Pic: www.beltnbags.com.au

Today in our series, 5 x you need to own (next week: men you need to date), we’ll be talking handbags. That’s purses to the Americans – those entirely non-essential accessories that most of us wouldn’t leave the house without. Non-essential, you say? Well yes – look at the menfolk and their free arms. Handbags – just another mode of oppression. 

That enthralling revelation aside (just think about it – handbags and heels, slowing us down since the 19th century), there are certain handbags that every woman needs to own. Five, to be more precise (although I’ll eat my hat if a single woman I know owns a mere five handbags). 

Unless otherwise specified, your handbag should be leather. Pleather is disgusting and smells and feels like cheap.

The black handbag
Every list of this kind must at least nod to practicality, and here it is. A black handbag will go with everything. It will work for the office and for a night out (in a pinch). You can put it on the floor (unless it is calfskin, in which case you should keep it in a glass case) without it getting filthy, and if you're ever doing any Mission Impossible style covert ops, it won't reveal you. Diana briefcase, €564 by Marc by Marc Jacobs at My-Wardrobe.
 
The navy handbag
Navy is a highly underrated fashion option. I mean, we know, navy is super-chic - but it also goes with everything (even black, despite what your mother says) and looks a darned sight more fashionable than black. (Favourite combos include navy + grey + burgundy. School uniform chic.) Renee structured trapeze, €370 by Whistles.
The simple clutch
Okay, so a lot of this list is practical - but for nights out, especially if you're letting your outfit do the talking, a simple clutch is a must. Pick a colour that appeals to you, but remember, versatility is key, so turquoise may not be the best choice (unless you have a lot of coordinating pieces in your wardrobe). If in doubt, think, what would my French self do? Leather clutch, €59.15 by American Apparel at Asos.
 
The out-there crazy kooky bag
In the same way that everyone should own a pair of FUN shoes, everyone should own a FUN handbag - something that makes you smile, turns head and really, really confuses your boyfriend (important: fun handbag not to be confused with funbags. Ahem). The good news right now? Kooky bags are everywhere - from Chanel to Moschino. Even New Look's on the case with these incredible food clutch bags, launching in-store later this month. (Fingers on buzzers.)
 

The canvas tote

Ah, yes, the canvas tote. They get a bad rap because, well, everyone has them and some people carry their Tesco totes around as if that's something to be proud of. Go for something a little off-kilter and follow through with your fashion nous. Just don't be crazy and spend more than €20 on one. Pineapple cat tote bag, €16 on Etsy.