Owning a designer's bag is a personal experience. It gives you the same feeling as buying a new car or getting a new pet. It is a mood lifter and also spirit enhancer. Well, I am speaking from experience. I am not sure what is your take on buying designer's bag.
Some see it as a waste of money and unnecessary purchase. And some think that it is an avenue to show off a person's financial reputation. This is why I feel that buying a designer's handbag is a personal experience.
In my opinion, it is a way of rewarding yourself. And whoever said it is a reflection of a person's wealth has definitely never gone through the process of owning one. It takes a lot of sacrifices and saving plans to do. And these are my simple advise if you are going to purchase your very first designer's bag with your own money (keyword: "own money". If your husband is going to get you a bag, these rules don't apply).
#1 - Start with mid-range brand
Don't jump into super high-end brand such as Chanel, Prada, Gucci and alike. Start with mid-range brands such as Michael Kors, Coach, Kate Spade, etc. This allows a transition to test out if you're going to like the bag or not. Also it won't hurt your bank account so badly.
Michael Kors is probably the best option because the leather used to build the bag is the same saffiano leather used on Prada bags. The MK Jet Set Tote is similar to Louis Vuitton Neverfull and the Selma bag is similar to Givenchy Antigona.
#2 - Get a canvas type instead of a leather one
Leather bag is about 3 times more expensive than canvas type. Getting a canvas bag also one of the transition method to try out if you are suitable for the shape and size of the bag. Canvas bag is also easier to take care. You don't have to worry about it being scratched or tear. For leather bag, you need to take care of it, such as getting it rain coated (which means you need to spend more money to coat the surface of the leather), you also need to clean it from time to time (another cost here) and once scratched, there is no turning back.
#3 - Getting the usual shape of bag
Understand the bag shape that you usually use. Take a look at the bags that you usually purchase and match against your day-to-day utility. Purchase a similar shape of bag when it comes to buying designer's bag. That way you wouldn't waste your money on a bag that you won't use.
My style is always bucket bag and medium sized cross body for my weekend outings. For traveling, I would go for tote bag because it holds a lot of stuff and very easy to carry around.
#4 - Avoid getting a big bag
Get a basic mid-sized daily bag that you can reach out more often instead of a big bag. The bigger the bag, the more expensive the price. Moreover, you will tend to add in more items in a bigger bag which will spoil the bag in a long run.
#5 - Get a natural tone color
Avoid striking colors such as fuschia, purple, green, cobalt blue, yellow or orange. Go for classic black, white, brown or nude to be safe. Natural tones are easily match with any outfit.
#6 - Avoid trend
Any bag that falls under the seasonal trend, with prints or limited edition don't last. It does not fetch any value and goes outdated in a few years time. Do you remember the Louis Vuitton monogram with sakura print? The world already forgot about its existence. Instead, get a classic style that is a permanent design.
#7 - Invest on the value
Some bags come with a value. For example the Chanel 2.55, Hermes Birkin, and Lady Dior. The prices will appreciate according to the market value. Make sure you ask the sales person for the history of the bag. Bags like these are not for frequent use. It is for resale and investment purpose.
#8 - Purchase a pre-owned bag
There are a lot of dealers that sell second hand bags that is in mint condition and comes with original tag and box. Some are unused. The prices are cheaper so you can save a lot. To make sure what you'e buying is original, buy from reliable third party seller such as Reebonz.
#9 - Purchase from independent sellers
There are a lot of independent sellers that selling designer bags at a cheaper price. Reebonz is usually the reliable seller (No, I swear this is not an ad). Femme Fatale is also another reliable seller which can be found at Avenue K. Never purchase directly from individual seller because you will never know if it is a fake or authentic one.
Now, tell me, do you have any bag in your list that you really want? I will be going to Paris soon. So, if you have any wishlist, do contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be there during Boxing Day, so I am really looking forward for the legendary sale that everyone mentioned to me before.
Also, check out my travel blog for First Timer's Guide to Buying Luxury Bag in Europe.