standing on street with black jeans and stripe sweater

How I Choose Which Handbags To Buy

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to collect handbags that I absolutely love. It’s taken me quite a while and there’s definitely been some trial and error. Last week, I was asked over IG some great questions on how I choose my handbags, and I thought it would be a very appropriate post. A handbag can instantly elevate an outfit. It can make a basic outfit of jeans and tees stand out. Here’s how I choose which handbags to buy.

I have loved handbags for as long as I can remember, they have always been the one accessory I have always been drawn to. I even remember my very first designer handbag was a leather blue Liz Claiborne back in the 1980s. Ever since I’ve been hooked on handbags.

My styles have changed over the years, but I’ve always had an appreciation for handbags with attention paid to the details of the bag. My handbag choices have also changed based on my lifestyle. I can no longer carry bags that fit just a phone and keys, I need the bag to be functional as well.

Purchasing a designer handbag is a very big decision and a big investment. However, if you stay with the classics then it will never go out of style and will only increase in value. I have looked at several of my handbags recently and the prices have increased dramatically, compared to what I paid.

What Have I Learned Over The Years Of Buying Bags

My first advice before purchasing a bag would be to think about how you’re going to use the bag. How is the bag going to fit into your lifestyle? Is this a bag where you use it daily or one just to go out? I love the look of the YSL leather shoulder bag, but it doesn’t seem very practical to me. This would definitely be a bag just for going out or for looks only.

I wish I would have thought about this more in my 20s and 30s when I was just buying bags to buy them. I also wish I would have spent less on bags from Zara and Target and saved this money to put toward more classic, investment bags. But, at the time that’s what my budget could afford.

Also, take your time before you invest in the bag. I actually think about a bag several months before I actually buy the bag. Designer bags are a big investment so you want to make sure you’re making the right one. There’s one bag I didn’t think properly about and now I sort of regret buying the bag. I’ll get into that more below.

Read reviews of the bag if they are available. I always try and find as many reviews online or on youtube as I can before I purchase a bag. And, always see the bag in person if you can. If not, make sure you buy it from somewhere that offers free returns. Don’t be afraid to buy bags second-hand either. There are so many great websites these days selling gently used handbags.

I also don’t love to buy bags that everyone seems to be carrying at the time. Specifically, this Chloe Tote is all over Instagram. I remember seeing this bag first last Summer and I loved it and almost purchased it. However, in the end, I thought maybe I would tire of the Chloe logo so decided against it.

I am so glad I didn’t get that bag because I would definitely be upset seeing everyone else carrying it now. Instead, I went with the Celine Triomphe Panier, and I love this bag so much. It’s simple yet classic and I love the coloring of the bag. I did notice it’s increased quite a bit since I purchased it last year but all luxury leather has gone up this year.

Last but not least when it comes to buying a designer bag, buy what you love. These are just the bags which I love but you know best which one will work for you or not.

What Bags Did You Not Keep

There are three designer bags that I purchased and did not keep. One was the Prada Saffiano Leather the Mansur Gavriel Lady Bag and the Chloe Mini Marcie. I didn’t end up loving the Prada bag for some reason. The color ended up bugging me too much(it was more blush than neutral) and I found it sitting on my shelf more than anything. I eventually ended up reselling it to The Real Real and used that money to buy my Celine Belt Bag, which is my favorite.

I bought the Mansur Gavriel Lady Bag before I bought the Celine Belt Bag. I thought it might be a more affordable option for the Celine Belt Bag. The leather ended up being really stiff, the bag would never sit up properly and scratched very easily. I also ended up selling this bag as well and putting it toward the Celine Belt Bag. I have since noticed Mansur Gavriel looks like they have changed the bag to be a soft leather which is probably better.

The last designer bag I bought but did not keep was the Chloe Mini Marcie in White. This was years ago when that bag was so popular and it seemed everyone had it. The bag itself is beautiful but hardly fit my phone and I ended up selling it after a few months. Sometimes, I regret selling that bag because it’s such a classic but I couldn’t justify keeping it when my phone wouldn’t even fit.

Do You Think You’ll Still Buy Non-Neutral Bags?

Honestly, probably no. I have bought a few nonneutral bags in the past and actually ended up selling them because I ended up not loving the color. Maybe if I had endless amounts of money and didn’t care about how much I spent on bags, but that’s not the case.

It’s obviously much easier to use a versatile neutral bag for each season. And, I learned with the Prada bag that it’s better if I have a neutral one versus one with a shade of color.

Favorite Bag Style

For me, that would be a bag that I can wear crossbody, where I can go hands-free if needed. I obviously carry totes but I think the most versatile ones are crossbody. However, I do have this YSL Niki shoulder bag on my wish list as well as this Celine Triomphe shoulder bag. I actually do not have a brown bag if you can believe that besides the Louis Vuitton Neverfull, which I don’t use as much at the moment.

Must Own Bag

The Celine Micro Belt Bag in my opinion is one of the best to have. Followed by the YSL camera bag. The Celine is versatile, has held its structure very well, and holds everything I need. The YSL camera bag has surprisingly become one of my favorites as well. It’s easy to throw on, goes with everything, and also holds everything I need. It’s not particularly a large bag by any means, but it holds my phone, keys, lipstick, hand cream, sunglasses, and a few other random things.

Favorite Bag Brand

Celine is my favorite brand for bags because of the designs, classic appeal, subtle logos, and the bags are so timeless. I don’t think it’s any surprise I am drawn to French brands more than anyone else.

Workhorse Bag

I have two that I absolutely love but use in different ways. For my everyday use for work and running errands when I need a larger bag it’s my Cuyana Leather Zipper Tote. The size of the bag is perfect, not too big or bulky. Since the bag is all leather it can tend to feel heavy sometimes so that’s something to keep in mind. I do wish it had a crossbody option where I could add a strap.

For travel, my workhorse bag is the Longchamp Le Pliage Néo Large Shoulder Tote in black. I first bought this bag years ago to take to Paris and it’s been traveling with me ever since. It’s lightweight nylon that’s spacious and not heavy. This bag is all over the streets in Paris.

For both bags, I use this insert organizer to keep things all in one place. I highly recommend using one of these if you have any sort of tote bag. Also, the interior color doesn’t matter much to me, especially with the insert organizer. I wouldn’t buy a bag with a colored interior but I don’t mind black or grey interior lining.

How Do You Feel About The Hardware On A Bag

Hardware is one of those tricky things because it’s either in your face or subtle. I tend to prefer subtle hardware vs in your face logos. I am not a fan of the Gucci Marmont because the logo is tacky to me and I don’t like the coloring. However, I do like the Gucci Horsebit bag because the hardware is subtle and classic. My YSL camera bag has a logo but it doesn’t bother me at all and in fact, I like the design of the YSL logo because it feels very feminine.

My Designer Handbags:

YSL Camera Bag

I love the shape, size, and material of the YSL camera bag. It can be worn crossbody or over the shoulder and the tassel does come off if you want. The bag is beautiful leather and the logo is a very nice gold color, not yellow like some logos I’ve seen.

Celine Micro Mini Belt

My favorite bag is my Celine Micro Belt Bag for many of the reasons I mentioned above.

Chanel Wallet On A Chain

I received this bag as a 10-year anniversary gift when we were in San Francisco several years ago. It’s a very classic Chanel bag but it’s also tiny. I can carry a few cards, my phone, and lipstick. However, it’s Chanel so I don’t mind at all.

Goyard Belvedere PM

This is the one bag I didn’t think much about before purchasing and sort of regret it now. I was in Paris when I bought the bag and instantly fell in love with it. It’s an incredibly gorgeous bag and I just love the Goyard pattern. However, it’s very tiny inside and I didn’t give this much thought. I can barely get my phone inside the bag. I don’t like the idea of selling the bag but I have considered doing this and putting it toward one of the other bags I would like.

Celine Panier

The Celine Panier is a great basket bag for Spring and Summer. It’s a bit oversized but I love how simplistic it is yet still classy for a basket bag. I love to wear this with jeans, a tee, and sandals or espadrilles. It’s definitely an investment for a basket bag but it’s so classic and timeless.

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2 Comments

  1. This was an excellent post! Such thoughtful and helpful descriptions and handy links to see and compare options. I do LOVE that Celine micro belt one!!