The Top Designer Handbags of 2019

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Loewe puzzle bag_Designer Handbags

Loewe

The best designer handbags are more than, simply, elegant arm candy.

Many are classics, staples in stylish wardrobes around the world, and all are investment pieces. The best transcend passing fads—no Juicy Couture velour purses here—and exist as carry-alls that you will tote throughout life.

In cities like New York, your purse is your car. (In other cities, you actually have a car.) It’s how you present yourself, as much an extension of you as the business card you extend. Which is why having a good one is key—and having one of the “best” is desirable.

The best bags of 2019 reflect this: Many are updates on old classics, like the new Fendi Baguettes, and a few are soon-to-be classics, like Burberry’s inspired-by-the-archives TB purses. With some taking up to three days to build a prototype alone, these are well-made, well-respected handbags that will last a lifetime (one famously so). Because at the end of the day, a quality handbag is timeless, and at the end of time, they’re inheritance.

Here are some of the best designer handbags of 2019:

The Fendi Leather Baguette

No luxury handbag roundup would be complete without the iconic Baguette by Fendi. Debuted in 1997, the uniquely shaped purse—meant to be tucked under your arm like its namesake loaf—shot into handbag history thanks a little show called Sex and the City: Carrie Bradshaw has her purple, sequined number stolen in a Season 3 episode (when the thief demands her bag, she quips, “It’s a Baguette.”).

Since then, over 1,000 iterations of—and a book about—the award-winning bag have been made, and an estimated 1 million units have been sold. Revived this year, with a little more help from Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw, it comes in more practical sizes than the original (now you can fit your phone in one, thank goodness).

This model is particularly easy to love. A little more muted than the sparkling SatC version, it summons the styles of the 1970s with its desert-toned suede and gold hardware, which makes it a great pair with other staples like dark wash denim and creamy cable knit sweaters—when you’re not pairing it with a sundress, that is. But then again, it is available in thousands of colorways, so if “groovy” isn’t the energy of your choice, there’s everything from neon yellow to minimalist monogrammed styles.


Balenciaga Red Mini City Scarf Bag

For reasons beyond the logo-printed, red scarf handles, this Balenciaga city bag is the stuff of rock ’n’ roll dreams. Also coined the “motorcycle bag,” its soft pebbled leather is ready to age just as fantastically as the moto jacket of its moniker. The design is going through a welcome revival since its heyday in the early 2000s, when the rich and glamorous would wear theirs long after they were just as glamorously lived-in—like Mary Kate Olsen, who used the sorry state of her bag as a comparison for the state of her life in a 2006 interview with W.

To equate life and bag is fair: Wrap your hands around a City Bag’s handles and you’ll notice an unmistakable comfort and familiarity within its seams. Said Nicholas Ghesquière, Balenciaga’s then-creative director, to WWD magazine: “It was a new fresh thing, but it looked like an old, good, friendly thing.”

This mini edition takes the look further, grabbing the familiar and transforming it into something new, shrinking all its goodness into a bag that’s perfect for easy days and wild nights, when you want old-school cool and new-school glam. With a detachable shoulder strap and mirror, it’s ready to be transformed with you.


Bottega Veneta The Pouch

When you're not channeling 1980s Lauren Hutton with Bottega Veneta’s Lauren Bag, which the actress carried in American Gigolo, get your hands on this clutch. Or try to.

Simply called The Pouch, its popularity among street-style stars and celebrities like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (who Instagrammed images with it almost 40 times in just 3 months) has come with quite the waiting list.

Its simplicity makes it easy to see why: sleek, untextured leather gathers at its top as though you’re clutching the material itself, resulting in a romantic, surprisingly minimalist, genderless addition to the clutch world—not to mention spacious. Keeping with the brand’s storied motto, “When your own initials are enough,” its logo-less exterior is a breath of fresh air in today’s branded business. Get yours in a versatile black or caramel brown—both on back-order.


Fendi “Mon Tresor” Perforated-Logo Leather Bucket Bag


The name—French for “my treasure”—isn’t the only reason why this bag is the perfect home for all your keepsakes. Its pouch-like shape makes it deceptively roomy, a nod to the utilitarianism of the bucket bags of past—in the 18th century, the bucket-shaped reticules women carried served essentially as an extra pocket; in the 20th century, Louis Vuitton's Noé bag was designed as a solution to an everyday problem: how to carry 5 bottles of champagne without breaking them.

This Fendi bag is similarly practical, with an interior card slot and detachable shoulder strap and handle. Laser perforated with the Fendi logo, with red and gold accents, it has an edge others lack, one that makes it a worthy addition to your day-to-night wardrobe.


Givenchy Antigona Medium Leather Tote


From a brand known for other iconic staples (including the little black dress Audrey Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s), comes another classic: the Antigona.

Rumored to be named after Antigone, a headstrong, law-defying woman of Greek mythology, this tote was designed to be the ultimate handbag. With its sturdy canvas lining and trapezoidal shape, it’s built to withstand the wear-and-tear of everyday life and to fit everything you might need throughout—in this medium size, you can even carry your laptop, which explains why it’s a celebrity-approved airport go-to.

Though it’s available in a range of styles, this smooth calfskin is easier to clean than the pebbled alternatives, and that the light falls on it just right, highlighting the bag’s iconic trapezoidal shape, is just another bonus.


Stella McCartney Falabella Small Reversible Faux-Leather Tote

From a designer known for her humane, vegan practices comes a feel-good bag—actually, bags.

Yes, this bestselling Falabella by Stella McCartney is reversible, giving you faux-leather fashioned two ways in one. Black on one side, tan on the other, the panels are connected with the tote’s signature metal chains—though those also got a facelift, swapping their usual dark gray tone for a warm (and timeless) gold.

It’s a design so prized it’s shared shelves with art—just ask the curators of the Victoria & Albert Museum, who included a plant-based edition of the Falabella in their exhibit on fashion from nature. Though this piece isn’t as green, its neutral colors make it a versatile addition to your wardrobe.


Bao Bao Issey Miyake Lucent PVC Tote Bag

Launched under the designer’s Pleats Please brand in 2000, the Bao Bao bag became its own brand in 2010, giving the company the flexibility to explore, well, the engineered flexibility it’s known for. The unique design, built of a series of triangles, gives the bag unheard-of levels of dimension, foldability and dynamism. Made from a water-resistant polyvinyl and polyurethane combination, it’s meant to live life with you, and the brand’s directive to “roll it, fold it, lay it down and hold it,” only helps.

Consider it an extension of Miyake’s original sartorial intents: As a designer, his focus is on how to pair an active, three-dimensional form—the human body—with two-dimensional items—clothes. Use yours to take your outfits to new levels ... or next dimensions.


Loewe Puzzle Small Leather Shoulder Bag

Jonathon Anderson’s first completely original item for the brand, the Loewe Puzzle Bag debuted in the Men's SS15 collection and quickly became synonymous with stylish utilitarianism and functionality thanks to its uniquely geometric construction. Built so it can be worn all of five different ways, from a backpack to a clutch, it can even be folded completely flat, making it every frequent traveler's favorite companion, as model-influencer Irene Kim proves: She’s made her pastel piece a fine addition into her airport look on more than one occasion.

To make the puzzle bag is a bit of a puzzle itself: with prototypes taking up to 3 days to build, and the final piece taking nine hours once it hits production lines, one bag is comprised of around 45 cloth armors, 41 different leathers and nine textile pieces—and takes up to 524 different actions to complete. Can’t believe it? See for yourself.

Much like other bags on this list, it’s available in a wide range of colorways, from a Western-stitched yellow to a simple black, so you can find the Puzzle that fits just right.


Burberry TB Small Leather-Trimmed Shoulder Bag

If you’re looking for a modern piece with a little bit of history, look no further than Burberry’s newest TB pieces. In their most recent collections, Burberry has revamped their logo with the help of graphic designer Peter Saville, who was the brains (and pen) behind Calvin Klein’s current logo. The “TB” harkens back to the initials of founder Thomas Burberry, and now can be found patterning everything from handbags and scarves to packing tape.

Swapping all-leather for a beachy canvas-and-calfskin combo, this is the purse that will give your wardrobe a fresh face even if it’s the only fresh addition. Able to brighten up looks across any season—from chunky sweaters and suede skirts of days present to the sarongs and sun hats of vacations future—consider it the shoulder bag deserving of go-to status.


Gucci Dionysus GG Supreme Small Shoulder Bag

Named after the god of wine, Dionysus (a.k.a. Bacchus), this lion-clasped bag calls to mind other symbols of history—specifically, Gucci’s logo from the 1980s, a logo that seems just as relevant today as it was 30 years ago. As creative director Alessandro Michele puts it, “"the double G is like a hieroglyph that everyone knows and I use it as the cherry on top of my designs.”

This bag will serve as the cherry atop your own designs: A stitched canvas and suede exterior makes the mini bag durable and versatile, while the chain makes it easy to bring the bag with you into any Bacchanalian events you have (or will have) planned.


Off-White Jitney

For the streetwear-hungry, it doesn’t get better than Off-White’s Jitney. Featuring the brand’s signature snarky quotations—which now cover everything from iPhone cases to Hailey Bieber’s wedding dress—the carryall was declared the “world’s hottest fashion product” and most requested item of the summer by Lyst.

Named after the Jitney bus, which shuttles passengers to and from the Hamptons, its iconic design makes it the key cool ingredient to all your outfits, from sweatpants and ripped T-shirts to Alexander Wang flipped-waistband trousers and blouses by the Row, but if you’re craving something quirkier ...

Try the newest edition, the Meteor, which has quickly become notorious with its utterly impractical design: With holes big enough to stick your arm through, the Meteor challenges the meaning—and practicality—of the purse, and yet the sold-out style is on the rise to becoming the Jitney’s main competitor.


Jacquemus La Ceinture Bello Pouch


From the king of the “mini” bag comes this pouch, cut from grained Italian leather in a wealth of colors—from this bubblegum pink to crocodile green and zesty orange. The relatively young namesake designer (just 29) has been making waves ever since he was an LVMH Prize finalist in 2014, and his purses have been seen on the arms, and around the waists, of everyone from Kylie Jenner to Beyoncé. Following in the success of his incredibly tiny “Chiquito” bag, which has been made in sizes small enough to fit in your palm, this pouch is just as stylish and infinitely more practical. Though your phone might need a separate home, it’s the perfect place to stash your other essentials: credit cards, earrings, valet tickets, etc. The chic double-wrap design will give shape to any of your loose styles, while the brand's signature gold-tone logo makes it clear just how hip you, and your hips, are.

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The best designer handbags are more than, simply, elegant arm candy.

Many are classics, staples in stylish wardrobes around the world, and all are investment pieces. The best transcend passing fads—no Juicy Couture velour purses here—and exist as carry-alls that you will tote throughout life.

In cities like New York, your purse is your car. (In other cities, you actually have a car.) It’s how you present yourself, as much an extension of you as the business card you extend. Which is why having a good one is key—and having one of the “best” is desirable.

The best bags of 2019 reflect this: Many are updates on old classics, like the new Fendi Baguettes, and a few are soon-to-be classics, like Burberry’s inspired-by-the-archives TB purses. With some taking up to three days to build a prototype alone, these are well-made, well-respected handbags that will last a lifetime (one famously so). Because at the end of the day, a quality handbag is timeless, and at the end of time, they’re inheritance.

Here are some of the best designer handbags of 2019:

The Fendi Leather Baguette

No luxury handbag roundup would be complete without the iconic Baguette by Fendi. Debuted in 1997, the uniquely shaped purse—meant to be tucked under your arm like its namesake loaf—shot into handbag history thanks a little show called Sex and the City: Carrie Bradshaw has her purple, sequined number stolen in a Season 3 episode (when the thief demands her bag, she quips, “It’s a Baguette.”).

Since then, over 1,000 iterations of—and a book about—the award-winning bag have been made, and an estimated 1 million units have been sold. Revived this year, with a little more help from Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw, it comes in more practical sizes than the original (now you can fit your phone in one, thank goodness).

This model is particularly easy to love. A little more muted than the sparkling SatC version, it summons the styles of the 1970s with its desert-toned suede and gold hardware, which makes it a great pair with other staples like dark wash denim and creamy cable knit sweaters—when you’re not pairing it with a sundress, that is. But then again, it is available in thousands of colorways, so if “groovy” isn’t the energy of your choice, there’s everything from neon yellow to minimalist monogrammed styles.


Balenciaga Red Mini City Scarf Bag

For reasons beyond the logo-printed, red scarf handles, this Balenciaga city bag is the stuff of rock ’n’ roll dreams. Also coined the “motorcycle bag,” its soft pebbled leather is ready to age just as fantastically as the moto jacket of its moniker. The design is going through a welcome revival since its heyday in the early 2000s, when the rich and glamorous would wear theirs long after they were just as glamorously lived-in—like Mary Kate Olsen, who used the sorry state of her bag as a comparison for the state of her life in a 2006 interview with W.

To equate life and bag is fair: Wrap your hands around a City Bag’s handles and you’ll notice an unmistakable comfort and familiarity within its seams. Said Nicholas Ghesquière, Balenciaga’s then-creative director, to WWD magazine: “It was a new fresh thing, but it looked like an old, good, friendly thing.”

This mini edition takes the look further, grabbing the familiar and transforming it into something new, shrinking all its goodness into a bag that’s perfect for easy days and wild nights, when you want old-school cool and new-school glam. With a detachable shoulder strap and mirror, it’s ready to be transformed with you.


Bottega Veneta The Pouch

When you're not channeling 1980s Lauren Hutton with Bottega Veneta’s Lauren Bag, which the actress carried in American Gigolo, get your hands on this clutch. Or try to.

Simply called The Pouch, its popularity among street-style stars and celebrities like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (who Instagrammed images with it almost 40 times in just 3 months) has come with quite the waiting list.

Its simplicity makes it easy to see why: sleek, untextured leather gathers at its top as though you’re clutching the material itself, resulting in a romantic, surprisingly minimalist, genderless addition to the clutch world—not to mention spacious. Keeping with the brand’s storied motto, “When your own initials are enough,” its logo-less exterior is a breath of fresh air in today’s branded business. Get yours in a versatile black or caramel brown—both on back-order.


Fendi “Mon Tresor” Perforated-Logo Leather Bucket Bag


The name—French for “my treasure”—isn’t the only reason why this bag is the perfect home for all your keepsakes. Its pouch-like shape makes it deceptively roomy, a nod to the utilitarianism of the bucket bags of past—in the 18th century, the bucket-shaped reticules women carried served essentially as an extra pocket; in the 20th century, Louis Vuitton's Noé bag was designed as a solution to an everyday problem: how to carry 5 bottles of champagne without breaking them.

This Fendi bag is similarly practical, with an interior card slot and detachable shoulder strap and handle. Laser perforated with the Fendi logo, with red and gold accents, it has an edge others lack, one that makes it a worthy addition to your day-to-night wardrobe.


Givenchy Antigona Medium Leather Tote


From a brand known for other iconic staples (including the little black dress Audrey Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s), comes another classic: the Antigona.

Rumored to be named after Antigone, a headstrong, law-defying woman of Greek mythology, this tote was designed to be the ultimate handbag. With its sturdy canvas lining and trapezoidal shape, it’s built to withstand the wear-and-tear of everyday life and to fit everything you might need throughout—in this medium size, you can even carry your laptop, which explains why it’s a celebrity-approved airport go-to.

Though it’s available in a range of styles, this smooth calfskin is easier to clean than the pebbled alternatives, and that the light falls on it just right, highlighting the bag’s iconic trapezoidal shape, is just another bonus.


Stella McCartney Falabella Small Reversible Faux-Leather Tote

From a designer known for her humane, vegan practices comes a feel-good bag—actually, bags.

Yes, this bestselling Falabella by Stella McCartney is reversible, giving you faux-leather fashioned two ways in one. Black on one side, tan on the other, the panels are connected with the tote’s signature metal chains—though those also got a facelift, swapping their usual dark gray tone for a warm (and timeless) gold.

It’s a design so prized it’s shared shelves with art—just ask the curators of the Victoria & Albert Museum, who included a plant-based edition of the Falabella in their exhibit on fashion from nature. Though this piece isn’t as green, its neutral colors make it a versatile addition to your wardrobe.


Bao Bao Issey Miyake Lucent PVC Tote Bag

Launched under the designer’s Pleats Please brand in 2000, the Bao Bao bag became its own brand in 2010, giving the company the flexibility to explore, well, the engineered flexibility it’s known for. The unique design, built of a series of triangles, gives the bag unheard-of levels of dimension, foldability and dynamism. Made from a water-resistant polyvinyl and polyurethane combination, it’s meant to live life with you, and the brand’s directive to “roll it, fold it, lay it down and hold it,” only helps.

Consider it an extension of Miyake’s original sartorial intents: As a designer, his focus is on how to pair an active, three-dimensional form—the human body—with two-dimensional items—clothes. Use yours to take your outfits to new levels ... or next dimensions.


Loewe Puzzle Small Leather Shoulder Bag

Jonathon Anderson’s first completely original item for the brand, the Loewe Puzzle Bag debuted in the Men's SS15 collection and quickly became synonymous with stylish utilitarianism and functionality thanks to its uniquely geometric construction. Built so it can be worn all of five different ways, from a backpack to a clutch, it can even be folded completely flat, making it every frequent traveler's favorite companion, as model-influencer Irene Kim proves: She’s made her pastel piece a fine addition into her airport look on more than one occasion.

To make the puzzle bag is a bit of a puzzle itself: with prototypes taking up to 3 days to build, and the final piece taking nine hours once it hits production lines, one bag is comprised of around 45 cloth armors, 41 different leathers and nine textile pieces—and takes up to 524 different actions to complete. Can’t believe it? See for yourself.

Much like other bags on this list, it’s available in a wide range of colorways, from a Western-stitched yellow to a simple black, so you can find the Puzzle that fits just right.


Burberry TB Small Leather-Trimmed Shoulder Bag

If you’re looking for a modern piece with a little bit of history, look no further than Burberry’s newest TB pieces. In their most recent collections, Burberry has revamped their logo with the help of graphic designer Peter Saville, who was the brains (and pen) behind Calvin Klein’s current logo. The “TB” harkens back to the initials of founder Thomas Burberry, and now can be found patterning everything from handbags and scarves to packing tape.

Swapping all-leather for a beachy canvas-and-calfskin combo, this is the purse that will give your wardrobe a fresh face even if it’s the only fresh addition. Able to brighten up looks across any season—from chunky sweaters and suede skirts of days present to the sarongs and sun hats of vacations future—consider it the shoulder bag deserving of go-to status.


Gucci Dionysus GG Supreme Small Shoulder Bag

Named after the god of wine, Dionysus (a.k.a. Bacchus), this lion-clasped bag calls to mind other symbols of history—specifically, Gucci’s logo from the 1980s, a logo that seems just as relevant today as it was 30 years ago. As creative director Alessandro Michele puts it, “"the double G is like a hieroglyph that everyone knows and I use it as the cherry on top of my designs.”

This bag will serve as the cherry atop your own designs: A stitched canvas and suede exterior makes the mini bag durable and versatile, while the chain makes it easy to bring the bag with you into any Bacchanalian events you have (or will have) planned.


Off-White Jitney

For the streetwear-hungry, it doesn’t get better than Off-White’s Jitney. Featuring the brand’s signature snarky quotations—which now cover everything from iPhone cases to Hailey Bieber’s wedding dress—the carryall was declared the “world’s hottest fashion product” and most requested item of the summer by Lyst.

Named after the Jitney bus, which shuttles passengers to and from the Hamptons, its iconic design makes it the key cool ingredient to all your outfits, from sweatpants and ripped T-shirts to Alexander Wang flipped-waistband trousers and blouses by the Row, but if you’re craving something quirkier ...

Try the newest edition, the Meteor, which has quickly become notorious with its utterly impractical design: With holes big enough to stick your arm through, the Meteor challenges the meaning—and practicality—of the purse, and yet the sold-out style is on the rise to becoming the Jitney’s main competitor.


Jacquemus La Ceinture Bello Pouch


From the king of the “mini” bag comes this pouch, cut from grained Italian leather in a wealth of colors—from this bubblegum pink to crocodile green and zesty orange. The relatively young namesake designer (just 29) has been making waves ever since he was an LVMH Prize finalist in 2014, and his purses have been seen on the arms, and around the waists, of everyone from Kylie Jenner to Beyoncé. Following in the success of his incredibly tiny “Chiquito” bag, which has been made in sizes small enough to fit in your palm, this pouch is just as stylish and infinitely more practical. Though your phone might need a separate home, it’s the perfect place to stash your other essentials: credit cards, earrings, valet tickets, etc. The chic double-wrap design will give shape to any of your loose styles, while the brand's signature gold-tone logo makes it clear just how hip you, and your hips, are.

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