If you’re going to invest in one sector of your closet, a bag is your safest bet. A high-quality purse will not only take you from season to season, but through years. The only problem is that designer bags are expensive, and not everyone has $2,000 laying around to spend on a (gorgeous) Gucci or Louis Vuitton bag.
With that in mind, we did a deep dive into the fall releases to find all the bags under $500 that look like they cost a lot more. Some of them are by new designers that you can tell your friends about, some are just great finds from old favorites. But all of them are made of quality materials and have staying power. There are no micro-bags from Jacquemus or shocks of neon here. Think saddle brown, luxe animal prints, and of course plenty of black.
We can’t stop talking about animal print, whether it’s snake, croc, or leopard. Clare V’s attaché bag in snake featuring her signature stripe is perfect for someone who needs a slightly more professional look. The mid-size tote can fit your computer, wallet, or even a book. PLus, the strap makes it easy to carry.
You might recognize Staud’s stylish, affordable bags from Instagram. Last summer, their netted bucket bag was on every fashion girl’s feed in a variety of colors. This fall, they’ve raised the bar even higher with their gorgeous collection of sleek shoulder bags in warm neutrals and animal prints. Their Moon bag is especially stylish in snake, and their square, elegant Rey bag in lizard will add polish to any ensemble.
If you just want a beautiful leather tote, Madewell and Leatherology have you covered. Perfect for work, running around, and even traveling, their bags can fit all of your essentials in style. And Leatherology even offers monogramming, which we can never resist.
Finally, new brand Aesther Ekme makes a name for itself with their sculptural, minimalist Demi Lune bag that comes in black, white, or tan. It feels like what would happen if the Row had a baby with Mansur Gavriel.
Shop the rest of our investment bag picks below:
All of our recommendations are curated by Susan & the In The Groove editorial team. In some, but not all cases, we receive a small commission for leading you to what, how and where to buy all this wonderful stuff.