Since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated with designer handbags. In grade school, I fawned over my friends’ multi-color Dooney and Bourke bags until I had my very own. Then, we moved on to Coach, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci — all covered with in-your-face designer logos. Now that I’ve officially crossed into my thirties, however, I’ve my appreciation for minimalistic designer bags has taken over.
Though I still like some monogram patterned bags, I think minimalistic designer bags are extremely underrated. Minimalistic bags tend to be of higher quality since they’re usually made of leather versus coated canvas. They’re also easier to pair with outfits because they don’t compete with patterned clothing. And, finally, they have that “IYKYK” allure, which makes them a great talking point with my fellow bag lovers yet much easier to wear in professional settings.
These are my top 8 minimalistic designer bags to buy now and keep forever.
Bottega Veneta Arco Mini
Move over padded cassette — the Arco Mini is here to steal the show. To me, this bag looks as much like a piece of art as a handbag. It has a long, adjustable crossbody strap that can be ditched for evening occasions. My black Arco also has contrast stitching, which adds so much interest and makes it look polished without being too dressy for everyday use. The flap is a little strange since it just folds over onto the bag, but it’s still quite easy to get into.
Shop the Bottega Veneta Arco Mini at Fashionphile.com –>
Loewe Shell Leather-Trimmed Raffia Tote
I don’t own this bag, but I love how understated it looks. The leather-trimmed raffia tote features the Loewe anagram like their more iconic raffia bags, but it’s easy to tuck into the bag for an unbranded look. Since we go to the beach a couple of times a year and Texas summers last so long, this one’s at the top of my list. (Update: I bought this bag after finding an insane deal at Julian Fashion! It’s a bit rigid, but I love the way it looks. Definitely a keeper.)
Shop the Loewe Raffia Tote on Net-a-Porter.com –>
Loewe Puzzle Bag
I constantly hear great things about this bag. Emma Hill has reviewed hers extensively, calling it one of her most-used bags and naming it “Judith.” One of my closest friends from undergrad purchased it in blue and raves about the quality. It’s understated, but certainly a well-known designer bag in certain circles. All of the Loewe leathers are extremely luxurious and known for holding up well, too. With so many colors to choose from, I don’t think you can go wrong with the Loewe Puzzle Bag.
Shop the Loewe Puzzle Bag on Nordstrom.com –>
Celine Sangle Seau (Medium)
If you’re looking for a versatile yet stylish tote bag that isn’t coated in a monogram pattern, the Celine Sangle Seau is a great option. It’s somewhat structured but still has a flexible and easygoing aesthetic. I love the side pockets, which are ideal for tucking your phone away while keeping it easily accessible. It also has a wide detachable strap, which makes it much more comfortable to carry than totes like the Louis Vuitton Neverfull.
Shop the Celine Sangle Seau on Fashionphile.com –>
Celine Trifold Clutch
Maybe I’m alone in this, but I think the Celine Trifold Clutch is adorable. It’s petite but appears to have quite a bit of interior space. It’s made of gorgeous smooth leather and has that signature off-set Celine stamping. It also has a removable crossbody chain, which makes it versatile for day-to-night wear. Plus, it’s pretty easy to find one between $600-$900 these days.
Shop the Celine Trifold Clutch on TheRealReal.com –>
Celine Nano Luggage
Okay, maybe this bag isn’t the most minimalistic or understated on this list, but I still love the Celine Nano Luggage. It’s small, but holds a ton! I love the distinctive design, zippered top and crossbody strap. However, the strap is extremely long and not adjustable on its own, so having it shortened would require a visit to the cobbler. I tied a knot in my strap to shorten in upon the recommendation of a Celine sales associate, but that’s obviously not the ideal way to shorten a strap on a bag this pricey.
Shop the Celine Nano Luggage on Fashionphile.com –>
Givenchy Antigona Soft (Small)
When this bag came out, I was so pleased to see something more relaxed and versatile looking than the extremely rigid original Antigona. This one has beautiful smooth leather that looks (and smells) absolutely divine. I’m also 100% obsessed with the new olive green color, which they call dark khaki. The only drawback to me is the strap, which attaches to the bag with some clever geometry versus a clasp. I feel like it’s certainly going to detach at random, and the leather looks a bit delicate. But, it’s so pretty that it seems worth the potential downsides!
Shop the Givenchy Antigona Soft Bag on FWRD.com –>
Polene Numero Sept (Mini)
At $380 USD, this is the most reasonably priced bag on this list. However, I think it rivals most of the other minimalistic handbags in terms of quality and style. The mini size it adorable and easy to dress up. It also comes in a larger size with a wide leather strap for more comfortable wear. I have yet to pull the trigger on this bag, but I certainly think that’s going to happen in 2022 because it’s perfectly understated and too good to pass up!
Shop the Polene Numero Sept Mini on Polene.com →
What is your favorite minimalistic handbag?
My wishlist grows with every season, and I’m always looking for fresh fashion inspiration. If I left out a minimalistic bag that you think deserves a spot on this list, or if you have any thoughts on the handbags I included, please drop me a comment!