Could the bucket bag be your next staple handbag? Bucket bags are a timeless choice for a casual bag, but be assured that there are also many designer bucket bags that you can carry from day to evening. While the classic soft leather design with a drawstring top is still an excellent and timeless choice, there are so many new takes on bucket bags that you’d be remiss not to explore at least a little bit.
That’s why we’ve collected the 19 best bucket bags you can buy right now – they are all from recent collections, and are guaranteed to be super-hot throughout the year. You’ll be surprised to know that bucket bags have a very interesting history. Once you’ve had a look at our favorite bags, make sure to keep reading to learn all about where the bucket bag actually came from!
To finish things off, we’ve put together a handy guide to help you choose the right bucket bag for you, as well as to help you figure out how to style it.
The Trend of Bucket Bags: Contents
- 19 Best Bucket Bags to Buy Now
- The Fascinating History of the Bucket Bag Trend
- Tips on Choosing Your Dream Bucket Bag
- How to Carry Your Bucket Bag in Grand Style
19 Best Bucket Bags to Buy Now
From all-time classics to the recent designer additions, these bucket bags are powerful enough to instantly elevate your outfits while carrying your belongings around.
1. The Mansur Gavriel Bucket Bag
This designer bucket bag is from Mansur Gavriel – the label credited with bringing the bucket bag back into fashion. This bag is made of simple and elegant Italian leather, and comes in a variety of colors to suit all tastes. It’s only mini compared to the brand’s other bags – in reality it is medium size, and perfect for fitting daily needs including a large wallet, phone, and even a couple of books or a small tablet.
The Mansur Gavriel bucket bags have a drawstring top made of the same colored leather as the bag itself, and an adjustable strap long enough to wear as a cross-body or shoulder bag. You can buy it from Forward.
2. Gucci GG Marmont Bucket Bag
This quilted bag from Gucci is a reimagining of their Marmont style as a bucket bag with a drawstring top, and with the GG emblem in gold near the front. It is on the smaller side of things, and comes in a sophisticated black or an eye-catching red. It has an adjustable leather top strap, or a detachable shoulder strap made of red, blue and white fabric, to suit all preferences. Get it at Net-a-Porter or Gucci!
3. Miu Miu Quilted Mini Bucket Bag
Cute is the first word that comes to mind when looking at this rich blue bucket bag. It has a vertical quilted design, and a rounded shape that is soft, feminine, and somewhat quaint. It comes with an adjustable shoulder strap, and has a little golden logo that proclaims the Miu Miu brand. Order this mini bucket bag from Farfetch!
4. Croc-Embossed Bucket Bag
One of the most whimsical variations on bucket bags is this Staud basket bag, which is slightly more solid in structure than most designer bucket bags. Everything about this bag is solid, from the magnetic flat top, to the vase-shaped body, to the leather handle. The inside is lined with luxurious suede, while the outside is made of croc-embossed leather. It is available online through Forward.
5. Bucket Bag with a Bow
If you have a girlish flare, this is one of the best bucket bags for you. It has a solid, oval design, and the bulk of it is made of a blush-colored leather. Its smaller size means it’ll only hold the essentials, while the adorable leather bow keeps it only minimally secure. It does also have an adjustable shoulder strap. This is the very definition of fashion over function, but boy is it fashionable. Have this Ulla Johnson bucket bag delivered to you via Net-a-Porter!
6. Color-Blocked Bucket Bag
This is one of the few bucket bags we’ve seen with a somewhat square shape. It’s made of soft leather, with a thick magnetic strap closure, and different colored panels leading to a chic color blocking effect that is perfect for daytime. This Yuzefi bag has two removable straps – a short chain one, and a long leather one for cross-shoulder carrying. This bag can be purchased from Shopbop.
7. Basket-Bottomed Bucket Bag
This lovely little bucket bag from Prada will bring a bit of rustic country charm into your day-to-day life, no matter where you live. Its red hot color is as chic as it gets, but the woven basket bottom gives it some down-to-earth balance. The bag comes with a removable shoulder strap, a drawstring top, and a comfy leather handle. Get it from My Theresa!
8. Golden Loop-Handle Bucket Bag
This Marni bucket bag combines a minimalist aesthetic with the luxury of a gold loop handle. Its body is somewhat square shaped, but it is made of soft leather true to the old school reticule origins of bucket bags. It has an open top design, with a detachable pouch pocket and an adjustable strap. You can order it online from Farfetch.
9. Basket Bucket Bag
Spend every day pretending you’re about to go on a charming picnic out in the fields, with this Cesta Collective bucket bag that looks exactly like a woven basket. This straw bag is totally sustainable, with the basket components woven out of sisal by artisans in Rwanda. Its inside is lined with organic cotton canvas that sticks out a bit and has a drawstring top that will keep your belongings protected, and you can keep a hold of it with the tan leather handle. Buy this bucket bag from Matches Fashion, and feel good about your choices!
10. Logo-Embossed Bucket Bag
Despite what some of the other designer bucket bags on this list might imply, it is absolutely possible to be a brand slave and carry around a bucket bag. This Fendi bag is embossed all over with the brand’s logo, and to add a touch more luxury, its handle attachments and drawstring top loops are all detailed in gold. Otherwise, it is mercifully simple, with a classic bucket bag shape made of black leather. It is available through Forward.
11. Tan Croc Bucket Bag
Mini bucket bags are perfect for spring and summer, when you really don’t need to carry much with you. A lighter shade is key, and this tan goatskin is perfect, especially if your style is an elevated version of bohemian-chic that can accommodate the croc-effect of the embossing. The small Rejina Pyo bag has two suede straps you can loop around your wrist, and a magnetic closure. Order it online from Net-a-Porter!
12. Nubuck Bucket Bag
While the design of this Simon Miller bucket bag is thoroughly modern, it is still comprised of elements that give vintage vibes. It is made of soft nubuck, which always lends a vintage touch, with two round tortoiseshell handles. This bag is quite small and almost clutch-like, so it is best for short daytime events when you will be able to hang on to it easily, and won’t need much inside it. Find it at Moda Operandi!
13. Solid Nano Bucket Bag
This is another solid take on bucket bags for those who like simple elegance in their look. This Sophie Hulme bag is made of an earthy mustard-dyed leather, and has a magnetic clasp top, leather handle and a detachable strap. It’s perfect for any casual occasion, and pairs best with light-colored outfits. You can buy it from Matches Fashion.
14. Architectural Bucket Bag
As one of the larger bucket bags on this list, this Danse Lente bag absolutely had to be super elegant but also versatile. It is made in Italy, of multi-colored panels of high-quality leather. Like every respectable bucket bag, it has both a small handle and a long cross-shoulder strap. It comes in a few color options, but our favorite is classy white with forest green panels. It is available online via Net-a-Porter.
15. Canvas-Strap Bucket Bag
This Chloe little bucket bag seems as simple and elegant as they come, with a solid and square-oval body, fabric lining, and a hidden drawstring closure. However, it gains a bit of edge and a casual touch from a hearty canvas shoulder strap that can be detached, but why would you want to? Pick it up at Forward!
16. Straw Bucket Bag
We’re utterly obsessed with this rustic bucket bag. It has an oval design, with a vertical straw weave that keeps it from being too quaint. A colorful ribbon handle also acts as a drawstring closure, making for a bag that is more secure than a first glance implies. This is one of the few vegan bucket bags on this list. It is available at Shopbop.
17. Large Dome Bucket Bag
Fulfill your minimalist fantasies with this large, elegant, and as simple in design a bucket bag as it can be while remaining functional. This bag is all tan and all leather, with a fully attached strap that can be adjusted with a unique ring slider. It comes with a detachable pouch for your smaller items. You can find it at Nordstrom.
18. Structural Bucket Bag
Yet another square take on designer bucket bags for those of you who prefer clean lines! This Yuzefi clean bag is made of panels of brown, tan, and white Spanish calfskin leather, and has a magnetic enclosure. You can bring it from day to night, with a design that is modern and elegant. Order it online from Forward!
19. Croc Envelope Bucket Bag
The croc effect is going to be hot, especially on lighter leathers, so snap yourself a fitting purse quickly! This By Far bag is a solid take on bucket bags, with a circular leather handle and an envelope snap closure that combines styles elegantly. It is sold online through Net-a-Porter.
The Fascinating History of the Bucket Bag Trend
To understand where the bucket bag came from, we first must understand exactly what it is. While there are many style elements that apply to most bucket bags, the only thing that is truly consistent across the board is that bucket bags have a non-tapered opening, meaning they must be kept closed with a drawstring, a magnetic snap, or the handle itself in a manner that brings all the sides of the bag together – that, or the bag’s top remains open.
The other element that is almost always present in bucket bags is that their depth is longer than their width or length, leading to either an oval or vertical rectangle shape. The only exception is basket-style bucket bags, which tend to be solid and can also have less depth than width or circumference.
Bucket Bag Origins
The bucket bag has such a simple, no-brainer design that it is fitting that it doesn’t have a clear origin or a particular inventor. In fact, the very first pouches commonly used (and are documented as early as the 14th century) had drawstring tops and were made of fabric. They were usually attached to the waist, rather than handheld, however.
The main precursor to the bucket bag is the reticule – a pouch normally made of fabric, with a drawstring top that was especially popular with women from the late 18th century to the early 19th century. Before that time, women’s dresses had ample hidden pockets, so they had no need for a bag.
When fashion changed, it was indeed the drawstring-topped fabric reticule that took over. The reticule was commonly carried over the arm, made of a lavish fabric, often by the very woman carrying it.
There are not many records of bucket bags being used afterwards, at least not until 1932, when a champagne house commissioned Louis Vuitton to make a bag for carrying champagne bottles. Thus was born the Noé bag, a bag that could carry 5 champagne bottles safely without having them move around or rattle.
The bag did not instantly catch on in popularity. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1940s when Vogue started regularly featuring large bucket bags, although the magazine credited sailors’ duffle bags as inspiration, rather than Louis Vuitton. These bags popular in the ‘40s were primarily designed by Koret, and were large and practical in a way that fit the wartime era.
The Comeback of the Bucket Bag
The following remarkable period for the bucket bag was in 1962, when Bonnie Cashin became the head designer for Coach. Cashin created variations on the bucket bag inspired by paper bags – that’s right, grocery store paper bags!
She even went so far as to call the paper bag, “the best-designed handbag in the world.” From then on, many other designers were crafting bucket bags, including Hermès, which was the first notable brand to release bucket bags without the drawstring top.
From here on out bucket bags became a staple, with every fashion house producing at least a few over the years. Especially in the ‘80s, the bags tended to be low on conspicuous branding markers, with sleek and simple leather designs standing out.
In 2012, the next big bucket bag resurgence arrived, thanks to the dynamic designer duo Mansur Gavriel. Their first line of simple leather bucket bags was snatched up by all kinds of retailers near instantly, and once it retailed stock, it sold out within hours.
It seemed as though everyone was trying to get their hands on a Mansur Gavriel bucket bag, so very quickly other designers also introduced bucket bags into their handbag collections, not to mention all the knockoffs from fast fashion brands.
These days, there are all manner of bucket bags to choose from, from different fashion brands with very different styles, so you will certainly be able to find a bucket bag to suit your unique tastes. If you’re not sure how to pick the right one, keep reading!
Tips on Choosing Your Dream Bucket Bag
There are a couple of things you should take into account when hunting for that perfect bucket bag, whether you decide to pick one from our list or go shopping with your best friend.
Decide on the Size of Your Bucket Bag
Begin by settling on the ideal size for your bucket bag. If you’re anything like me, the amount of items you need on a daily basis will grow with the size of your bag, so for your own sake don’t go for anything larger than what you know is reasonable.
If all you need is your phone, wallet, keys, and a lipstick, opt for a mini bucket bag. If you’d also like a book or a tablet in there, opt for a medium-sized bag. If you always need your bag fitted with a change of undies and a toothbrush because you don’t know where you’ll spend the night (hello, my twenties!), then opt for a larger bucket bag.
Pick Your Perfect Style
While the traditional shape for a bucket bag is a sort of oval that looks more like a pouch when the bag is closed, there are many variations these days. Bucket bags made of soft materials are in general going to change shape depending on how they are held, and are a great fit for daytime and for anyone with a more “natural” or “bohemian” style.
Some bucket bags might be made of multiple soft leather panels to form a more structured square shape. Lastly, there are the solid bucket bags, which might also be referred to as a basket bag. These bags always keep their shape so they are less easy to stuff to the brim, and they tend to be particularly nice for evening occasions.
The Closure Matters Too…
Next you must consider the closure you’d prefer for your bucket bag. Most bucket bags have drawstring closures, which can have a more boho, vintage, or athletic effect depending on the material they’re made of.
Some drawstring closures are actually hidden within the lining of the bag. Drawstring closures are surprisingly secure, though they are not the easiest to open on the go.
Other bucket bags may have a magnetic closure, which is very functional and has a modern look, though it can get damaged easily.
Lastly, there are even open-top bucket bags with no closure at all, which are really only suited for non-rainy days and for cities where pickpockets are not an issue.
Examining the Straps and Handles
The types of straps and handles are also something to keep in mind when choosing a bucket bag. My favorites are bags that come with both a handle and a removable shoulder strap, since they are the most versatile and easiest to carry from day to night.
However, you might find yourself falling in love with a bucket bag that only has a handle, in which case it’ll be a better choice for short excursions when carrying it in your hand or at the crook of your elbow won’t be hassle.
There are also bucket bags with non-removable shoulder straps, in which cases chances are they will not be sufficiently elegant for carrying in the evening, but they will be quite comfortable for day-to-day looks.
Choose Your Color and Material
Lastly, you gotta think about the color and type of material! Recently, we have seen a lot of lighter leather bucket bags, which are an easy choice for the warmer seasons and for daytime.
If you are looking for a bag that will be timeless, fitting for every season, and will be appropriate for both day and evening, then opt for a darker leather option. If you don’t tend to pay too much attention to trends and instead prefer to forge your own style, then consider something colorful and unique!
In addition to leather, there are a lot of woven straw and canvas bucket bags, which are great for those wanting to avoid leather due to ethical reasons.
How to Carry Your Bucket Bag in Grand Style
There is the perfect bucket bag for every style and personality – you just need to pick one wisely and style it in a clever way.
• Most bucket bags work best with a more bohemian or European Mediterranean style and with a light, summery color palette and flowy fabrics. This is especially true for bucket bags made of a suppler material and with lighter, natural or earth-toned colors.
• On the other hand, structured, architectural, and minimalist bucket bags are a better fit for an elegant, sophisticated style that includes a lot of simple yet expensive separates.
• Since most bucket bags are a better fit for the daytime, you can have fun jazzing them up a bit, particularly if you’re a student or if you have a more casual job, and if your overall style is more playful. You can attach cute keychains or clips to add a bit of whimsy to your day-to-day look. Skip doing this if you purposely bought a simpler, minimalistically designed bucket bag.
• Darker bucket bags are great for pairing with the ‘90s grunge look that is having a resurgence these days. If you love combat boots, ripped jeans, and plaid, then a dark bucket bag can definitely work with your look, especially if it has backpack-like shoulder straps!
• Your bucket bag will absolutely be as important a part of your outfit as your blouse, jacket, or shoes, so it is important to coordinate it. If your bucket bag is on the lighter side of things, chances are you don’t want to wear it with a very dark outfit, while if it is extremely colorful you want to make sure it fits into the color pattern of your outfit.
• If you’re a fan of color blocking, you’ll likely find it a really fun game to combine a loud bucket bag with a color blocked outfit! Get yourself a color wheel and learn the different color combinations to create awesome color blocked outfits that take your bucket bag into account. Our guide to color blocking is guaranteed to help!
• An inner purse organizer can be super helpful, since bucket bags normally do not have any compartments, and can be quite difficult to dig through, particularly for smaller items that can fall to the bottom.
Photos via Instagram