Whilst most of us dream of Chanel, Bottega and Saint Laurent lining our closets, the reality is that designer bags are priced beyond reality. But there are plenty of chic, stylish brands out there doing affordable designer bags so well, from their exquisite craftsmanship to the ability to elevate every look in your artillery. Scroll on for five of the best we’d happily splurge on.
A great handbag has the ability to lift every look, whether you’re wearing weekend denim or wanting to look polished for the office. The key to choosing a bag that really encompasses all those qualities you deem “investment,” is in the detail. Look for classic and timeless shapes. Think, will I still want to wear this in 10 years’ time? You might love candy colours or rhinestone embellishments now, but think further down the line and whether you’ll still want to be wearing it. Shades of tan, black, cream and navy will never go out of style.
Consider the part it will play in your wardrobe and how many looks it will go with. Do your fashion maths right and you’ll be reaping the cost-per-wear benefits for years to come.
And finally, is it practical? Think size, shape and comfort factor.
Whilst we appreciate these brands aren’t exactly high street prices, if you are looking to invest, they are a fraction of the price of so many It-bag brands. And, in our opinion, sometimes cooler, more fashion-forward.
Founded by two brothers and a sister back in 2016, Polène Paris is one of those bag brands that will literally go with everything. Minimalist, modern and beautifully crafted, these are pieces that will not only transcend the seasons but add polish to all your looks.
From the clean lines of the Numéro Dix bag in jet black – a practical shape that can be worn cross-body or tucked under the arm – to the playfully miniature size of the Numéro Neuf Mini, these are bags that belie their modest price tag.
Prices start from around £160
It takes a Harvard Business School graduate to come up with work bag designs this good. This unlikely start of Mireia Lusia-Lindh’s career has lead her to create some of the best bags for the everyday, winning over fans from the likes of model Jourdan Dunn to actress Emily Blunt, as well as a legion of loyal customers wanting a luxury bag that works for the everyday and doesn’t cost upwards of £1k.
The result is a beautifully crafted collection made using traditional artisanship – some pieces take up to 12 artisans to complete them – as well as a focus on sustainability and social responsibility her brand.
In the latest collection, expect the usual timeless classics, from roomy totes to take-anywhere cross-bodies as well as some fun, playful updates like raffia and gold lamé.
Party girls, apply here. Loeffler Randall is the affordable bag brand of choice for all your after hours events.
Founded by husband and wife duo Jessie Randall and Brian Murphy, Loeffler Randall is a collection made for dance floors. The devil is in the detail with their evening affordable bags – think statement lamés, intricate pleating and pretty finishing touches like bows and crystal embellishments.
It’s also worth checking out their party heels too – the most comfortable we’ve found for dancing all night long.
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NYC label Mansur Gavriel launched back in 2013 with just two styles – a tote and a bucket bag – the latter went on to become one of the last decade’s It-bags, rivaling the likes of high-end designer pieces retailing at three times the amount.
Today, that bucket bag is as chic and timeless as ever and is still spotted on much of the style set, along with a plethora of new designs, from the Candy bag which tucks perfectly under the arm, to this season’s hero, the Cloud Clutch that has been having quite its moment on Instagram.
Clean, simple Scandi lines with the most impeccable Italian craftsmanship. Think Acne vibes for the modern woman.
When you blend the clean, cool aesthetic of Stockholm and the impeccable craftsmanship of Italian-made bags, you get ATP Atelier.
Stocked at the likes of NE-A-PORTER.COM, these are slick, timeless bags that will fit into a lifespan of curated capsule wardrobes, without the hefty price tag. Granted, they’re still not the cheapest but most do come in under £600.
Favourites include the Assisi in a classic black, shoulder bag that doesn’t necessarily look like the most exciting arm candy on the shelf, but one that will add a glossy finishing touch to just about every look.
The products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however, The Handbook may make a small commission on some of the products purchased through affiliate links.