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This $29 crossbody bag is so stylish and functional, I had to buy two

People even mistook my bag as a designer piece.
Courtesy PJ Gach

At a recent swanky lunch, I wore a new crossbody bag from Amazon. This was the first time in my life in which I’ve worn a bag that people wanted to know what designer created it. Naturally, I was flattered. Was it Furla? Celine? A.P.C.? Their guesses had me thrilled that my bag gave the same impression as a high-end designer. I had the absolute pleasure of telling them that this gorgeous, sleek and trendy bag was not only under $30, but it came from the mega retailer site Amazon. The Chinllo Crossbody Shoulder Bag — which I loved so much that I bought it in two different colors — is so luxe looking, it even fooled the fashion crowd!

Chinllo Crossbody Shoulder Bag

Let me backup a bit. Back in August, I had this sudden desire to own a caramel brown bag. I suddenly needed one — desperately. However, I typically only have flings with bags, so I knew that this purchase had to be cost effective since it likely wouldn't be with me long term. I hit Amazon, typed in “caramel bag," and browsed through the results.

The quality is top-notch

When I saw this bag, I immediately noticed that it had all the trappings of a high-end luxury purse: shiny leather, gold clasp, adjustable shoulder strap, sleek silhouette, gold-tone hardware and glazing on the edges. I was a little concerned about the size of the bag, though. To me, this is a tiny bag. I usually wear/carry medium-sized purses. Would this square-shaped bag that only measures 9.3 x 2.8 x 6.9 inches work for my needs? Would it carry my stuff, or would it bulge at the sides? Then I thought, well you can’t go wrong with a luxe-looking bag for under $30. And if I amortized the price of the bag against usage, I would be ahead of the game — fiscally speaking, of course. So, I clicked the "buy it now" button and waited for it to show up.

Aside from the icky, paper-like dust bag, more of a sleeve, that this came in, I was seriously impressed with the purse in person. The vegan leather looks and feels like a well-crafted box calf leather. Because it’s vegan and not real leather, I’m not concerned about scratches or marks. I’ve dropped it, gotten it stuck on things, accidentally whacked it and it still looks new.

It also has a magnetic closure that can be tapped into place if you accidentally misalign it — I did (I'm a klutz). The strap is long and has holes just like a belt. By adjusting the strap, you can transform it from a crossbody to a shoulder bag to create a different look. While the bag looks like a classic as-is, turning it into a shoulder bag adds a touch of elegance to any outfit.

The bag's interior is bigger than expected

The biggest surprise to me was the bag’s interior. It is much larger on the inside than you'd think. After you open the bag, you’ll see a slim compartment, where a passport, thin wallet or small notepad can easily fit. Then, there’s the main compartment, where I fit a smaller-sized wallet, two pairs of glasses, at least three lipsticks, a mirror, tissue package, pen, anti-bacterial spray, a band aid and other essentials. There’s also an open top and a zippered compartment. The only thing I’m not fond of is the bag’s lining. The fabric feels flimsy.

I thought I would wear this bag once or twice. I was wrong. I use it constantly. In fact, I fell so in love with this versatile purse that I bought another one. My next model is their black alligator faux leather bag. It’s just as luxurious looking as the brown one, however, it gives off a different vibe.

I can wear this bag anywhere

I have a tendency to anthropomorphize stuff. Like, if a sweater is on the floor, I know it feels sad to be there. So, I create romantic backgrounds for my possessions — including my bags.  When I look at the black alligator embossed bag, I think it probably enjoys martinis on a rooftop, dinner dates at a chichi restaurant or walking through a glamorous art gallery. The brown one is rather sporty. She’s a bit horsey and likes spending the weekend in the country. She’s big on antiques and dive bars too. In real life, both bags have ventured into the supermarket, laundromat and shopping in big box stores.

Each purse looks pretty nifty when worn with jeans and a T-shirt — either bag can elevate any outfit. I also wear them with my more dressy wardrobe since they look more expensive than their under-$30 price tag. They’re so well-made, I’m sure that they will last for years.

As a self-proclaimed bag hoarder (with a few of my bags being designer), I have to say I'm impressed with this bag. Almost every day I wear either the stunning alligator embossed black bag or the satiny soft brown one, choosing this Amazon pick over my pricier purchases. Unfortunately for my wallet, I went online the other day and noticed that the brand Chinllo is now offering this bag in even more colors. I know I don’t need another one, but the other bags would look great on my arm, wouldn't they?