What makes a bag the everyday bag? We ask ourselves that all the time and to be honest, we’re still on the lookout for it. The right bag needs to be functional and aesthetically pleasing—and these are just the basics. We haven’t even begun to talk about size, materials and structure.

That said, it pays to spend time looking for it, because it is an investment after all. Ahead, five bags under $500 that we think would make excellent everyday bags—including one bonus bag.