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Hot take: I don’t care what I wear on my feet. But you may have already gathered that about me if you read my recent ode to Birkenstocks.
That’s because I’m a bag person, not a shoe person. I like to blame my affinity for pocketbooks on my Nana, who was a personal shopper at a Saks Fifth Avenue location for 26 years, meaning she got heavily discounted Vuittons, Fendis and Pradas that I ogled at for my entire childhood.
Sadly, as a writer residing in New York City, my bag budget doesn’t always allow me to invest in the designers that sparked my purse obsession — especially when it comes to specific bag trends. That’s why I love discovering affordable options that are still chic and luxurious-feeling.
The trend I’m loving most right now? Bold mini shoulder bags. They’re the bags you’ve probably seen on the shoulders of supermodels in paparazzi photos, just big enough to snugly fit your phone, lipstick, credit cards and hand sanitizer.
Luckily, you don’t need Bella Hadid’s budget to get in on the trend. Case in point: Shop these 14 mini shoulder bags that only look expensive.
1. Staud Bean Bag, $195
Staud makes high-quality, avant-garde and luxurious-feeling handbags at a fraction of the cost of luxury brands. This cute little guy doubles as a clutch with its removable shoulder strap. I recently styled mine with a denim jumpsuit and — you guessed it — Birkenstocks.
2. By Far Rachel Shoulder Bag, $420
A croc-effect leather is right on-trend — and this goes-with-anything espresso hue is a refreshing alternative to black.
3. JW Pei Gabbi Bag, $72 (orig. $79)
Don’t sleep on JW Pei. The brand’s whimsical, budget-friendly designs live up to the hype. Get in on the action for less than $100 with one of their classic silhouettes in a bright, bold hue.
Jacquemus leads the pack when it comes to adorable mini bags that make a statement — though not entirely practical. This design, however, is perfectly pragmatic for everyday use, nights out on the town and beyond.
Since I typically invest in staple shades with my “splurge” purses — for me, that’s black, brown and neutrals — I love going for bright, fun hues when it comes to trendier, more affordable pieces. This Barbie pink is dreamy.
6. Mango Croc-Effect Baguette Bag, $39.99
It’s all about the angles and cool silhouettes this season — and you’ll get tons of use (and compliments) out of this sleek, avant-garde design.
7. Coach Swinger Bag in Nylon, $195
If you haven’t noticed by now, Coach is back in a big way — and they nailed it with their latest nylon hobos that scream “downtown it-girl.”
Life’s too short for boring bags. This chain-adorned baguette bag would make Carrie Bradshaw proud.
In case you, like me, have been in the market for a bag that resembles a disco ball, Loeffler Randall’s minimalist design might be just what you’re looking for. And you don’t need to wait until New Year’s Eve to whip out a mega-sparkly accessory — it’ll look just as cool with jeans and a white tee for everyday.
If you don’t know by now, nylon is a surprisingly chic and ultra-versatile material that can stand up to the elements. This Baggu bag is perfect for errands, pool days and beyond.
13. Elleme Envelope Bag, $311.50 (orig. $445)
You can’t go wrong with an elegant, elevated envelope silhouette. The chestnut hue and croc-embossed leather keep things cool.
Ruched leather has been everywhere, and thankfully, this trend appears to be here to stay. And while this Nanushka design is certainly more of an investment, its luxe vegan leather and cool silhouette will make your outfits look instantly elevated and more expensive. Worth it.
If you enjoyed this story, check out these under-$100 swimsuits that are perfect for summer!
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