A cross-body bag ranks just as high on the necessary-travel-items scale as comfy walking shoes, a scarf or sarong, and a portable phone charger. Actually, cross-body bags aren't so much travel essentials as they are life essentials. Meant to be worn on one side of the body, they feature long (usually adjustable) straps that stretch over the opposite shoulder and main compartments that keep all your stuff safe with some combination of zippers, flaps, magnets, and locking hardware. Cross-bodies come in a range of styles, prices, and sizes, but all versions are designed to keep your valuables close to your body and your hands free. And that's a beautiful thing, whether you're running errands across town, going on a weekend trip, or crisscrossing the world.
1. ili Midi Sac
This easy-on-the-wallet sack combines the shape and space of a burly tote with the look-ma-no-hands convenience of a cross-body (plus the RFID protection of an anti-theft travel bag). Two external pockets (one with a zipper) provide quick access, and an interior zippered pocket allows for extra peace of mind.
2. BAGGU Cross Body Purse
Baggu’s flat-bottomed purse nails the elusive chic-yet-sensible combo -- you could tote this style into a boardroom, through a walking tour, or onto a dance floor, all on the same day. The outside is made from soft pebbled leather, the lined interior features two pockets (one with a zipper for extra-safe keeping), and the magnetic close is strong and secure.
3. Matt & Nat Opia
This vegan saddle bag is sort of like two bags in one: Two side-by-side compartments include a front section with a large magnetic-catching flap and a rear one with a top-closing zipper. Measuring eight inches wide, six inches tall, and two inches deep, this style is slightly smaller than the one from Baggu (which is two inches higher and one deeper), but it's a great size for the Holy Trinity that is your wallet, keys, and phone, plus extras like sunscreen, Emergen-C packets, and collapsible ballet flats. Plus, Opia's magnetized flap may feel less vulnerable than Baggu's more open top.
4. Clare V. Double Sac Bretelle
Clare V. Double Sac Bretelle cross-body has a similar two-in-one style, with two gold-tone-zippered compartments, each made from buttery cream-colored leather. The bag is as dependable and durable as it is good-looking; it's hard to think of an occasion for which this beautiful style wouldn't be appropriate.
5. Coach Turnlock Crossbody
This ladylike 70s-style staple is a classic, and with good reason. The shape is simple and timeless, the glove-tanned leather is smooth and practically indestructible (trust us, these bags can take quite the beating), and the closure is a magnetic turnlock that snaps shut with a satisfying click. Beneath that locking flap is a slip-in pouch -- perfect for things like your Metrocard, office access cards, and Chapstick.
6. The Fix Hampton Circle Bag
Like a cross between canteen bag and a mini hat box, this fun, retro-inspired style has a structured circular body with a zip-around front, plus playful leather tassels and a top handle with gold hardware. It lacks a body-facing outside slot and is a touch less versatile than other picks on this list (skip it for, say, a safari), but it's still cute and handy.
7. Fossil Corey Crossbody
Fossil’s well-compartmentalized Corey Crossbody has a home for just about every little thing you think you might need over the course of the day or a trip: wallet, lip balm, smartphone, iPad mini, sunglasses, earbuds, folded-up New Yorker -- you name it. The style features two outer zippered pockets, a slip-in back pocket, and roomy main compartment with three more pockets, plus a thick adjustable strap that helps distribute the weight.
8. Tom Clovers Canvas Messenger Bag
For those of us out there who really struggle to pare down our haul, this budget-friendly black-hole bag is a great find. Go on and toss in aforementioned essentials, plus hand sanitizer and other TSA-approved toiletries, bottled water, a journal or even your laptop -- this guy can take it. The slouchy cotton canvas bag features an asymmetrical front flap, lots of inner pockets, and adjustable leather straps.
9. PrimeCut Black Cowhide Pouch Purse
Made-in-Portland Primecut bags have clean, minimalist designs that let their craftmanship and material -- high-quality, well-sourced cowhide -- make the statement. The product is streamlined and elegant, but not without great details: The top zipper has a leather pulls, the inside is lined with cotton/poly canvas, and the shoulder strap is fully detachable.
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