The Row Taste on a Staud Budget—10 Designer Bags I'm Realistically Considering


As a fashion editor, I naturally tend to rack up a pretty lengthy list of things I want to buy at any given moment. Most of the time, that list consists of basics and a few trendy thrills, but it also includes a few key luxury buys—specifically, designer bags. If money were no object, I'd have a closet full of serene and minimalistic pieces from brands such as The Row, Khaite, and Toteme. But since I do, in fact, have a cap on my shopping budget, I'm looking to emulate this goal aesthetic on a slightly more affordable budget. 

Enter what I'm calling the best midrange designer bags. Before I can genuinely afford to purchase a bag from the designers mentioned above, I'm eyeing a number of bags from contemporary labels such as Manu Atelier, Staud, and BY FAR that are more comfortably within my budget. Ahead, discover the 10 midrange designer bags I'm seriously considering investing in because they look ultra-elevated and happen to be within my budget. Nothing tops $900 here, which is honestly pretty good as far as designer bags go. With that, continue on to see the carryalls I'm eyeing.

Manu Atelier Three Zipped Baguette Bag


(Image credit: @endlesslyloveclub)

Manu Atelier's Three Zipped Baguette Bag is a social media favorite, earning fans from Jen Caballos to Elsa Hosk. It's also a personal favorite. It has cool asymmetric zippers and a slouchy shape that offers a hint of edge. At $500, it's a quarter of the price of any higher-end designer bag on my wish list.

BY FAR Miranda Shoulder Bag


(Image credit: @annadominguez)

If we're talking designer bags in the mid-price range, we can't skip BY FAR. I honestly had a hard time narrowing down its selection to just one, but if I had to, it would be the Miranda shoulder bag. Sleek and retro inspired with just the right amount of hardware, it looks so elevated and on par with designer bags that are double its price.

Polo Ralph Lauren Polo ID Bag


(Image credit: @tylynnnguyen)

Meet the quiet-luxury bag that fashion insiders can't stop talking about: the Polo ID by Ralph Lauren. Its crescent shape, barely-detectable logo, and refined hardware give it an elevated feel that's akin to any bag from The Row or Khaite.

Staud Alec Shoulder Bag


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When I say I'm on a "Staud budget," this is exactly what I mean. Staud's bags are shockingly priced for how much style they bring to the table. They're also practical, which I can't always say about other designer bags. Of all the Staud styles on offer right now, the beaded Tommy bag is topping my list for its timeless silhouette. 

Dragon Diffusion Santa Croce Tote


(Image credit: @bubblyaquarius)

If this is the first time you're hearing of Dragon Diffusion, let me introduce you to your next bag obsession. Founder Craig Wright launched his accessory line in 1985, but the label has recently gained traction with a new generation thanks to the likes of Jeanne Damas and Ashley Olsen. I'm partial to its Santa Croce bag, which features a curved trapezoidal shape that lends a fresh feel to its timeless woven leather.

Banana Republic Vida Bag


(Image credit: @thatgirlyusra)

Banana Republic is usually synonymous with standard workwear, but its latest release, the Vida Bag, is a minimalist's dream with its large bucket size, supple suede, and thick strap. I'm swooning hard.

Ree Projects Riva Bag


(Image credit: @reeprojects )

Ree Projects is relatively new on my radar, yet everything it's making is really doing it for me. I can't get over how effortlessly cool the Riva bag is with its crescent shape and chic layered leather finish. 

Mansur Gavriel Mini Cloud Clutch


(Image credit: @anna__laplaca)

If you know me, you know that I have a thing for Mansur Gavriel, and the brand's latest launch, the Mini Cloud Clutch, is no exception. It's big enough to fit all the essentials but has the right details to make it exciting to grab as an evening clutch or daytime crossbody bag.

DeMellier New York Tote


(Image credit: @anoukyve)

DeMellier is a trove of elevated and minimal bags of all shapes. The New York tote, in particular, is logoless, comes in a range of chic neutral hues, and features beautiful gold hardware. 

Freja Caroline Bag


(Image credit: @elizagracehuber)

I spotted my colleague Eliza wearing a style from NYC-based label Freja and immediately had to know more. The retro bowling-style shoulder bag reminded me of one from The Row, albeit at a fraction of the cost. 

This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated by Jasmine Fox-Suliaman.

Senior Editor

Anna is an editor on the fashion team at Who What Wear and has been at the company for over five years, having begun her career in the Los Angeles office before relocating to New York, where she's currently based. Having always been passionate about pursuing a career in fashion, she built up her experience interning at the likes of Michael Kors, A.L.C., and College Fashionista before joining the team as a post-graduate assistant editor. Anna has penned a number of interviews with Who What Wear's cover stars over the years, including A-listers Megan Fox, Issa Rae, and Emma Chamberlain. She's earned a reputation for scouting new and emerging brands from across the globe and championing them to our audience of millions. While fashion is her main wheelhouse, Anna led the launch of WWW Travels last year, a new lifestyle vertical that highlights all things travel through a fashion-person lens. She is passionate about shopping vintage, whether it be at a favorite local outpost or an on-the-road discovery, and has amassed a wardrobe full of unique finds. When she's not writing, you can find her shooting street imagery on her film camera, attempting to learn a fourth or fifth language, or planning her next trip across the globe.