Shopping·8 min read

14 Affordable (and Trendy) Bags That’ll Actually Fit All Your Essentials

affordable handbags
Design: theSkimm | Photos: FP Movement, J.Crew, Baggu
August 16, 2023

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Allow us to let you in on a little secret. One of our least favorite things to shop for are handbags — mainly because it’s hard to find one that meets all the criteria we’re looking for. So we rounded up 14 of our current favorites on the Internet that meet our standards (aka they’re inexpensive, durable, spacious, and elevated enough to wear daily).


A shoulder bag that looks way more expensive than it is…

With gold detailing and a mix of suede and leather, this one is the perfect bag for fall. It’s sleek but makes a statement thanks to the oversized leather buckle and gold hardware. Because the strap has a rounded shape, it’ll fit comfortably on your shoulder so you can look good and feel great. A designer-inspired look on a budget? Yes, please. ($148, J.Crew)

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Dagne Dover

A classic crossbody bag…

Crossbody fans, unite. Dagne Dover’s Micah crossbody is made of the brand's iconic and durable neoprene. It has two external pockets, and the main compartment has interior pockets. This one is pretty spacious, so you’ll be able to hold all your basics, an E-reader, sunglasses, daily beauty essentials, and more. Our favorite part is the inner key chain so you can grab your keys without having to do any digging around. ($110, Dagne Dover)

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FP Movement

A quilted carryall that’s the ultimate Mary Poppins bag…

This bestselling bag from FP Movement is lightweight, ultra flexible, and thanks to its nylon-esque material and quilted pattern, is incredibly durable. It has a zippered-top for added security and there are spacious interior and exterior pockets to keep you organized. It really is a do-everything bag. You can take it from the office to the gym — it’s even ideal for quick overnight trips. And because the material is so slim, it’ll pack easily in your suitcase too. Not to mention, the color options are endless. ($68, FP Movement)

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A lightweight shoulder bag that fits a ton…

It really fits everything. One of our editors bought this bag on a whim and now it’s the only one she’s been wearing this summer. It’s slouchy, but has just the right amount of structure. It comes in eight colorways, and once you buy one, you’ll be itching for another. The fact that it’s under $50 and packs easily? Even more reason to pick up a few. ($44, Baggu)

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A dupe for The Row’s slouchy banana bag…

If you want a similar look to Mary Kate and Ashley’s luxe line, this one from Uniqlo is where it’s at. It’s under $20, has an adjustable strap, and will fit everything you need for a long day out. It’s been all over TikTok for a reason, but we love the muted, yet colorful hues that’ll allow you to add a pop of fall color to your wardrobe without spending a small fortune. Psst…it’s also dirt- and water-resistant. ($19.90, Uniqlo)

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Ann Taylor

Another designer dupe that’ll take you from day to night…

Your search for the perfect nighttime bag is officially over. This one is compact, yet roomy, with a woven texture that will have everyone asking “where’d you get that?” Pro tip: Keep this textured crossbody in your work bag so you can easily go from work to drinks to home. ($118, Ann Taylor)

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A belt bag that solves the problem of not having pockets…

Is this essentially just a fanny pack? Yes. But is it super useful, especially on days when your outfit rudely doesn’t have any pockets? Absolutely. Wear it around your waist or over your shoulder. Either way, you’ll be glad it’s in the mix. ($38, Lululemon)

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L.L. Bean

A classic unisex tote that’ll take you from the farmer’s market to the office…

Because an L.L.Bean cotton-canvas bag never goes out of style. It’s super durable thanks to its double-stitched seams, reinforced bottom, and handles that can hold up to 500 pounds. Available in a variety of size and color options, you can monogram it for an extra-special touch. ($29.95+, L.L. Bean)

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A mini crossbody tote…

If you’re more into smaller bags, this one's for you. It comes with a removable shoulder strap so you can easily take it from day to night. We love that this one is the perfect midsize. It’s small enough to fit your wallet, phone, and keys, but it isn’t so small that you’ll be playing a glorified game of Tetris with your essentials. ($78, Anthropologie)

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A reusable bag that folds flat…

One of our editors keeps one of these bags inside her everyday bag (yep, you read that right) at all times. It’s made of a recycled ripstop nylon that folds neatly into a compact pouch, making it perfect for last-minute grocery runs, shopping trips, or any other errands where you might be lugging stuff around. It feels good to be prepared (and save the planet while you’re at it). PS: These make the perfect gift, too. ($14, Baggu)

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Rifle Paper Co.

A classic graphic tote…

In our eyes, you can never have too many canvas tote bags. So if you’re looking for a new one to treat as your everyday bag, we love this one from Rifle Paper Co. It’s covered in the brand’s adorable fruit sticker print, which will spice up minimal everyday outfits (and be a great companion to the farmer’s market). ($26, Rifle Paper Co.)

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A circle crossbody bag…

Maybe we’re overthinking it, but there’s something about a circular bag that seems to make it more spacious. This Italian leather crossbody from Quince is roomy and looks far more expensive than it actually is. While the circle shape is simple, it feels different enough to elevate your look. We love the outside pocket that you can slip your phone into for easy access. ($89.90, Quince)

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A mini backpack that holds a ton…

If you aren’t turning to Target for budget-friendly clothing and accessories, then what are you doing? Even though this one is technically a mini bag, it’s perfect if you have to take a couple items with you to work. It has double handles, adjustable backpack straps, and multiple pockets. And if you’re looking for a smaller, less expensive diaper bag that you don’t want to be too precious with, this one will do the trick. ($28, Target)

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A fold-up duffle bag…

We’ve all been there: returning from a trip with more than we left with. Which is why Paravel is one of our favorite brands for bags. This classic duffle is made from water-resistant nylon that folds up efficiently. You can take it with you when you travel or keep it close at all times to ensure you’ll always be hands-free (which in our eyes counts as a little luxury). ($75, Paravel)

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