These Designer-Looking Handbags Will Fool Anyone Into Thinking They're Expensive


(Image credit: @anoukyve)

Spending hundreds or even thousands of pounds on a beautiful investment handbag obviously has its benefits. The quality is usually outstanding, and the buttery leather only gets better with age. Luxury brands usually offer repairs if there are ever any design malfunctions, and it’s also likely a timeless companion will end up having quite a low cost per wear. But if you’re simply looking for a bag that has that luxury look, one that will still elevate all your outfits without the rather hefty price tag, it is possible to find expensive-looking alternatives, and we’re here to tell you where.  

In our expert opinion, the best bags on the high street that also have lasting quality can be found at COS and Arket. & Other Stories also produces great classic leather iterations, while Mango and H&M versions can look the part but may not be quite as reliable on the quality (which is to be expected). M&S can produce a really great, designer-looking handbag every once in a while too, like this season’s brand-new minimalist crossbody, which is bound to sell out once influencers and fashion people inevitably catch on. Charles & Keith and JW Pei are two lesser-known brands that we editors also turn to for premium-looking styles, and you’ll find the current best options from all of these brands below.


(Image credit: @anoukyve)

Anouk totes the recently back-in-stock Leather Crossbody Bag from Arket and makes it look like it could easily be designer. 

In terms of expensive-looking features, we always recommend opting for a classic black, tan or cream shade if you want the most luxurious feel. Gold hardware always elevates, and braided or woven leather feels particularly special at the moment. And finally, real leather options may cost a little more but will always look and feel more expensive and last much longer. 

Keep scrolling, and you’ll find 15 of the best expensive-looking handbags available right now, any of which will add a luxury feel to your upcoming autumn wardrobe without costing a fortune.

Shop the Best Expensive-Looking Handbags

Up Next: The 9 Most Expensive-Looking Pieces on the High Street This Week

Emily Dawes
Affiliate Editor

Emily Dawes is the very definition of a fashion multi hyphenate. An editor, stylist and writer with over eleven years’ worth of experience in the industry, Emily is known for her impeccable taste, elegant outfit choices and being able to spot the next big thing in fashion from a mile off. Our readers loyally trust her advice and shopping suggestions; so much so she began her own column documenting the most expensive-looking pieces on the high street, which has become a top-performing piece of content for the Who What Wear brand.

Emily has worked for Who What Wear UK since 2020 in a myriad as roles, spanning from contributing editor and branded content editor. Now, she holds the position of affiliate editor and is responsible for the brand’s overall affiliate strategy, ideation and content execution. Working closely with Who What Wear UK’s affiliate manager, Emily has been instrumental in securing and nourishing brand partnerships, surpassing her goals as standard. Leading the team in tentpole shopping moments including Black Friday and Peak Trading, with Emily’s guidance and leadership, team Who What Wear is in a stronger affiliate position than ever before.

Prior to joining the Who What Wear team, Emily served as YOU Magazine’s acting fashion editor where she managed the fashion team and oversaw all fashion content output for the fast-paced weekly title. Emily is a stylist in her own right, having worked with a slew of VIP clients including writer and television personality, Elizabeth Day, as well as styling and art directing several celebrity cover shoots for glossy print publication, Grazia. Her adept fashion knowledge means brands regularly sought out to work with her as a consultant: previously she has developed marketing and content plans for brands for Cocoon and Edge of Ember. Before entering the industry, Emily obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English and American Studies with International Study from Nottingham University. Fun fact: Emily spent a year studying in America which saw her join a sorority during her time there.

When she’s not working or tracking down the chicest, new-in items to share with our audience, you’ll find Emily bestowing her East London home with her stylish flair, reading everything from the classics to cowboy romance novels and escaping to the country with husband, baby boy and dog, Roo, whenever she can.

Emily is currently on maternity leave.