As the saying goes: a fool knows the price of everything and the cost of nothing.
I used to think that designer bags were a complete sham – but after years of wasting money on low-quality goods, my perspective has changed. I now believe that a designer bag can be a great investment.
Designer bags may seem like an outrageous luxury (and they are – having an expensive, designer bag is not a necessity by any means), but they can actually be an ethical choice and a sound investment.
I have two designer bags:
The Céline Mini Cabas: which I was lucky enough to buy at half price because of a generous discount at my former job.
The Balenciaga Classic First: which I wanted for YEARS and eventually found someone selling on Kijiji (a classifieds website in Canada), used only once, for half of the original price.
I’ve seen amazing designer bags in great shape at various consignment, vintage, and online stores, so one needn’t break the bank entirely to own a designer bag. It just takes a bit of patience and research.
Before I owned these two bags, I found myself buying a few bags a year, since they often wore out quickly with daily use. Eventually I realized that investing in one quality bag made more sense than buying several over the course of many years.
Here’s why I think designer bags can be a great investment:
1. Buy it once; have it for life:
Buying a designer bag shouldn’t be an impulse purchase. Take your time and figure out what your needs for a bag are and pick a style that’s classic rather than trendy, reflects your personal style, and one that you’re sure you won’t tire of in the next 10+ years.
Go to several stores and look at brands/bags in person. Try them on so that you’re sure it feels right.
It’s also important to do research into the brand you’re buying. Not all high-end brands will be of equal quality, even though they’re sold at a similar price point.
Many (but not all) higher-end goods often withstand the test of time which prevents you from having to go out and buy a new bag every year or two – the maximum amount of time my low-quality bags have lasted.
My mantra: synthetic materials don’t age well; natural materials become more beautiful over time.
I believe my bags will become heirlooms – they’ll last my entire lifetime and I can picture myself passing them down to my future children.
2. It can be an ethical choice:
When I worked as a retail buyer, I attended many training seminars that explained the work and material quality that goes into making handbags and shoes.
I was blown away for the craftsmanship of Bottega Veneta products, for example. Their goods are made by hand in a gorgeous factory in Italy. The workers and their families are treated well and paid well for their skills, which take decades to learn. On top of this, Bottega Veneta (and all of the brands under its parent company, Kering) uses only the best leathers on the market, which means that materials are sourced sustainably and that the livestock are treated as humanely as possible.
3. Your enjoyment:
Beyond the discussion of quality, there is also something to be said for simply enjoying an item.
I’ve never gotten the same feeling from looking at any other bag I’ve owned as I do from looking at my Celine. I love the bag as much as the first day I bought it, over 3 years ago.
A designer bag will add elegance and simplicity to your life. It’s a luxury that will elevate all of your outfits and even your home – I love the look of my bags even when they’re just sitting on my couch. They’ve become part of my life, rather than a purely functional item.
4. Many of the higher-end brands stand by their products and will do repairs – even years after you’ve bought the bag:
Part of my job as an assistant buyer when working in the designer world was to process client repairs. Most designer brands understand that your purchase is important to you and will stand by the quality of their goods. If a strap breaks off, for example, they will likely be able to fix it or offer some kind of compensation. You can ask the sales associate about this before you commit.
5. Resale value:
You buy your designer bag with the best intentions, thinking that you’ll have it for life, but alas, you become tired of it or it no longer fits your lifestyle.
It happens. Our needs and wants change over time, but luckily designer bags have a good resale value – and some can even increase in price.
You can make back a sizeable portion of your investment by selling online or on consignment. My Balenciaga, for example, is no longer being made and is considered a collector’s item – I’ve seen these being resold online for more than I bought mine for.
Would you invest in a designer bag?
Which brands (designer or otherwise) are your favorite for quality?
Let me know in the comments below!