The best designer bags worth investing in—these luxury handbags hold their value at resale too

Looking for the best designer bags to invest in? We’ve rounded up the best designer bags by price, to help you find the a luxury bag to fit your budget

best designer bags loewe dolce and gabbana gucci
(Image credit: Future)

The best designer bags, unlike some fashion faux pas we'd love to forget, are something you'll never regret investing in. Making it easy to admire the most iconic accessories in one place, we’ve rounded up the cream of the arm candy crop—all for your browsing pleasure. 

Much like your best winter coat, luxury handbags are always going to be a considered purchase rather than an impulse one, so it pays to invest wisely. Unlike a $30 handbag from a high-street store, the best designer bags deliver on the look, fabric, and craftsmanship, making those months of saving (or dropping birthday hints) entirely worthwhile.

So, whether you’ve got your eye on a buttery-soft Hermes Kelly, a sumptuous Dior Saddle Bag, or a cross-body Chloe Tess, prepare to meet your new capsule wardrobe hero. Here's everything you need to know about the best designer bags to invest in.

Designer bags that hold their value

The best designer bags have the potential to become a beloved, hand-me-down piece. But, if you want to find yours a new home outside of your circle, there’s plenty of money to be made on resale websites. Farfetch and Vestiaire Collective are our top picks. So, what sells well on the sites?

"The best investments tend to be timeless pieces that will never go out of fashion," says Sophie Hersan, co-founder of Vestiarie Collective. "Hermes is still widely considered as a good investment and continues to be one of our bestselling brands. Several styles are highly coveted, and the history of the company adds to the exclusivity. There’s a mystery around the bags which makes them even more sought after."

Bags with restricted supply, like the Chanel 2.55 Flap Bag, or limited edition collections and colorways will go up in value simply because they are harder to get.

"Limited edition pieces are also something to consider when buying a handbag. Rarity drives up the price. A special colorway or limited edition collection for example increases demand," adds Sophie.

Some classic bag designs may increase over time simply due to inflation. Just this past year, luxury brands including Louis Vuitton and Chanel have bumped up prices due to lost spending caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

What to look for when buying a designer bag

When buying a designer bag there a few different things to look for and aspects to take into consideration. The first thing to think about is what style of bag would be best for you and your lifestyle. If you spend your days commuting to an office and don't tend to frequent many evening events, then the best tote bags or shoulder bag is likely suit you better than an evening clutch. Or if your days are spent out and about zipping from one place to the other, then the best crossbody bags could be your best option. Try and think about the rest of your capsule wardrobe when making your purchase as you'll want to pick a color and style that goes with the rest of your style essentials.

It's also good to look at practical aspects like whether the bag will be safe in the rain, how durable it feels and looks and how much you can fit in it. Pay attention to the quality of the material too. Look for equidistant stitching, precise stitching around the corners and neat and polished hardware.

The best designer bags to buy now

If you're looking for the trendiest luxury handbags, then this isn't the list for you. This edit of the best designer handbags is for people who want a beautiful, classic, solid fashion investment they won't grow out of, or won't tire of. Any of these best designer bags you'll trot out year after year, which is just as well because that will help make the eye-watering cost become more palatable when you calculate it over decades.

Best affordable designer bags

Marc Jacobs Snapshot Leather Cross Body Bag

(Image credit: Selfridges)

1. Marc Jacobs Snapshot Leather Cross Body Bag

Specifications
RRP: £300/$355
Material: Leather, Canvas strap
Reasons to buy
+Classic shape+Wearable colorways
Reasons to avoid
-Sporty look has less universal appeal

The Marc Jacobs Snapshot bag is an all-time fave and the latest iteration features a branded canvas shoulder strap for a sporty twist. It has a classic boxy structure allowing plenty of room for all the essentials with a crossbody strap for ultimate ease. It has two handy zip compartments to make it easier to locate your belongings and the iconic J logo stamped on top. A stylish choice for everyday, it comes in an array of neutral and chic colorways making it easy to mix and match with your wardrobe.

Tory Burch Perry Bombé Leather Cross-Body Bag

(Image credit: Selfridges)

2. Tory Burch Perry Bombé Leather Cross-Body Bag

Specifications
RRP: £235/$280
Material: 100% cow leather, Lining - 100% polyester
Reasons to buy
+Incredibly versatile+More affordable
Reasons to avoid
-Not as luxurious

Founded in New York City in 2004, Tory Burch is an affordable luxury fashion brand with a strong emphasis on female empowerment. The collections are always exoctic and colourful, taking inspiration from far-flung destinations. Although this chic crossbody would make a worthy addition to your holiday wardrobe, it’s versatile enough to be worn all-year-round too thanks to its pared-back palette and boxy silhouette. Crafted from pebbled leather with the recognisable double T motif, it’s the perfect day to night accessory.

Kate Spade Smile Croc-Embossed Leather Small Shoulder Bag

(Image credit: Kate Spade)

3. Kate Spade Smile Croc-Embossed Leather Small Shoulder Bag

Specifications
RRP: £250/$248
Material: Leather
Reasons to buy
+Fashion-forward design+Lots of different colors
Reasons to avoid
-Not as practical

Kate Spade bags are incredibly cheerful so it seems appropriate that the brand now has a ‘Smile’ bag. Imitating the curved shape of the facial expression, the structured shoulder bag has a 90s feel injecting some nostalgia to your look. It’s small-medium in size and sits neatly under your arm so would make an elegant evening bag. We love the croc-embossed leather, available in green and burgundy for an Autumnal vibe but you can also snap it up in black pebble leather as well as bolder hues such as sunny yellow and hot pink.

Jacquemus Le Chiquito Mini Bag

(Image credit: FarFetch)

4. Jacquemus Le Chiquito Mini Bag

Specifications
RRP: £385/$546
Material: Leather
Reasons to buy
+An ‘It’ bag+Fun design
Reasons to avoid
-Very small

For those of you who like to travel light, and by light we mean just lipstick and a credit card, then this one's for you. The Jacquemus Le Chiquito Mini Bag was an instant hit when it was released in 2017 gaining cult-like status and a must-have for every fashionista. What it lacks in practicality it makes up for in playfulness, and despite its tiny exterior it’s bound to make an impact. It has a detachable shoulder strap and a rounded top handle so you can carry it as you like and the foldover top and magnetic fastening will keep your valuables secure.

Stella McCartney Stella Logo Saddle Bag

(Image credit: FarFetch)

5. Stella McCartney Stella Logo Saddle Bag

Specifications
RRP: £495/$730
Material: 100% Polyester
Reasons to buy
+Classic saddle shape
Reasons to avoid
-Not leather

You can’t get more timeless than a tan saddle bag and this delightful number from Stella McCartney deserves some attention. Cute and compact, it has a foldover top and features the designer’s signature perforated logo on the front and a branded shoulder strap for a contemporary update. Stella McCartney has remained dedicated to sustainability and has never used leather, fur, skin or feathers in any of the collections since the fashion house launched in 2001.

A.P.C Half Moon Smooth-Leather Cross Body Bag

(Image credit: Matches Fashion)

6. A.P.C Half Moon Smooth-Leather Cross Body Bag

Specifications
RRP: £380/$516
Material: Italian Leather, Canvas Lining
Reasons to buy
+Minimalist style
Reasons to avoid
-Not as luxurious

If you’re not yet familiar with A.P.C., now’s the time to get them on your fashion radar. The French brand’s collection oozes understated elegance and their Half Moon bag is an affordable classic. Sleek and minimalist it has a semi-circular silhouette and a subtle branded gold foil logo stamp. It has an adjustable strap for that easy crossbody fit and an internal slip pocket to secure small valuables. Its fuss-free style is guaranteed to go with everything.

JW Anderson Belt Tote

(Image credit: JW Anderson)

7. JW Anderson Belt Tote

Specifications
RRP: £375/$510
Material: Dependent on style
Reasons to buy
+Unique design+Good choice of fabrics 
Reasons to avoid
-Not all styles have a zip closure 

JW Anderson’s nautical-inspired logo alone is enough to make us swoon, and his new season belt totes have us weak at the knees. They get their name from the distinctive belt leather strap, complete with buckle. Expect fabrics like felt and raffia alongside more substantial leather offerings, making for a take-everywhere tote you’ll likely never put down. Especially as the brand's elevated design complements everything from the best leather jackets to the best dresses. (Want to know how to style dresses? we got you covered.) As is the case with most of the best designer bags, the price varies depending on the size and material you choose, spanning from £315 to around £535. 

By Far Kiki Dark Brown Semi Patent Leather

(Image credit: By Far)

8. By Far Kiki Dark Brown Semi Patent Leather

Specifications
RRP: £435/$‌615
Material: Leather
Reasons to buy
+Good price+Choice of colours
Reasons to avoid
-Can only be worn one way

Despite only launching onto the fashion scene in 2016, By Far has quickly become one of the industry's most coveted labels for the best designer bags. The prices are high compared to your run-of-the-mill stores but not so steep that you’d need to eat beans on toast for a year to consider investing. The Kiki manages to feel both barely there and stand-out all at once, thanks to the sculptured shape and high-shine patent leather. It’s also available in black and lime green if you’re not a fan of the brown. Nestling neatly beneath your shoulder and fastening with a zip, it’s practical too. 

See By Chloé Lesly Shoulder Bag

(Image credit: Net-A-Porter)

9. See By Chloé Lesly Shoulder Bag

Specifications
RRP: £380/$445
Material: Calf leather
Reasons to buy
+Unique design+Goes-with-everything colours
Reasons to avoid
-Can only be worn one way

The younger sister of luxury French fashion house Chloé, See By Chloé has the same cool, feminine aesthetic, just at slightly more purse-friendly prices. The label’s target audience is slightly younger too, but don’t let that put you off investing in one of their designer bags. Putting an unexpected twist on the baguette shape, the Lesly has a real boho feel. The front pocket and contrast clasp nods to the Chloé Tess, while the grainy leather gives this otherwise polished bag a hint of grit. The guitar-style strap is a feature in itself, and can be easily adjusted depending on how you like to wear yours. 

Coach Tabby Top Handle Bag

(Image credit: Coach)

10. Coach Tabby Top Handle Bag

Specifications
RRP: £395/$395
Material: Leather
Reasons to buy
+Choice of two ways to carry+Beautiful fabric
Reasons to avoid
-A little on the small side

If you’re on the lookout for the best designer bags that won’t leave your bank account in tatters, allow us to point you in the direction of Coach. Their Tabby Top Handle is a revamped take on an archive design from the 70s and has true timeless appeal. The polished pebble leather is both gorgeous and durable (two very important factors) and available in four shades. Cream and black are the obvious choices for maximum cost-per-wear, while green and pink will add a pop of color to any outfit. They pair well with the best mom jean outfits—even the best Doc Martens outfits if you're feeling adventurous. 

Anya Hindmarch I Am A Plastic Bag Mini Motif Tote

(Image credit: Anya Hindmarch)

11. Anya Hindmarch I Am A Plastic Bag Mini Motif Tote

Specifications
RRP: £395/$595
Material: Eco leather and canvas
Reasons to buy
+Eco credentials +Choice of handles
Reasons to avoid
-Bold design isn't for everyone

Feeling guilty about splurging on one of the best designer bags? We’ve got just the thing. Part of the brand’s iconic I Am A Plastic Bag collection, this mini tote has been made from plastic bottles that would otherwise have ended up in a landfill. The result is a bag for life in the best possible way, with a could-be-canvas texture and weather-resistant finish that helps it to stand the test of time. Carry this buttercup yellow beauty in the crook of your arm or cross-body using the longer, detachable strap. 

Best mid-range designer bags

Dolce & Gabbana Medium Sicily bag in Dauphine calfskin

(Image credit: Dolce & Gabbana)

12. Dolce & Gabbana Medium Sicily bag in Dauphine calfskin

Specifications
RRP: £1,200/$1,695
Sizes: 100% Calfskin leather, Fabric Lining
Reasons to buy
+Elegant+Timeless design
Reasons to avoid
-Pale pink could show dirt

Dolce & Gabbana’s Sicily remains popular for its classic ladylike silhouette and elegant aesthetic. It’s structured shape makes it smart enough to pass off as an evening bag, yet practical for the daytime too. It’s available in an array of colours and we’re particularly loving the pastel hues for a sweet and feminine update. Featuring a front flap with a hidden press-stud fastening, it has a branded plate on the front for that luxe designer finish.

Jil Sander Tangle Bag

(Image credit: FarFetch)

13. Jil Sander Tangle Bag

Specifications
RRP: £560/$733
Material: Leather
Reasons to buy
+Minimal design+Quality fabric
Reasons to avoid
-Not very big

Minimalist but never minimal, Jil Sander’s speciality is luxurious pieces that will look just as good now as they will in 10 years time. The brand’s namesake founder may have stepped back in 2013, but creative directors (and husband and wife) Lucie and Luke Meier carry on its original aesthetic today. The Tangle bag is the label down to a T. Smooth and sophisticated the braided strap is almost the only detail of note. That is of course, until a closer look reveals glossy Italian leather outer, an embossed silver logo and handy magnetic clasp. Wear long on one shoulder or crossbody, the choice is yours. 

Phillip Lim Pashli Soft Mini Satchel

(Image credit: Phillip Lim)

14. 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli Soft Mini Satchel

Specifications
RRP: £840/$995
Material: 100% cow leather
Reasons to buy
+Goes with everything style+Practical zips
Reasons to avoid
-Open ends could allow access for people

An ‘It’ bag if ever there was one, Phillip Lim’s Pashli has been proudly carried by the likes of Emma Roberts and Reese Witherspoon making it one of our best designer bags. It’s spawned plenty of copies too, but there’s nothing quite like the real deal. It might be the instantly recognisable side zip detail that draws you in, but it’s the super soft leather, quality finishes, and choice of two handles that will keep you reaching for it time and time again. 

Saint Laurent LouLou Toy Leather Cross-Body Bag

(Image credit: Selfridges)

15. Saint Laurent LouLou Toy Leather Cross-Body Bag

Specifications
RRP: £945/$1,250
Material: 100% Calfskin Leather
Reasons to buy
+Easy crossbody style+Elegant and timeless
Reasons to avoid
-May be too small

Named after Yves Saint Laurent’s muse Loulou de la Falaise, this instantly recognisable bag is a designer staple that’s loved by everyone. Another versatile accessory with its easy cross-body strap and front flap, it’s guaranteed to transform any outfit. It has the famous YSL signature embellished on the front, and it’s made from 100% calfskin leather. We would lean towards the black again for a long-term investment, but the dark beige hue is equally as chic if you can handle the upkeep.

Gucci GG Marmont Small Leather Shoulder Bag

(Image credit: Gucci)

16. Gucci GG Marmont Small Leather Shoulder Bag

Specifications
RRP: £970/$1,490
Material: 100% Leather Outer, 100% Microfibre lining
Reasons to buy
+Everyday style+Compact and versatile
Reasons to avoid
-May be too small

Gucci handbags have been gaining momentum the past couple of years with an increase in sales and searches, and the classic GG Marmont is one of the most sought-after. Small but mighty, this compact crossbody camera bag is incredibly versatile with its quilted finish, chain, and leather strap, and the distinctive gold-tone logo plaque for that recognisable designer look. It comes in 11 variations, including pillar box red and a floral print, but we think simple black is the way to go if you’re looking for longevity. 

Mulberry Bayswater Bag

(Image credit: Mulberry)

17. Mulberry Bayswater Leather Bag

Specifications
RRP: £995/$1,195
Material: Leather
Reasons to buy
+Timeless+British made
Reasons to avoid
-Heavy

The ultimate carry-all bag for the fashion-conscious, the Mulberry Bayswater is one of Britain's finest fashion icons. And it’s been worn by plenty of Blighty’s fashion icons too—from Kate Moss to Alexa Chung. The original 2003 design underwent a revamp in 2016 when then-Creative Director Johnny Coca took the helm, making it both more durable and more modern. Today, the Bayswater is almost identical to the 2003 version, with a zip option (handy for commuters), a simple tote, and a backpack joining the collection. Prices start at £695 for a tote, with a slouchy Bayswater costing £1,625. The price of the original Bayswater has crept up over the years, now nearer to the £1,000 mark than £900.

Louis Vuitton Speedy Bandoulière 25 Bag

(Image credit: Louis Vuitton)

18. Louis Vuitton Speedy Bandoulière 25 Bag

Specifications
RRP: £1,100/$1,995
Material: Leather
Reasons to buy
+Detachable strap +Personalisation options
Reasons to avoid
-Shape can slouch during use 

Originally created for travelers in the 1930s, Louis Vuitton Speedy remains a sought-after purchase for all busy folks today. Elegant yet sporty, the almost bowling bag shape means it’s roomy enough for all your essentials, while the signature rolled leather handles ensure maximum comfort. The little details count, too, like the luxe engraved padlock. If you travel heavy, opt for a bigger size, and consider a shoulder strap too to free up your hands. Selected styles can be personalized with colored stripes and your initials via Louis Vuitton’s online store or in their boutiques, but bear in mind these can take longer to ship. Prices range from £830 for the Speedy 30 Bag to £2,310 for the 40.

Chloe Tess Bag

(Image credit: Net-A-Porter)

19. Chloé Tess Small Leather and Suede Shoulder Bag

Specifications
RRP: £1,360/$1,890
Material: Usually leather and suede, depending on style
Reasons to buy
+Compact and practical +Two ways to carry
Reasons to avoid
-Rounded bottom won't stand flat

Taking the humble saddlebag and transforming it into a cult buy is no mean feat, but thanks to a deliciously soft leathers and plenty of metal hardware, Chloé has made it look easy. As practical as it is beautiful, nestle your Tess in the crook of your arm or wear across your body thanks to the wide shoulder strap, the choice is yours. An extension of the range, Chloé’s Day Tess bag is slightly more classic, with a boxier shape. The key details remain the same, though, so you can still expect to spy on their instantly recognisable ‘O’. Get yours via Net-a-Porter, Farfetch, and Selfridges, or buy direct from Chloé. Prices within the Tess family range from £1,160 through to £1,660, depending on the bag size.

Burberry Mini Leather and Vintage Check Two-Handle Title Bag

(Image credit: Burberry)

20. Burberry Mini Leather and Vintage Check Two-Handle Title Bag

Specifications
RRP: £1,390/$1,690
Material: Leather with polyester and cotton trim
Reasons to buy
+Timeless design+Can be carried two ways
Reasons to avoid
-Open top

Burberry might not be a label you immediately associate with handbags (more Burberry trench coats and scarves) but that doesn’t mean they should be overlooked. The Title bag started life on the runway, making the triple stud detailing it’s signature. For a design that originated on the catwalk, it’s incredibly wearable, with a practical choice of two handles and a timeless, square silhouette. As for colours, there’s no bold brights here, instead a muted palette of black, biscuit, red and cream to reflect Burberry’s heritage shades. Choose one with all-over vintage check in homage to the world’s most instantly recognisable print. 

Loewe Puzzle Bag

(Image credit: Net-A-Porter)

21. Loewe Puzzle Bag

Specifications
RRP: From £1,400/$1393
Material: Calfskin
Reasons to buy
+Folds flat+Can be worn in 5 different ways
Reasons to avoid
-Opening can be hard to get into

Relatively young by iconic bag standards, Loewe’s gorgeously geometric Puzzle Bag was dreamt up by Creative Director Jonathan Anderson in 2014. Proving early on that his appointment was a very good move by the company, the Puzzle was actually the very first piece he designed. Not only can it be worn in an impressive five different ways, from shoulder bag to clutch, but it also folds completely flat for easy storage. Nearly all Puzzles are made from buttery-soft calfskin, but the grain can vary from style to style. Easy to get your hands on, buy direct from Loewe or through Harrods, Selfridges, or Net-a-Porter. At the cheaper end of the designer bag spectrum, prices start at £1,300 for a mini and climb to £2,300.

Balenciaga Classic City Small Black Leather Top Handle Bag

(Image credit: FarFetch)

22. Balenciaga Classic City Small Black Leather Top Handle Bag

Specifications
RRP: £1290/From $1850
Material: Leather
Reasons to buy
+Top handle and shoulder strap+Lots of different variations
Reasons to avoid
-Style is very specific

The Balenciaga Classic City bag was a must-have in the early noughties, worn by everyone from Paris Hilton to the Olsen twins, and it’s still a coveted style today thanks to its versatility and timeless design. It comes in many variations, from hot pink to graffiti print for a real statement-maker. Featuring two top handles, buckle-embellished trims, and metal hardware with the logo, this classic black style has a glossy finish for a smart take that will last.

Marni Trunk Medium Leather Shoulder Bag

(Image credit: Marni)

23. Marni Trunk Medium Leather Shoulder Bag

Specifications
RRP: £1,490/$1,795
Material: Leather
Reasons to buy
+Adjustable strap+Multiple internal compartments
Reasons to avoid
-Not very spacious

Even if you’re not au fait with the Marni Trunk, we’ll guarantee it looks familiar. The bobble-ended twist lock has been imitated again and again on the high-street (as most of the best designer bags are!), but never to the same high quality. Thanks to accordion construction, this compact bag has a touch of Mary Poppins about it, hiding six spacious compartments inside - two of which have zips. Use the engraved press studs to adjust and secure the strap, depending on whether you prefer to carry yours slung over your shoulder or across your body. Keep it simple with a block colour neutrals or step into statement territory with a limited edition print. 

Best high-end designer bags

Valentino Garavani Roman Stud Large Leather Shoulder Bag

(Image credit: Net-A-Porter)

24. Valentino Garavani Roman Stud Large Leather Shoulder Bag

Specifications
RRP: £2,290/$3,400
Material: Brown Leather (Lamb)
Reasons to buy
+Plenty of room
Reasons to avoid
-Somewhat bulky

A carry-all tote with extra attitude, prepare to splurge on this slouchy bag. Crafted from buttery soft leather, this relaxed bag sits snugly on the shoulder. It has a zip fastening on the top to keep everything safe and the brand’s iconic stud detailing on the side. The slouchy style is soft and comfortable to carry whilst the brown hue makes it instantly wearable. The perfect 9-to-5 bag, you’ll be able to stash everything in it whilst looking achingly chic in the process.

Bottega Veneta casette bag

(Image credit: Selfridges)

25. Bottega Veneta Cassette Bag

Specifications
RRP: £1,565/From $2,000
Material: Lamb or calfskin depending on design
Reasons to buy
+Easy to source
Reasons to avoid
-Padded version not too spacious

Intricately woven from either high-quality leather or suede, Bottega Veneta’s cult Cassette Bag comes in a range of incarnations. Keep it simple with the slim and structured original, beautifully finished with a magnetic clasp closure and narrow shoulder strap. If you prefer a more statement look, try the pillowy, puffy Padded Cassette or the lavish Chain option. The colour range is vast, too, with a rainbow array of shades - from candy brights to muted neutrals. Easy to source, buy online from Browns, Net-a-Porter or Matches Fashion. Prices start at around £1,300 and can rise to £2,800 or more depending on the style.

Prada Cleo Brushed Leather Shoulder Bag

(Image credit: Prada)

26. Prada Cleo Brushed Leather Shoulder Bag

Specifications
RRP: £1,800/From $2,000
Material: 100% Brushed Leather
Reasons to buy
+Simple and sleek design+Surprisingly roomy
Reasons to avoid
-May be too trend-forward

This sleek, minimalist style has been popping up on our Instagram feeds recently, with many influencers championing its classic yet cool aesthetic. It may be verging on a 2021 ‘it’ bag, but thanks to its timeless appeal, we think this one will remain on top for years to come. A sophisticated take on the hobo bag, this reinvented 1990s style is crafted from 100% brushed leather and has an elegantly curved silhouette with the iconic enamel triangle logo decorated on the front. Available in black, white, silver, and aqua green—we’re slightly swooning over the green.

Fendi Baguette Brown Fabric Bag

(Image credit: Fendi)

27. Fendi Mini Baguette Brown Fabric Bag

Specifications
RRP: £1,590/From $2,000
Materal: Dependent on style
Reasons to buy
+Great choice of sizes and colours within the Baguette range+Two ways to carry
Reasons to avoid
-Full-on branding isn't for everyone

Another iconic 90s and 00s bag that’s enjoyed a recent renaissance, the Fendi Baguette Bag is back and bigger than ever. Now, instead of referring to one specific style, ‘Baguette’ encompasses a whole family of luxury bags, with the iconic shape having been reimagined in a range of different sizes, strap options, and colourways. The rectangular original remains instantly recognisable, the perfect shape to sit prettily and comfortably beneath your arm. Never one to scrimp on branding, all bags in the Baguette family carry Fendi’s gold logo hardware. Prices start at £430 for the Nano Baguette Charm, but remember, it’s only big enough to hold a single lipstick. The average Baguette bag is around the £2,000 mark, with a crocodile skin version ringing in at £19,000.

Givenchy Antigona Soft Medium Leather Tote

(Image credit: Givenchy)

28. Givenchy Antigona Soft Medium Leather Tote

Specifications
RRP: £1,690/$2,382
Material: Leather
Reasons to buy
+Classic shape+Versatile bag
Reasons to avoid
-Not a huge choice of colours

The Givency Antigona is the kind of piece you’ll never grow tired of. It has all the hallmarks of one of the best designer bags: elevated fabrics, a timeless shape, and the option to be worn in the crook of your arm or slung over your shoulder. There’s a wide range of different sizes, fabrics and variations available, depending on your tastes and budgets. For us, it’s the soft tote that gets our vote. It has all of the clean lines of the original, just with a little more slouch. It’s a great choice if you don’t like bags that feel too ‘done’. 

Dior saddle bag

(Image credit: Dior)

29. Dior Saddle Bag

Specifications
RRP: From £1,800/$2,000
Material: Sheep, goat or calfskin depending on design
Reasons to buy
+Purses offer a more accessible price point+Plenty of nostalgia 
Reasons to avoid
-Has to be carried by hand or shoulder

Worn by Carrie Bradshaw and coveted by all of us, the Dior Saddle Bag was the ‘It’ bag for years. Despite its popularity, the brand eventually ceased production of the shape—causing resale demand to rise. Fast-forward to 2018 when Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri sent a re-imagined version of this classic down the runway, and the Saddle Bag 2.0 was born. The beautifully curved shape might have remained the same, but this time it’s not just about canvas and embroidery, but shiny goat leather too, all complete with the stirrup ‘D’ closure. For a brand-new Dior Saddle bag, expect to pay £1,950 for mini version, and up to £3,000 for full-size.

MaxMara Large Whitney Bag

(Image credit: MaxMara)

30. MaxMara Large Whitney Bag

Specifications
RRP: £1,795/$2,270
Material: Leather
Reasons to buy
+Timeless design+Zip compartment
Reasons to avoid
-Narrow design means you can't fit a lot in

Don’t just buy your coats from MaxMara (a camel cashmere number is at the top of our wishlists!) but your best designer bags too. The Whitney was originally designed as part of a partnership between the fashion house and architect firm the Renzo Piano Building Workshop. Look closely at the strong lines and structured shape, and that influence is plain to see. First showcased at the opening of New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art in 2015, the Whitney has been one of the brand’s staples ever since - as well as a permanent fixture at the New York Fashion Institute of Technology museum. A city tote with edge, use yours to add interest to everything from jeans to joggers. 

Salvatore Ferragamo Studio Bag

(Image credit: Salvatore Ferragamo)

31. Salvatore Ferragamo Studio Bag (M)

Specifications
RRP: £2,155/$2,981
Material: Leather
Reasons to buy
+Quality fabric+Looks expensive
Reasons to avoid
-Quite big for an everyday bag

As far as eye-wateringly expensive best designer bags go, this one is certainly beautiful enough to induce at least a tiny tear before you’ve even seen the price tag. A sophisticated take on a vintage doctor's bag, it’s more than big enough to hold all your daily essentials, with space left over for non-essentials too. Opt for the medium size for two bags in one, with a removable pouch to keep your valuables close at hand. The outer is a smooth, ever-so-slightly pebbled Italian calf leather, and the inner fully lined. 

Celine Teen Triomphe Bag in Shiny Calfskin

(Image credit: Celine)

32. Celine Teen Triomphe Bag in Shiny Calfskin

Specifications
RRP: £2,200/From $3,000
Material: Calfskin, Lambskin lining
Reasons to buy
+Variety of colours+Small and compact
Reasons to avoid
-Not as recognisable for the price 

A Celine bag is certainly one to consider if you’re in the market for a designer handbag that lasts. Their styles are classic yet contemporary with a pared-back aesthetic that will never go out of style. Whilst many may opt for its ‘Classic’ design, we think the newer Triomphe is one to bag. The crossbody style makes it easy-to-wear, and the larger decorative metal fastening makes it a standout. Crafted from calfskin with a lambskin lining, it is practical, with three inner compartments and an inner zipped pocket. Incredibly chic, you can snap it up in 10 different colours—we love the vintage pink.

The Row Bowling Leather Top Handle Bag

(Image credit: Selfridges)

33. The Row Bowling Leather Top Handle Bag

Specifications
RRP: £2,225/From $2,000
Material: Leather
Reasons to buy
+Roomy size+High quality fabric
Reasons to avoid
-High price tag

Child stars Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen have long been famed for their impeccable style, so it made perfect sense for them to launch their own fashion label back in 2006. The Row’s speciality is high quality fabrics and serious attention to detail, which is reflected in the price. This bowling bag is a model example of the brand’s simplistic style, with sleek lines and minimal detailing. The larger shape makes it a great choice for everyday use. 

Chanel bag 2.55 flap

(Image credit: Chanel)

34. Chanel 2.55 Flap Bag

Specifications
RRP: From £3,000/$3,800
Material: Leather or fabric, depending on the design
Reasons to buy
+Iconic shape+Available in a wide range of colours
Reasons to avoid
-Somewhat small

The bag that spurned a thousand copies, Chanel’s iconic 2.55 Flap Bag, is easily one of the best designer bags ever made. Created by Gabrielle Chanel in February 1955, it's easy to spot thanks to its simple yet effective rectangle shape and signature quilting. This is a bag with the potential to make even your pyjamas feel instantly glamorous. Black leather is the classic choice, while seasonal tweed or color-pop options offer a more fashion-forward take. You can browse online via Chanel’s website, but for the widest choice of sizes, colours, and fabrications, it’s best to visit one of their boutiques. Prices start at around £3,000 for a mini version and rise to more than £6,000 for a maxi.

HERMÉS KELLY LEATHER BAG

(Image credit: Hermes)

35. HERMÉS KELLY LEATHER BAG

Specifications
RRP: From £6,000/$6,000
Material: Leather
Reasons to buy
+Timeless shape+Hold their value well
Reasons to avoid
-Hard to get

It’s almost impossible to put together a round-up of the best designer bags without including Hermés. The Birkin might be the A-list-approved bag that first springs to mind, but for real glamour, Kelly has our vote. First created by Robert Dumas, the son-in-law of Emile Hermés, the grandson of founder Thierry Hermés, it gained real notoriety when worn by Hollywood legend Grace Kelly. Rumour has it that the actress, and Princess of Monaco, used the bag to conceal her pregnancy in the late 1950s, and as a result, it was renamed in her honour.

Effortlessly elegant, the real beauty of Kelly is in its simplicity. It won’t date with trends, so you can rest assured this is a bag you’ll love to use for years to come. Unfortunately, getting your hands on a Hermés bag is not as easy as heading to the store. Not everyone who wants one is approved to buy one, and even if you do make it onto the coveted shortlist, you can still face a long wait. As a result, the resale market is booming, so buying second-hand might just be your best bet. Exact prices are hard to come by, but depending on the leather you choose, a Kelly bag bought directly from Hermés will set you back upwards of £6,000.

Why are designer bags so expensive?

With one of the best designer bags to invest in, you’re not just paying for bragging rights but the time it’s taken to piece your new purchase together.

Take Loewe’s Puzzle Bag, for example. Epitomizing the level of craftsmanship that goes into making designer bags takes an eye-watering 524 steps to complete. That’s before we’ve even considered the fabric of luxury handbags.

And flying the flag for full supply-chain transparency, Mulberry has been members of the Leather Working Group since 2012. This first ensures that all of their leathers are a by-product of food production and livestock are properly treated. If you’re looking to make more ethical fashion choices, you can’t put a price on that level of commitment.

Can you rent a designer bag?

Yes! Renting one of the best designer bags has become increasingly popular. It’s a good option if you want to either test the waters with a particular bag you’re looking to invest in, or you are looking to shop more sustainably. You can rent a bag for a week or so from companies such as BagButler, and then return it when you’re done. It’s cheaper than buying and perfect if you’re just looking for a sweet piece of arm candy for a fancy party, wedding, or job interview. When you rent a designer bag, you can be a bit bolder with your choices too.

“The most popular brand across our selection is Chanel and the Lilac Mini Flap in particular. People are willing to invest in a classic black designer bag but fancy renting something more statement and colourful," says Tina Lipfriend, founder of BagButler.

“Chanel made the bold move of raising their prices by up to 17% during the first lockdown. This hasn’t dented the popularity but has definitely made renting a great option for many people."

As well as Chanel, Dior is also one of the most popular designers when it comes to borrowing a bag.

“The other piece that customers absolutely love is the Lady Dior. The black Saddlebag tends to appeal to a younger audience (fashion students) whereas the lady Dior tends to be rented by professionals," adds Tina.

Do the best designer bags go on sale?

Yes and no. The most exclusive luxury designer handbags and labels, like Hermes and Louis Vuitton, never go on sale. To grab yourself a cheap Louis Vuitton bag or equivalent, it's often a case of buying them secondhand from a reputable reseller (but be warned: they hold their resale value, so you won't save much).

However, many of the other luxury labels do tend to have seasonal discounts on their best designer bags. And some brands have sample sales or even have designer outlets, such as the Mulberry factory shop, where you can save hundreds of pounds/dollars.