I’ve always been a bit of a handbag nut, and firmly believe in the power of a good bag to elevate a simple outfit.
Having carried many different bags throughout my life, I’ve become much pickier over the years. I want bags that are not only good-looking, but functional, (relatively) lightweight, comfortable to carry, and wearable for most of the year. More than any other color, I’ve found that a tan, light brown, cognac, or saddle colored bag will span seasons, and coordinate well with just about anything.
I love my Loewe bag for those reasons, but yes, it’s pricey. I’ve rounded up some more budget-friendly bags that, while not close copycats, do have some similar features and standout style. A top-handle bag with an optional cross-body strap is the style I find most practical for daily use and travel, so that’s what I’ve focused on here.
At top: this brand (Le Parmentier Paris) is new to me, but I really like their clean, simple designs. The bag shown above also has a long strap for wearing over the shoulder or cross-body.
This is the slightly larger version of the bag I’m wearing here. I’ve been really impressed with the quality of this brand. Shown above in Cognac, and it’s offered in several other colors as well. Carry in hand or as a clutch, or with the adjustable cross-body strap.
I first discovered this brand (OAD) last year, and was really impressed with the clean, functional designs, and nice leather. This convertible satchel comes in two sizes. The larger one shown above is Taupe, right up there with tan as far as versatility, but a nice option for those who prefer cooler colors. There’s also a smaller size, offered in several colors.
Bang for the buck! This bag comes with two crossbody straps: one canvas and one leather. It has lots of interior organization as well as two exterior pockets. Also available in Chalk, Dark Grey and Wine colors.
If your style leans more casual or minimalist, this simple square bag is a fun choice.
If you’re looking for well-made, durable bags that “punch above their weight” appearance-wise, it’s hard to go wrong with a Brahmin. I like the smoother croc finish on this one, as well as the shape. Nice interior organization too.
And one more thought…a thicker webbed canvas strap will often be more comfortable with crossbody bags than a thinner leather one. These canvas straps come in several color combinations and are adjustable.
What features do you look for in a bag? Are there any bags you keep coming back to season after season?