us. Multi-tasking (just like you), they prove that everyday pieces can still be luxurious. Ours always combine expert craftsmanship with details you didn't know you needed until now. 


We call this style a multiway grab bag for a reason. A clear Radley London classic, this shape is adored for its versatility and timeless silhouette. Grab it by the handle or wear as a cross body with the - often detachable - cross body strap. A hands-free bonus when carrying your takeaway flat white and texting at the same time. Many of ours also have a triple compartment interior, making it an organisation-lover's dream. Talk about classic handbags that don’t go out of style.


Thought backpacks were only for the most casual days? You haven’t seen ours. Often made with grained leather, secure zip fastenings and extra pockets. They keep everything safe but easily accessible. So you’ll use it for weekends, holidays and days spent exploring.  


With more than a nod to the ‘90s, our shoulder bags bring to mind the cool girl style of Kate Moss and her fellow icons of the decade. A lot of our signature styles have a detachable cross body strap too, which converts it into a cross body that’s dancefloor friendly (for when the ‘90s hits start to play). The quiet luxury of our signature supple leather with have you ready to show this bag off at every opportunity.

We know colour is all-important when choosing a bag. That’s why we make all of our signature styles in core shades of tan brown and black - across the best leathers. You can find out all about leather in our guide on Radley Stories

Our Designers do also love having fun with colour and introduce a fresh palette every season. See all the latest shades on our New In page. And there’s so much more to see in our range of purses and footwear