Contemporary bag designers walk a very precarious line every day. The people who buy their bags pay attention to fashion and lust after bags that cost well into the four figures, and if buying one of their bags feels like a huge step down in style and quality, customers will go elsewhere. Customers will also go elsewhere, though, if a contemporary brand spends too much money on fancy leather and hardware, thereby driving up the prices of its bags. Somewhere in the middle, price and aesthetics have to meet. We took the liberty of finding ten contemporary bags that figured it out.
We’ve recently profiled some great bags, like the MICHAEL Michael Kors Selma and Z Spoke Zac Posen Eartha East-West Tote, that fit this bill perfectly, and we figured there had to be more out there. At the conclusion of our search, it was easy to see what these bags had in common. First, most of them are quite simple; clean lines and traditional shapes feel more high-end, and cluttering a bag with pockets, zippers, embellishments and tassels is often a tell that it’s intended for a young consumer with limited funds. Second, keep the color simple. Neons and pastels are super trendy right now, but for a bag that’ll go the distance, stick with neutrals or basic brights. Keep those two things in mind and your budget, whatever it is, won’t hold you back.