|Chanel Classic Flap Bag in Quilted Lambskin|
These very questions have been the subject of many a girls night out of late and even come up amongst the hug team so I thought I'd share my take on where to splurge vs. scrimp across various wardrobe essentials covering a new investment piece each month.
Considering you've got to carry your wallet and personal belongings in something anytime you leave the house, I rank the every day handbag as one of the first pieces in your closet that deserves a splurge. While an evening bag only comes out every so often (unless you're moonlighting as a socialite) a great day bag goes with you everywhere so why not invest a little bit more in a piece that works so hard in your wardrobe.
Bags can range from that $5 clearance find to well over $50,000, so here are a few guidelines to help you get the most value out of your purchase.
|Marc Jacobs Classic Wellington in Goat Skin|
Let me assure you, more expensive bags are constructed from higher end and more durable materials, have better quality hardware, and are crafted with meticulous care, often by hand. This means they last for years...and with proper care, generations. Bottom line: buy the best you can afford.
Tip # 2 - If you're planning to spend over $1000 on a designer bag, go with an established brand that has a history of producing iconic, yet timeless bags -- Louis Vuitton, Chanel or Hermès come to mind. Though each brand carries clout, I'd still go with the most popular styles or any limited editions they produce. Both will appreciate in value if you take proper care of them.
|Hermès Victoria II|
Tip #4 - Go for a classic silhouette not the "It" bag. As fun as it is to be on trend, unless you can afford to splurge regularly, it's not wise to buy the bag of the season. You're likely to get tired of it and fast. Plus, a less expensive bag in a more classic shape tends to actually look a little more rich. Something to keep in mind while you're saving up for your big splurge.
|Kate Spade Parker Place Margie|
Tip #6 - Do some research before dropping any coin! Start with a little window shopping first to see what styles and shapes are out there at different price points and make sure you're shopping from a reputable source. Consignment or vintage stores are fabulous ways to score a designer bag on a budget, but do a little background checking to be sure you're paying a fair price for and getting an authentic item. By the way, if it seems to good to be true, it likely is. Counterfeiting is still a huge problem in the high end handbag market so buyers beware.
Above all, remember that choosing an investment bag is a highly personal decision so along with keeping these six tips in mind, don't forget to choose a bag you really love at a price point you can actually afford (or at least pay off within a month) and will want to wear on a daily basis for years to come. If you're not ready to commit, there are tons of great bags in the $100 - $300 range (think: Danier, Coach etc.) that are a little more accessible and still a step up. Last but not least, once that bag is yours, be sure to care for your investment bag with love, keeping in it's dusting bag when not in use and protecting it from hazards like water bottle spills and pen marks so you can keep it in mint condition.
-- Tamika Auwai is our resident Style Editor, shopping enthusiast and Wardrobe Expert.
Image credits: Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Hermes, Kate Spade