Black Bags Under $350

I am utterly bewildered by the cost of things. Without laying out my entire financial life, on paper, we make good money. And, as you know, I am a big supporter of the consumer driven economy. I have always advocated the importance of buying quality over quantity, taking care of the things you have and buying the best you can afford. But the best doesn’t always have to be expensive, and it seems, at least to me these days, that everything is crazy out of control expensive.

This bewilderment turned to plain old aggravation when I decided I needed a new black bag. I wanted something simple and chic that I could throw over my shoulder to run errands, grab lunch, and use on the weekends. I wanted something more substantial and polished than my sporty crossbody. It also needed to be affordable, because it’s January and my Amex looks like Kim and Kayne stole it for the month of December.

Since our posts are inspired by our own or our clients needs it was a no brainer to write a post about the best bags we found. To push the envelope, because I was sure Kim and Kanye stole your credit card too, we wanted them to all be under $100.

Meet the most difficult post in the history of the blog. Can you find cute bags under $100? Sure, but they’re not very functional, and they are definitely not black shoulder bags. And yes, I’m sure you can find quality designer bags on designer resale sites and eBay. But generally speaking, currently at retail right now, there are almost no decent quality, every day, chic bags for women with a modest budget. Even when I raised the post budget to $200, and then $250, I wasn’t overly impressed. Everything I saw that looked stylish, was functional and had a classic quality to it was $500, $1,200 or $2,000.

That’s why this post is Black Bags Under $350. We did find a few good bags at each price point, but not enough to justify their own post. My frustration in writing this post, in particular, is that I don’t want us to be another style blog that features $2,000 handbags like they are no big deal. Almost every blog I read does that, and if you haven’t noticed, I’d like to be the opposite. Because in my life, and I’m assuming in your own, $2,000 is a big deal.  Even if you can afford it, $1,000 is a big deal, $500 is a big deal and for some people, $350 and less is a hugely considered purchase. I want to respect that and keep it real.

With that in mind I give you our comprehensive list of simple black bags that you can use on the weekend, and beyond.  Many of these are absolutely appropriate for the office too. Let’s start with what I picked up:Matt & Nat 'Baxter' Faux Leather ShopperMatt & Nat ‘Baxter’ Faux Leather Shopper, $135 (Available in other colors)


Under $100

$100 – $250

$250 – $350


Megan Kristel

Megan Kristel is an entrepreneur, working mom, and former personal stylist. Tired of the one-dimensional portrayal of women online, she founded The Well Dressed Life as a resource for other professional women.

  1. thanks for always keeping it real (even though I super love designer bags) I realized I don’t own the perfect black bag (sigh) and this month I am determined not to buy anything so … this will go on my February list 🙂 – thanks for always offering different price points – we all appreciate it. While the Kardasians didn’t steal my amex I think mine exploded in my wallet from December and needs to be put in a time out

  2. Thank you for the post, Megan. It is right in time when I look for the black everyday bag for my mom. My task is, even more, complicated as in my vision the bag has to be light itself – i.e. less metal possible on it, handles have to be sturdy and attached with the help of metal rings and not just sewn to the bag itself, as when you keep opening the bag the handles get creases and tear off after a while. It also must have a zipper or at least big zippered compartment. It needs to have (preferably) little protective “feet” on the bottom and there should not be big logos or brand names…And it has to be very simple in design…
    Whew…. No wonder it always takes me months to find one and everyone thinks I am a dull beggar!

    1. It’s so hard, isn’t it? The MICHAEL Michael Kors bag that you see EVERYWHERE did come to mind. It has everything your looking for which is really hard. The logo is the only thing, but it’s not too bad. Other than that, it’s relatively light for leather, has feet, a zipper, and handles secured by rings.

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