As much as we love to ogle the most expensive handbags and accessories on the planet, those of us on the PurseBlog team understand that moderation is important. For almost all bag lovers, including us, going bananas and buying a bunch of four-figure (or higher) bags per season is just not a wise idea when you consider all the other things vying for our wallets' attention. That's why, at least once a season, we sit down and find The Best Bags Under $600.
Even though $600 still isn't much of a bargain to a lot of people, it is something of a magic number that divides the handbag market. Save for a few premium-contemporary lines like Alexander Wang and 3.1 Phillip Lim, most contemporary lines top out at about $600 for their everyday bags. Below that price point exists enough options to flesh out a full bag wardrobe and then some, and if you choose carefully, a lot of the designs look way more expensive than you might expect. Check out our picks for Fall 2012 after the jump.
We'll start with what I think is the best contemporary debut of the season - the Tory Burch Priscilla Frame Satchel, and the entire Tory Burch Priscilla line in general. If you had shown me a picture of this bag without brand details, I would have guessed it were Chloe or maybe Marni. It also comes in black and a great brick red. Buy through Neiman Marcus for $595.
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This purple python-embossed Rebecca Minkoff MAB Bombe Bag was easily my favorite from Rebecca's Fall 2012 runway show, and the subtle differences in the colors of the pieced faux python (plus the contrasting green trim) makes this a very special version of the bag that made Minkoff famous. Buy through Bloomingdale's for $525.
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I first explained my love for the Cole Haan Crosby Tote a couple of weeks ago, and I can't get enough of this turquoise suede version either, which also comes in pink and chartreuse. This bag is such a useful shape and comes in so many colors and materials that you really can't beat it for the price. Buy through Neiman Marcus for $348.
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With the amazing orange color and the simple, workmanlike construction, the IIIBeCa by Joy Gryson Duane Crossbody has a bit of an Hermes-esque aesthetic to it, but without the Hermes price tag. Buy through Nordstrom for $158.
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Naturally, the Coach Legacy Leather Duffel is totally essential. The price is insanely good for such a large, functional leather bag, and it comes in every color imaginable, almost literally. (For example: Not one, but two shades of purple.) Buy through Coach for $348.
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Embellished bags are huge for fall, and although they can be hard to find at a reasonable price point because of the extra work involved in making them, you can still get a similar look with a bold printed style like the Kate Spade A La Vita Rory Shoulder Bag. Tuck the strap inside and it becomes a super chic oversized clutch! Buy through Neiman Marcus for $278.
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After a spring and summer filled with so many brights, treat yourself to some mixed neutrals via the Marc by Marc Jacobs Spot On Crossbody. Buy through Nordstrom for $348.
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Fall means that the holidays are coming, and for most people, that means travel of some sort. Treat yourself to a carry-on like the Pendleton The Portland Collection Large Travel Bag to make up for those long security lines that you'll be standing in. Buy through ShopBop for $168.
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Black bags are a big deal for fall, and the angular, ladylike Z Spoke Zac Posen Posen Leather Satchel (yes, that's really its name) is unlike anything else we've seen at a comparable price point. Buy through Bloomingdale's for $525.