Save vs. Splurge: Designer Bags

As we near Spring, designer bags always become a popular topic — what's worth the investment, which ones are my personal favorites, and where to find more affordable alternatives. I've never been obsessed with designer bags, although I've certainly collected a few over the years. For me, it's about versatility and longevity, owning a bag that can effortlessly transition from occasion to occasion as a staple in my closet.

While the appeal of a trending designer bag you're seeing everywhere is undeniable, I'm a big believer in taking a thoughtful approach to such a significant investment. It's all about weighing your options and making a decision that aligns with your personal style and budget.

If you're not quite ready to take the plunge into luxury territory, I've rounded up a selection of both classic and trendy designer-inspired styles that won't break the bank!

Keep reading: An Honest Review of My Designer Handbags

The Bottega Jodie is known for it's signature Intrecciato weave and comes in 5 sizes, ranging from $2,650 to $4,500. If you're looking for a bag you can throw on your shoulder, my recommendation is the "Teen Jodie" size. I have this designer-inspired satchel in cream and can vouch for the quality!

The Prada Arqué is a semi-new style, released in 2023 but trending due to its unique rounded shape. We love a convertible bag and this one comes with a detachable shoulder strap. If you're not a fan of bold silver hardware on the designer-inspired version, check out this sleek alternative designer-inpsired style from Mango.

The Saint Laurent Solferino Medium Satchel is one of my personal favorite designer shoulder bags. It's structured boxy shape with the classic YSL logo is clean and (in my opinion) timeless, and I've gotten tons of use out of this bag over the years. There are some great affordable alternatives out there that stay within the boxy theme. Here's another similar style I love for $73.

When it comes to aesthetics, the Saint Laurent Le 5 À 7 bag can do no wrong! I love it's structured shape and simplicity. If you're looking for something clean and simple, also check out this $21 designer-inspired version.

The Dior Saddle Bag is a standout classic, featuring it's distinctive saddle silhouette in a unique grained leather. This has been a viral designer bag but with a price point just under $4,000, it doesn't come cheap. This $25 designer-inspired version is a great alternative.

Celine's Medium Classic bag has a signature boxy style, with a similar vibe to the YSL Solferino. It's a great option if you want a more understated logo and this designer-inspired version for $61 is perfect. If you're willing to spend a little more, check out this genuine leather version ($120) on Etsy.

The Gucci Jackie 1961 is a reimagined version of the style released 70+ years ago, featuring the iconic piston closure and a detachable shoulder strap. If you like the shape of the YSL Le 5 À 7, this is a great alternative with a little more practicality and room. If you love it, try this $27 designer-inspired style.

Last but not least is Chanel's Large Classic Handbag. Including this one by popular demand, althoguh it's not one of my personal favorites! The iconic Chanel design with the woven-hardware strap just doesn't do it for me, especially with a price tag of $11,000. If you love this style, check out the designer-inspired version linked above or this slightly cheaper option for $45.