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Essentials 28 February 2023

5 Mid-Range Handbag Brands that Will Stand the Test of Time

You don’t need to drop a bag to get a good one, here are mid-market handbags that you’ll love to keep forever.

Who says you need to invest an arm and a leg to get yourself a fabulous handbag to house your daily essentials? Not us! The mid-range market of contemporary brands is the perfect place to pick up a carry-all, and at a reasonable price to boot. Get acquainted below.

Words By Brittany Lyons


Since the late 1980’s, Parisian brand A.P.C. have been bringing effortlessly chic and authentic French style to us lucky world-citizens. If we were to describe the brand ethos of A.P.C in one word, it would probably be ‘minimaliste’ or minimalist if you’re not fluent in the language of love. Today, the label offers a comprehensive and complete range of men’s and women’s clothing, plus a collection of kick-ass accessories.

When it comes to the minimalist and chic offering of leather and non-leather handbags, it’s hard not to make a clear connection to another French label, Celine. Whilst A.P.C.’S accessories are not at all a copycat of the luxury house of Celine’s, it’s clear the overall mood, classic flair and impeccable craftsmanship are very similar.

Take the Mini Grace Bag in Tan for example, this compact and classic handbag has everything you need, and nothing you don’t. It’s classic shape, two strapped options and conservative use of hardware makes this bag one that will never not be relevant and functional.

A.P.C. Tan Mini Grace Bag, $1,115, SSENSE


If you’re looking for a mid-range brand that oozes contemporary and cool-girl, then STAUD should be at the top of your hit-list. The fashionable baby of Sarah Staudinger and George Augusto, this LA-based brand was born to fill a gap in the market that fuses the ability to empower women, and accessibility.

According to the brand, the ‘heart of STAUD is design’ and this is apparent throughout the collection of clothing and accessories. When looking at STAUD’s offering of handbags especially, you are undeniably aware that design is the focus and the key offering.

The brand has forged its path in the bag game thanks to combining sculptural shapes with practical design. Take the eponymous ‘Moon Bag’ shape. This circular carry-all is fun, contemporary and houses all your daily necessities perfectly. It’s also available in a generous offering of smooth leathers a rainbow of different colours, and this Woven-Raffia iteration is the perfect summer update!

If you’re looking for the perfect ‘going out’ bag, then the Ollie Leather Shoulder Bag is a top contender. A homage to the 1990’s and use of two-toned hardware? Yes please!

STAUD Alec Glossed-leather Shoulder Bag, $578.42, Net-a-Porter


When researching the prices of leather handbags from very ‘now’ French brand, JACQUEMUS , we think you might be pleasantly surprised at the price point. When compared to other popular European Fashion houses of a similar demographic, let’s say Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton and Loewe, the amount necessary to purchase a JACQUEMUS bag is considerably lower. Boasting a pricing architecture of around AUD $600 to $1,500, the offering chez JACQUEMUS is quite simply, parfait!

Simone Porte Jacquemus , the man behind the empire, successfully built his handbag empire off the back of the iconic ‘Le Chiquito’ silhouette. Now available in a myriad of different sizes (hello, remember the micro one that isn’t big enough to house anything?), shapes and colours, there is certainly a Chiquito or different design out there for everyone.

A personal favourite silhouette of a JACQUEMUS handbag falls outside of the Chiquito is the ‘Le Bambinou’. This baguette shaped bag is a classic design that isn’t trend-based enough to not remain relevant for years to come. Obsessed with the olive-toned leather, too!

JACQUEMUS Khaki ‘Le Bambinou’ Bag, $1,615, SSENSE


A luxury leather goods brand that helps to bridge fine accessories and accessibility is Amsterdam-born, Wandler. Created as an outlet to redefine craftsmanship, Wandler beautifully fuses considered design, femininity and intelligent uses of colour in every single handbag, pair of shoes and piece of clothing they create.

Known best for their collection of structured handbags, Wandler has forged a world-wide recognised name for themselves thanks to the easily recognisable shape of the ‘Hortensia’ bag. This semi-circular design is simple, stunning and will set you back around the same price as a Jacquemus handbag of the same size. It boasts a highly functional shape, two different strap lengths and is realised in the most divine leather and hardware. If quality is a non-negotiable, then we think you’ll sit comfortably with Wandler and the Hortensia style as an addition to your family.

For those who appreciate the classic hobo style in a handbag, then look no further than Wandler’s Maggie Shoulder Bag. The perfect slouchy style that’s big enough to house all your daily necessities for years and years to come.

Wandler Maggie Shoulder Bag, $1,585, Farfetch

By Far

Last but certainly not least, a contemporary and mid-market brand that creates fantastic bags we love, is By Far. Created by 3 sisters, Valentina Ignatova, Sabina Gyosheva and Denitsa Bumbarova, By Far is a celebration of family, modernity and impeccably cool pieces. The brand are best known for their curation of accessories; shoes, bags and fragrance and are designed between Sofia in Bugaria, London and Sydney. This trilogy in not only creator but birthplace, makes By Far a melange of influence and the perfect brand to shop for many women due to their collaborative output.

Personally, I would consider By Far to stand as almost a fusion of STAUD and Wandler, in one. You have the cool-girl-esque shapes influenced by the 90’s (like the Amber Bag) mixed with the design sensibility and craftsmanship that Wandler offer.

If I were to invest into one By Far piece and one only, it would have to be the Miranda Crocodile Embossed Shoulder Bag. This silhouette is not only timeless, but chic enough to join me on business meetings and compact enough to accompany me on a night out!

By Far SSENSE Exclusive Brown Amber Bag, was $685 now $352, SSENSE