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Buying designer bags is definitely not for everyone. Maybe you don’t see what the added value is or you’re just not a bag person. Which is totally fine! But this post is definitely not for you.
I’m a bag person. A designer bag person.
Yes, I know it’s a lot of money but it’s the only — okay I’m lying I’ve dropped serious cash on shoes as well — item I spend more money on. Serious money. That’s why it’s important that I fully stand behind my bag choice. It’s just too much money to waste on something that I won’t wear a lot. I know I could easily sell it but I rather make the right choice from the start.
To make the right choice, the bag needs to check of a few boxes before I click it home. If you’re in the process of buying an expensive (designer) bag, this post might help you make the best choice for you.
Here are 5 tips to define if a bag is worth paying a fortune for:
#1 // IT’S A CLASSIC
If you need to save up for a more expensive bag, it better be a classic. The ultimate question to establish if it is, is:
Will I wear it more than one season?
A classic item is something that is timeless, goes beyond fashion and trends and lots of people invest in it. The Chanel flap bag, a Hermes Birkin or Louis Vuitton Speedy, to name a few. But also bags with a certain shape like the Céline Trio or the Balenciaga city bag.
Some newer classics are the Chloé Faye collection (the backpack is high on my list!), Saint Laurent Sac Du Jour or shopping tote, Céline luggage or Nano belt bag and the Gucci GG Marmont bag.
WHAT I'M WEARING*
#2 // THE MATERIAL & COLOR
Second one to define if a bag is worth paying a fortune for is the material and color. Both should be classics but also durable.
For materials I would go for a classic leather bag. It’s the most durable and doesn’t need a lot of maintenance. Do your homework beforehand on what type of leather the bag is that you want to purchase. Some leathers are much more delicate — aka scratch way faster — than others. Delicate leather looks better at first but will not be durable. Especially if this bag will be your daily companion.
I do love suede — especially combined with regular leather — or pony hair texture. I have the Jerome Dreyfuss Bobi bag in the most beautiful purple/pink leopard pony hair (it sounds like a circus but it’s really classy looking!). However, after just wearing it twice it already started to shed so now it has bald spots on the bag. Luckily I got it on sale because it wasn’t the greatest investment.
Another cool option would be textured leather like crocodile or snake skin leather. However, the real deal is not only extremely expensive, it’s also produced in the most cruel way. So make sure if you’re going for one of these textures that it’s not actually made of crocodile or snake.
If you want to go fully cruelty free, go for vegan leather or velvet. A brand that creates high end bags with vegan leather in classic shapes is Stella McCartney. For beautiful velvet bags you have to go to Gucci. It is however a more trendier fabric at the moment but it has a timeless feel to it in my eyes.
After selecting the right fabric you want to select the perfect color. Classic colors are:
- Black. Literally nothing can go wrong with a black bag. It’s classic, timeless and will go with any other color.
- Nude. Especially for a more spring/summer bag. Nude also works with lots of other colors. Side note: a nude colored bag does need a lot of attention because it can stain very easily.
- Dark red. A dark red, burgundy color feels really timeless but still gives a pop of color.
- Navy. Less harsh than a black but still a classic color. I personally don’t love navy but if black is too dark for you, a navy bag might work better.
Another one, one of my personal favorites, is a dark or olive green. This color matches super well with fall/winter and spring/summer colors. A pop of green looks amazing with an all black outfit and olive green will make you look more tan in summer.
If this is your third or more bag, than try to invest in something that will pop a little more. I personally have the Jerome Dreyfus Bobi bag that’s more colorful. Although the fabric didn’t work out, the color is just perfect. Animal prints in general are a great investment piece after you’ve got a couple solid colors.
#3 // IT FITS IN WITH THE REST OF YOUR WARDROBE
If an item is worth a lot of money you may want to go for something that will match with (almost) everything in your wardrobe. You probably have a certain style — for me it’s classic pieces with a little edge to it — so you want your bag to work with what you would normally wear.
For example, I wouldn’t pair a Saint Laurent Sac Du Jour if you have a more sporty look going on. It looks way better when you have a more classic look or wear a lot of suits. But also keep your life stage in mind. If your in your twenties I would suggest to go for a Chloé Faye bag and invest in something like Birkin later on in life. It just gives you a whole other look. The Chloé Faye range seems more youthful to me and a Birkin bag screams I got my life all in order (and we all know that in your twenties you’re far from that scenario).
One bag that I think will work for any look is the Chanel classic flap bag. I wanted to use it as an example of when a bag doesn’t fit with a certain style but it honestly goes with any type of style. Are you mostly in gym leggings and hoodies? It can suddenly elevate your look. Rocking leather trousers with a band tee? All of the sudden this look goes from casual to classic.
#4 // OCCASSION
Another thing to keep in mind is the occasions when you will wear this bag. If it’s your daily bag, you need to think about what it must fit. I got my Gucci Disco bag — also a classic that I can highly recommend — because it would fit my necessities like cards, keys and a small pouch with random stuff plus my Olympus E-PL7 camera. It’s just the right size for everything that I need to have on me.
If you go to a lot of evening events, you might want to think about investing in a clutch (formal — dinners, galas, gallery, etc.) or a good cross body bag (informal — concerts, festivals, product launches, etc.).
For work you want to go for a more tote shape. Which sounds simple but there are honestly lots of different tote sizes to choose from. Like with any other bag, think about what you need to carry in it. On my list is the Saint Laurent shopping tote bag — you also have the shopping bag which is also a tote but much wider — for work but it needs to be able to carry my laptop and Knomo Knomad organizer.
#5 // IN BUDGET
Most important criteria to define if a bag is worth paying a fortune for is the price tag that needs to suit your budget. It’s great if you have your eyes on a 2000 euro bag but if you make less than that and have bills to pay, you might want to look in the 600 – 1000 euro range. My most expensive bag that I’ve purchased was the Gucci Disco Bag* (I paid 790 euro, it’s now 890 euro) and right now that’s probably as high as I can afford to go at the moment.
If you’re looking for a classic, durable bag but not necessarily one from a big designer brand, take a look at Rebecca Minkoff (For the Dutch people: they sell her bags at Hudson’s Bay and De Bijenkorf). It’s one of my favorite brands that make leather bags for reasonable prices. I got two in my closet which both weren’t more than 250 euro. Most of the bags look pretty similar to some of the classic designer bags as well.
Another brand that has beautiful bags is Sézane. I personally don’t have firsthand experience but they simply look amazing. The most expensive one is their tote, which is 360 euro.
For stunning business bags you should check out Knomo London. I have their Knomad organiser but also the Elektronista clutch. Beautiful leather, but the inside is what makes it a winner for me. It’s designed with the busy (creative) entrepreneur in mind and is designed to carry a tablet of up to 10” in it. It also has lots of pockets to organise your belongings in which means you won’t have to look through your bag to find something. I actually made a video here about this bag. I don’t have experience with their other bags but based on the two products that I have, I can vow that they sell amazing products. There prices range from 80 euro for an organiser to 300 euro for a 15” laptop bag.
ON MY WISH LIST*
What (designer) bag is on your wish list at the moment? I’ve selected mine above!
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