Seven Basic Bags Under-$150


Clockwise from Upper Left, Aldo Anakardo Satchel ($55) // River Island Zip Bottom Slouch ($63) // Bungalow 20 Clutch ($48) // Aldo Halifax Satchel ($50) // Kate Landry Frame Clutch ($70) // Paul’s Boutique Maisy Satchel ($123) // Street Level Reversible Tote ($48)


I subscribe to the idea that a woman needs three bags: a satchel, a clutch, and a tote.  One should be black, one should be gray or brown, and one should be a color or metallic.  If you have those, you’re covered.  These seven bags encompass the basics and add a few more choices in for good measure.

Satchels. The grouping features three satchels, two from Aldo (upper left, bottom right) and one colored satchel from ASOS.

The cognac satchel is a strong shape with two interior pockets.  It’s essentially a knock-off of the Michael Kors Sutton satchel ($328), which is a knock-off of the Prada Saffiano Satchel ($2,580).  The black satchel has an equally versatile shape, and also comes in cognac or ivory.  If you have a bit more to spend,  I think this Ralph Lauren dome satchel looks more expensive than its $248 price tag.

As for the colored satchel, I love a bright bag to offer a little something extra.  Red is my first choice color; this Kate Landry Satchel is a great place to start.  This bright neon is another good option.  And if you’re looking for something in-between, try this cobalt convertible satchel.

Want just a little color?  The trim on this Meg satchel is neon, it really sets off the grey.

Totes and Hobos.  For casual wear, I like a nice tote or hobo bag.  They’re also nice for work when you need to carry a lot at one time.  Navy is a neutral that is growing in popularity.  So if you own the black, brown, and grey basics, give navy a try.  The reversible tote above is a nice option, and I also like this four zipper tote for something with a bit more interest.

Grey is another solid option.  This zip-bottom hobo is a great bridge between casual and work.  This Sole Society hobo is another great option; I love the details.

I didn’t include one, but if you like the look, a crossbody would fall into this category.  Target makes a nice mini-satchel crossbody.  I also like this flap crossbody from Mossimo.

Clutches. There are casual clutches, then there are evening clutches.  They’re not very practical, but sometimes, on the weekends, I like to carry a large clutch instead of a tote.  The snake-printed clutch above would make a nice every day clutch.  I also like this oversize Sole Society Manuela clutch.

As for evening clutches, metallics are the most versatile.  This frame clutch is a nice choice.  I love the lucite clasp.  This pewter and black minaudière from Ivanka Trump is a more modern choice.  If you want something uniquely suited for summer, try this cork clutch from INC.

Do you have a bag you couldn’t live without?  Leave suggestions and tips in the comments.



  1. Alex says:

    Posts like this are why I read your blog religiously! Thank you for posting such basics to start building a decent wardrobe.
    Can you talk about matching bags to shoes (colors and styles)? Does the same color family rule apply to men only? (I mean never wear brown shoes with black belt)

    May 27, 2015/Reply
  2. Angie says:

    I’m a big fan of the Sole Society “Roma” tote bag. It’s made of soft faux leather that feels much more expensive than the $60 price tag, and expands with side zippers (I cart around too many books). The design is also reminiscent of the Celine “Luggage” tote that is way out of most DC professionals’ price range.

    May 27, 2015/Reply