Being a mom is a tough, tiring, sometimes-thankless gig. All the way from changing diapers to doing your college-aged kids’ laundry when they come home to visit, moms deserve more credit than they sometimes receive. Compared to how much a great mom can mean to her kids throughout their lives, a once-yearly Mother’s Day gift seems paltry by comparison. Want to make it count? Get her a handbag. A good one.

In addition to everything else, motherhood can complicate a handbag choice. They need to be easy to carry, high-capacity, totally functional, durable and on top of it all, still stylish. We’ve picked eight bags that we think meet those requirements, plus one very special little bag that you should consider if mom really deserves a treat. Check out our picks after the jump!

The 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli Satchel is in the same shape category as the Celine Luggage Tote, but the olive green textured leather on this one in particular makes it a tough, functional everyday choice. $895 via Net-a-Porter. [UPDATE: This bag has sold out at Net-a-Porter, but it can be pre-ordered via Nordstrom in the same color and leather.}

The best parts of the Reed Krakoff Mini Atlantique? 1) It’s not all that mini – it’ll easily hold everything a busy mom needs, and 2) it comes with an optional crossbody strap for ease of use. $1190 via Net-a-Porter.

I’ve long thought that the Balenciaga Classic Velo Bag would make a great option for a young mom – it’s both roomy and lightweight, plus it comes with a long crossbody strap. $1545 via Neiman Marcus.

Just because a woman has kids doesn’t mean she’s stopped loving luxury. The leather on the Valentino Rockstud Tote is totally TDF. $2075 via Neiman Marcus.

We’ve picked mostly shoulder bags for this list because most people seem to feel that those are the easiest to carry, but my mother (and probably others) always prefers a bag she can carry in the crook of her arm. Hence, the Yves saint Laurent Cabas ChYc Tote. $2150 via Net-a-Porter.

The Mulberry Postman’s Lock Messenger is a no-brainer for a mom with young kids in particular – hands-free, black, roomy but not bulky and with a reliable flap closure. The size and color are similar to a Coach bag that I remember my mother carrying when I was in elementary and middle school. $1000 via Net-a-Porter.

A strong combination of function and style doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg – check out the Kate Spade New York Florence Leather Satchel, for instance. $448 via Neiman Marcus.

I feel like I’ve included a version of the Marc by Marc Jacobs Werdie Satchel on every list I’ve made for the past two months, but the bag is such a perfect storm of style, functionality and value that I can’t help but love it. $500 via Net-a-Porter.

On the other hand, so much of a busy mom’s wardrobe is a product of careful functionality and comfort analysis. For a gift, get her something that’s the complete opposite – a tiny, sparkly, totally special little jewel of a bag like the Judith Leiber Cut-Corner Minaudiere. More than anything, Mother’s Day should be a chance to indulge. $3495 via Neiman Marcus.

P.S. Please consider supporting our small, bag-loving team by clicking our links before shopping or checking out at your favorite online retailers like Amazon, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, or any of the listed partners on our shop page. We truly appreciate your support!

Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • Bag #1 has been sold out since last week. 

    • It was showing as available yesterday afternoon when I wrote this post. Let me see if I can find an alternate supplier and substitute the link.

      •  It’s been popping up and selling out often!

      • queeniayang

        I agree with it, the seller  are often lack of stock

  • I really love the philip lim! Didn’t know it was under $1000!!!
    awesomeee. worth saving $ for? YES

    • Every Lim bag that I can think of is under $1k. His big satchels and totes in particular are very well-priced.

  • Sandra Rowley

    The Philip Lim is nice and a good price (Nordstrom just posted preorders for a couple different colors in this bag, the red is beautiful)….I already have the Balenciaga and the YSL….so I am hoping my family will give me the Mulberry or Valentino! (one can hope right!)

  • RR

    As a mom with a single 3-year old, I LOVE crossbody bags or shoulder bags.  Unfortunately, I’m not a huge fan of crook arm bags (sorry Lim).  My current favorite is my brand-new Givenchy Pandora which I love love love.  However, I have long wondered about the Velo – my only concern has been some quality questions that linger about Balenciaga.  Is that a fair assessment or is it color, etc dependent?

    • queeniayang

      there are a great many of online eshops which you can find your favourite bags

  • Sandra Rowley

    I have a Balenciaga City Bag and I love it.   I kind of understand where the quality question may come from as it is made with leather that is so thin, but that is part of the reason it has such a cool look/slouch.  Mine still looks great after about a year.

  • Brit2683

    Is the olive green Phillip lim satchel pictured and described in this blog the same as the petrol green on Nordstrom’s website? The petrol looks more tallish.

    • The color might vary, but it’s definitely the same bag structure. The Pashlis are a standard size.

  • Ashlynn

    I love the Mulberry- I wish it would be kinder to my bank account!.  I got my mom a Tory Burch Reva clutch from this eBay store “lookatthatbag” that I just found and they have some pretty cute stuff.  Luckily, they have a lot of NWT bags ( I think they are overstock/customer returns, which is why they are well priced)