“The best” is a very particular phrase. People use it in place of “my favorite” all the time, perhaps because we always want to believe that the things we prefer are also objectively valuable and worth appreciating, but its literal meaning is a little more narrow than that. When you’re being as objective as possible about evaluating a group of things, the one that’s the best may not necessarily be the one you personally enjoy the most. Taste is a funny thing that way. With that in mind, let’s talk about the best bags.

When I think of all the high-end designers known for handbags, Chloé‘s current output is the one that stands out to me the most right now. In her time at Chloé, designer Clare Waight Keller has refined the brand’s aesthetic world into something very specific and recognizable while regularly debuting new bags that don’t crib from popular designs from other brands and that feel designed to be carried in everyday life, instead of simply admired. The brand has also resisted the stratospheric pricing leaps of some of its competitors, which means that you can still get an awesome Chloé day bag for under two grand. As silly as that statement seems at first blush, it’s not the case at plenty of comparable brands.

My only regret about Chloé is that the brand doesn’t exactly align with my personal taste–the brand skews toward shoppers who like tan bags and gold hardware, while I prefer black and silver, respectively. That’s okay, though; the brand’s aesthetic is perfect for tons of women looking for sophisticated, casual luxury bags, and Chloé’s current lineup is broad enough that it does include some pieces that would fit in my wardrobe perfectly, even though someone like me isn’t the company’s target. That the brand’s collection is finely tuned enough to still feel like Chloé but broad enough to reach lots of shoppers is, in my mind, another point of the many in the brand’s favor.

If you’re similarly fond of Chloé’s current designs, you can shop the brands bags via Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Saks.

So now, you tell us: which brand is doing the best handbag work right now, and why?

Eye Candy from Christie's

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