Forget the cute but impractical mini bags you've seen the internet repeatedly obsess over—the new must-have bag is all about functionality. Pack light with a slim and sleek crossbody bag designed to hold the most essential accessory: Your phone. Introducing: the cell phone purse, also known as the "phone bag." Fashion blogger Jessica Wang explains the appeal of the tech-cessory: "There’s not much you need these days besides your cell phone, ID, and a credit card, and most of these are already accessible on your phone," she says. "And there’s nothing more liberating than carrying just a small, lightweight crossbody bag—I love that it can be hands-free when I’m running errands."
The cell phone purse is for both the woman on the move and the girl about town, fitting almost exclusively your phone, keys, and a couple of cards. They're "statement-making pieces that you can find in various textures, colors, and prints, adorned with chains of all sizes, [and] will accentuate any outfit," Wang describes.
Basically, it's time to shed the dead weight of an overstuffed tote. We're all about easy, breezy, and light this season—find our picks for the best cell phone purses, ahead.
The Best Cell Phone Purses
- Best Overall: Bandolier's Sarah Crossbody Phone Case and Wallet
- Best Sporty Case: Lululemon's Modular Phone Crossbody Bag
- The Amazon Favorite: Borivilla's Crossbody Cellphone Purse
- Best Neutral Case: Marc Jacobs' Phone Crossbody Bag
- Best Designer Case: Alexander McQueen's Skull Croc-Effect Leather Phone Case
This purse from Bandolier features subtle 3D studs on the strap à la Valentino for some added fashionable flair. The crossbody strap measures 52" (26" when you have it slung around your person) and detaches easily, so you do have the option of using the sleek pebbled leather case on its own if you'd rather a standalone case. One Amazon reviewer gushes about this option, saying it's perfect because "yes, [their] phone does need a leash." Note, however, that this option is only compatible with Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max only.
Pros: Detachable strap; Snap-on back pocket for protection and closure; Reviewers say it's durable
Cons: Only for Apple iPhone Pro 12 Max; Some reviewers find the back pocket too small.
Best Sporty Case
Lululemon's cell phone bag is designed to be taken with you as you go about your day. Need a useful accessory to keep all your essentials in place on your morning runs? This is that item. It's made of 100 percent recycled nylon and measures at 3.9" x 7.5" so it's big enough to fit your phone and other must-carry items. One Lululemon reviewer calls it a "high-quality everyday bag [that] also works great as a travel pouch." They continue: "I bike around the city and this is the perfect thing for essentials. I like that the zipper is waterproof and sealed and that the mini pouch is good for AirPods."
Pros: Waterproof fabric; Detachable smaller bag; Interior pockets for organization; Adjustable shoulder strap.
Cons: One reviewer notes the nylon fabric makes it difficult to clean.
The Carry-All Case
This particular cell phone case is for the person whose Spotify Wrapped boasted an astoundingly large number of minutes listening to their favorite artists. Mali + Lili's option makes it possible to keep your AirPods and your phone all in the same place—and what else do you need, really? Take it from one Nordstrom customer who's more than enthused by just how spacious this purse is. "[The Mali + Lili phone bag] Fits my AirPods perfectly and fits my phone, credit/debit cards, and chapstick comfortably," they write.
Pros: Detachable AirPod case; Asian-owned and founded brand; Faux leather; Under $100.
Cons: One reviewer shared the stitching started to wear away shortly after using.
The Amazon Favorite
This multi-pouch crossbody purse boasts almost 6,500 reviews with an average rating of four out of five stars—which is no measly feat. Take it from one satisfied shopper: "All in all, this [cell phone purse] checks all the main boxes: It fits my iPhone 13+ in its sturdy Casetify case in the phone display (and it's easy to get out), so my phone is safe from falling out of the purse. There is a hook on the side for keys, and it has two big pockets for miscellaneous items—hand sanitizer, chapstick, concealer, whatever, really— and built-in card slots," they rave.
Pros: Fits most large smartphones below 6.5 inches, including iPhone 13, 13 Pro Max, Galaxy S20, S9, Note10 Google; Has plug-in hole for charging or headphones; RFID signal blocking; Transparent screen for easy viewing; 16 different colors.
Cons: Some reviewers note the zippers can be finicky and the card slots are slightly small.
Best Neutral Case
When in doubt, go for something simple that features neutral and uncontroversial colors—think black, ivory, and tan. This option from Marc Jacobs is so sleek and pairs well with everything. It's 7” x 4,” features a 23” strap, and is made of genuine, the-real-deal leather. Listen to what this satisfied Nordstrom Rack customer has to say: "I needed the ability to be hands-free and still have my essentials with me, and this bag came in very handy! I was able to carry my phone, ID/credit cards, money, gum, and my car key fob!" As they describe, this is big enough to carry your essentials and a few extra items, too.
Pros: Foldover flap with snap closure for security; Offered in black as well as brown.
Cons: Retails for $200 when not on sale.
Best White Case
Never lose track of your phone again by keeping it safely stowed away in this cell phone pouch from HOBO. Yes, you'll have to take care to maintain its crisp white leather remains perfectly clean at all times, but it'll all be worth it in the end. Take it from one happy Nordstrom Rack shopper: "[It's the] perfect size for a night out. [It] fits phone, and I love the card slots," they explain, shouting out the easy organization this design offers.
Pros: Zip top closure; Two exterior pockets; Three interior card slots.
Cons: Over $100 when not on sale.
Best Retro-Inspired Case
Want a phone purse with some extra look-at-me oomph? Try this option from SAKROOTS. The swirling, psychedelic print evokes a 1970s-esque flair that fans of retro fashion will adore. One Nordstrom Rack reviewer, in particular, adores the eye-catching print for its versatility, saying that "the colors are neutral and easy to match with almost anything." The bag's exterior boasts one turn-lock pocket, which is the perfect spot to ensure your cell phone is secure but easy for you to access. As for the interior, this cell phone purse offers two compartments, one center zip pocket, two bill slots, and 16 (!) card slots.
Pros: Detachable wristlet strap; Adjustable and detachable crossbody strap; Zip enclosure; Under $100; Five print options.
Cons: One reviewer says the card slots are a bit narrow which makes removing cards difficult.
The Printed Case
Another benefit to a cell phone purse: You won't ever forget your phone because it's the star of the show with a bag that is specially designed to carry the device. "I got so sick of digging through my purse and wearing a phone clip is, well, come on…," says a reviewer who's prone to leaving her phone behind and needed a solution. HOUSE OF WANT's faux leather crossbody bag was the hero element they were looking for. "I definitely love this [bag]," they add, calling it a "win-win" item with how it streamlines their accessorizing.
Pros: Under $100; PEAT-certified vegan leather; Features a convertible chain strap;
Cons: Petite size makes it limited for what devices you can carry.
Best Bold Case
If you’re not one to shy away from an eye-catching accessory, then this BOYY phone case is for you. The cerulean hue and oversized buckle detail make it a chic statement-making style that’ll add just the amount of maximal flair to top off any outfit. It's made of calfskin leather (hence the more lofty price) and measures in at 11.5 cm x 18.5 cm. It features a streamlined zip closure and an adjustable crossbody strap, which is also made of genuine leather.
Pros: Adjustable leather strap; Easy-to-use zip closure; Six total colorways.
Cons: Over $100.
Best Small Case
This slim camo case from Tommy Hilfiger is great for when you're on the go. Try carrying it with you on a Saturday when you have a jam-packed day of running errands and crossing off to-dos. This bag is made from recycled nylon, so it has a sustainable angle that eco-conscious shoppers will appreciate. It features three card slots and a fold-over flap closure that will keep your phone (and any other essentials you wish to tuck into it) safe and sound. The strap is quite lengthy, too, clocking in at 23.62".
Pros: Under $100; Lengthy crossbody strap.
Cons: Spot clean only.
Best Designer Case
Black purses with gold chains are an all-time classic for their polished look and endless versatility. As such, this Alexander McQueen phone purse will fit right in with the rest of your handbag collection. It's made of genuine calf leather (hence the almost-$600 price tag) and boasts the late British designer's signature skull motif, which will earn you major brownie points with any luxury fashion buff. This cell phone purse measures at 3.9" x 6.6" with the strap coming in at 21.6".
Pros: Sleek look; Pairs well with endless outfits;
Cons: Over $100; No internal pockets or slots.
Best Summery Case
This gingham case is ready for all your favorite warm-weather activities, from a picnic in the park to a shopping outing with friends. You can also reach for this leather kate spade crossbody bag during the colder seasons, as it's an effective mood booster with its playful print and pink hues. "It is one of the few designer crossbody bags that will actually fit my phone and give me enough room for keys and cards," a Nordstrom Rack customer writes. "Great hands-free bag for daytime or into evening whether your style is streamlined (mine) or boho (my sister)," they add about the item's multi-aesthetic look.
Pros: Two exterior card slots; Removable and adjustable crossbody strap
Cons: Not suitable for larger phones, as one reviewer who owns a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G points out.
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Emma Childs is the Fashion Features Editor at Marie Claire, who writes trend reports, long-form reported features, and style guides. She previously wrote for TZR, Editorialist, Elite Daily, and Mission Magazine and studied Fashion Studies and New Media at Fordham University. When she's not writing fashion deep-dives, you'll find her stalking eBay for designer vintage and perusing HBO Max (in her heart, it'll always be *HBO* MX).
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