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Finally, An ‘It’ Bag I Can Afford

Mlouye makes really cool bags under $500, and I want them all.

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A campaign image for Mlouye purses Photos: Mlouye

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I’ve been in the market for an investment bag for a few months now, something special and fancy that I could get really get excited about. I was convinced all summer that the Balenciaga Mini Leather Shopper was the one, but because the idea of spending $1,650 on any one thing (never mind a blue-striped purse) sounds like a literal nightmare to me, the idea was scrapped.

My search picked up, and subsequently ended, when I remembered Mlouye, a new-ish bag brand that I’d stumbled upon via Instagram this past spring. From an aesthetic standpoint, the line checks all of my boxes: sculptural shoulder bags, modern briefcases, and lantern-shaped top-handle bags in tonal browns and grays and muted pastels, all of which can be worn in various ways thanks to long convertible and detachable straps.

I won’t lie and pretend that the brand’s still-pretty-under-the-radar status isn’t a big factor for me, too — I like feeling like I’m in on a fashion secret. Plus, the leather is all sourced from environmentally friendly tanneries in France, Italy, and Turkey, where everything is assembled by hand, so quality isn’t a question.

A campaign image for Mlouye purses
A campaign image for Mlouye purses

But the thing that really sealed the deal is the price point. Everything in the collection falls between $200 and $500, making it the perfect compromise between being a treat and being truly attainable. What’s better than having something that looks way more expensive than it really was? (Nothing!)

Currently, Mlouye offers nine styles in a variety of colors. Unsurprisingly, several of them are sold out on the brand’s site right now, including multiple versions of its best-selling (and really cool) Flex Hobo Bag ($430). The one I’ve personally already decided on is the Mini Triangle Bag ($345), which I can drape over my shoulder with the detachable shoulder strap or hold by the top handle when I’m feeling extra bougie.

But with new drops each month, there’s always something to keep an eye out for. The brand plans to release five more styles this fall, including an exclusive collection just in time for the holiday season.

Racked occasionally accepts products for research and reviewing purposes. For more information, see our ethics policy here.