IYKYK: Top Understated Handbags

product image of blue hermes lindy bag and black fendi peekaboo on white background FASHIONPHILE

Money talks but wealth whispers. Because if you know, you know…


From Succession, to Gwyneth Paltrow’s courtroom looks, ultra-luxury minimalism is everywhere – yet hard to spot. Also known as “IYKYK” or quiet luxury, which includes pieces that don’t quite get the same airtime as their ultra-luxury counterparts. Clearly, we know that doesn’t mean they’re of lesser value. It just means that these understated pieces, the unsung heroes of ultra-luxury fashion, don’t need the constant spotlight or a lineup of reviews to maintain their excellence.

Understated ultra-luxury falls under “quiet, understated, coded luxury,” as our fabulous friend Charles Gross proclaims, and we couldn’t agree more. A coterie of fashionistas know quite well the level of status that certain pieces bring to the table. Lavish, timeless, alluring, and tasteful, understated quiet luxury handbags are the pieces that a true pioneer in fashion would instantly recognize in passing. Ready to show the world that you know, too? The following are tried and true minimalistic styles that are high-quality and understated, but never boring.

Top Understated Quiet Luxury Bags

Bottega Veneta Arco

One of Daniel Lee’s iconic bags for the house, the Arco bag, is named after a historical Italian arch located in Milan, where Bottega Veneta’s Fall Winter 2019 show took place. The Arco bag style comes in several sizes ranging from the Mini to the Arco 75.

The Bottega Veneta Arco bag is not to be confused with the Arco Tote, which exhibits slight design variations. Sizes for the Arco Tote range from Small to Large, and you’ll notice that this bag presents a more traditional rectangular silhouette, whereas the regular Arco features a flap with additional architectural elements. Both bags are equally gorgeous. The iconic Intrecciato weave almost gives the brand away. To all the fans of carryall totes like the Dior Book Tote or the Louis Vuitton Neverfull, the Bottega Veneta Arco is a necessary addition to your collection.

Pst! Call us crazy but there’s potential for this tote (and more) to be an incredible baby bag, too!

Loewe Puzzle

This Spanish house does not disappoint. The Puzzle bag is an iconic staple for anyone looking to add to their growing ultra-luxury collection. The style was brought to you by the legendary Jonathan Anderson (otherwise known as JW Anderson to many fashionistas) back in 2014 for the Men’s Spring-Summer 2015 presentation.

The Puzzle bag since then has evolved to become a go-to staple for those keeping up with the latest minimal-style trends. Its distinct shape, made of separate pieces and stitched together, makes this particular ergonomic style so unique and unlike any other handbag in the market. Sizes include NanoMiniSmall, and Medium.

Hermes Lindy

In the world of Hermes, a true luxury investment doesn’t have to stop at Kelly bags or Birkin bags. The coveted French house offers an entire lineup of luxury handbags and accessories at various price points. And at FASHIONPHILE, there are an array of options to choose from no matter your budget. Leave it to Hermes to offer a roundup of perfectly understated styles, such as the newest Geta bag inspired by Japanese footwear. She is so perfectly minimal and definitely a style to watch.

But another contender worth considering is the Lindy bag. Nothing new to see here, but this style is one of the more accessible options from Hermes that you can buy right now. The position of the handles on the Lindy bag really sets this style apart from the others. It is designed to be a more comfortable way to wear a handbag out and about.

Fendi Peekaboo

The Peekaboo is one of Fendi’s most timeless icons designed by Silvia Venturini Fendi, granddaughter to the founders of the Italian house. After debuting in stores back in 2009, this beloved style (even over a decade later) is still popular and surely it is here to stay. If you love the Hermes Kelly, then the Fendi Peekaboo satchel is right up your alley – with similar features such as a single top handle and a removable shoulder strap.

Coming in an assortment of colors and textiles, you can find the iconic Peekaboo satchel in sizes ranging from Micro all the way up to Large. Any luxury aficionado can spot this style from a mile away for its contemporary shape, and draped look when unlocked.

Honorable mentions:

The Chloe Mini C Double Carry, the Celine Belt bag and C bag, and if you love animal bag charms, Burberry’s Thomas Bear bag charm adds the perfect splash of personality. Want to know more? You’ll enjoy this post about lesser-known designer brands worth adding to your repertoire.


What’s not to love? If you love it, buy it. Ultra-luxury comes in so many shapes and sizes. At FASHIONPHILE, new arrivals are added daily. Shop all handbags!
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