The Absolute Best Bags to Give This Holiday Season - See Our Gift Guide With Over 60 Options

For a season like Spring 2011, it’s hard to pick just one bag. Covetable trends in color, texture and print abound, and when a season comes along with so many good options, it’s tempting to lunge at every new bag you see. If you want to spread the wealth around a little bit and get a few bags for your money, we have six different designs, all under $600, that would be great on their own or even more drool-worthy as part of a larger warm-weather accessories wardrobe for the season.

Over at PurseBlog Savvy, we already dubbed the Kate Spade Essex Scout Flap Bag the one bag to buy for Spring 2011 if you’re on a tight accessories budget. Since it comes in a number of delightful candy colors as well as a couple of staid neutrals, it should be the first bag on your list even if you plan to make several purchases for the season. This bag can do it all – go to work, go shopping, go to the park – without batting an eyelash (bags don’t have eyelashes to bat, duh), and at a very reasonable price point, you might have some cash left over for another one of our picks. Buy through Nordstrom for $395.

We’ve given the Marc by Marc Jacobs Hayley Straw Tote a recent shout-out over at PurseBlog Savvy as well, but like the Kate Spade bag, it bears re-mentioning here. The process of shopping for a luxurious straw tote can be a little weird since straw is almost inherently a non-luxury material, but the bright color and generous amount of leather on this bag make it special enough that it might just be worth the splurge. After all, what says summer better than a pool-blue straw tote? Buy through Nordstrom for $398.

Ok, so not everyone can bring a neon yellow or hot pink bag to work, and even some women who can probably don’t want to. Luckily for them, the Kooba Kiley Satchel is pretty spectacular in this shade of graphite. I’d be more inclined to save this bag for fall, but it’s undeniably suited to year-round use in a wardrobe that’s more conservative than my own. The glint of silver hardware and the subtle embossed texture are perfect touches to make this bag special, and the metal corner covers at the top are a detail we’ve seen recently from the likes of Alexander Wang and Salvatore Ferragamo. Buy through Nordstrom for $595.

Normally, we’d try not to repeat any brands in a list like this, but Kate Spade’s Spring 2011 collection is too chock full of quirk and loveliness to ignore. The Kate Spade Small Framed Lella Pineapple Clutch may be super bright and almost prohibitively small, but it’s also covered in chunky retro-modern rhinestones that makes me want to bedazzle my entire existence in something similar. And, I mean, it has a pineapple on top of it. This bag is awesome, your argument is invalid. Buy through Saks for $225.

If you like the idea of a small shoulder bag for weekend or casual use but your personal style is more boho-slouchy than preppy-structured, maybe the Tory Burch Jamie Small Bucket Tote will suit your needs. It provides a similarly blazing pop of color as the Kate Spade bag at the top but with a completely different mood, and the sharp red-orange color is expected to be one of the biggest trends for the entirety of 2011, not just spring. Buy through Neiman Marcus for $450.

And finally, a bag for a rainy day. Spring weather in most places is not to be trusted, and having an inexpensive, weather-resistent bag like the Longchamp Darshan Flowers Le Pliage Nylon Tote around is only good common sense. Using the opportunity to tote a lovely printed bag with a floral so pretty that it’ll brighten up even the gloomiest day, though, is good fashion sense. When those two can get together and live in harmony in a single bag, it’s an opportunity not to be missed. Buy through Nordstrom for $198.

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Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • Lulugurl

    I think I really need that Tory Burch bag…so cute!

  • Karin bag4bag

    What’s not to love about all those bags ! I so want the Kate Spade Essex Scout flap bag and the pineapple clutch just for fun ! Also loving the Tory Burch Jamie small bucket tote – what a color, and what a useable and friendly design.

    • I ordered the smaller yellow version of the Kate Spade Essex Scout two days ago, I couldn’t resist. Should arrive tomorrow! Now if only spring would arrive so that I could wear it…

  • edoardo

    MArc by MJ is so beautiful!

  • bisbee

    Tory Burch has come out with a number of very nice looking bags lately…I may just have to look more closely at them!

  • Erik

    The Kooba reminds me a lot of a Marcello from Cartier, my favorite is the Tory Burch the color is so pretty!

  • justa9url

    I absolutely love the Kate Spade Essex Scout Flap Bag! =) I saw it at Holt’s before the post and was already intrigued. =)

  • ninjaninja

    I’ve actually been eying the Kate Spade Essex Scout Flap Bag in creme! The Longchamp one is very cute, but I’ve noticed that the lighter colors can get very dirty if you don’t take care of it.

  • mochababe73

    I love the Kate Spade bag. You had me with the pink. I like the Longchamp bag as well.
    I was in Saks on Monday, and that Marc Jacobs bag didn’t impress me at all. Actually none of them did except for the Classic Q Hilier. And, the Stam.

  • Stacy

    Love the Pink Spade bag and the Longchamp. Great prices too. Thanks for sharing.

  • Kathy Pearlman

    Love ’em, but I need a new bag under – way under – $100!

  • kate w.

    Just a warning…the Longchamp bags aren’t too weather resistant, I once had one completely soaked through during a storm and my phone (inside the bag) got ruined!

    • Yeah, they probably aren’t a good idea if you’re not also carrying an umbrella on a particularly bad day, but as far as handbags go, they seem to be a good alternative to more easily ruined and more expensive leathers when it’s drizzly or raining lightly.

  • txazdreamgirl

    I love the Tory Burch bag for its color, leather and shape, but for me it would not be comfortable to carry. One of these days, Tory will make the right bag for me. Check out the Milly Studded Tote at Neiman’s. It’s also in a great orange shade, but a true shoulder bag, east west shape.

    I have a few Kooba’s and usually love most of theirs but not so much this one.

  • lchua

    Tory Burch gets my vote! LOVE!

  • Maggie

    So pretty! I especially Love that Kate spade scout bag and the pineapple clutch!!! Me want!!

  • KaylaNiche

    Love the Kate Spade clutch. Huge huge fan of the brand.

  • Perry Phalla

    I think there is a great alternative to the Kate Spade bag. The Cambridge Satchel Company released a few fluorescent bags for less than half the cost.

  • Staci

    Amanda, I love the Kate Spade Small Framed Lella Pineapple Clutch! It’s too cute!

  • Cathy Fitz

    The Tory Burch was the only bag that “spoke” to me.

  • Loly

    Love love the yellow clutch!! so chic and….yummy! LOL

  • abbi

    All those bags are drool worthy but im really in love with the Longchamp! I just love the floral print its fun but classy!

  • 19yearslater

    I like all of these! I wish the Longchamp wasn’t such a boring shape, I like that petal print.

  • janice

    love the tory burch yellow clutch

  • Birdie

    My Kate Spade pink Scout arrived last week, love it!! Need some opinions….

    I’m going to Italy on the 31st and want to bring it with, but is it to early to carry?

  • Austinmamadrama

    Just got the essex scout in orange. Can’t wait!

  • ABCD for Michelle

    OMG OMG OMG. Just discovered this blog and realized I own three of the six you list:

    I both feel special…and feel like I should shop less. Kind of want the Tory Burch and the Longchamp, though….