Top 7 Leather Handbags for Women

By Elizabeth Hannigan , last updated November 18, 2011

Soft, supple leather handbags are the ultimate symbol of luxury for some women, and every season your favorite designers come out with entirely new lines of enticing bags for you to lust after. Leather handbags don't come cheap, but they usually last for several years. Whether you have an entire collection of handbags that you lovingly care for or you just own one bag at a time and use it until it absolutely falls to pieces, you probably have to choose carefully when you invest in a new bag. If you are a one-bag type of woman, look for a practical bag that is large enough to carry everything you need on a day-to-day basis. Choose a classic bag with a style and color that speaks to your personality. If you are a bag collector, make sure that your new purchase doesn't look too much like something you already own.

Alma Nomade Satchel by Louis Vuitton

If you only carry one leather bag, make it this classic from Louis Vuitton. The Alma Nomade is a calfskin bag inspired by Guston Vuitton's original 1930 design. The modern incarnation comes in a rich, caramel-colored leather with smooth curves and gold detailing. The bag has a flat bottom with rounded edges, thick leather sides, small leather handles, and a zip that reaches all the way around. Details include a padlock closure and a leather Louis Vuitton tag.

Leather Market Tote by Jil Sander

Jil Sander's chartreuse leather market tote is a must have piece for women who love big statement bags. This simple tote is big enough to carry your groceries and comes unlined with a single organizational pocket. The bag is cut, handles and all, from two big, lush pieces of deerskin leather and comes with a detachable navy shoulder strap.

Bicolor Paper Flap A3 Tote by Balenciaga

If you're a handbag collector and you are looking for something unusual but not flashy to carry with you to work, you should check out Balenciaga's Paper Flap tote. This smallish tote is big enough to hold important papers, but not quite large enough for a laptop and it comes in calfskin leather. The bag is available in navy blue or a fun, bubblegum pink color, with a slightly darker flap made from leather and not actual paper. It has a cute stud and buckle detail at the bottom corners, a front pouch with a fringed zipper, and slender leather handles.

Zip Around Shoulder Bag by Celine

Celine's simple shoulder bag is approximately the same size as a business envelope and looks like a plain rectangle of buttery soft lambskin when lying flat. When you lift this understated but modern bag by its two delicate chain handles, however, the bag takes a lovely, slouched shape that seems to wrap perfectly around your shoulder. This bag manages to look both casual and elegant, and comes in a couple of practical colors like black, cognac, and powder.

Multicolor Python by Dries Van Noten

Despite the fact that python skin is illegal to own or carry in California and several European countries, designers made python the leather of choice on this fall's runways. Dries Van Noten created a gorgeous python leather clutch with a golden hued flap and black, grey, and white vertical stripes up the side. This envelope clutch is big enough for your wallet, keys, and phone, and could be paired with either a suit during the day or a cocktail dress at night. The purse is fully lined, snaps shut, and has a single organizational pocket inside.

Color Block Clutch by Hermes

Color blocking was huge on this fall's runways, and Hermes contributed to this trend with an oversized, envelope shaped, red and burgundy clutch. This calfskin bag zips closed at the top and folds over, creating layers of soft, luxurious leather. The zipper features a big, black leather fringe that makes the bag look modern and fun. This red color matches perfectly with the red coats Hermes sent down the runway, and the bag is big enough to be a daytime bag but cool enough for you to carry at night.

Patent Leather and Chains by Yves Saint Laurent

Only Yves Saint Laurent could take patent leather, combine it with thick gold chains, and come up with something classy and subtle. This tiny, rectangular black clutch has a flap front and a pair of heavy gold chains running up either side. The patent leather bag is only slightly larger than your hand, big enough to fit your cash, credit cards, and phone, but not much else.

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