I bought my first designer bag a few months ago in September, and I wanted to share my knowledge and advice on what kind of bag to buy, and my tips and tricks for how to save yourself a bit of money.
Before we get properly into the post, my number 1 piece of advice for buying your first bag is to buy a bag that you love. If you’ve researched it thoroughly, possibly tried it on in-store (or watched YouTube videos of the bag being used if you’re not able to get to a store) and have enough money saved up, then buy that bag. You’ll use it so much more often if you love it.
If you’re a bit unsure about what kind of bag, or what style to go for, there are three main ‘categories’ that I think are great for deciding what kind of bag you’re after. These three categories are work, weekend, and evening.
Work bags are bigger bags that can carry everything you need for work, e.g. a notebook, water bottle, purse, morning or afternoon snacks, and possibly a small laptop.
Weekend bags are smaller bags (likely a crossbody) that have enough space to carry all your essentials comfortably, with a bit of room to spare for extras, like a small water bottle. Plus they’re easy to carry; my definition of a weekend bag is a bag that enables me to keep my hands free, so I can shop or walk around without having to worry about holding my bag or having it get in the way.
Then in contrast to weekend bags, evening bags are often very small, often just big enough to fit your phone, keys, small wallet, and possibly a bit of makeup. Think a more glitzy bag, maybe a clutch bag or a bag with a small metal chain.
Categorizing bags into these 3 categories helps you to see clearly what kind of situation you want to use your designer bag in. I started off with a work bag, as I use bags in the week more regularly, so I knew I would get a lot of use out of it.
Test it out
Once you’ve decided (or maybe even before you’ve decided) what kind of bag to go for, my suggestion is to buy a cheaper high-street version of the bag to see if you’re really going to get a lot of use of the luxury version. Shops like Zara, Mango, Asos, etc. do a lot of designer ‘inspired’ bags, so try and find a similar style to the bag you’re thinking of getting, even if it’s just the same size.
Or on the other hand, maybe you’ve got a high-street bag that you absolutely LOVE to death, but it’s looking a little tired. You already know you love the style, so a designer bag in a similar style would be a really good choice.
For first bag, my recommendation is to try to stick to lower price point (under £6-700) to make sure you’re comfortable with spending the money. Lots of brands now do ‘entry-level’ bags, or even try newer brands like Mansur Gavriel, whose bags cost around £400 new. If you’ve got your eye on a more expensive bag, try going the pre-loved route where you can shave quite a big percentage off the retail price!
For the material of the bag, look for something that doesn’t scratch or show wear and tear easily. Some of the more scratch resistant materials include pebbled leather and saffiano leather (often used on Prada bags.) If you’re unsure about the probable condition of a particular bag or material after a few months, a good tip is to look on YouTube for wear and tear reviews, so you can see how the material looks and whether the bag is easily damaged just by using it in everyday life.
You probably won’t ever sell your first designer bag, for sentimental reasons, especially if you’re starting a collection. But just in case you need the money at a later date, it’s always good to start off your collection with a bag that has at least 70% resale value. Some brands that tend to keep their value as they age are Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Valentino and Chloe.
If you’re not as bothered about the shop experience, and more focused on saving money, or if you are looking for a higher-end bag, then try websites like Vestiaire Collective for second hand bags. By buying pre-loved, the resale value percentage is often a lot higher than buying new, which is one of the reasons I bought pre-loved for my first designer bag. I got a steal with my Givenchy Antigona – it was £650, over 50% less than the retail price of £1,450, which means I’d likely be able to sell it for the same (or possibly more! The average price of a pre-loved Antigona is around £900) than I paid for it. This also brings the price-point into the entry-level bracket, which made it a more comfortable purchase for me.
When you’ve chosen which bag you want to buy, shop around. Don’t rely or set your heart on the first place you find it on sale, the price can vary between different retailers, especially with different currency conversions. And look for discount codes, even on pre-loved websites. I used a 10% discount code from Vestiaire Collective on my Antigona, which helped bring the price down by around £60/70.
Keep an eye on my twitter (@thebagfreak) as I often post discount codes when I find them, as I know they can make quite a bit of difference to the final price, especially on a high-ticket item like a designer bag.
Work: Givenchy Antigona, Louis Vuitton Neverfull, Louis Vuitton Speedy, Mansur Gavriel Tote,
Crossbody: Gucci Soho, Anya Hindmarch Smiley Crossbody, Mansur Gavriel Bucket Bag