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Fashion Column: Designer Handbags for Less

Marisa Anziano

According to, one in ten women is willing to spend $150 or more on a handbag. In addition, the average woman currently owns around six handbags. It does not take a mathematician to see how much money we are truly spending on fabulous designer handbags.

I spent my high school years wearing a uniform, so the only way I could show off my style was to experiment with accessories. This directly led to my love for handbags of all kinds. As much as I would love to spend my life savings on a designer handbag, that is not in the cards. However, a solution exists that is certain to ensure the wellbeing of your savings. Many people do not realize that you can find a similar bag at half the price. You just have to be willing to look. I have formulated a list of classic designer bags, and the more affordable equivalent.

My first designer bag is the infamous quilted classic flap shoulder bag. This iconic purse is consistently on the must-have handbag list no matter what season, or year. You see this bag on virtually every celebrity these days because of its classic, elegant design and its chain strap. An authentic version of this bag could run you over $1,000, but you can find a similar bag by DKNY for under $200. Additionally, has a similar bag on sale for only about $50.

Another designer bag is the Louis Vuitton Monogram Speedy, which I rarely go a day without seeing on campus. This purse is available in a variety of sizes and colors, so the price tends to fluctuate. However, the most popular version hovers around $800. This bag is one of the most popular and fashionable designer handbags on the market today, so virtually every company has its own version. This is probably the easiest bag to find. My personal favorite translation is a black Steve Madden bag with gold studs that I found for $80 at Century 21. For only $25, you can own a sequined version from Target’s brand Xhilaration!

My final classic designer bag is Balenciaga’s Motorcycle Bag. I have been pining for this bag since I was first able to Google and see every celebrity I loved holding  it. It retails for about $1,500, but the price varies based on the size. I have scoured the Internet and stores to obtain an inexpensive adaptation of this famous and luxurious bag. I found one for about $50 that has lasted me for awhile. You can also find satchel bags such as this one from Target and Forever 21.

“When I am looking for a handbag, I usually look at the style of the bag and how comfortable the straps are. My favorite places to shop for handbags are Burberry, Juicy Couture, and Coach,” says Jenna Moglia, Junior Psychology major.

“I look for portability and size in a handbag. My favorite places to shop are Nordstrom and Macy’s. My favorite handbags are by Vera Bradley,” says Stephanie Mendez, Junior International Business major.

Although many of us wish we could afford designer handbags like our favorite celebrities, sometimes we have to work with the hand we were dealt. Yet, at the end of the day, the price and the label are not the important things. As long as you like your handbag and you feel confident wearing it, nothing else matters.

When on the hunt for a designer handbag equivalent, it is important not to be blinded by the price. Make sure you are purchasing something that you really want and that you know is of good quality. Keep in mind that designers such as Coach and Michael Kors make more affordable designer handbags, which are great alternatives. Also, note that shopping at discount stores like TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, and Century 21 will also help.

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