Affordable designer bags under £300
The mid-range bag market is booming thanks to budget-friendly brands like Cult Gaia, Staud and Coach
This Warsaw-based brand has built up a firm following among the style set for its clean lines, minimal branding and modern take on the classic. Sturdy but small, these bags may mean you need to KonMari what you carry around.
Founded by Sarah Staudinger, the former fashion director of Reformation, Staud has seriously stylish credentials: its clear PVC version of the Shirley tote is just one of the brand's best-sellers. If PVC feels too faddish turn to smooth leather, mock-croc or faux snake.
Buying a Coach bag has long been a rite of passage for American teenagers and young women, usually marking their first designer purchase. But the brand didn't really resonate over here until 2013, when Brit designer Stuart Vevers took the helm, adding an international outlook and upping the cool credentials.
There's a point of difference to Loeffler Randall designs, the product of Jessie Randall and Brian Murphy, partners in life and work. Think beaded bags, zebra stripes and fluffed-up feather trims on accessories that will never be an afterthought.
The 'ark' bag might have helped designer Jasmin Hekmat's presciently named brand achieve cult status, but multiple hit designs prove this is no one-trick pony. An embrace of less precious materials such as bamboo, acrylic and wood help keep plenty of options below the £300 mark.
Bimba Y Lola
This brilliant Spanish brand embraces bold logos, colour, metallics and eye-catching trims yet somehow manages to create a sense of refined modernity for its urban-inspired offering.
Kate Spade New York
The aesthetic might be whimsical and girly, but practicality often comes to the fore: think well-sized cross-body bags, laptop cases and interchangeable accessories to ensure you get more bang for your buck. Flowers, leopard print, hearts and spades are common decorative motifs and bold colours are key.
Okay, a Mansur Gavriel bag can't be had for £300 but as the brand that kick-started an affordable bag revolution it would be remiss not to include it. Design details such as branding, hardware and linings were initially kept minimal to keep costs down and are now the brand's signature, as well as a Pantone chart of coloured leather, interesting shapes and just-right sizes.
There's more to high-street handbags than catwalk copies, but you need to know where to look. Whistles is an excellent starting point, with an unwavering range of unobtrusive, elegant everyday pieces offset by the occasional trend-led design detail.
Any commuter worth their contactless card knows that swapping from shoulder bag to laptop will do wonders for your spine, especially if you tote about a laptop, Keep Cup and S'well bottle at all times. Colourful, affordable and easy on the eye, it's easy to see why Knomo has become a work wardrobe staple.
Designed in Scotland and made in Spain, when Meghan Markle wore a Strathberry in 2017 the small-scale brand saw sales go stratospheric. New colour combinations have been added to build on the interest in the classic designs, while a collaboration with Alana Hadid further boosted the brand's standing.
Straw bags look set to stay, so investing in one that will last longer than a two-week holiday is a good plan of action. Muuñ's refined designs are hand-crafted in Ghana before being finished with care in Paris, bringing ethics, tradition and modern aesthetics together in one attractive package.
Charles & Keith
With prices that rival the high street and a broad range of designs, it's something of a surprise that Singaporean brand Charles & Keith isn't that well known in London, meaning that you can shop without worrying about an attack of the clones.