You’ve landed a high-paying job, finished grad school, or gotten a sizeable raise. In any case, you want to celebrate with more than just a fancy dinner. For most women, it’s a no-brainer: get a designer handbag.
Sure, there’s always clothing and shoes, but handbags are more likely to transcend fashion. They can’t shrink in the wash, nor can you get too fat or too skinny to wear them. More importantly, the right bag can go with everything. No matter where you go, a designer piece on your arm sends a message: that you’ve accomplished something and aren’t afraid to flaunt it.
Your first designer may not be your most expensive piece, but it can hold more sentimental value than that Birkin you treat yourself to when you reach even higher goals. It should therefore be something timeless, something that’ll still be in fashion (or at least not look ridiculous) a few decades down the road. Of course, it’s a matter of personal taste at the end of the day, but much of fashion is based on perception—and you want your handbag to reflect the right character.
Price is always a consideration, but what’s great about designer brands is that they’ve proven their quality. You are still paying for the logo for the most part, but you also get good craftsmanship, meticulous detail, and a guarantee of longevity. Prada, Dior, and Gucci are among the most reliable in terms of quality, and you only have to hold one for a few seconds to know that they’re worth the $3,000+ price tag. If you’re not quite at that level, there are mid-range labels that will give you close to the same quality for a lot less. Kate Spade and Marc Jacobs are among the more popular. Their designs may be a bit too modern for some tastes, but look around and you’ll find more than a few classic pieces that can hold its own against a Prada.
Not many of us can afford to pay retail for a handbag, but there are ways to save without scrimping on quality. Designer sample sales are a great source—try befriending the sales representatives for local dealers to get dibs on when the sales are. You can also go to designer warehouses (you may have to travel a bit to find the closest ones) where you can get designs from a season or two ago for half the price, sometimes even less. As you get more familiar with the designer market, you’ll develop a better sense of value—and you’ll be building your collection before you know it!