05/09/2012 11:10 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Vintage Bag Detail That Looks Fresh This Spring (PHOTOS)

Every girl's got a favorite handbag in her closet: Whether it's that oversized tote for work, the hobo bag that fits everything or that sharp shoulder bag that instantly pulls your look together. But this season, challenge your style habits by investing in a new staple.

We're talking about the top-handle bag: a chic, timeless piece that's been toted around by everyone from Lee Radziwill to Rose Byrne. If you're in the mood to accessorize with something classic this spring, here are a few key things to keep in mind:

1. Size matters. In lieu of the average clutch, a smaller top-handle bag works well with a cute cocktail dress. A larger version, like the ones with an additional shoulder strap (or cross body), are more suited to daytime activities and the functionality of a carryall. If you take a larger top-handle out for evening, it will make your ensemble look heavy and over-the-top.

2. Play with prints. Though a classic top-handle is usually done in a simple black, brown or tan leather, this season brings pieces with playful springtime prints, sporty accents and modern abstract designs (note Marni's Spring 2012 collection). Mix-and-match a toned-down outfit with a bolder bag for a look that's effortlessly chic.

3. Hardware is a girl's best friend. To toughen up the old-school look, try a bag with a bit of cool hardware. It might be on the clasp or part of the handle, but either way it'll add to your updated retro vibe.


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If you're ready to liven up your handbag collection this season, keep these top-handle tips in mind, and check out our picks for the seven best bags to buy now.

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