This Underrated Designer Brand Just Made The Next (Under $500) It Bag

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Every season or so, a designer handbag emerges from the luxury collections and lands in the hands of celebrities, models, and influencers. Fanfare ensues.  The “it bag” is a coveted title—designers want to create it and we want to wear it. Scouting these bags is a skill in itself and after reviewing the new Polène bag, I can confidently say I’ve found the next big thing. There’s something that feels exciting and superior about being one of the first to pick up on a designer bag trend for 2024.

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Thanks to the influence of Succession, Sofia Richie’s wedding, and the Olsen twins, quiet luxury is the anti-trend that has saturated the designer market. The style and status of your bag are no longer determined by the number of logos embellished on it. The structure, material, and overall quality of an item are finally taking some priority. 

One of the benefits of the minimalist style resurgence is that it gives smaller brands an opportunity to emerge and shine. 

If you’ve spent time on the #minimalistfashion side of TikTok, you’ll notice a few brands frequently populating on screen. One of them is the French luxury handbag company, Polène. 

I myself first discovered Polène on TikTok. When I took a trip to Paris last October, I visited the brand’s flagship store and was greeted by a line that wrapped around the block. Locals and tourists alike were willing to wait for an hour to get their hands on a bag. I was pleasantly surprised to see the brand’s IRL influence was just as impactful as its online presence. 

Courtesy of Olivia Marcus.

Polène specializes in leather handbags. The quality is impeccable, the styles are versatile, and the design feels both classic and current. Best of all, the price point is considerably more reasonable than the four-figure price tags attached to designer alternatives. 

Courtesy of Polène.

As I was scrolling through Instagram a few weeks ago, a post from Polène caught my eye. The model was holding a sleek shoulder bag with intertwined leather detailing and exposed stitching. It’s gorgeous. I immediately went to Polene’s site and found that the bag was available in-store and for pre-order online in seven different color options. Aha! I had discovered the next “it bag”. 

Polène recently opened a New York City store location that is conveniently located 25 minutes away from my apartment. With a hop, skip, and a subway ride, the Polène Nodde bag was in my hands. I had the opportunity to try on multiple colorways and agonized over which color to pick. Spoiler alert: I chose black.

What makes this an “it bag”?

Courtesy of Polène.

For starters, the versatility of the Nodde bag is unquestionable. The strap easily extends from a shoulder bag to a cross-body style and includes every stop in between. This makes it a great option for travel, day excursions, and evening events.

Courtesy of Olivia Marcus.

The Nodde bag is an elevated choice stylistically (just look at that white stitching) but its design is also rooted in realism. It stays comfortably on your shoulder, includes a zipper closure, and is big enough to actually fit the essentials you need on a day-to-day basis.

Courtesy of Olivia Marcus.

And finally, price point. While $500 is certainly still an investment, it’s considerably less than other designer bags on the market that retail for well over $2k. This bag has a timeless structure which means you’ll be able to use it for many, many years. An “it bag” with longevity is truly a rare find.

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