I grew up without much care for bags because my mother bought my school bags for me. I had the Giordano Classics Canvas Bag with a leather flap in high school and the Bossini Messenger bag in college. I loved the craftsmanship and how they could hold my books and school stuff. These kinds of bags are what one would call vintage these days.
It was not a love affair yet at that time. A late bloomer, as what others may call it. I started caring about form and function when it came to the baby’s diaper bag.
It’s different when you buy your bag. Compared to your parents buying it for you, there is that sense of accomplishment. Because of that, I make it a point that each purchase is worth it.
Any bag that I buy goes through a checklist. First, in buying any bag, is to buy an original bag that your money can afford. Second, save up for the bag. Do not go broke or go into debt to buy it. Third, go for the classics. Do not follow the trend. Trends die, and you will end up with a bag that you hardly use.
My love for bags and their intricacies is influenced by my husband. He doesn’t like to see loud bags. These are bags with logos all over them or big logos screamingly emblazoned on the bag as a design. This is why I go for quiet bags. Bags that are simple and functional for my day-to-day use. Hence, the search led me to bags in the underrated category.
These bags and brands are not as famous or as on the radar as the others like Hermes (Birkin, Kelly, Constance), Chanel (2.55, Classic Flap, Le Boy), or Louis Vuitton (Alma, Capucine, Neverfull). Yet, these bags showcase qualities like impeccable craftsmanship, quality when it comes to materials used, brand value, and heritage. These famous bags and brands have solid marketing strategies with romantic narratives that touch on emotion and appeal to aspirational values.
The underrated bag is either a low-key luxury bag or a mid-range designer bag that goes not just from season to season but from generation to generation, timeless and embodies quality and longevity. Truly a well-made piece that will stand the test of time.
Moynat is a luxurious French fashion company. The House of Moynat resulted from a meeting between a specialist in travel goods, Pauline Moynat, and the trunk-makers Octavie and François Coulembier.
Why buy?: Moynat bags are known for their craftsmanship, and their designs are classic and elegant.
What I love: Moynat Pauline is versatile and it can be used as a crossbody by using the long strap or carried by the top handle. It can also be placed on the crook of the arm. I love the feel of the leather, the stitching, and the design of the bag—simple and functional.
TUMI takes its name from a Peruvian icon known to its founder from his Peace Corps days in South America. During the 1980s, TUMI’s innovative introduction of soft, ultra-functional, black-on-black ballistic nylon travel bags catapulted the company to its current leadership position.
Why buy?: It is durable, versatile, and packed with useful features like the Tumi Tracer—a tiny built-in plate that contains a 20-digit number and Tumi’s customer service number.
What I love: Their backpacks and crossbody bags are streamlined with the right pockets and compartments with built-to-last designs and styles that are perfect for your grab-and-go lifestyle, workplace, or anywhere your on-the-go lifestyle brings you. I can’t pinpoint a specific model because we have different backpacks and crossbody bags at home. However, all work well alongside our different lifestyles.
Salacroux makes perfectly handcrafted bags made in the most beautiful bull calfskin from French tanneries with uncluttered, practical shapes and elegant saddler stitching.
Why buy?: Salacroux is exceptionally well-made with Parisian craftmanship that does not break the bank.
What I love: Besace (Petite) is light and easy to carry. Carry it either crossbody or on the shoulder. I love the exquisite feel of the leather and it is reasonably priced too.
Founded in 1846, Loewe is LVMH’s oldest luxury fashion house. Loewe initially specialized in leather purses and handbags and even produced them for Spanish royalty. The LVMH group acquired Loewe in 1996.
Why buy?: The designs of the bags, how each piece is crafted, and the unmatched leather quality are all enduring and ensure that you get a timeless piece. Last year, the house had a fun Totoro Collection. This year, they have a collaboration with Studio Ghibli for the Spirited Away Collection.
What I love: The cuboid shape of the Puzzle bag, launched in 2015, made me fall in love with it. It’s versatile and can be carried either by the top handle, shoulder, or crossbody. This bag is form and function combined. I prefer to use this crossbody, which gives me the needed freedom to move.
Founded by husband-and-wife duo Guy and Leeanne Hundleby in Edinburgh in 2013. Their vision was to create a Scottish accessories brand that had an international outlook.
Why buy?: Strathberry is a mid-range handbag with a maintained high-quality design, yet still coming in at a very accessible price point.
What I love: I love the MIDI Tote’s craftsmanship and am impressed with how much the bag can hold. I placed my iPad inside with a notebook, charging cables, wallet, and mini tripod. Sturdy, I must say, and versatile too.
Originally a Heritage French luxury brand, Joseph Duclos was revived in September 2021 with the help of Ramesh Nair, Moynat’s former designer, focusing on the best leathers and Haute savoir-faire. Artisanal craftsmanship is part of the creativity for every Joseph Duclos bag. Each bag is numbered and bears the name of the artisan who made it.
Why buy?: The artisanal craftsmanship and timeless products using 18th-century codes for French craftsmanship and excellence will make you want to buy one.
What I love: Diane is a structured bag and draws inspiration from the 18th-century coin purses and some aspects from 1960s aviator cases. This bag pays homage to the hunting goddess. The details that went into this bag will make you dream about it—the elegant cut, the iconic clasp, the natural leather, and the bag’s versatility. Diane is on the top of my bag wishlist.
Delvaux signatures have extraordinary attention to detail both inside and out with superb finishes. The company is the oldest fine leather luxury goods house in Belgium.
Why buy?: Each Delvaux product is handmade by master artisans working in Delvaux’s ateliers, produced by workshops in Belgium and France.
What I love: I fell in love with the Tempête when we passed by the shop on one of our Singapore trips. The Tempête I saw came in pink, which caught my eye. Aside from the color, I love the structure of the bag, its elegant lines, and its functionality and versatility. As the Delvaux site said, “Depending on the circumstance or time of day, the Tempête can navigate your every mood.” I am looking forward to my own Tempête soon.
As you may have noticed, one of the top qualifications for all of the mentioned bags aside from quality is versatility. I love bags that can be carried in many ways depending on the mood or the freedom you want in carrying your bag. After all, who doesn’t love something that you can use with everything?