If you are like me (and most women), you will probably have a vast collection of bags - hanging on door knobs and off chair backrests, stashed beneath your pile of little black dresses, shoved under your bed, layered with tissue and mothballs in your closet, or simply thrown higgledy-piggledy across your bed.And while there really isn't anything like too many bags (or shoes, of course), if you want to de-clutter your wardrobe and bring it down to the bare essentials, make sure you retain these bags... and if you don't have them, get them.Let's face it - unlike men, we cannot go through a workday with just the house keys, wallet and a phone.You do need to carry a little make-up, a small vial of perfume, a hairbrush, feminine hygiene products,tissues (wet and dry), hand sanitiser and some mint. Then there is that stole that gets thrown in (the air-conditioning is almost always freezing), a small umbrella (in case it rains or is extra sunny), some sunscreen, maybe an apple or a bar of chocolate (depending onwhether you are a health freak or chocoholic), a paperback, a notepad, your tablet, pens and so on. Enter the good, old big handbag - hardy, functional, and yes, stylish too. Take it when you go shopping - the roomy bag is perfect for that sly, sudden purchase made without the knowledge of disapproving parents or partners. Pick up one in a classic, neutral colour and you can carry it with just any outfit - jeans, trousers, dresses, ethnic wear...The Roman infantry carried them. Little did they know it would become a style statement centuries later. From the old-fashioned school-boy look to sleeker versions in vibrant hues and finishes, satchels are quite fashionable. Candy pink, neon green, blazing orange, canary yellow, serene blue, classic black, pure white... with embellishments, scalloped edges, trimmings... the options are endless.Yes, we carried them to school - those bright-coloured canvas bags with pictures of Barbie, comic heroes or cartoon characters emblazoned on them, stuffed with brown-covered books, lunchbox and water bottle. But you don't have to end your association with them, as you graduate out of school. Backpacks are great for a weekend getaway, a workout at the gym, to hold your swimming gear or laptop, an overnight bag for a train journey or a carry-on bag on an airplane.Just make sure that the straps can be adjusted to sit a little higher on your back instead of sagging like a school bag. And yes, you have some great options in plenty of colours, designs and fabrics now, so fashion doesn't need to take a back seat here.Don't want the hassle of adjusting your bag strap every minute? Pick up a cross-body bag.They are normally medium-sized - perfect to carry essentials like your wallet, a little make-up, shades, keys and phone without overwhelming you.And they're great when you travel - the fact that they are in front of your body puts off pick-pockets, while their many compartments make sure that you find your stuff without having to scrabble too much. Get a few in bright candy shades or pastels for some fun. Or pick up a quilted bag with a chain strap in beige or black if you want something that you can wear all day and is dressy enough to wear at a semi-formal event too.The biggest bonus - look, no hands!Want to personalise an outfit? Grab a clutch. With so many options available, you will find something that works with almost any outfit you wear.Pair an embroidered silk clutch with your favourite sari, carry a bright red one with your little black dress,dangle a funky one off your wrist to go with your pair of roomy jeans.These tiny bags don't take up much space, so you can buy them in dozens and match them to your outfits.Be warned, they don't hold much - maybe a credit card, a lipstick and your keys.Stuffing a clutch looks awful; so they work best on a lunch date or an evening out.Also, there is always the danger of putting them down and forgetting to pick them up again.Try and choose clutches that fit perfectly under your arm or are armed with a slender strap or wristlets for good measure.