10 tips on how to pick a designer bag that you will love for life
I’m guessing if you’ve stumbled across this post it’s likely that you’re in the market to buy a designer bag. WELL HELLO! They don’t come cheap and you want to get it right and I don’t blame you. I pondered and dithered (and saved) for six months to buy my first ever Mulberry, but since that day I’ve been guilty of rushing into buying bags which inevitably I resold as they just didn’t work for me.
Well, worry not, bag lovers, because I’m here to help you. I would LOVE it if you were to learn from my mistakes and find the bag of your dreams in one easy swoop. It may sound boring, but a bit of time and energy spent in research (zzzzz, but stick with me) can reap dividends when it comes to investing in a high-end bag that you will truly love AND love to use. I’ve found that some of the most beautiful bags are just a hassle to carry and totally did my head in…. but it’s very much horses for courses and what suits one person will be a nightmare for someone else.
So, here are my 10 tips for finding a bag you will truly love AND that will work for you. There’s a bit of trial and error but crucially you should do it BEFORE you hand over your credit card.
- Go for classic colours. That neon orange bag in the sale is a steal but can you see yourself loving it in a few years? And will you wear it as much as a classic black, tan, grey, navy or oxblood? If so, then go for it. If not, then it’s best to invest in a classic colourway. If nothing else, if you ever decide to sell the bag it’s likely you will get a better price for it.
- Avoid exotic leathers. Calf/pony hair could go bald over time (as it rubs against your body), snake and python can peel and the scales lift, ostrich is just a bit yuck and dated.
- That includes avoiding suede. Such a hard material to care for and you could never take it out when there’s even a 1% chance of rain for fear of it getting ruined. It also suffers from colour transfer more than other leathers and picks up dirt much easier.
- In fact when it comes to leathers, pick one which is more durable. Think grain, embossed croc, saffiano, natural, goat/glazed goat. Avoid smooth calf (as it can mark and scratch easily).
- Think about the strap. A chain adds weight and may be uncomfortable or it may work for you or you might find a leather strap more comfortable. Try the bags on before you buy (or order them to your home and even try them with some of your things in to get an idea of weight and comfort). Can you easily change the strap’s length? Does this matter to you?
- What’s the fastening like? Is it easy to get in and out of the bag while carrying it? Buckles can be a real faff and are best avoided for your own sanity!
- Does the brand matter to you? Do you only buy one brand or have your heart set on a bag by a certain designer? If you do and you are in love with one bag but see another which ticks most of your boxes, I’d say save up/hold out for the one you really want, otherwise you won’t be satisfied and will probably end up with two bags – the one you bought instead of the one you really wanted… and the one you really wanted. Which then turns into an eBay pain trying to recoup some of your money. Yeah, I’ve been there.
- Size matters. Some bag styles come in various sizes (e.g. Mulberry’s Lily) which is great but also another level to negotiate which bag will work best for you. I love bags which are on the smaller side as I prefer ones which are light and don’t get in my way too much. If you’re unsure, have a look at the things you *have* to have with you and check the size of the bag you’ve got your eye on. Also maybe think about trying the bag with your things inside (point 5) before you buy, to double check the size works for you.
- How will it fit into your bag collection? I recently bought a Hill & Friends Happy Tweency in black grainy calf because I realised I didn’t have a small black bag in my collection (weird I know). If all your bags are black you might decide to change it up with something a bit different like a splash of red, or you might want an everyday bag in oak. Or if you’re after an evening bag for a specific occasion (but want to be able to use it again) metallics could be the way to go. Then again if you know you really want a bag in a certain colour and will use and love it, don’t be swayed!
- Colour transfer. A final note if you’re looking at a lighter colour of bag – and a bit of a warning from my own (sad) experience. Lighter bags are so much harder to look after and suffer more from colour transfer and staining. I’ll never buy a white bag again after what happened with my now erstwhile Mulberry Alexa. I managed to avoid denim transfer as I used the bag in the summer but it suffered a fate just as worse – suncream. My lovely white bag came out of its dust bag with horrible yellow stains as the greasy cream (which I hadn’t realised was on it) reacted with the buffalo leather. I should have thought about it and realised something could have happened as I plaster on the factor 50 in the summer months. So yeah, the last point is, if you want to be using your designer bag for years then avoid pale colours (and definitely avoid them touching anywhere on your body where you’ve rubbed sun cream). Please learn from my mistakes!
So all these points considered, what are my top picks for designer bags right now? I’m so glad you asked (and there have been some peeks throughout this post).
My Top 10 Best Designer bags to buy RIGHT NOW
I’m all about the crossbody at the moment – hands free, easy, comfortable but also classy. I’ve tried to cover a range of price brackets so hopefully there’s something you love.
- Kate Spade Jackson Street Gabrielle in Oxblood. I want, want, WANT this bag for autumn.
- Mulberry Small Lily in Midnight. Such a classy bag and will work just as well for both day and night.
- Saint Laurent Medium Grain Leather Satchel. A classic in classic black.
- Chloe Marcie in Teal Green. I love the shape of this bag and the green is a nice twist.
- Gucci Marmont in Red. It’s the colour of the season after all.
- Valentino Rockstud. An edgy classic.
- Proenza Shouler PS1 Medium Grained Satchel in Indigo. Absolute bag goals.
- Victoria Beckham Half Moon in Black and Blue. A modern classic.
- Anya Hindmarch Vere leather satchel. A very clever bag with lots of storage.
- Jimmy Choo Arrow leather crossbody in gold. If you’re looking for something a bit different.
I hope you found this guide helpful and it makes it easier to avoid buying a bag which isn’t quite right for you. I’d love to hear what you think!