Budget Summer Handbags

Don't Let Your Pocketbook Weigh Them Down

The big bag is known as the

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Summer is the season for vacations, picnics, barbecues -- and affordable accessories. One accessory that is a definite must and that shouldn't break the bank, is a handbag. "Having a great bag is not only practical, but also a fun way to add a stylish element to any outfit," says Emma Danoff, stylist and clothing designer. Three Hollywood stylists share their secrets for finding the perfect summer handbag for this season's biggest steal.

Tan leather bags get better with age, so why not get a head start with a vintage find?

- Clare Mukherjee, stylist and fashion commentator

The Weekender

Think big and think natural when it comes to handbags for those fun-filled summer weekends. Whether you're a T-shirt and jeans kind of girl or a floral dress aficionada, you need a bag that can get you from the pool to the farmers market and everywhere in between.

"I would definitely get a really practical straw tote or carry-all," says stylist Clare Mukherjee. "That way you can carry your beach towel and what you bought at the farmers market."

She says she realizes your first reaction might be "that's a handbag my mom would have!" Fear not. When paired with your floral mini and some cute brogues, this bag will keep your style sizzling this summer.

Carry-all canvas bags are another option for the weekend.

"Whether you're going to the pool, zoo or whatever adventure, you can go prepared," said Danoff, whose clients include Minnie Driver and Taylor Cole. "You'll have your sunscreen, water bottle and bathing suit handy."

Another option in canvas is an army surplus medic or messenger bag.

"They are very durable and will last forever," Danoff said. Aside from being super stylish, they're also super cheap at any military surplus store.

The Classic

Summer is the time to trade your classic black winter handbag for a gorgeous, classic, tan, summer handbag.

"Tan leather is really perfect because it goes with your whites and brights or florals," said Mukherjee, who has dressed the likes of Alexis Bledel and Emilie De Ravin. "It's really classic and evokes a South of France aesthetic that's perfect for work or if you're meeting your girlfriends for lunch."

The perfect tan leather bag must have a high quality cross-body strap. It keeps your hands free when you're busy running errands, going to the grocery store or enjoying an evening bike ride.

"I have been loving the trend of bags with cross-body straps," said stylist and fashion editor Aya Kanai, who has worked with "Teen Vogue" and "Nylon" magazines. "I love riding my bike in the summer, and a long cross-body strap allows me to wear a handbag I love."

Leather might seem like an expensive option when we're talking budget, but it doesn't have to be. Mukherjee said vintage stores, flea markets and thrift stores can have something worthwhile.

"Even if you want to invest in a designer, tan leather bag, you can still stay within a budget," she said.

Tan leather bags are not a fleeting trend. Since they can be brought out again next year, it's worth the time to find the bag that's a good investment at a discounted price.

"Tan leather bags get better with age, so why not get a head start with a vintage find?" Mukherjee asks.

The Evening Stunner

Even though summer nights tend to cool down, your handbag can still be hot.

"For the evening, go with a bright, slightly oversized, fabric clutch," Mukherjee said. "You are not paying for the leather, so it is really affordable and chic. This way you get the color and fashion forward look without spending a fortune."

Danoff said sparkle, sequins or rhinestones are also great for the evening.

"I love secondhand stores for fun, funky vintage bags for night," she said. "They add a cool element to whatever you are wearing. Don't be afraid to bring this little, found, sparkling gem to a daytime event."

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