Not so much a New Year’s resolution, but since the being-unemployed-and-having-no-money-and-then-getting-a-job-and-making-a-lot-less-money-than-before thing, I’m trying to spend my money more wisely (to varying degrees of success).

I know they say to make your investment pieces your shoes and handbags. My tendency, however, is to buy a lot of clothing rather than pay for quality and have fewer items. (I can’t help it! I see cute things and my fingers order them without my brain engaging! I could never even pretend to be French.)

The thing is that, like with the Chloé Susanna boots, I just can’t reconcile paying the price of a trip to Europe on a pair of shoes. That’s not to say I haven’t ever paid what I consider too much money on a pair of shoes or have only cheap handbags. But I do prefer buying lesser known or, preferably, indie designers. I don’t like advertising for a brand. The one bag I have that has a well-known name on it (thought it’s a canvas bag), I wear that side on the inside.

(I do confess the desire to one day own at least one pair of Manolos or Jimmy Choos or Louboutins.)

So, given my usual aversion to status bags, I am surprised by my recent fascination with them.

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Two bloggers that I read have both been posting looks with their Chanel quilted flap bags. There is no way to hide that this is a Chanel bag. If I wore it backwards, there would be no point. (Not that I could afford any of them even used.) But look, there is something so undeniably special and fashionable about them.

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And Chloé rears its ugly head again. The Marcie bags are so distinctive. Again, it’s not like anyone could think you were carrying anything but a Chloé. But my friend Judith in Nice has one in a different color, and when I saw her carrying it, something inside me went, “Wow, that’s really kind of nice.”

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Similarly, when I met up with Olivia the other day, we were on the subway back to Brooklyn, and I just had to fondle her Céline luggage tote bag. (Is it stupid to say that I have never been that close to a big-name designer bag?) And I couldn’t help but admire it. I was surprised by how much. Olivia said it’s just the perfect bag with everything, and I really couldn’t argue.

bagcraze_mulberry_neely5 I’ve only just discovered the Mulberry Neely bags, but OH MY GOD, the vintage feel of them, I just die. I do like that they are only well-known if you know of them. They don’t have a conspicuous name brand anywhere. But there’s still the matter of the price.

I’ve noticed that it’s much more usual to see women walking around with status bags, say, in France. It is a big French thing to spend the big bucks on pieces like this. I do wish often that I could emulate their effortless stylishness. Minimalist outfit, status bag.

Not that, even if I stopped buying makeup for a year, could I afford one of these bags. I have big, big things to be saving up for (World Cup in Brazil, what?!) But my heart has been lost, and I can’t help the longing.

If you could get a status bag, which would you get?
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24 comments on “Is spending money on designer handbags worth it?”

  1. I think it's funny how often I will drop a relatively large sum of money on a meal, or groceries, or a night out — all things that last a brief period of time. And then I will hem and haw over an article of clothing that will be useful on a daily or almost daily basis, or that will last a very long time. It's silly really! I say if you can afford it, and you truly love the item, it's worth an occasional splurge.

    • Whereas I stress about spending money on those things because of all the things I want to buy! But you're not wrong; they do say that it's experiences and not things that make people happiest.

      I definitely can't afford any of them right now, anyway. 🙂 I've just had them in my face a little too often lately for me to block them out!

  2. Eh, Chanel doesn't do it for me.

    I am fine with paying more for quality, and since I have ripped through many bags that I use daily, quality is important to me, but at a certain point it's not about quality anymore, it's just the designer name and the status. I also don't like the idea of wearing big logos and advertising a luxury brand that not only would I not be paid to advertise but I would be paying dearly to do their advertising for them. Not cool with me.

    • It's not so much that Chanel does it for me, it's just this timeless stylishness that it brings to an outfit. I've just been seeing them in a lot of different looks. I supposed I could find something similar from a different brand, as well. (Or a non-brand.) But if you're going to go for it…then you should just go for it? I don't know. I don't like advertising either, as I mentioned. But sometimes you just suck it up and do it if you really love it.

  3. I think it all sort of depends on what you can afford. If you can afford to splash out the cash on a designer bag and it will make you happy, then why not? But if we're talking about a choice between the bag and saving up for some really cool experience (like travel) then I'd go for the experience every time. 🙂

    • Apparently my head's the same as yours, but my heart wishes it wasn't? Heh. I always choose the experiences over the big investment purchases (the little ones are a struggle for me). But maybe one day… 🙂

  4. I love chanel, but I don't like the whole "HELLO, LOOK I HAVE A CHANEL BAG, YES CHANEL, LOOK ITS MY CHANEL BAG, DID I SAY CHANEL, YES ITS CHANEL" thing as the logo screams. I love mulberry bags, the logo isnt huge, the price tag isnt that bad in the sales(sale at duty free +mulburry time for me!)

    Cornelia – Ineffable Beauty

    • THIS!!!

      I am so with you on that. Like, I think I would love to own one, but I would feel so self-conscious and conspicuous with it. Like everyone would be looking at the girl with the Chanel bag. When I just like the look of the bag and wouldn't care if it wasn't Chanel.

      I've been too intimidated to go into Mulberry at Duty Free, actually! I just assumed I couldn't afford it, anyway. I'll have to make sure and pop in the next time I'm traveling to/through the UK!

  5. Louis Vuitton just has this incredible pull over me which I can't describe.
    Santa thought that I was a good enough girl one year that he left one under the tree for me, which was very, very exciting, and I think that it's still the biggest and best Christmas present I've ever gotten, so Santa did well. Santa doesn't leave gifts like that on a regular basis as a general FYI!

    I think that it was my mother's attempt to get me more into fashion, because I mostly just wore those genie style pants and absolutely hated shopping, but weirdly enough was obsessed with Louis Vuitton. It didn't really work at the time, but that purse is literally my child.

    • I know many people who are just like you. I'm not sure if it's the monogram pattern and my aversion to advertising for brands, but LV has just never called my name (or I'd be in even bigger trouble! ). But, wow, you must have been especially nice that year! 😉 I can sympathize, though. If I had a purse like that, it would be my child, too. I'd probably be afraid to wear it outside!

    • That's a really good point! I need to work on my willpower so that I'm not compulsively buying cheaper things all the time! I feel like if I had one, just one good one, I'd be happy. Of course, then I'd have to pick! 🙂 Which do you have yourself?

  6. I hear what you're saying. And I too loved the Chloe Susannas though not enough to shell out that kind of money. Same for Chanel bags. Don't get me wrong. This is not to say I think others are making a mistake by doing so; I just don't think I need to have status bags to have style. I think the best dressed girls wears bags that aren't obvious "it" bags, you know?

    • I think the best dressed girls are the ones who don't care and just do what they want, whether it's having a Chanel bag or having a Target bag. 🙂 But I do get what you're saying. I wouldn't want it because it's a Chanel bag, I'd want it because I liked the way it looks. And I'd probably be wishing all along that it wasn't a Chanel. 😉

      But let's commiserate over the Susannas…sob!!! x

  7. Tricky question as I think that you not only pay for quality these days but much more for name.

    But then again I will dream forever of owning Hermes Birkin bag in soft pink or plum. (though seeing the kardashians toting them around almost ruins it for me ;-))

    • I do actually wonder how much better the quality is. I bought a bag that has a decent, but not status name, and it was decently expensive, and things that shouldn't be happening are happening. (Leather wearing away in places, etc.) So I agree that a lot of what you're paying for is the name, the status.

      And, oh! I forgot about the Birkins! But think of it this way: It really lessens what these status bags are when people like the Kardashians can tote them around so much more easily than most people. After a while, you're just chasing the brand name, and not even Hermes can give them any class. 😉

  8. okay. LV actually does call mmy name a lot. With my surname so i'm particularly sure its me. Chanel doesnt really do it for me. I buy designer bags according to my wardrobe. My bag should go with basically 90% of my outfits because its truly a once in a lifetime thing.

    • Like all things fashion and style, it's a personal thing. I have a lot of friends that adore LV. And it's not even so much that I adore Chanel, I just adore the look of that bag when it's being worn. I would probably have to stick to a black bag, just to make sure it matches, or another neutral, but colors like red do always call out to me…

  9. I recently purchased a Chanel (non-logo, non-quilted so it's not obvious) and an LV (green Mini Lin with tiny monogram) … both on consignment at Malleries.com. They're both about 10 years old and in like-new condition. I also got them at FANTASTIC prices after a lot of searching. Although I must admit there's a certain satisfaction in knowing I actually own a Chanel and LV — the bigger selling point for me is the quality as I don't wish to have my handbag scream "LOOK AT ME!!!" I also have two Coach bags (one recent and one vintage, both all leather with no logo) … again because of the quality.

    That's the extent of my handbag collection — small in number but large in excellence. Somewhere down the line, I may buy a vintage Coach Madison Copley which was made in Italy from caviar leather and oozes class. But … I dunno.

    As to if they're worth it, I think so from the quality standpoint. And if you're patient and search thoroughly, you can find them for a steal secondhand either on consignment or at a thrift store. You don't have to buy new. I got the Chanel AND LV for $1,100 combined. And yes, they're authentic. I also got a brand new pair of Chanel sunglasses that retail for $500 for $99 … again from Malleries.

    • I've never had a real designer bag to know if the quality really IS that much better. I mean, I know that's supposedly what you're paying for, but I can't vouch for whether it's true or not. 😉 If you can get designer that aren't all logoed up, I'd be more inclined to try. And, yeah, I'd have sought out reputable resell places rather than buy it brand new, most likely.

      • I can vouch that the quality of my Chanel bag especially is SHOCKINGLY good. It's made of caviar leather, which by all accounts wears like iron and is much more durable than lambskin. I can't get over how thick and solid the handles are. The whole bag is solid. When I bought it and received it, it looked like it had barely been used, which to me speaks to the level of quality.

        The quality of my LV, which I've been carrying since the spring (I carried the Chanel through the waning days of winter), is also great. Granted, it's not leather, but it also appears brand new although it's now 11 years old. For a canvas bag, it's about as tough as they come. I carry a lot of crap, and there's no notice of strain from the bag to hold it all.

        • That's all really helpful to know! One day I *will* save up the money and own one, so at least I know I'll be getting quality for my hard earned dollars. Can I ask where you got yours from? I'm always interested in reputable secondhand sellers. Thanks!

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