Let’s talk handbags! Some of us switch them up with every outfit and some of us wear the same one for YEARS! Whichever type you are, I’m positive that two factors play into making a handbag purchase: price and quality.
We all love a classic Louis Vuitton Monogram Multi-Pochette or an iconic Gucci Jackie and if you’re in the market and have the budget for a luxury bag, great! Go for it! But, if not, do yourself a favor - don’t look for a less-pricey, mirrored version of these bags. Go for something contemporary with a timeless, quality design that’s all its own. There are so many incredible designs that can stand on their own - find them and rock them! And don’t worry about price - I’ve put together this roundup of stunning pieces full of style at various price points - all under $500!
JW PEI - The Gabbi
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of JW PEI. Back in 2020, I made my first purchase and did a review of the entire process. Since then, I have purchased a second bag - the Gabbi and couldn’t be more thrilled with my decision. Originally, I bought the Orange colorway. But, since seeing Hailey Beiber carrying the Ivory, I’ve added this one to my wishlist as well! (Fun fact: Another JW PEI style - the Rantan bag - will be popping up in the Gossip Girl reboot.)
I’ve truly been blown away by the quality of this bag - especially at such a low price point. At $89 ($58 on sale!), the Gabbi is a bag of superior looks and feel. It keeps its structure throughout countless wears - trust me, I’m HARD on my bags and this one still looks brand new. And, for those who aren’t looking to purchase leathers, JW PEI bags are made of vegan materials and feature some fabrics that are made of recycled plastic bottles!
As these bags DO ship from out of the country, they take a bit longer to arrive (10-20 days) from the brand’s website. If you’re looking for a quicker delivery, I’d recommend checking them out on Amazon! The Gabbi is available in several colorways for prime delivery at $71.
Poppy Lissiman - The Spice Sac
Another affordable bag that I just recently came across and immediately made a mental note about is from Poppy Lissiman. Poppy Lissiman has been on my radar for a little while as I’ve seen their adorable Crikey BB - Yin Yang bag on many influencers’ feeds. But, the Spice Sac is the timeless piece that stopped me mid-scroll!
This beauty is a fun take on a bucket bag and comes in a handful of colorways - my eyes are on the Tan! I plan to add this bag to my collection to transition from late summer into fall. It’s made of a beautiful vegan leather with a contrast stitch and the lining is made from 100% post-consumer plastic that would have landed in a landfill. Yay Earth! And though this bag is TECHNICALLY $155, I’m sneaking it in here because this is my blog and I make the rules.
Image via Poppy Lissiman.
Coach - The Tabby
First up, the Coach Tabby. If you haven’t been paying attention, let me be the first to tell you that Coach is KILLING it. I have been so in love with what Stuart Vevers has been doing with the brand over the last couple of years. While he made a fun & triumphant post-lockdown return to the runway recently in Shanghai, his previous two Coach TV programs were a breath of fresh air and I truly couldn’t get enough of them. (If you haven’t already, check those out here.)
The recent Coach designs have made me sit up and pay attention in a way that I haven’t for a good while. I’m excited about the brand and thrilled to include two versions of the Tabby in the list!
This Christmas, I picked out the Coach Tabby Shoulder Bag 26 in one of the Colorblock styles as my gift from Eric. I loved the bold colors and the sleek, structured design, but also the versatility. It includes a top handle that can be worn on your shoulder as well as a crossbody strap and BOTH can be removed if preferred. It’s also lined with the most beautiful suede and the large, heavy, metal C at the front gives it an elevated look and feel.
It’s also fairly affordable! I’m popping this one in the Under $250 category because though it is originally priced at $395, Coach often runs sales and I scored mine for $197. The colorblock version below is currently priced that way! Snag it while you can.
Danielle Bernard - The Colorblock
Next, I’m excited to share a bag from my friend and Pittsburgh-based designer, Danielle Bernard! I now own 3 bags designed by Danielle - two that I purchased and one that my cousin gifted me. My most recent purchase was the Large Colorblock Bag in the Cream & Black colorway. It’s made of beautiful, soft, leathers that were sourced in the USA and has quickly become my go-to everyday bag (one quick look at my Instagram can confirm this).
This bag is effortlessly chic and has a relaxed feel and look to it due to its supple materials. It also fits right in with the current checker trend and can be worn with truly just about anything. This season, I’ve been loving swinging it over my shoulder to run errands and pairing it with a pair of on-trend loose-fitting jeans and a strappy, heeled, sandal. And at $158, it’s a no-brainer and a timeless purchase that will last a lifetime!
Coach - The Pillow Tabby
Arguably one of this year’s biggest “it” bags is another Coach Tabby style. This time, the Coach Pillow Tabby Shoulder in both the larger 26 ($495) and the smaller 18 ($395) steals the show. The campaign and promotions for this bag were so much fun and included artists and influencers of all kinds from J-Lo to Orion Carloto.
It’s called the “Pillow” Tabby for obvious reasons. It’s puffy and soft and wonderful. Built in the same structure as the original Tabby Shoulder, it features soft smooth leathers and puffy overlays to the bag itself, the straps, the C clasp and the hangtag. Though we more-than-likely won’t be seeing this one on sale for quite a while - due to its’ high demand - this bag is most definitely worth the price and has earned a firm spot on my wishlist!
Image via British Vogue.
Sister Epic - The AMARI
Another bag that I haven’t made the leap on yet is the stunning AMARI TOTE from Pittsburgh-based conceptual brand, SISTER EPIC. Designed by Adrienne Guariglia, this tote is the perfect combination of chic, timeless, and functional. It’s built-in reinforcement is perfect for throwing your laptop in your bag and makes it the perfect choice for running between the office and happy hour.
I have been lusting after this piece for a few months now and though I don’t personally own a SISTER EPIC bag yet, I have seen them in person and confirm that the quality is out-of-this-world earning a firm spot on my handbag wishlist! At $370, the AMARI TOTE fits comfortably into this category!