Finding the best affordable bag brand can be difficult. It’s challenging trying to find a bag that is stylish but has also been made well.
Getting an aesthetically pleasing bag is only one-half the hassle. The materials, the stitching, the hardware are all important details -- if they look cheap, the whole bag will look cheap.
Finding the right material is crucial to getting the best affordable bag. Ideally, you want a bag which is leather. If you don’t wear leather and would like to refrain from buying it, then the next best bet is vegan leather.
If you’ve got the right leather, then it can create an illusion of luxury, even if is the product itself was cheap.
Also, the quality of the material correlates to the longevity of the bag. That means that the better the material, the more durable it’s likely to be.
We all know that leather is generally the best material for a bag. It’s breathable, durable, waterproof, and long-lasting.
Unlike a lot of alternatives, leather ages very well. It means, if you invest in the right bags, they can last you a lifetime.
However, genuine leather is very expensive, and while we can find genuine leather at an affordable price, let us look at some alternatives that you might come across.
Alternatives To Genuine Leather
Now, you can get genuine vegetable-tanned leather, which is a great alternative if you do not mind using materials of animal origin, and you want to be environmentally friendly.
Vegetable-tanned leather is the most environmentally friendly leather, and while it does come from the skin of an animal, it’s the waste product.
This means that the animal was bred for meat, and the skin is then used for leather, instead of being thrown away.
In the case of leather vs. faux leather, leather remains incredibly durable, compared to the latter, which is more susceptible to wear and tear.
In brief, I will clarify the difference between faux leather and vegan leather, as there are different variables to consider.
A lot of people assume that vegan leather and faux leather are the same things. This isn’t quite true. While both faux leather and vegan leather refrain from using anything of animal origin, the materials they use are generally different.
Faux leather is often made of entirely plastic materials. You can still get good quality fake leather, and it can last a few years, but it will eventually heavily scratch and wear down.
Vegan leather is frequently used from a different material. Frequent materials used for vegan leather pertain to cork and algae.
However, this differs from brand to brand -- some companies may use the term vegan leather and the material is 100% plastic, which is still, technically, correct.
The issue generally comes from the fact that vegan leather is more eco-friendly, compared to faux leather, which is not environmentally friendly.
So, given that you have all the facts, you can go forward making the right decision for yourself. Before buying any item, it’s good to familiarize yourself with the materials.
Some people are anti-leather until they realize that vegetable-tanned leather is the most environmentally friendly leather, and they decide to purchase bags which that material.
Others go for vegan leather and some stick with faux leather.
To get the best bag at an affordable price, you need to be aware of what makes a bag good, and the material has a huge impact on the aesthetic of the bag, and its durability.
Stitching And Hardware
Now, we touched a little on the importance of good stitching and good hardware. I will not explain this heavily, as it is obvious.
If the bag has uneven stitching, stitching that is coming off, or is simply of bad quality, this will immediately express that the bag is cheap.
If the hardware for the bag is damaged, or of bad quality, this too expresses that the bag is cheap.
These small details can have a big impact, so make sure that the stitching and the hardware are of good quality to ensure that your bag looks luxurious.
The Best Affordable Bag Brands That Look Expensive
Now that you know what to look out for, let us look at my list of the best affordable bag brands that look expensive.
While I recommend these bags for luxury items at a low price, be sure to analyze each product carefully and individually, as no two items are the same.
In our list, we’re going to be looking at brands that are both below $100, and between $100-300 dollars, depending on your budget.
Given the quality of the items, no matter the price range, you’re getting amazing value for money.
OUR TOP PICK
JW PEI has recently popped off. If you’re interested in handbags with no animal origin, and that have environmentally friendly ethics, then you’ll love JW PEI.
They have dozens of gorgeous styles, so you can find a bag unique to you. The material they use is vegan leather and a very high-quality vegan leather at that.
In most cases, you would not realize that the bags are not genuine leather. The designs are generally very minimalist and simple, but the cut and style of the bags do all the talking.
Some bags to recommend are the mini flap bag and the mini tote bag. JW PEI takes care to ensure that all of their bags are durable and that they also look the part.
If any of you know the brand BIBA, then you’ll be surprised to know that they sell some wonderful bags at affordable prices.
BIBA is a household name, it’s a vintage brand that was first founded in England in the 1960s.
It planned a massive part with both 1960s and 1970s fashion, known for its chic designs. In modern times, BIBA is still one of the best brands out there, with a rich history.
So, if you’re looking for a bag that has the spirit of vintage chic, then BIBA is for you.
While a lot of their bags retail in the hundreds of dollars, you can definitely get some of their smaller bags, and their tote bags, for under a hundred dollars.
If you have the money to splash out a little further, go ahead -- BIBA is known for its quality and durability. If you’re more on a budget, consider one of their smaller models.
Next up on our list of the best affordable bag brands, is Mango.
Mango is a very popular brand, and for good reason. They’re known for their affordable prices and good-quality clothing and handbags.
Their whole ethos is inspired by the Mediterranean, and they appeal to anyone from the ultra-feminine woman, to the sleek and refined woman.
They’re also a brand to look out for in terms of sustainability. By 2025, it’s their goal to have their brand using 100% sustainable cotton, and 50% recycled polyester.
It’s a brand working towards honest goals, and along with their honest prices, we recommend Mango.
Another brand to look up to get the best affordable bags is Coach.
Now, Coach is a pretty popular brand, in terms of low-to-mid pricing. Some of their products are under a hundred dollars, while others are in the hundreds of dollars.
Depending on your budget, you can find a good quality bag for yourself at Coach.
Coach sells a range of styles and colors, and the bags have moderately good quality. They’re durable, reliable, and long-lasting. Definitely give Coach a check, for an affordable handbag.
No surprise here, ASOS sells some of the best affordable bags.
When it comes to ASOS bags, you’re going to have to be very picky.
While some bags have a gorgeous aesthetic, the material on them is very weak. Usually, they use faux leather.
As discussed, faux leather can be okay, depending on the quality. ASOS will sell some genuine leather bags at an affordable price, so check those out. Also, be sure to check out the stitching, because that’s where a lot of affordable handbag brands fail.
The great thing about ASOS is that you can check other designers out while you’re at it. Simply pop your relevance to the ‘low-to-high setting, and take a look at what bags you like.
ASOS usually has a sale, out a discount going on, so you might be able to get a very good bag at a very reasonable price.
Okay, this choice probably surprised a couple of people, but yes -- some of the best quality bags are on Amazon, for an affordable price.
Amazon has always had their one foot in the fashion game, but in the past, it was their baby toe. They sold kinda naff items, that were generally good value, but nothing special. When it comes to handbags, Amazon has a decent selection.
They sell leather handbags for under one hundred dollars, and these bags are genuinely good quality and appear to last for a long time.
You can also check the review section, to see some honest feedback on the handbags. Not everyone will want to use Amazon for their handbag purchases, for their reasons.
However, I will note that if you’re looking for affordable prices, this could be for you. Plus, it’s real brands, not an Amazon rip-off.
Although, you will want to check the seller’s credentials, to make sure you’re getting the real thing.
Next up on our list of the best affordable handbag brands, is Matt & Nat.
If you want a bag that is both vegan and environmentally friendly, then I strongly recommend that you select a bag from Matt & Nat.
Matt & Nat are committed to using vegan materials, ensuring that their products do not come from any animal origins.
They commit themselves to using and discovering innovative ways to create bags, that are sustainable and eco-friendly.
While completing this honorable mission, they also commit themselves to ensure that all of their bags are high quality and durable.
A selection of the materials used by Matt & Nat pertains to anything from recycled cork, recycled rubber, recycled nylon, and even recycled cardboard.
As you can see, recycling is a crucial part of their brand. Their linings are made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. Matt & Nat have recycled over 9 million bottles!
They’re making moves in the fashion industry for their luxury designs, made from eco-friendly and sustainable materials. Their bags look like the real deal and are honestly very good quality.
Whether eco-friendly and sustainable fashion matters to you or not, Matt & Nat is one of the best affordable brands for handbags.
Rebecca Minkoff is another quality brand that caters to a range of budgets.
On the higher end, you’re looking at a couple of hundred dollars for a Rebecca Minkoff bag. They’re very good quality, durable, and it’s a renowned global brand.
On the lower end, you can get a Rebecca Minkoff bag for under one hundred dollars.
While it will not be as luxurious as the former bag, the brand commits itself to high-quality bags, which means it will still look chic, and be durable.
Rebecca Minkoff sells anything from leather to suede, from cool backpacks to chic purses.
I will say, Rebecca Minkoff’s brand is kinda edgy, and cool. So, it’s not the place to shop if you’re looking for a super-feminine bag (although, they do sell a couple of these).
Nonetheless, I love Rebecca Minkoff, and if you manage to purchase a bag from this brand, you will be very happy with it.
Some of you will hate this brand, some of you will love this brand, but what remains, is the fact that J.Crew sells good quality handbags.
Price-wise, you’re looking at a mixed bunch. A lot of the handbags at J.Crew retail in a couple of hundreds of dollars, but you can get some gorgeous handbags for less than a hundred dollars.
If you’re looking for a very minimalist, respectable bag, then J.Crew is great for you. While they do offer some wacky designs, most of their bags are suitable for any high-end event.
J.Crew bags last for a very long time, so you are making a good investment.
A lot of their handbags are made from genuine leather, but a few are made from faux leather, so be sure to read the fine print, depending on your individual needs.
That brings us to the end of my article on the best affordable bag brands that look expensive.
I’ve introduced you to 10 different brands, all of which cater to lower budgets so that you can get a stellar bag at a remarkable price.
I also explained to you the importance of the material of the bag, so that you can make an informed decision, and not be swayed by any advertisements.
Let me know if you end finding your dream bag, I’d love to see what you chose!
Thanks for reading.
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