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When it comes designer bags, all of us here started somewhere! A first bag means different things to different people. For some the first was a gift, maybe it was for a birthday or graduation or maybe for you it was the first thing you bought when you started your career. Maybe your first designer bag was that thing that said ‘I’m here and I’ve made it!”

That ‘first’ can happen at any stage of life and not everyone has yet to find the perfect starter bag to help them foray into the fun world of designer handbags. While a career woman in her 30s might be looking to take her wardrobe to the next level with something ultra-lux, a just-out-of college girl or guy might be looking for something that’s trendy and chic but won’t break the bank.

Below, we’ve selected ten bags that we think you should consider if you’re looking to dip your toes into the designer bag pond. Come on in, the water’s fine.

Louis Vuitton Alma BB
via Louis Vuitton

Many handbag lovers look to Louis Vuitton for their first bag and rightfully so. After all, it is one of the world’s largest (and oldest) handbag brands. While many opt for the brand’s storied Monogram canvas, Epi leather is a great option because it’s both classic and stylish while remaining incredibly durable. Plus, with so many leather bags from premiere designers topping the $3k and even $4k mark, this one is *relatively* on the more affordable side for a leather bag.

Most handbag lovers dream of owning a Chanel bag at one point or another. Unfortunately the never-ending price increases make that seem a bit unattainable at times, with a medium classic flap retailing for a whopping $6,800 now. Fortunately there are some great vintage options on the resale market and the best part is that they will likely hold their value. Fashionphile is a great place to start your search.

For another premier designer bag that won’t completely break the bank, look no further than Gucci. Gucci used to be our go to for bags just under $1,000, but these days their entry level bags hover just above that. While there are a handful of options we still have love for the GG Marmont Mini Bag.

Bottega Veneta Cassette Bag
via Bottega Veneta

Bottega Veneta is one of the hottest handbag brands right now thanks to the work of Daniel Lee. But before Daniel Lee the brand had an already rich history, with its Intrecciato weave being a beloved choice for handbag lovers. This Cassette bag features the updated, enlarged version of the House classic and comes in a plethora of colors both fun and neutral.

If your budget is on the tighter side look no further than Coach. American women have been foraying into the handbag world with Coach for decades; the brand provided an introduction for both Megs and myself when we were in middle school. Today Coach is steadily making a comeback, with plenty of options that feel youthful and fresh without looking overly trendy or inexpensive.

Khaite Augusta Frame Bag
via Luisaviaroma

If you’re looking for a nice bag that doesn’t immediately scream “designer” than we’d definitely recommend something from Khaite. Whether you like to keep things under-the-radar at work or if that’s simply not your look, Khaite’s simple, yet sleek Augusta bag in a neutral hue is perfect.

via Shopbop

There’s truly never been a better time to be a handbag lover. If you’re starting your collection and want to go the contemporary or indie route, there are a slew of affordable options from designers like By Far and STAUD, though these options definitely tend to air more on the trendy side.

With the introduction of the Neo Classic, it’s clear that Balenciaga’s moto bags are a full-fledged classic at this point and will never truly go out of style. While you could opt for a miniaturized City Bag, we go love the updated Neo Classic get. It’s the perfect way to get that classic Bag look in a fresh way.

Chloé’s Marcie line has been around for over 10 years, and the smallest member of the family is not only adorable, but also affordable. The Chloé Mini Marcie is one of those rare gems that is still priced in the 3 figure window. It is a true classic and you cannot go wrong with this one.

Prada nylon is great option for a first-time handbag buyer if you’re not set on getting leather. For starters it’s always a classic, it’s incredibly stylish, it’s ultra durable, and because it’s not leather, it’s more affordable…you simply cannot go wrong.

Remember don’t think too hard! Go with your gut and don’t forget to have fun with it too. If your heart is screaming for that colorful carry but your more practical side is begging you to get a neutral, remember that you can never go wrong with the bag that give you butterflies!

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