There’s nothing really like the experience of going into one of the iconic fashion houses, running your eyes over all the beautiful handbags on display, taking in the smell of the shiny new items, trying a couple of them on, and ultimately taking one home with you. That experience alone is such an invigorating one and is followed by a follow-up adrenaline rush when you unbox that beauty at home. BUT, before making a high ticket item purchase, there are some things that I need to consider before even setting foot in the boutique.
Disclaimer: I would say that I am fairly new to the high-end handbag game, but these are things I’ve learned along my journey and would like to share. By no means am I an expert shopper or handbag aficionado. I don’t have nearly as much knowledge as many of the ladies and gents out there, and everything below is just my own personal take on things.
Before deciding on purchasing a bag, I like to look at the strength of the brand and how well it retains its value. Hermes, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton have historically been the top three brands that hold their value the most on the second-hand market.
Typically, if you purchased from the shop at retail price, and the bag is in excellent condition, a Louis Vuitton will get you back about 70-80% of what you paid for it. Chanel will get you about 100% back, or maybe even a bit of profit, and certain Hermes bags that are difficult to acquire (the infamous Birkin and Kelly) will almost always net you profit. If you’ve purchased your piece on the second-hand market at a steal, all the more power to you!
A strong factor that allows items from these fashion houses to keep up their resale value is the regular price increases which happen once or twice a year. Louis Vuitton has price increases around February-March every year on certain pieces, and Chanel is known to have a couple (or several) increases throughout the year on different handbag lines. Due to the regular price hikes, the value of the bag that you purchased prior, will have gone up and you can resell it at a comfortable price point, making back a majority of your money, or even a bit of profit.
I also tend to be quite conservative with the purses I buy, leaning towards more classical silhouettes and timeless colors. Each season, fashion houses release new designs, different colors, perhaps new material options, and sometimes even retire old designs. The classics are the ones that return to the shelves season after season, almost always with the same prints, color, and material, and have been around for years and years. For LV, the canvas Speedy and Neverfull come to mind. For Chanel, the classic flap bags and more recently, the super chic Boy bags. Purchasing a classic piece will ensure the value stays on the higher end of the scale. Such pieces are dubbed, “investment pieces.” How amazing would you feel knowing that you got all the usage you wanted out of the handbag and can now pass it onto someone else while recouping a majority of what you’ve paid for it?
Sometimes, a seasonal piece will gain a lot of traction on social media and the value of it becomes very high. However, more often than not, the more eccentric the handbag, the trendier it is which translates to a resale value that may not be ideal.
Does it wear easily? Some bags are made with hardier materials and finishes than others. For this reason, many people choose caviar finishes over lambskin at Chanel despite adoring the look of the luxurious, buttery lambskin. Materials like lambskin and suede are more prone to showing wear and tear, and because the bag’s condition directly affects the resale value, this is an important factor to weigh before making the final choice.
Your wardrobe is also very important when it comes to choosing a color for your new bag. Choosing a color that works with your go-to outfits will maximize usage of the handbag and lower the cost per wear. So far, I have only purchased neutral colors for my handbags as I prefer them over bold colors, and they’re easy to pair with anything in my closet which is also comprised of mostly neutrals and pastels. Black and beige really do go well with anything and everything, whereas a loud lime green colored purse will only get to come out on very specific occasions (if at all).
That being said, also watch out for lighter-colored handbags that are susceptible to color transfer. Lighter-colored handbags may be your cup of tea, but maybe you can’t be bothered with watching out for new denim or where you set your purse down. The same goes for untreated vachetta leather which is bound to patina over time and may get unsightly marks if the wearer is not careful.
Metals are also something to look at and consider before taking the plunge on a purchase. Do you wear jewelry? Do you only wear silver/white gold or yellow gold? Or do you mix and match? If you like to match metals, then it is very important not to overlook this detail when choosing a handbag. Typically, handbags come in either gold or silver hardware, so if you prefer to keep your metals the same across your body, then it may be a good idea to get one with hardware that matches your most-worn jewelry, especially if it’s your first luxury handbag. The last thing you’d want is to drop a ton of money on a bag and not use it because you can’t stand the mismatching metals. Now if you’re someone who doesn’t mind mixing metals, again, all the more power to you 😁
How does it look and feel on YOUR body? Nowadays with social media, it’s very easy for a specific bag to go viral and soon everyone is wanting one. However, keep in mind that everyone has different body types and what works for one blogger or YouTuber, may not work for someone else. I urge everyone to go to the physical boutique (if possible) and try the handbag on before making the big purchase. You may have had your heart set on that Chanel jumbo flap, only to realize that it just completely overwhelms your petite structure and is too heavy to be practical for your needs. Perhaps a crossbody bag that you’ve been lusting over just falls too low on your hip. Maybe a chain strap on a gorgeous shoulder bag digs in too much and will be too painful to wear for an extended time. What you see online can be very different from all of the smaller (yet significant) details that you will gather in person.
Is it practical? What do you plan to use this bag for? Always think about this because no matter how beautiful the purse is, you’ll be bummed when you don’t use it nearly as much as you want because it doesn’t hold all of your daily essentials, or the material is too delicate for the intended environment, or the shape of it doesn’t fit in your locker at work. At the end of the day, a purse is a purse is a purse. Its function is to carry your items from point A to point B. If there are certain aspects of it that would prevent you from using it, you may have to let it go and opt for a different style.
After all is said and done, I truly believe that a handbag is a deeply personal accessory. As long as you are happy with your purchase, that is all that matters. If you are okay with only wearing it once in a while, prefer unique colors and material, love the way it sits higher or lower on your hip, and/or it doesn’t hold its value over time, none of it matters as long as the bag makes your heart flutter and you are 100% happy and satisfied with it.
This post is just meant to point out certain criteria that I, personally, look at before completing a transaction, and I truly hope that some of you out there were able to find it helpful. It would be interesting to hear about what you look for before purchasing a luxury handbag too 😄 Please share below!
Thanks for stopping by 🌷🌷🌷