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Best cross-body bag 2023: Hands-free style and convenience from only £7

A cross-body bag can be both cute and practical, as it keeps your hands free while being highly stylish

For utilitarian purposes, a good bag is a must. It can hold and protect your important belongings, such as a phone, purse and keys, while out and about. Bags are also a great way to express your personal style and add another layer of accessories to any outfit.

That being said, handbags can get in the way of your everyday activities, such as when you’re shopping or travelling. Even a shoulder bag can cause problems, always slipping off with any slight movement.

However, cross-body bags allow you to wear them in a way that is comfortable while freeing up your hands. They also offer better security for your items than other types of bags as they’re less likely to be snatched or fall off your shoulder.

We’ve found some of the best cross-body bags that are convenient and stylish for your everyday needs. Our buying guide below will help you choose the best one for you.

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Best cross-body bags: At a glance

How to choose the best cross-body bag

The cross-body is a bag that comes with an adjustable strap that enables you to hang it, as the name suggests, across the body. There are several different styles to choose from.

What types of cross-body bags are available?

Lots of cross-body bags will often have two carrying options: the original grab handle and a detachable cross strap. There are many different types of cross-body bags out there, but here are some of the most popular shapes:

Baguette bags: This type of bag is usually small and wide, with a slight curve at the bottom. Although baguette bags commonly have a single carry handle, they might also have a detachable cross-body strap to convert it.

Bowling bags: The bowling bag is the opposite of the baguette; it has a large curve on the top of the bag and is typically taller than the baguette.

Box bags: Box bags are super popular and come in a variety of styles and fixtures. They have a very structured look and create more volume than other, more shapely bags.

Tote bags: Tote bags usually come in a box shape but are taller and have two carry handles with an open top that may also have a zipper.

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What features should I look for in a good cross-body bag?

Finding your perfect cross-body bag will always boil down to your personal tastes, but here are a few things to watch for:

Material: Many luxury bags are made from pure leather for an elegant finish and a durable construction that will last for years. However, some buyers will have ethical objections to real leather, which is why many brands make their bags with faux leather and other polyester finishes.

Size: If you’re buying online, make sure to check sizes carefully. Parents who need to fit the kitchen sink in their bag will obviously want the larger sizes.

Colour: Cross-body bags come in all types of patterns and colours to match your style, but a good black bag is timeless and will always go with any outfit.

With so many cross-body bags on the market, it can be hard to choose one (or just one), but our list has some of the best bags on the market to help ease the selection process.

How we test cross-body bags

At Expert Reviews, we know that hands-on testing delivers the most complete information about a product. When it comes to cross-body bags, we put them through their paces by wearing them in a variety of environments, trying out different shapes and sizes, and considering the benefits of the various materials from which they’re made. Where a cross-body bag is recommended for a particular use, we use it in that scenario to ensure we make an accurate recommendation.

We rigorously challenge the cross-body bags for use in different situations, evaluating their overall comfort, interior capacity and the quality of the materials from which they’re made. We also note how well different shapes fit different needs. Finally, we confirm the dimensions, material and colour of each bag.

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The best cross-body bags you can buy in 2023

1. Michael Kors Jet Set Travel Cross Body: the best everyday cross-body bag

Price: £190 | Buy now from House of Fraser

Whether on a shopping trip or on the way to a fancy dinner, this Michael Kors Jet Set Travel cross-body bag is perfect for any occasion. The strap is adjustable for wearing on the shoulder or across the body. The strap is also half gold chain and half black leather to create an elegant look, while maintaining comfort for all-day wear.

According to many customers, the bag was much larger than expected, making it practical for anyone who likes to tote their whole life around with them. The boxy shape also allows for storing oddly shaped items and greater overall volume.

With a 100% leather body and metal hardware, this bag should be good for daily use for years to come. It’s a great-quality bag and very sturdy, keeping all of the contents inside protected. One customer had this bag for seven years and found that it still looked brand new!

Key specs – Material: Leather; Colour: Black and gold; Dimensions: N/A

Buy now from House of Fraser

2. Asos Design Boxy Envelope Crossbody Bag with Hardware Detail in Black Croc: The best mini cross-body bag

Price: £21 | Buy now from ASOS

This Asos Design Boxy Envelope Crossbody Bag is perfect for parties or for a drink at the pub, because it’s easy to throw on and carry around all night. Despite its compact size, it’s still big enough to fit all of the going-out essentials, including a phone and make-up. The crocodile texture gives the impression of real leather and its envelope boxy design gives it a fashion-forward and sleek look.

The miniature size and carry handle is also very modern. The bag can be worn as a cross-body when on the go, with a strap that can be adjusted from 69cm to 124cm. The strap is also detachable and the grab handle offers another way to carry it when aiming for a more professional look.

Key specs – Material: Polyester; Colour: Black; Dimensions: 18 x 6 x 14.5cm (WDH)

Buy now from Asos

3. Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag: The best cross-body bag for travel

Price: £38 | Buy now from Lululemon

The Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag has a low profile and an adjustable belt strap that won’t move around, ensuring that all of your valuables are secured close to your body. This is essential when running around the airport or on a road trip.

Although this bag is slim, it has a volume of one litre to fit everything you could possibly need on a trip, such as a passport, earbuds, a small water bottle, your purse and phone.

The bag has lots of zippers and pockets inside to organise all of your belongings – no more digging around for your ID or tickets. The strap is adjustable and allows so many different arrangements to fit whatever’s most comfortable for you. It can also be worn as a bum bag.

Key specs – Material: Nylon and polyester; Colour: Pink savannah; Dimensions: 19 x 5.5 x 13cm (WDH)

Buy now from Lululemon

4. Marc Jacobs Mini Traveller Tote: The best cross-body tote bag

Price: £385 | Buy now from Very

The Marc Jacobs Mini Traveller Tote is iconic, instantly recognisable from its bold “The Tote Bag” lettering engraved on the front. It’s a mini bag so it maintains the portability of the traditional cross-body bag, but the tote design has a depth of 13cm to fit just about anything you need when on the go. Many customers found that the bag was bigger than it seems online, with plenty of room for essentials.

The strap can be worn on the shoulder or across the body to free up your hands when on a shopping trip or running errands. The strap can also be removed and has two top handles for taking it to meetings or events.

Although this bag is a bit of a splurge, it’s made from pure leather and has an elegant grained texture to justify the price. It’s also highly durable and is sure to last.

Key specs – Material: Leather; Colour: Black; Dimensions: 21 x 13 x 26cm (WDH)

Buy now from Very

5. Radley Pocket Bag Large Zip cross-body bag: The best slim cross-body bag

Price: £139 | Buy now from House of Fraser

The Radley Pocket cross-body bag is a classic, maintaining its popularity since 1999. This bag is of the highest quality and made from leather. Its design is unique, comfortable and super slim, with a depth of only 3.5cm. When more space is needed, there’s a wrap-around zipper that can be undone to expand the volume of the bag.

At 27cm, this particular model is higher than your average cross-body, allowing it to accommodate taller items. Owners can stay organised with the front and back pockets, as well as the pockets on the inside. This makes life so much easier and prevents contents piling up in the bag.

When it comes to durability, one customer wrote that they’ve had this bag for 15 years and it’s still going strong.

Key specs – Material: Leather; Colour: Tortoise; Dimensions: 29 x 3.5 x 27cm (WDH)

Buy now from House of Fraser

6. Matalan Natural Straw Crossbody Bag: The best inexpensive cross-body bag

Price: £7 | Buy now from Matalan

The woven straw exterior of this Matalan Natural Straw Crossbody Bag gives it a summery and natural look, making it one of the best accessories for going on holiday. With a neutral tan body and a brown lining and handle, this bag can go with any outfit. It’s a trendy and versatile bag at a very affordable price.

This bag is light, meaning you can carry it around all day on holiday without getting tired. The bag also has plenty of room to hold all of your essentials.

At this price, it’s bound to be popular. Indeed, it was out of stock at the time of writing, so keep an eye on the Matalan site for its return.

Key specs – Material: Straw polypropylene; Colour: Nude; Dimensions: 24.5 x 7 x 17cm (WDH)

Buy now from Matalan

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