Attainable Luxury: 42 Designer Bags That Are More Affordable Than You'd Think
Think back to the last time you were scrolling through Shopbop or walking the aisle of Nordstrom and suddenly spotted it—the item that made a wave of goosebumps appear on your body. Chances are you've experienced the emotion of falling in love with something (maybe sandals or a trendy purse) on sight. But, if we're honest, that moment can quickly switch from exhilarating to disheartening when you turn over the price tag.
As much as we love the idea of buying a designer bag, it's not always something that aligns with our budgets. Of course, something must be said about the long-term value of investing in a bag that lasts longer and can accrue value. Still, getting around the concept that luxury items are out of the budget isn't easy, especially when most designer purses are now equivalent to the average cost of rent in the United States, which is around $1.7k. But before your feelings turn sour, don't lose hope because I'm here to tell you that budget-friendly options exist.
In order to prove that point, I've scoured the internet using a few tricks to find the 42 best affordable designer bags you can shop for right now. While everyone's concept of attainable is different based on their budget and sartorial preferences, I've separated my finds into three categories: under $350, under $650, and $1,000. I considered longevity, craftsmanship, versatility, wearability, and, most importantly, price when creating this roundup so that you can find a bag that gives you goosebumps in a good way.
When it comes to buzzy bags that won't break the bank, no one is doing it quite like Luar. Its signature Ana Bag has become the must-have accessory among a-listers like Dua Lipa. That virality is partly due to the bag's practical top-handle shape, crossbody strap, and luxurious colorways like ostrich-embossed leather, sleek black leather, and even cobalt-blue pony hair.
One thing you have to love about Kate Spade's bags is that they're a great value for their price point. For example, the pochette above is made from spazzolato calf leather, a subtle nameplate, a curved silhouette, and a removable strap. In short, it's super elegant.
Ever wish you could get two bags for the price of one? Look no further than this Poppy Lissiman bag which can be styled as a crossbody or shoulder bag based on your preferences.
Fun fact: this All Saints woven tote happened to be one of the most-purchased items among our readers last month.
I own a bag from Themoiré, and what I love about them is that they're ultra-versatile. You can style the bag above as a clutch, handbag, or shoulder bag. Plus, the brand always prioritizes using sustainable materials throughout its production process.
If you've ever had suspicions about if you should buy a BY FAR bag, let me clear the air now; you absolutely should. The brand has become beloved among the fashion set for its vintage-inspired bags that have contemporary touches. For example, its Billy Bag draws from the utilitarian shapes that dominated the '90s, yet it comes in shiny patent leather in every color from cream to gold.
Released in 2012, the Ark Handbag from Cult Gaia has remained ever-relevant. It's signature wooden shape makes it the ideal handbag for the summertime.
As antithetical as it may be to the aim of this story, there is admittedly one brand that can convince me to part with all my money: Brandon Blackwood. Its spring collection features so many good styles, and its Daphne bag is made from decadent brown oil leather, has prominent hardware, and a contemporary shape for a reasonable price point. Is it any wonder why I'm willing to risk it all for this bag?
What better way to spice up your summer wardrobe than a satin bag adorned with sequins? You can pair this with jeans and a T-shirt or your favorite LBD.
Everything about this Marge Sherwood bag is unique, from the soft candy pink crinkled leather to the geometric shape and the brand's Korean founders.
Season after season, Simon Miller always makes the perfect statement accessories. Case in point: the Lopsy bag. The crescent-shaped bag is comprised of vegan leather and features an eye-catching knotted handle.
First released in the '90s, the Longchamp Roseau bag became beloved among the fashion set and has since been reimagined. Its most recent iteration comes in the form of a smaller hobo bag made from cowhide leather that comes in four colorways and features the brand's signature bamboo clasp.
Nothing is more timeless than a black shoulder bag, but what makes this Rebecca Minkoff one stand out from the crowd is the antique brass hardware.
Staud's signature moon bag silhouette is a fan-favorite among the fashion set, myself included, because of its sizable interior and sleek exteriors that feature everything from snake-embossed leather to contrast whip stitching.
Not a fan of violet? This crescent-shaped Coach bag also comes in eight other colorways.
It doesn't get better for devout minimalists than this bag from the small AAPI-owned brand Freja New York. Not only does the bag have a '90s-inspired silhouette, but it's made from vegan leather and has a subtle topstitch detail that makes it look luxe.
With so many '00s trends coming back into style, it was only a matter of time before we saw bowling bags roll back into the conversation. Unlike previous versions of this trend, which sometimes felt gauche, we've seen more timeless iterations. A prime example is the Manu Atelier bag above, which features patent crinkled leather, thin straps, and a subtle engraved logo.
Some bags blow up overnight and disappear the next day. This bag isn't that. Since its debut in Diesel's S/S 22 runway collection, the 1DR bag has continued to grow in popularity. Thanks to its fun yet functional shape, which comes in various sizes and colorways. Plus, it features an indistinguishable metal logo plaque.
The true test to determine if a bag is luxurious isn't the price tag but the details. Proof of that fact lies in Osoi's Brot bag. Made from buffed leather in various colorways (my favorite is this pale aqua), it has an exaggerated foldover flap and bold silver hardware to make it feel elegant.
Some bags have managed to make me gasp at first sight. Such was the case with Tory Burch's mini-trend top handle bag. The style first debuted on the brand's S/S 23 runway and has lived in my mind rent-free since because of its timeless top-handle shape, slate-gray hue, and two-tone interlocking "T" logo hardware.
Don't want to have the same designer bag as everyone else? I feel you. One place you can shop for distinct pieces is Yuzefi. Founded in 2016, the London-based brand crafts handbags from luxurious materials (e.g., leather and suede) in unexpected shapes to create exceptional pieces. Just look at the bag above as prrof.
Paying attention to craftsmanship is the key to finding a great designer bag within your budget. You want to shop for brands that center on design details, like Mlouye. The brand's Studio Bag is a prime example of its unparalleled partisanship. It features stitched-together geometric leather to create a sleek '90s shoulder bag with a removable strap, an acetate embellishment, and enough space to fit all your daily essentials.
Are you searching for a functional handbag you can wear year-round? Look no further than this Loeffler Randall tote. Made from rich chocolate brown woven leather, the bag is ideal for styling with a matching linen set in the summer or jeans and a T-shirt in the fall.
First released in JW Anderson's S/S 22 collection, the Bumper Bag has slowly cemented itself as a must-have among the fashion set. Its loaf-like shoulder bag silhouette is both functional and fun. Plus, it comes in various colorways, including a summer-ready faux raffia version.
What's not to love about this 3.1 Phillip Lim bag? Everything about this bag has the trappings of any wardrobe's hero piece: a modern shape, a punchy toffee hue with contrasting stitching, and gold push-lock closure hardware engraved with the brand's moniker.
The key to making a designer bag worth the cost goes back to investing in a style you know you can wear for years to come, like this Mansur Gavriel Mini Bucket bag. Featuring a wavy top-line, adjustable strap, constating interior, and soft Saffiano leather, this is a bag you won't want to take off.
I regularly dream about the day I'll get my hands on this Polo Ralph Lauren bag. What makes this bag so hauntingly beautiful is its elegant crescent shape, supple tan leather, and almost anonymous logo that comes in the form of an engraved gold-tone plate.
In case you missed it, Reformation finally made its foray into the handbag market this past month, and spoiler, it is worth spending your money on. While the collection features many cute options, the standout style is its Small Vittoria Tote. Featuring a slouchy silhouette with an ultra-pretty bow on the handle, the bag is not only on-trend but ultra-practical and sustainable. Its interior is big enough to fit a laptop and is made from sustainably sourced bovine leather.
Minimalists, allow me to introduce you to your newest obsession: the Behno Elizabeth Baguette. Made from sustainably-sourced and tanned pebble leather, this bag features an angular '90s-inspired shape, two shoulder straps, and no hardware. Making it the perfect low-key designer bag.
Designed by Mark Cross' newest creative director, Rebeca Mendoza, the Frame XL clutch is made from padded Nappa leather that's as plush as a pillow. It's a practical yet punchy take on the evening clutch.
Released as a part of Jacquemus' S/S 23 collection, the Le Bisou is the brand's newest bag and features a sleek curved silhouette, beads, and a gold letter moniker.
Coveting Loewe's iconic raffia basket bag for the summer? You don't have to spend a fortune to get your hands on this bag. Simply shop it from luxury resellers like Fashionphile. Since so many of Loewe's bags are incredibly well-made (this one's condition is like brand-new), it's a no-brainer that it's a worthwhile purchase secondhand.
Let's be real—everyone in the know has likely already considered how they're going to get their hands on a Khaite bag. And if their budget is limited, they've probably decided to shop secondhand. This isn't a bad thing, considering every once in a while, you can find a few gems like this Beatrice Large Knot Hobo Bag listed on The RealReal at 32% below its full price.
Salvatore Ferragamo understood the assignment when creating its Trifolio Swing Bag. It's almost as if the creative team was given geometry homework and decided to make the perfect angular bag. From the amaretti leather to the fold-over flap to the turn-lock closure in the shape of the brand's logo, nothing about this bag is a miss. It gets an A+.
Pro tip: you always want to invest in a designer bag that retains value over time. One prime example of a style that continues to do just that is Loudis Vuitton's Canvas Speedy Bag. Whether you buy brand new or find one secondhand, this classic bag is worth every penny.
In addition to shopping secondhand, one way you can save a bit of money when buying a designer bag is by choosing one in an unexpected hue, like this Bottega Veneta Nappa Intrecciato bag. The great thing about this bag is that the classic shape and woven leather make it easy to style, saffron-hue aside.
Not to be dramatic, but I don't think I've ever owned a softer bag than my BOYY bag. You can tell it's high-quality just by touching it. And while all their bags are well-made, if you're looking for a style that exemplifies luxury, look no further than their signature Bobby 23 Bag. Made from pebbled calfskin, the bag comes in various colorways, features a suede lining, extended carry handles (so it fits over shoulders easily) and has the signature buckle detail that the brand is known for.
With wedding season officially in full swing, you'll need a bag to wear to every prenuptial event. Enter the Saint Laurent Uptown Pouch. Considered one of the French fashion house's most iconic styles, the clutch comes in over 10 colorways, including a croc-effect patent leather. Plus, it is adorned with its signature 'YSL' hardware.
I can't tell you how often people in the fashion industry and beyond have asked me where to shop for a good tote bag. And honestly, I was dumbfounded until I stumbled upon Proenza Schouler's Ruched Tote. Made from leather, this tote comes in three sizes (the one above being the smallest) and has a detachable crossbody strap that matches the contrasting black handles.
Maybe it's the dark-chocolate leather, the curved silhouette, or the egg-shaped clasp, but this Neous crossbody bag whispers luxury to me. Everything about it feels understated and utterly elegant.
Consider your search for the perfect office-ready bag finally over. Demiller's New York Bag checks all the right boxes. It's roomy enough to fit a laptop, has functional tubular straps so you can carry it on your shoulders, and the grained leather and gold hardware make it posh enough to put you on the fast-track for a promotion.
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