12 Best Leather Handbags in 2018
Purses, handbags, totes and clutches…no matter what you choose to call them, most women can’t help but drool over the copious selections of leather handbags available today. There are so many purse colors, textures, and designs that shopping can be overwhelming. And while “too many handbags to choose from” isn’t a bad problem to have, it can be a little difficult to know where to start!
Sometimes, shopping for handbags is way easier and more fun than shopping for clothing – we don’t have to worry about odd or unflattering sizes, and we get to skip the ugly lights in the changing rooms. Unfortunately, this also means that it is too easy to “impulse-buy” purses!
We’ve created this guide to help you find the best leather handbags for your unique lifestyle. Our list offers a variety of classic styles and sizes, all made with genuine leather, so they’re super durable.
We’ll help you avoid impulse purchases and start shopping smart when it comes to your accessories!
Top 12 Leather Handbags Comparison Chart
How to Choose the Right Leather Handbag for Your Lifestyle
We all want a classy handbag that looks good, but we also need them to be useful and last for a long time. Most of us have had the feeling of buying a purse (or six) only to have them sit in the bottom of the closet for months or years, then give them away or sell it during spring-cleaning.
Leather still stands out as one of the most durable materials around: it can last five times longer than fabric and will continue to hold its shape and form over time. All leather will age, but good quality leather will not crack or tear, so long as you put time into regular leather care.
Are you looking for another handbag that’s going to sit in the bottom of the closet for 99% of the year, or are you finally read to find an all-purpose purse that’s both stylish and practical?
Most of us can probably agree that we want handbags that are durable, versatile and stylish, but not every handbag is a perfect fit for every person. Here are some tips to help you decide on the best leather handbag for your lifestyle.
Types of Leather
Choosing a durable fabric like leather means that your bag will likely last for years with proper care, but be careful to check that the stitching and other design elements are sturdy before you purchase. Here are a few of the most common types of leather:
- Venus Italian Leather – Is created using a special finishing technique that creates a super soft, smooth feel. Imperfections are often retained in this type of leather, giving it a raw and unique look. It’s also tanned and dyed with natural processes and materials designed to comply with EU environmental regulations; this is a high class, sleek looking and feeling material.
- Cowhide and Buffalo Leather – Are heavier, thicker and very durable. Cowhide is the most common and available leather, so if you buy something that just says “leather,” you can assume that it’s Buffalo leather is a full grain, very durable material that is similar to cowhide but not stretched during tanning, which contributes to its extra raw, textured appearance.
- Crocodile and Alligator Skin – Are examples of very high quality, super valuable luxury materials. This type of leather is quite rare, so if you happen upon an alligator skin handbag, hang on to it for life!
- Deerskin and Goat Skin – Are very soft and supple. When deerskin stretches or gets wet, it will back to its original shape easily.
Care and Cleaning of Your Leather Handbag
Investing in a leather handbag also means investing in some specialty cleaning products: here are a few tips to remember when it comes to caring for leather.
- Keep It Dry – If you have to wash it, use a damp sponge or cloth with mild soap, then dry it immediately.
- Use a Lanolin-Based Moisturizer – To clean and condition your leather bag every few weeks.
- Store Purses Properly When Not in Use – Do not store leather products in overly damp or overly bright areas. Keep them in a cool, dry place and a fabric dust bag rather than a plastic bag.
To clear out any unwanted smells, put an open container of baking powder carefully inside your bag, place your bag into a dust bag or pillow case and leave for 24 hours. The baking powder should absorb any unwanted odors.
Choosing the Best Bag for Your Lifestyle
We all have different needs from a handbag, so here are a few things to take into consideration to ensure that you choose the right one for your lifestyle and storage needs!
- Realistically Assess Your Wardrobe – If you are more of a backpack or tote person, there’s no point in spending a ton of money on a fancy evening clutch. Invest in something that you actually use and suits your style and regular activities.
- Do You Travel Frequently? – Big totes can weigh you down if you’re on your feet a lot, but cross straps are essential for biking. Be sure to choose something you can carry for long periods in your preferred mode of transit. A roomier tote with a zip closure at the top makes the perfect carry-on.
- Do You Work a Lot, or Take Your Laptop out to Cafes? – Totes and cross-body bags work well if you find yourself constantly cruising around with your laptop in tow.
Top 5 Best Leather Handbags Reviews
At first, the phrase “pocket tote” might seem like an oxymoron, but this lightweight, sleek tote is the perfect size for almost any purpose or season. At 14 X 10.5 X 5 inches, it’s roomy enough to store your daily essentials, but not so bulky that it bulges out as a standard size tote might.
It’s made with soft venus leather and has one zip pocket and three open pockets on the inside, perfect for organizing your phone, keys, wallet and make-up…no digging around in your purse for hours! The outside has four outer pockets for more storage.
The purse is perfectly practical with a classic design, and the size works well for people with smaller frames who are looking for a solid tote that won’t overwhelm their frame. It also comes in a dreamy range of colors.
This cowhide leather bag is tough, stylish, incredibly versatile and practical! We love it for its sturdy design and huge storage capacity, plus you can carry it three ways: as a shoulder bag, as a tote or across the shoulder, with a removable and adjustable shoulder strap.
This genuine cowhide tote also comes in two sizes—one 16.5 inches wide, the other 13.8 inches wide—so you can buy according to your frame and preferences. The bigger one will hold it all—your laptop, phone, even your umbrella.
This handbag makes a great carry-on, and it comes in five fab colors—choose the brown if you want a vintage, satchel-style look. Use it for any type of daily activities—the gym, office, school, or work. Plus there’s plenty of room in here for all the busy moms!
This mid-sized tote is handcrafted from high-quality buffalo leather which will soften and get more luxurious as it ages. It’s big enough to fit a laptop, and the interior pocket is perfect for your daily essentials. We love the rustic leather look and the simple, strong design.
The tote comes in one color and is perfect for casual outings, school or work—the classic vintage feel and minimalist design of this piece will be a pleasure to have by your side on any occasion. This bag is so incredibly versatile and strong that with proper care, it will likely carry you (and most of your things) through life.
If you’re feeling the need for one all-purpose, sturdy, reliable bag that will last through the ages, this is about as practical and well-made as a handbag can be.
We have another Michael Kors to make our top 5 and for a good reason: Kors has been making handbags since 2004 and has been nominated for Accessories Designer of the Year Award several years since. His brand has also been a top luxury fashion label for over 30 years.
We love this design for many reasons, not the least of which that it comes in a huge range of colors, from bright, sassy primaries, to muted pastels and neutral browns. The only bad thing about this bag is that it’s hard to decide on a color!
We love the zip top closure, and the medium size (about 11” long x 10.5” high x 4” wide) works well for any occasion. Here’s a bag that will compliment any outfit, from casual to cute, and from office to evening. This is a purchase you won’t regret and would make a great gift for the purse-obsessed woman on your list.
The Sak Sequoia Hobo might well be the most perfect bag we’ve laid our fingers on: the medium, lightweight, rounded size, and style fits well on any frame, and the soft bohemian design fits almost any casual occasion. The leather this bag is made up is so soft and light, and the strap is sturdy enough that it sits well on the shoulder.
The Sak Sequoia Hobo is available in a brilliant range of colors, from cabernet to cocoa and mint to ruby, so there’s one for every style and preference. With three interior pockets and two on the outside, it’s perfect for organizing small items like phones, makeup, and keys.
Once you get a peek at the perfect design, feel the softness of the leather in your hands, and slip it on your shoulder to feel how sturdy and sleek this bag is, you won’t want to go back to anything else.