Think back to the last time you were scrolling through MATCHES or walking the aisle of Selfridges and suddenly spotted it—the item that made a wave of goosebumps appear on your body. Chances are you’ve experienced the emotion of falling in love with something (maybe boots or a trendy bag) on sight. But, if we’re honest, that moment can quickly switch from exhilarating to disheartening when you turn over the price tag. As much as we love the idea of buying a designer bag, it’s not always something that aligns with our budgets. When we consider the It styles of the big name brands, these can reach heights of two, even three thousand pounds, which for many will be outside of the realms of possibility. Whilst we could easily write these off as unattainable, maybe you’re looking to invest in a high-quality forever piece, or simply want a little slice of your favourite brand. Well, we’ve hunted down the entry-price bags at the biggest names. Now, it’s important to note here that when we talk about affordable, this is in relation to the prices of the brand, and within a designer price range. What you deem as affordable could differ greatly to someone else’s interpretation, and we realise this here. In the round up, we’ve considered longevity, craftspersonship, versatility, wearability, and, most importantly, price (£1,000 or under), so that you can find a bag that gives you goosebumps in a good way. Scroll on to see what we found.
Even with my extensive handbag knowledge I was surprised to find a Gucci bag under a grand. That’s also why I had to show it to you first. The sleek crossbody features the iconic interlocking GG iconography, and is the perfect size to carry your essentials. From the high-quality leather to the gold hardware, this is a great choice for an entry-level designer bag.
Perhaps its the nostalgic silhouette, or the heritage monogram, but this bag instantly caught my eye. The vintage look makes it feel like you’ve got a little piece of the brand’s history, and is sure to be a style treasured for years to come.
For those looking for an alternative to bold monograms, look to Guccis’ Dionysus emblem. Introduced to at the start of Alessandro Michele’s role as creative director, it has become a clear link to the brand, in a more discreet manner. The elegance of the silhouette and the crystal details of the hardware make this mini bag a great evening companion. It also comes in cream, gold and monogrammed versions.
There’s a lot to be said about the refinement of a clutch bag, and one brand that always has a stellar offering is Saint Laurent. Crafted from textured pebbled-leather, and featuring the brand’s well-known YSL plaque, any evening look will be upgraded with the addition of this elegant clutch. Plus, it comes a sleek white and classic black, too.
Featuring a detachable double chain strap, there’s various ways to style this quilted-leather shoulder bag. The chevron-quilted leather has been a style favoured by the brand for many year, along with the refined composition that will ensure its timeless enough to bolster your wardrobe for years to come.
Trust me, this charming vintage-style bag won’t stick around for long. First there’s the eye-catching silhouette, that gives a unique feel to this bag. Next, the mix of brown hues adds to the retro feel, alongside the heritage monogram. Finally, the seal of approval comes in the form of the oval frames heat-print YSL logo.
At 5.1″ wide, this micro bag is very much something used for the essentials (think cards and a lipstick). But if you’re keen to own a slice of Bottega’s iconic intreccio craftspersonship, this is the place to start.
A miniature take on Bottega’s Bucket Bag, this features all of the craftspersonship and intricate details of the brand, but on a smaller scale. As ever, Bottega offers this style in a wide range of colours, ensuring you find the perfect colour to suit your style.
When the 00’s revival occurred, Prada re-issued one of their most iconic bags of the time—the Nylon Shoulder bag. The original was the younger, more wearable sister of some of Prada’s heritage styles, but at a much lower price point, making it a no-brainer to release when the naughties came calling once again. But the paired-back silhouette ensures that this bag can meld with any aesthetic, and remains completely relevant almost 19 years on.
It’s rare to find an entry-price bag that is also a cult piece of a brand’s repertoire, meaning this Baguette find is extra special. Launched in 1977, Fendi’s Baguette’s have become a symbol of fashion history, especially after Carrie Bradshaw’s declaration of “It’s not a bag, it’s a Baguette.” Whilst the shape has developed over the years, the basics of an elongated rectangle are clear and present in this logo-embossed bag.
When searching for introductory designer bags, wallets on chains are a great place to start. Whilst more compact sizes, they come with a chain strap offering the look of a crossbody bag, and many have room for the essentials (keys, lip balms, chewing gum). This style offers plenty of organisation, with two removable card holders, one zipped and one with pockets, so you get more than just a bag.
What’s brilliant about Loewe’s bag selection is that each style, from the Puzzle to the basket bags, are all as equally covetable, and have a wide enough price range to suit various budgets. The small basket bag is the ideal sunny day companion, and despite being named ‘small’ is roomy enough for your essentials, a book, and plenty more.
With the success of the brand’s basket bags (see above) its no surprise that Loewe followed up with this raffia style. Unlike the basket bag, this features a more structured silhouette, but also demonstrates the exquisite craftspersonship of the bag’s creators. Tote around by the short handles, or attach the leather strap that comes with it for an easy hands-free crossbody.
There’s a particular ease to Loewe’s designs that is evident with the Cubi. From the soft edges of the cube shape, to the paired-back canvas monogram, nothing about this bag is try-hard. Its the kind of bag that can move with you from day to night, and therefore earn its keep in your wardrobe. Plus, you’ll want to pull it out come rain, shine or snow.
For those who are a fan of Miu Miu’s playful creations, the ruched leather shoulder bag is one to consider. A compact size with internal pockets to keep your essentials to hand, featuring chain and leather bag strap that is adjustable ensuring you find the ideal length.