6 Reasons Your Bag Looks Cheap (and How to Pick Expensive-Looking One)

You don’t have to splurge on a high-end designer bag just to make your looks expensive as the key lies to a polished and streamlined style of bags that will look fashion-forward and chic. So, keep on reading for the 6 reasons your bag looks cheap and how to pick expensive-looking one.

  1. It’s obviously a knockoff of a high-end designer bag and got some big logo on it.

black bag with bodycon dress and leather jacket

quilted bag with olive green outfit designer clutch with backless lace dress

Unless you are rocking some Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, or another super high-end luxury logo, the smaller and less noticeable the brand name on the bag, the better. No branding is ideal, but if it can’t be avoided, the smaller and more subtle the logo the better, especially if it is a well-known cheap brand. An all-over logo print may be great if it’s expensive, but it may sometimes look you’re trying too much to get that high social status. Instead, choose a bag with a nice shape that fit your style yet doesn’t look like it is trying to be something else.

  1. It’s not made of real leather or suede and isn’t made of good faux material.

leather trousers with jacket and structured bag suede sling bag with sporty chic outfit structured green bag with coat

Though evening bags like clutches can be made out of everything from silk to hard plastic and still look totally luxe, everyday bags made out of canvas and polyester and polyurethane that you usually carry to the office or weekend looks are quite tricky. Texture is essential if you want to get the look of real leather or suede on a budget as embossed, pebbled, and smooth faux leathers are the most consistently real-looking. Just be wary of brown faux leather, especially bright caramel browns that look cheap. Also, rich jewel tones and black tend to look better in faux leather than bright colors or pastels.

  1. There are too many “design features” that make it too cutesy.

black bag with borrowed from boys outfit quilted black bag with breezy outfit quilted bag with olive green pants and white vest

Too many different “design features” will only make a bag look chaotic and cheap. So, stay away from ruffles, rosettes, frills, scalloped edges, and bows all over the place that makes them look cheap. You can still find a totally fun bag, but less is more.

  1. It’s covered in contrast stitching.

black and white outfit with structured bag and necklace structured bag with lace outfit empire style dress with belt and structured bag

When stitches are visible, they should be straight, small, and unobtrusive as looking “expensive” is all about subtlety. Keep in mind that cheap brands try to pass off obvious stitching as some sort style-enhancing design detail, but it’s distracting and doesn’t look good.

  1. The hardware is lightweight and the zipper is hanging out at either end.

chic outfit with doctors bag structured sling bag with chic joggepants and oversized sweater edgy outfit with structured bag

Remember, the hardware is something you really can’t fake and nothing cheapens up a bag faster than a dinky and overly shiny chain or zipper pull. Zipper closures tend to feel a little cheaper than flap closures or locks, so if you’re worried about the security of your belongings, choose a bag with a flap closure and some sort of locking mechanism.

  1. It’s just poorly finished or falling apart.

structured bag with brightly colored blazer and boyfriend jeans chambray romper with sling bag black bag with classic outfit

If you are really hard on your bags, stick to black or other dark colors that won’t show dirt so easily. Also, those little threads sticking out where the two pieces of faux leather are sewn together are way more noticeable than you think. So, be careful choosing your bag styles to make your looks more expensive without draining your wallet.

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