Let’s talk about my favorite topic today – bags! Handbags are no longer what they used to be, a dainty sweet utility. Today, they are a powerful force in the world of la mode. They can make or break an outfit – some outfits are even worn to draw focus solely to the handbag. That said, the most desirable, highly coveted bag brands come with a hefty price tag.
Fear not though, there is always hope and I have spent long laborious hours trudging through my guilty pleasure websites to compile a list of the best, most affordable designer bags. All the bags featured in this list are under $2,000 and have been split into broad categories.
I personally believe that bags should not have to carry the heavy burden of gender politics and have selected bags that can be carried by all genders with immense éclat.
Affordable Designer Tote Bags
Aside from the popular Louis Vuitton Neverfull, there is a world of tote bags out there that are equally spacious, functional and affordable.
These bags make ideal work bags or shoppers on account of their spacious interiors, big enough to fit a small laptop or iPad, a notepad, makeup and other essential personal effects.
Hubert de Givenchy’s namesake brand has remained synonymous with high fashion and bon goût for as long as one can remember. Under the creative eye of Matthew Williams, Givenchy has added modern, sophisticated silhouettes to its offering and the result is this masterpiece.
Clean cut lines, high quality leather and monochrome shade add to the charm of this bag. Priced at just $1290, this is the classic black bag of your dreams.
There is more to Saint Laurent than the LouLou and Sac de Jour and it comes at nearly half the price and twice the value. Offered in 5 colors of gorgeous supple leather, this bag does the Saint Laurent brand proud.
Whilst the ivory is an absolute darling, there is at least one shade that everyone will resonate with. The definition of affordable luxury, at $1,090, this one is hard to resist.
The brand that began with making shoes and was a staple in royalty trousseaus, appears to not be happy unless we match a bag with the shoes.
Featuring the signature Ferragamo buckle closure, this bag is the definition of minimalist elegance. Affordably priced at $1,150, this bag still upholds the high-quality craftsmanship that is a signature of Ferragamo since time immemorial.
Aspinal is the best kept secret in the world of high-quality designer bags. Incorporated in 1999, Aspinal is possibly the newest kid on the block being spotted on celebrities and royalty alike.
Offered in 12 colors ranging from staple neutrals to seasonal bright colors, there is something for everyone in this range of tote bags. With two compartments separated by a central zipped pocket, this makes for a perfect work bag. Priced at just $925, you will be tempted to buy one every month!
Imagine if your favorite Louboutin shoes or “Loubs” as we fondly call them were to turn into a bag. There really is no other way to describe this fantastic piece.
Black exterior with a red lining and the signature red lacquer base accented with spiked embellishments at the handles. Dare I say you can match your favorite Louboutins with this bag for the ultimate in power accessories. Grab this beauty completely guilt free at $1,350.
Affordable Designer Evening Bags
It may be tempting to grab your everyday bag when heading out for the evening, but a simple touch like carrying an evening bag or clutch can elevate your entire look. Let me introduce you to little slices of heaven that can make you look effortlessly glamorous.
$1,170 – $1,350
This one is a game changer, a rectangle bit of goodness with a zippered pouch and a card holder inside and a dainty chain on the outside. This is like the bag Gods were listening to all girls on an evening out.
You will be spoilt for choice as this is offered in three leathers and the three classic Louis Vuitton canvas patterns. Pick one at $1,170 to $1,350 depending on the material to join you on your magical soirées.
For those of us who are not too fond of dainty clutches, there is a fantastic alternative in the Chloé Mini Marcie. Nothing about the details on this bag feels like it wasn’t paid the most meticulous attention to, from the brass look hardware to the beautifully crafted top handles, this is a masterpiece.
Small enough to carry inside your tote to work and large enough to carry your phone, keys, wallet and a small vial of perfume. Priced at $990, you will be spoilt for choice between the 9 offered colors.
For those that love classic silhouettes and classic colours, there is always Prada. Shaped like a crescent moon, available in black and beige with two straps, this one is worth investing in.
If your style preferences are more classic, this bag in beige/nude may be all the only evening bag you ever buy. Priced at just $950, this will be the easiest decision you ever make.
Only Bvlgari could have fit so much perfection in 7.9 inches. Crafted in gorgeous pearled effect goatskin with an enameled snakehead and golden chain handle, this bag is perfect enough to accompany you to the opera.
For the craftsmanship on this piece, it is priced at $1,550 and simply must be snapped up. This would be the ideal accompaniment to take on your evening out post lockdown.
A baby version of the iconic Lady Dior bag, this pouch sits right at the edge of the $2,000 limit set for our list. This bag is strongly reminiscent of the Lady Dior complete with the Dior alphabet charm.
Six color options in patent calfskin leather with the iconic Dior cannage topstitching makes this a perfectly poised option to add a touch of glamour to your evenings out. This little darling will make you the envy of the party and will also be a great conversation starter!
Affordable Designer Hobo Bags
And then there are some of us who do not wish to conform. We like to have just one bag with a free-flowing shape and we like to take it everywhere. For those free spirits amongst us, the Hobo bags were designed. Let me introduce you to the ones worth investing in:
Possibly the biggest name in vegan handbag brands, Stella McCartney is for those committed to living sustainably.
The Falabella tote is possibly the first name that springs to mind when one thinks of Hobo bags. Explore this super fun collection in various sizes priced under $1,025 and I guarantee you’ll find your everyday bag here.
From the moment Versace adopted Medusa as their brand logo, they sent a clear message that they were here to stay. The history of Versace needs no reminding and needless to say we would all love to own a Versace bag.
To that end, this Medusa Chain Leather Hobo would make a perfect addition to your bag wardrobe. A simple silhouette with a gorgeous gold handle, this affordable designer bag at $1,175 is an absolute must-have if hobo is your style.
“Quiet luxury” is how The Row is described whether it be their bags or shoes. The concept of this bag’s shape is not unique but the elongated handle and medium main compartment are a class apart.
My complaint with hobo bags was always that the compartment was too big and the lack of shape made it look worse when filled to the brim. The Row appears to have understood and navigated this matter skillfully. Grab this gorgeous bag at $1,690 and you will never regret it.
Self-admittedly Staud is all about design with a natural opposition to the typical. This is the hardest bag to walk past in the stores and is an instant eye-catcher when one is out and about with it.
For those committed to buying American fashion, this brand will be right up your street. Gorgeous, defined and yet feminine, this fantastic bag is priced at a simple $395. I think I’m going to grab one for myself and I suggest you do the same.
Another American wonder brand, Proenza Schouler has us drooling over their sumptuous designs. Homegrown from our very own Parsons School of Design, this is another designer to browse if you are committed to buying American.
This leather and suede beauty oozes minimalist style and goes just as well with dresses as it does with denim. Temptingly priced at $1,895 this is one you will enjoy forever.
Final Tips for Buying Affordable Designer Bags
Before you sign off, purchasing slightly used designer bags is a great way to shop affordably and get a better bang for your buck.
When it comes to higher-end items like designer bags, you’ll want to use a reputable service like TheRealReal and Rebag (these both have an authenticity guarantee). FarFetch also has a pre-owned section and ThredUp has a designer handbag section.
We also love Vivrelle, a rental subscription that lets you rent designer bags worth thousands of dollars for $99 – $279 each month.
Aside from this, discount stores such as Saks Off Fifth and Nordstrom Rack offer excellent discounts on designer bags. However, quality can sometimes be off, so proceed with caution when buying from these stores (returns are simple if you’re not happy with the bag you receive).
Whether you buy one of these affordable designer bags as a gift to yourself or a loved one or add it to your Christmas list to allow yourself to be delighted, there is a bag for every occasion and revelry here. Happy Shopping!