Before we get started…if you’re a fellow everyday designer bag enthusiast, feel free to forward this post to any and all generous gifters in your life.
This is basically one of those easy-to-read photo menus for gorgeous handbags…providing any assistance to those who might need a little “loving nudge” in the indulgent gift-buying area.
My personal advice is to use this guide as a “picking menu” for yourself. Select the splurge-worthy bag you REALLY want and wish yourself a Happy Holidays…quite easy, quite enjoyable, and saves time on the post-holiday return/exchanges. This bag (the same style as below) in the new GORGEOUS deep sea pebble color and this fanny style are on their way to me as this year’s gift options. So freaking excited to see them in person.
**Note: Many bags from my favorite designers are on sale right now….yay for luxury bags on sale! **
I’ve previously shared with you guys my confession about special everyday designer bags as gifts. It started several years ago when I ordered this gorgeous Clare V. (gently used) from eBay, wrapped it up in a sweet little gift box, and addressed the tag to myself from my husband. He said it was the best gift HE could have received: not having to lift a finger and gifting me exactly what I wished for.
I oohed and ahhed over it gushingly (I had REALLY wanted that bag), and he got all the credit for giving me a truly special gift.
Last holiday season, I didn’t even bother with the gift wrap. I bought the Clare V. metallic poche crossbody (this year’s version above) in early December, and wore it throughout the holiday season. I obviously have quite the love affair with Clare V. but there are other designers (eight to be exact, in addition to Clare V) that I consider true investment pieces as well.
Because of this incredibly fun job I have here at TME, I have the privilege of researching, trying out, and owning MANY good bags. So for you bag-lovers out there, I’m thrilled to share my top picks. Consider this a 2022-2023 update to last winter’s article, 8 Everyday Designer Handbags Worth The Splurge. I’ve got some fun new pictures and a new designer to add to the list.
9 Splurge-Worthy Everyday Designer Handbag Brands
Throughout the years, I’ve developed a pretty firm list of the everyday designer brands that I call my favorites. Clare V. Always. I literally check Clare V’s site the first of every month, when they add their newest designs, and I share screenshots, links, and commentary with a good friend who has a similar affection for the brand.
AAKS (currently on sale) and the Clare V Pot De Miel are faves for summer, Loeffler Randall and Staud for standout statement-making bags, and rag & bone and AllSaints for just the right combination of sophistication and edginess. This year I’m excited to announce one new brand that made it to my list. This See By Chloe beauty below has quite seamlessly entered my bag rotation, and I find myself now checking various retailers for See By Chloe’s newest most exciting designs as well.
Now, when I say ‘worth the splurge,’ you’ll notice none of the designers I rave about are the fancy FANCY designer bags like cult-fave Saint Laurent, or the gorgeous Bottega Veneta. There are a lot of you who love these bags (actually many of you shared them with us in our article about the most splurge-worthy bags according to our readers), but for MY personal lifestyle, these bags are NOT worth the splurge.
The bags and designers I love are really well-made bags that Shana has aptly described as “everyday designer.” They usually have a little something special (details, material, hardware), and many work for both day-to-day casual as well as special occasions. These special bags are the kinds of pieces that instantly elevate pretty much any pieces you pull together from your closet.
Many can be found on sale this time of year, but some of these bags are also available secondhand for more budget-friendly prices and a more sustainable purchasing option, so make sure to check: eBay | The RealReal | ThredUP or your local second-hand stores as well.
1. Clare V. (Overall Fave): Timeless + Slightly Quirky
Clare V. is easily the overall TOP pick (by both Shana and me) for wildly good bags. A 100% easy win in our opinion if you’re looking for a very special, but really well-made bag. Slightly quirky, but still timeless — these are the bags both of us reach for the most in our closets and the ones that we keep wearing year after year. The colorways and patterns of many of the styles change (like the older midi sacs shown above), but the shapes are classic and have stayed in constant rotation for years. They also hold their value exceptionally well, and you can find them secondhand at Clare V.’s LeResale, TheRealReal and eBay.
More Clare V. Handbags
2. See By Chloe: For A Sophisticated Boho Look
A little bit bohemian in vibe and designed with elegance, class and sophistication, See By Chloe is best known for their beautiful leather saddlebag (which comes in mini and regular sizing). The contrast stitching, beautiful colors, and bold hardware are beautiful on all their bags.
More See By Chloe Handbags
3. Loeffler Randall: Fun To Wear (Dressy Or Casual)
The perfect bag for the playful. Loeffler Randall bags are SO much fun to wear and add instant life to any look (dressy or casual). The gold Loeffler Randall comes in other gorgeous colors as well, and I’ve been eyeing this dark gold one that’s currently on sale.
More Loeffler Randall Handbags
4. rag & bone: Chic Streetstyle
For those who fancy a chic, streetstyle look, rag & bone does not disappoint. Stylish details that keep the look simple, chic and clean. If you’re in the market for a stylish backpack, make sure to check out Shana’s eco version of the one I’m carrying above — lighter weight and I love the black and brown colorway.
More rag & bone Handbags
AllSaints adds cool, industrial details to all its bags to provide JUST the right amount of edge. Gorgeous materials too. My Edbury shoulder bag above is old, but the shape is still in AllSaints’ current line and fits my laptop inside. I love the newer puffed versions even better.
More AllSaints Handbags
6. Rebecca Minkoff: A Versatile Crowd-Pleaser
A total crowd pleaser…there are a TON of Rebecca Minkoff fans out there. Simple, easy to wear, and versatile. The Julian is a TME reader and contributor fave and is available in nylon, leather and multiple sizes. Best selection is definitely on Rebecca Minkoff’s site.
More Rebecca Minkoff Handbags
7. AAKS: Gorg Statement Bags
I tend to wear my AAKS bags in the spring and summer, but they make for a VERY special gift any time of the year. I have two of them sitting in my living room doubling as art during the winter season. Absolutely beautiful statement bags handcrafted in Ghana. Black-owned and founded. Huge selection of AAKS bags on sale here.
More AAKS Handbags
8. Staud: Unique & Impossibly Cool
Shana and I get compliments on our Staud bags any time we wear them. Unique, fun and impossibly cool.
More Staud Handbags
9. TUMI: The Hard-Working, On-The-Go Bag
Tumi Backpack (Similar)
TUMI is hands-down the favorite of TME folks who go to the office, carry a laptop, and/or travel on the regular. Practical, comfortable and stylish. Lex does an in-depth review of the Voyageur Ursula with T-Pass here.
More TUMI Bags
What other bag designers are forever closet wins for you and/or special gifting faves (for yourself or others)? As always, I love to hear from you all.
Have you checked out Holiday Central yet? Go now…holiday sales, gift ideas and outfit inspo all in one spot. It’s a happy place.