Handbag envy: Splurge vs. steal

Mar 1, 2013 at 5:00 a.m. ET

We envy celebrities for quite a few things — perfect relationships, perfect careers, perfect hair. But one thing we should never envy them for is their handbags. With so many affordable options on the market, paying $3,000 for a handbag on a fixed budget is straight up unreasonable. We picked some of our favorite upscale bags and found the perfect budget dupe.

Quilted classic

Coco Chanel was a master of the quilted bag. Everything old is new again with this retro style. This Chanel beauty will run you an outrageous $3,850, but you can find a cute and cost effective style double for a fraction of the price (YesStyle.com, $83).


Mint has a hot trend for spring, but there’s no reason to go broke getting this cheery style. Tory Burch makes a quality bag that might be worth the $595 the designer is charging, but this ASOS sack (ASOS.com, $61) will keep you trendy without the regret of being spendy when the color is on its way out.

Peachy chic

If you haven’t added a satchel to your handbag wardrobe yet, what are you waiting for? The sweet style of peach pairs perfectly with spring and summer styles, as Proenza Schouler knows perfectly well. After all, the designers are charging $2,173 for their version. Save your wallet by swapping it for this near identical pinky-peach buckle satchel (Boohoo.com, $50).

Solid structure

We all want to invest in quality items, but investing $5,030 in this gorgeous Ralph Lauren tote doesn’t seem logical in any universe. Exchange it for this extremely affordable tote, perfect for carrying folders to work or school (DSW.com, $40).

What a croc!

Jimmy Choo might know how to make sexy accessories, but this look can be doubled easily on-the-cheap. Say hello to this equally pink, equally embossed faux croc satchel from Anthropologie (Anthropologie.com, $228), which is a thriftier purchase than Choo’s $1,495 version.

Pop of sunshine

Yellow makes you feel cheerful, but the $2,825 cost for this Alexander McQueen beaut might have you down in the dumps. No matter! Where there’s a will for a pop of color, there’s a way. This quality Dooney and Burke bag (Dooney.com, $201) is to the rescue.

Tough knuckles

The knuckle clutch is the latest small bag trend to hit the runways, and we admit Alexander McQueen does it right with this gold studded number for $2,325. What he doesn’t have right, however, is the price point. We found a similarly edgy knuckle clutch (Boohoo.com, $60) for chump change.

More ways to channel your inner celebrity

How to look like you have a personal makeup artist
Star in your own photoshoot
Rent the Runway and other ways to get the high-end look