How To Choose The Best Handbag Brands
Handbags are more than what they appear. Aside from being a functional accessory that holds your cant-live-without-them essentials, they pull together any look, adding a finishing touch that pumps up sophistication, style, and class—and, they’re pretty!
The history of handbags is a short story, only around a century old, but their evolution is what’s so fascinating. Designers offer an enticing range of styles, features, and sizes to suit the ever-changing market.
Of course, women aren’t the only ones toting a handbag. In fact, the category began in the men’s domain, referring to the smaller-sized, hand-held, luggage-like bags they would travel with.
Today, the handbag market is primarily female, with favorites edging towards more functional and adventure-friendly designs, like crossbodies and backpacks. You may say this change exhibits fashion’s progression into athleisure, with consumers desiring more laid-back, everyday looks that take them from running errands to brunch to walking the dog.
But regardless of the direction handbags are going, they are by far, one of the most lusted-after accessories—and a luxury handbag even more so.
But why luxury handbags, you ask? Take a look at one. Handmade with exquisite detailing, premium materials, and a designer’s touch, people love them, not just for their quality, but for the satisfaction they feel carrying one at their side.
10 Best Handbag Brands
This best handbag brands list will feature 10 of our top picks, all highly-coveted designers with strong roots in the luxury handbag game. We’ll pay special attention to the history of each brand and fill you in on a few reasons as to why we think they deserve your attention.
1. Louis Vuitton
None of the names on this best handbag brands list needs an introduction, but Louis Vuitton especially. Easily recognizable, the brand is known for its signatory LV logo that adorns its collection of handbags.
The brand was founded in Paris in 1854 by Louis Vuitton himself. The designer got his start making trunks, which are still a signature mark of the brand today.
Specializing in leather goods, handbags, watches, and accessories, Louis Vuitton is praised for its incredibly high-quality items that are regarded with much esteem in the luxury category. Its recent handbag collection includes instant classics, lots of black and gold, its signature brown leather, saturated colors, and a few interesting prints, like architecture and coins.
Though you can tell the brand has updated its designs, it stays true to its authentic history within its over 400 handbag options.
Shoppers remark at the long-lasting nature of the brand’s items, often choosing Louis Vuitton for its history and clout in the world of fashion, not to mention the generally gorgeous look of its line. You can find LV bags anywhere from $1,680-$6,550.
Say the name Chanel and visions of pearls, black, and heated romance come to mind, and you can almost smell the rich, sensual scent of its house perfume. Beginning as a hat shop located on Rue Cambon, Paris in 1910, the brand was the vision of Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel who soon began adding clothing to her collection, launching in boutiques in Deauville and Biarritz.
Chanel is responsible for fashion revelations such as the woman’s suit, costume jewelry (namely pearls), and the little black dress. Are you getting visions of Audrey Hepburn yet?
Equally as recognized for her celebrated perfume and quilted handbag, the latter is one of the reasons Chanel is a high priority on our best handbag brands list. Often choosing soft, buttery lambskin or caviar leather, Coco Chanel was known to be a rebel, advancing the frontiers of women’s fashion.
Its handbag collection is sophisticated and sweet, filled with modern takes on timeless classics, using unique fabrics like shearling, edgy lettering, and shimmering sequins.
The collection plays around with shapes and textures, featuring a majority of compact bags that may not offer a ton of space, but pack a punch in style. Each bag represents something characteristic of the brand, whether that’s pearls, cutesy pink, or tweed.
Today, you’ll find smart clothing, handbags, watches, and jewelry among its timeless line, of which many women strive to own at least one piece of at some point in their lives. Chanel bags tend to range from $4,000-$11,000.
Founded in Florence, Tuscany in 1921, Gucci got its start as a luxury luggage maker designing high-quality goods for wealthy travelers and equestrians. Created by Guccio Gucci, the brand gained further popularity under the direction of his son, Aldo.
Today, Gucci is part of the Kering Group, a company that manages high-end leather goods, fashion houses, and jewelry. Over time, Gucci has been described as influential in the luxury accessories category with its fresh collections often featuring pop culture designs and collabs with relevant celebrities like Kylie Jenner.
Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele is responsible for uniquely positioning the brand among other world-class designers, offering Gen Z-friendly collections that exude the same high standards the brand is known for.
The brand is certainly having a moment with teens, and its collection features smooth lines, supple leather, and modern detailing like chains, wood, and enchanting pops of color.
One of the names on this best handbag brands list that doesn’t rely on black, Gucci’s bag collection is anything but traditional. Though its shapes are smooth and almost retro in feel, contrasting color blocks and mixed materials make its bags stand out. Most bags sell for $950–$4,000.
There’s a subtle, sexy edge found within Dior’s collection of classic cuts, one that’s exuded from chic cheetah print handbags, mini printed tennis dresses, and punk-worthy ankle boots. And, it’s no stranger to the royal family, designing for some of the most elegant and wealthy faces of the world, like Grace Kelly and Princess Diana.
Founded by Christian Dior in 1905, the Paris-based brand has been considered one of the most influential designers since the 50s when it introduced the voluminous look to traditionally flat dresses to create the new feminine silhouette.
Though in the mid 20th century Dior’s new age volume came as a shocker, it’s what ultimately led to the designer’s popularity. You can still see his influence in fashion today embodied in tight waists, flouncy skirts, and bold prints.
Dior’s passionate and eccentric personality shone through his designs. Today, the brand is run by creative director John G who stays true to the brand’s roots, creating a delicate balance of the classic and edgy, the bold and subtle.
You’ll see that balance reflected in Dior’s handbag line that features out-of-the-ordinary prints and features affixed to traditional shapes.
The collection offers trendy takes on styles like the saddlebag, and you’ll find the same patterns that run through the brand’s apparel line, along with a potent dose of red, black, and quilted leather.
Consumers love Dior for its style—impeccable, unhinged luxury. You can find handbags for around $1,500-$6,200.
Two elements always come up when talking about Fendi—handcrafted detailing and fur. Known for its creativity with fur (take a peek at the spiraling brilliance of the white mink gilet), the brand’s handbag collection features exotic animal prints, asymmetrical shapes, and bold lettering.
Created by Edoardo and Adele Fendi in 1925, the brand is now owned by LVMH. But, you’ll still find Fendi’s quintessential influence, as Silvia Venturini Fendi recently came on as its new creative director.
Silvia was actually the one to launch the Fendi Baguette Bag, which is known in the fashion world as a wardrobe must-have. You can still find the baguette bag in its modern collection, transformed with oversized stitching, convertible straps, and embroidery.
Take a peek at any Fendi runway, and you’ll see romantic, ready-to-wear pieces that border on the experimental but retain the heart of tradition. As for its bags, they’re certainly more modern than other names on this best handbag brands list, full of creativity and daring lines.
The public celebrates Fendi for retaining family tradition, applauding Silvia’s dedication to Italian history while spinning her designs with a contemporary touch. The brand’s bags retail for between $1,350–$6,400.
6. Michael Kors
Michael Kors helps us round off this best handbag brands list, offering approachable, attainable bags that are loved by the younger generations. Or, anyone who’s after a designer quality item but wants to keep the price casual.
One of the more recent designers on this best handbags brands list, Michael Kors’ namesake brand was established in 1981, offering men’s and women’s fashion, accessories, and shoes. Though not as prestigious as some other names, the brand is still known around the world and is adored for its classic, modern, and effortlessly wearable collections.
In its handbag line, expect cutesy colors, fun shapes, and trendy staples like backpacks. While other brands on this Best Handbag Brands list offer collabs with Disney or feature cartoon characters, Michael Kors’ selection pumps up the fun with studs, chains, and lots of pinks.
With quite a number of options (the website shows 140), shopping at Michael Kors is exciting. In general, buyers are happy with the expansive selection they don’t need to close their eyes to shop from. You can find its bags anywhere from $200–$2,350.
7. Marc Jacobs
Another one of the newer names on this best handbags brands list, Marc Jacobs, was launched in 1984 by the man himself. Today, it’s owned by LVMH.
The American brand is known for its 90s grunge style and references to pop culture, like Charlie Brown. In its most recent handbag collection sits self-proclaiming bags (they literally say what they are, ie. The Tote Bag)—a modern reinvention of the brand’s most iconic styles.
Marc Jacobs handbags are a mix of materials and prints. The designer uses a lot of cotton, psychedelic prints, and canvas straps, featuring more casual styles, like satchels and backpacks.
Known for its quality, casual line, Marc Jacobs is loved for the value it offers shoppers, incorporating top-of-the-line fabrics, eye-catching hardware, and luxury designs. But, it sells them for much less than the majority of brands on this best handbag brands list.
Media says that though the designer sort of fell out of fashion after joining the Louis Vuitton team, Marc Jacobs is back with the release of his contemporary line, The Marc Jacobs, which showcases pop graphics and identifiable characters.
His new line is in an effort to reintroduce himself to the world, and while it features cartoon characters, it isn’t aimed at Gen Z. Millennials seem to be the ones who mostly tout the line, with most bags going for around $135-$550.
Prada’s style is all about exploring, pushing, and feeling. With unusual prints, textures, and shapes, its collection is a reflection of the world around us, often taking inspiration from the ugliness of the world.
Sounds like a strange concept, and though it’s brought the brand some criticism, it’s also what sets it apart from other best handbag brands on this list. Founded in Milan in 1913 by Mario Prada, the brand has been passed through the generations and is run today by Miuccia Prada, whose designs also grace the runways of Miu Miu.
While Prada is dark and exploratory, Miu Miu is vibrant, fun, and popping—the two balance each other out.
Since Miuccia Prada took over the brand in the 80s, it has shifted from one known for its leather goods to something more unique, modern, and critically acclaimed. When she came on board, Miuccia’s first accomplishment was a nylon backpack affixed with the brand’s signature silver triangle.
While you can’t find that exact backpack in Prada’s current handbag collection, the brand still uses a ton of nylon, along with faux fur, and a few leather pieces.
Prada handbags have a more casual vibe about them, but since there are over 300 options, as you can imagine, they include pretty much every style of bag, though the color palette is mostly muted with a few bright yellows and pinks thrown in for fun. You can find handbags for $1,680–$8,000.
Coach believes in “crafting beautiful things that you can be yourself in.” Its website is filled with smiling models who genuinely look to be enjoying themselves—quite the change from the somber and moody ones that usually showcase high fashion.
Founded in New York in 1941 by Lillian Cahn and her husband, Miles, Coach captures the essence of the fast-paced city mixed with the timeless classics of the past. What started as a handcrafted leather company transformed into a global brand offering men’s and women’s apparel, accessories, shoes, and handbags.
The reason Coach is one of the best handbag brands on the market truly needs no explanation, but we’ll do our best in case you’re a stranger to its ever-popular collections.
Even though Coach prices its bags mid-range, the quality of stitching and detailing that goes into each one is something to behold. With the hopes of giving you a piece that will stay in your closet for a lifetime, how the brand’s bags are made is something it puts heavy emphasis on.
In its line of handbags, you’ll find authentic shapes mixed with funky prints, like ducks, elephants, and the occasional Mickey Mouse. Clearly aimed at the younger generations, Coach bags mix luxury quality with a playful edge—something that makes them some of our faves on this best handbag brands list.
With a sustainable heart, the brand offers bags made from recycled materials but still makes the majority in leather and canvas.
Regarded as a functional brand appreciated for its value, Coach is expressive and loved for its range of styles, detailing, and quality. A handbag from this brand goes for $195-$9,300, but most styles are within the lower section of that range.
The brand with the longest history on this best handbags brand list, Hermes, was founded in 1837 by Thierry Hermes in Paris. Launching as a harness workshop, the brand specialized in wrought iron harnesses for carriages, then began making saddles, adding clothing and accessories to its collections in the 1920s.
And thankfully they did because the world wouldn’t have the revolutionary Birkin bag which nestles perfectly into its selection of smooth leather bags offered in magnetic colors and intriguing lines.
Hermes offers a few different styles of handbags (clutch, shoulder, tote, etc). But, in an effort to stay true to its roots, it makes a ton of different straps for those bags, stamped with fun textural prints and dyed unusual colors.
Although all of the names on the best handbags brands list are luxury, Hermes is quite elevated. Its skilled artisans construct the bags by hand, ensuring no stone is left unturned when it comes to quality and detail.
Unlike other designers, Hermes won’t give away any of its line for free in order to bring it more attention. That’s something that sets the brand apart from others, and a cool detail that tells us just how exclusive it really is.
You can get your Hermes handbag anywhere from $5,200 for a clutch to $40,000 for an alligator Birkin.
What Are The Different Types Of Handbags?
The world of handbags is expansive, immersive, and enthralling. From compact designs made to fit just the essentials to ones you technically could take grocery shopping, handbags are more so loved for their look than they are their potential space.
Whether you’re an A-list celeb or a working mom of three, there’s a good chance you have more than one bag in your closet. Serving different needs or looks, like shopping trips, evenings out, or running errands, handbags work to accentuate your style, outfit, and personality.
Not every designer makes every type of handbag, but their collections are surprisingly vast, including classic favorites that originated at inception, as well as many updated, modern styles that reflect the ever-changing current of fashion.
When searching through the Best Handbag Brands, you’ll come across a range of enticing styles.
Looking for convenience? Satchels, crossbodies, and backpacks usually do the trick. Featuring spacious compartments, travel-friendly straps, or durable fabrics, these bags pull their own weight while looking incredibly chic.
If it’s the classics you’re after, look no further than a shoulder or hobo bag. Shoulder bags are the go-to bag for many women, offered in all kinds of sizes, and designed to be worn on the shoulder, hanging daintily by your side. Hobos have a more slouchy, bohemian feel to them, bringing a relaxed vibe to a polished look.
Want a little more room for your necessities? Try a tote bag or duffel. Making it a dressy occasion? Try a clutch, minaudiere, or baguette bag. They hold the basics but have a more sophisticated feel. Some have straps, while others are designed to be held in hand.
If you love unique styles, search for a saddlebag. Many of the varieties found within the collections of brands on this best handbag brands list love playing around with shape, fabric, and features. This is one that receives the most makeovers, with designers reinventing its shape and experimenting with the look of this classic Western favorite.
Difference Between A Purse vs. A Handbag
You may think the words are interchangeable, but really a purse and a handbag are two entirely different things. Let’s start with a bit of history.
The word purse dates back to the Middle Ages, describing something to hold currency. It was a simple fabric pouch that sheltered coins, usually affixed with a drawstring or some sort of fastened tie—we’re totally picturing Robin Hood’s pouch here, btw, but surprise, surprise, that’s what they looked like back then.
At its base, a “purse” holds money, and while its design has certainly come a long way—now something that’s primarily owned and toted around by women on their shoulders—it’s still considered to be a money holder by those in the East.
For some, the differences between a purse and handbag are non-existent, believing the words are synonymous with one another. This may have to do with where in the world those people are located, as Europeans tend to use the word “handbag,” while Americans still say “purse.”
You’ll even find a few Western folks who call their handbag a pocketbook—a derivative of the word “purse” that denotes its money holding capability, harkening back to the days of writing cheques.
The word “purse” was the primary word people used for the vessel that carried their funds, right up until the start of the 20th century when luxury designers started getting creative. Making a mini version of what was essentially a suitcase, they began calling them “handbags,” as they were meant to carry much more than just money.
Constructing these handbags with functional features like organizational compartments, zippered pockets, while playing around with size, handbags became something women could conveniently store their daily necessities.
And though handbags are a primarily feminine accessory, some of the names on this best handbag brands list offer sections strictly for men, and in fact, the whole handbag concept came from men’s fashion, or rather, men’s travel.
Whether you call your handbag a purse or vice versa, it’s not a big deal. In terms of fashion history, the evolution of the handbag is what makes all the difference.
Things To Consider When Buying The Best Handbags
Now that you know what makes a handbag a handbag, there are a few things to look out for when making your selection. These days, you can shop anywhere for one, but the best handbag brands speak for themselves.
In our list of the 10 top best handbag brands, you’ve gotten to know some of the top designers on the market, but of course, their styles are all quite different. Certain brands offer specific styles only, so choosing which brand to shop may come down to whether or not they offer the style of bag you’re after.
If you have a preference of brand, that will come into play too, as if you’re a lover of history, more modern brands will be out. We’ve included a fun mix of designers in this list, so we hope you’ll find one that resonates with your personal style, budget, and needs.
All of the names on this best handbag brands list embody quality, so what you may want to keep an eye out for instead, is the material and hardware of each bag—you may prefer lambskin leather over calfskin, or canvas over PLU.
Once you’ve settled on a look, consider the weight and capacity of the bag. Why choose a minaudiere when you want to go hands-free? Or a heavy shoulder bag when you need the convenience of a light tote?
Picture your perfect bag. What does it look like? What can it hold? Is it for special occasions or for daily use?
While you browse this best handbag brands list and venture onto each site, keep an eye out for details. Read the information of each one. We’re dealing with luxury here, and the bag you choose will be yours for many years to come, and often, is an investment piece.
We hope that you walked away from this Best Handbag Brands list with a bright, shiny, new bag, or at least, feel a little more informed about what to look out for when you hit up the stores.
Looking for other top brands? Check out these curated lists below: