There are some handbags that say "summer" from a mile away—think wicker baskets, canvas beach totes and candy-colored clutches. For me, though, the ultimate warm-weather bag is the wristlet. It’s more convenient than a clutch, small enough to do double-duty as a wallet, and without a strap to sling across your shoulder, it barely feels like you’re lugging anything around at all.
But for summer days that start with the long subway trip to Coney Island or a bike ride to the Montauk beach and stretch on through dinner, drinks, and nighttime escapades, it’s vital that the pouch is packed with everything you could possibly need. Sound impossible? It’s not, so long as you put a little planning into it. Stock up on indiviually-packaged essentials, get the right kind of gum (you’ll see what I mean), and find travel-sized versions of your favorite beauty products, and you’re already halfway there. As for the bag itself, here are some criteria to help pick the right one: it should be stylish enough to bring to dinner, but not so precious you can’t put it down in the sand, roomy enough to hold a pair of sunglasses, and (ideally) contain pockets for things like cards and keys. Most of the wristlets out there are too small, too glitzy, or too much like everyday wallets to work, but we’ve found ten that fit the bill. Click though the slideshow above for the best summer wristlets, and a no-fail guide to packing them full of quick-fix products for any of life’s little emergencies.