Looking for the perfect new handbag to celebrate a good grade, promotion, or special event, but not sure where to look? Whether you're celebrating, treating yourself to a designer bag, or you're just looking for something affordable, practical, and sturdy, a shopping guide to all the best spots to purchase or borrow bags is the way to go.
Sometimes only a designer bag will do. There are plenty of places to shop online for them, whether you're looking for something brand new, lightly used, or one you can rent and return for another when you get bored. Keep in mind that not all designer handbags are "luxury" handbags and some brands may be more affordable than you might expect.
Purchasing New Bags
- Net-a-Porter.com: If you love luxury fashion, you won't want to forget to browse this site. You can shop by bag style, color, or designer. Designers include Gucci, Proenza Schouler, Lanvin, Miu Miu, and more. Shoppers will usually have 28 days to make a return or exchange, but if you're shopping during the holidays, you can make returns on purchases from the end of October up until a couple of weeks into the new year. Net-a-Porter will also keep you up to date on new arrivals and trends if you sign up for their mailing list.
- Fossil.com: You can generally pick up a Fossil handbag for between $100 and $300, or wristlets for even less than that. You can search by category, color, collection, material, price, or silhouette. When you shop directly with Fossil, you get free shipping on all orders - an free overnight shipping on orders of more than $150. Refund requests are accepted for up to 90 days, as long as the items are unused. There is also a limited one-year warranty on leather products, with the company replacing covered items as opposed to repairing them.
- Coach.com: The Coach website offers all of their hottest colors and designs along with their classics, and you get free shipping on orders over $150. Enjoy shopping for new arrivals or browsing the silhouettes and collections any time of the day or night. In addition to the regular Coach website, there's CoachOutlet.com, where you can find fantastic discounts (often 30 percent off, sometimes more) on Coach handbags.
- Gilt.com: Gilt is a flash-sale site, so the inventory is always changing. However, if you sign up for their emails, you'll know what sales are coming and be prepared to click and save an incredible amount on your favorite designer handbags. When you refer friends and they make their first purchases, you'll make a little extra cash. No buyer's remorse allowed, though. Gilt doesn't accept returns on handbags.
- Nordstrom.com: In addition to a stunning collection of bags encompassing a variety of designers and brand names like Kate Spade New York, Rebecca Minkoff, Vince Camuto, Brahmin, Tory Burch, and more, Nordstrom offers free shipping and free returns. They offer discounts throughout the year, so be sure to sign up for the email updates to stay informed.
- NeimanMarcus.com: Not only can you shop by category, designers, best sellers, and new arrivals at Neiman Marcus, but you can also take a look at their Lifestyles collections, featuring picks for those interested in premier designers, a modern mix, or contemporary styles. There is also Last Call by Neiman Marcus site where you can find designer bags at bargain prices.
- Macys.com: Find brands and designers like Ralph Lauren, Coach, Dooney & Bourke, Calvin Klein, Fossil, Nine West, and more when you shop with Macy's. Customers who hold Macy's credit cards receive special discounts throughout the year, so you may be able to save even more than advertised when you shop here. Search by special offers, brands, type (juniors, designer, etc), material, style, top rated, and price.
Secondhand and Rental Options
- BagBorrowOrSteal.com: If you tend to purchase bags and then get bored with them or if you're dying to carry designer bags but don't have the cash, this site allows you to try out new bags for a limited time. You can rent bags by the week, month, or even longer, and damage insurance and standard shipping are included in your fees. You may also sell your gently used handbags here, or or purchase one you love. Bags are guaranteed to be authentic and you can get paid for referring friends to the service.
- Fashionphile.com: If you don't mind a pre-owned designer bag, you can shop for what you love and save some money in the process at the Fashionphile website. The return policy isn't the best, as you have seven days to request a refund or exchange. However, the site does offer a 70 percent buyback deal for up to 90 days. This allows you to use the bag for a while, then sell it back and shop for something new. There is also a discount section where you can find maximum savings.
- JillsConsignment.com: This is a consignment shop where you can find Balenciaga, Barfield & Baird, Bottega Veneta, Jimmy Choo, Lanvin, and other designer brand handbags at discounted prices. You can pay with PayPal. The selection here is beautiful, but if you have any concerns about a product, call or email with questions ahead of time because this shop does not accept returns. If you have designer bags in good condition in your closet, you may be able to sell them here to make money to supplement your new purchases.
- Bagtropolis.com: This is a rental site where you can borrow handbags by designers like Prada, Chanel, Gucci, Fendi, Dior, Chloe, and more. You rent by the week or month, and if you become a member (not necessary to use the service), you can save money on rentals, accumulate points toward future rentals, and get the lowdown on the newest arrivals before anyone else. If you'd prefer to buy bags instead of renting, there's a Bags for Sale section where you can find great deals.
Stylish and Inexpensive Bags
A woman with a bag for every outfit in her closet knows the importance of shopping frugally in order to get the handbag collection she wants. Stores that carry stylish yet inexpensive brands may not have the high-end designers of some of the others, but they do offer affordable, beautiful options from clutches to carry-alls. For the woman on a budget or for one who doesn't really care to spend a small fortune on a bag, these are the stores to check out.
- Overstock.com: This site's known for its ability to save you money, and it doesn't disappoint when it comes to handbags. Shipping on any order is usually $2.95, but in some cases, free shipping may be available. You can sign up for Club O Rewards for a small fee and earn five to 25 percent on your purchases, plus get free shipping with most purchases. Club O Dollars you earn can be used to pay for purchases from the site.
- Kohls.com: If you're looking for a cute, trendy, or practical bag but don't necessarily care about designer labels, Kohl's has quite the selection. When you shop at Kohl's with a Kohl's credit card, you get discounts in the mail, often for up to 30 percent. The return policy allows you to return items even if you've lost the receipt, though unless you paid with your Kohl's card, you may have to wait for a corporate-issued refund and possibly receive a lower amount than what you paid (the credit is based on that item's lowest price in the past 13 weeks). If you have the receipt, the return or exchange is "hassle-free." Handbag brands offered at Kohl's include: ELLE, Simply Vera Vera Wang, Jennifer Lopez, Apt. 9, Candies, and more.
- Sears.com: Search by style or brand. You'll find names like Kardashian Kollection, Relic, Stone & Co., and more. You can also check local availability, so if you find the perfect bag and you need it right away, you can find out whether your closest store has the ones you're considering so you can check them out in person. Another option is to buy online and pick it up in the store to save on shipping.
- 6pm.com: If you're on a budget but want something nice, check here. There are bags in all styles available for less than $100, and some are even less than $35. Every day they run a new daily deal on their site, and the savings are sometimes shocking. Shipping is free and they accept returns for up to 30 days.
- Target.com: Why not pick up a handbag when you're shopping for your groceries and other household items? Target has beautiful handbags within a reasonable price range, and some are even from major designers like Jason Wu, Oscar de la Renta, and Marc Jacobs. Take a look at the new and bestselling designs, shop by color or style, or get specific with pattern or price. If you sign up for the REDcard, you'll save five percent and get free shipping on your purchases.
One-Stop Handbag Stores
If you don't have a strong preference between designer and less expensive bags as long as you find exactly what you need, one-stop shopping on one of the following sites might suit your needs. For example, you may need the perfect red leather satchel and you're willing to pay designer prices, but you don't necessarily need a designer bag to complete your ensemble. These sites have a mix of designer and name brand bags and allow you to narrow down your choices to a very specific handful of bags that fit your specific needs. By having all types of bags available in one place and the ability to fine-tune your search, you can avoid spending hours in pursuit of the handbag you need. Find everything from designer bags with prices well into the hundreds, to budget purses for under $50.00.
- Zappos.com: When you browse the Zappos website, you'll get a mix of of bags from designers like Kate Spade, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Michael by Michael Kors, and Cole Haan along with a selection of more affordable styles. You can shop by color, style, price, features, material, and more. Shipping is fast and free no matter what, and you and you have a full year to make your return (also free). Depending on which bag you want, you may be able to get quite the discount from department store prices.
- eBags.com: This is a huge handbags retailer with a mix of designer and name brand bags in all shapes, sizes, and colors. When you shop with eBags, you'll find styles from The Sak, Tignanello, MICHAEL Michael Kors, Fossil, Rebecca Minkoff, and more. Narrowing it down to exactly what you're looking for is a breeze. Search by sales, top picks, new arrivals, color, ratings, size, brand, features, material, use, and trend. It's a Google-trusted store with an A in shipping as well as service. The site offers free returns and a price guarantee. If you become a member, you'll get exclusive offers and find out what's new before everyone else.
Compare Prices and Educate Yourself
When you find the bag you think you want, be sure you check out several different stores and websites to find the best price. Don't forget to take promo codes, shipping prices, and even Ebates.com offerings when you're making your decision. If you're purchasing a designer bag from a dealer you're not sure about (on eBay, for example), be sure to educate yourself so that you don't pick up a replica instead of the real thing. Always check the return policy and never hesitate to contact a store or seller to ask a question before you make a purchase.