In 1897, Guccio Gucci left his native Florence for London, where he worked as a bellhop. According to several historical accounts, handling the luggage of the ritzy clientele there inspired him to return to Italy and produce a line of leather goods. In 1921, Gucci opened the doors to a boutique that sold imported suitcases and goods handcrafted by local artisans.
In the late 1940s, Gucci made fashion history with its bamboo-handle bag, a small, structured purse with a bamboo bent by the heat of a flame to make a handle. By the early 1950s, Ingrid Bergman was carrying a variation of the bag in the film “Viaggio in Italia.” The stunt set off Hollywood’s love affair with the Italian label.
Gucci went on to open shops all over the world. In Milan, Grace Kelly bought a silk scarf decorated with a feminine floral pattern called Flora that’s sold to this day. Meanwhile, Jackie Kennedy Onassis picked out a hobo bag with a piston closure that made a comeback in Gucci’s latest collections. (Both the bamboo-handle bag, dubbed the Diana, and Jackie O’s hobo, were reissued by Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele.)
These recreations are testaments to consumers’ penchant for statement pieces that stand the test of time. A statement bag need not be overly trendy or novel; it must speak in the way of elegance and timelessness above all else. According to Hallie Spradlin of Fashion Snoops, the last two years have seen luxury handbags become “even more of a precious statement piece that consumers were willing to invest in. … [They were] directly related to the idea of paring down the excess and considering wardrobe pieces that were truly essential.”
Still, weighing your options can be overwhelming when looking to make such an investment. So, Byrdie has outlined all of the standout Gucci handbags worth shopping for the long term, with key insights from the style and trend experts.
Ahead, find Byrdie’s edit of the best Gucci bags to shop this season.
“One emerging trend we’ve been tracking is the crescent or curve-shaped bag—think the Coperni swipe bag, an ‘it girl’ favorite, or Gucci’s iconic Jackie bag,” Spradlin says. Given Gucci’s longstanding history, and the background of the bag itself, the latter offers classic elements that will surely make for a smart investment. Choose from several sizes to best suit your needs, and rest assured that it will make virtually any outfit look polished and chic.
Dimensions: 10.8 x 7.5 x 1.6 inches
Introduced for Cruise 2020, the Gucci Horsebit 1955 bag was similarly recreated from an archival design. The flap shoulder bag features the signature horsebit detail and a special snap-button mechanism that allows you to adjust the length of the strap to carry it as a shoulder bag or convert it to a cross-body bag.
Dimensions: 9.8 x 7 x 3.1 inches
When in need of a classic shoulder bag, this Ophidia style will have you covered. It offers clean lines and a gold chain strap for a simple yet vintage-inspired look. It’s also unmistakably Gucci with an all-over logo and the label’s signature striped ribbon running down the center, as well as a defining piece of double-G hardware.
Dimensions: 8.3 x 6.9 x 1.1 inches
Small leather goods with modular hardware are also very popular, according to Ana Correa, a strategist at the trend forecasting agency WGSN. This classic mini style fits the essentials; it also works well for maximalists who are interested in multi-bag styling.
Dimensions: 4.5 x 6.7 x 1.6 inches
Spradlin says nostalgia for the ’90s and 2000s has consumers gravitating to monogram styles. This, combined with a renewed interest in carryall silhouettes for their “functionality and purpose,” makes the Ophidia tote a perfect pick to transition from work to weekend.
Dimensions: 17 x 11 x 5.3 inches
For something small and sweet, there’s this sleek top-handle bag. It may fit a tad more than just the essentials (a phone, cardholder, and keys), but surely won’t overtake your outfit. If anything, it’s the perfect accessory to complement your day-to-night looks, because it’s so versatile.
Dimensions: 7.9 x 7.7 x 3 inches
If you’re looking for something that’s a bit edgy, and if you’re also partial to the Gucci Marmont collection, try this one in matelassé-stitched leather, jacquard, or wool. The style has been around since 2016 and has quickly become classic, best recognized for its quilted motifs. It’s completed with signature double-G hardware—a detail that’s almost as old as the house itself.
Dimensions: 10 x 6 x 3 inches
This is for mini bag lovers and Old Hollywood film buffs. The Bamboo 1947 Top Handle Bag, which is inspired by the one worn by Bergman, speaks to the label’s heritage from a more modern form. The compact purse has a signature, curved bamboo handle and round edges. For maximum functionality, it can be carried from the top handle or its detachable shoulder strap.
Dimensions: 8.3 x 6 x 2.75 inches
“[A] shift we’re seeing for bags is moving away from true mini silhouettes and towards carryall silhouettes including spacious hobo bags, totes, and other oversized styles for maximum capacity,” notes Spradlin. Thus, a sleek and practical bag, like the Diana, rules. It features the label’s aforementioned bamboo handles atop an elegant, boxy construction, and it can be carried from the top handles or its detachable shoulder strap.
Dimensions: 13.7 x 11.8 x 5.5 inches
Get a carryall bag without the logo here. The Jackie 1961 Tote Bag features the piston closure—a more subtle way to rep the heritage label. Shop it in smooth leather, monogrammed canvas, or denim jacquard.
Dimensions: 11.8 x 9.4 x 4.7 inches
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What to Look for in a Gucci Handbag
In shopping for a Gucci handbag, or any luxury handbag for that matter, “Go with your gut,” says celebrity stylist Erin Walsh. “Go with what makes you feel like you can conquer the world.” For that vibe, structured bags with a solid handle are fail-safe options. However, your pick should ultimately reflect your style as well.
Heritage brands have garnered their status from their ability to create everlasting pieces that can be worn for seasons. “When purchasing a luxury bag, staple designs are always the best for long-term investment. [They] will hold and even increase their value in the future, if the consumer is interested in reselling,” Correa says. Gucci, in some sense, understands this; it is perhaps a reason why the company brought back so many styles from the past. Of course, when you’re dropping thousands of dollars on such a handbag, it needs to be special to you. This means that a bag can have both trendy and timeless elements—like a statement color, pattern, or new silhouette, plus a classic feature, be it a certain silhouette, material, or traditional detail that’s unique to the designer.
How do you clean a Gucci bag?
To best maintain your Gucci bag, stuff it when it’s not being used, and store it in a dust bag, so it neither loses its shape nor accumulates any smut. Beyond that, “a slightly damp cloth can go a long way,” Walsh says.
Can you restore a Gucci bag?
You can seek to restore a Gucci handbag, should it endure its share of wear and tear. Approach Gucci directly for the most streamlined service; they’ll send the bag out for evaluation and repair, all of which could take up to six months. For virtual services, you can also tap service providers like The Restory or Purse Rehab to collect, evaluate, and fix your bag.
Does every Gucci bag have a serial number?
Why Trust Byrdie
Hayley Prokos is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor focused on fashion and lifestyle. She contributes regularly to Byrdie’s commerce section and has a passion for sourcing chic and practical pieces with long-term wearability. After hours of researching and chatting with our experts, she’s gathered enough insight to determine which Gucci handbags are worth buying this season.