March 17th, 2009
Accessories, Bags, Fashion Bomb 101, Louis Vuitton, Shopping
The Fashion Bomb’s Guide to Investment Bags for any Budget
By Claire

So we recently received an e-mail from Leah, who had a burning accessory question:

I’m looking for a handbag I can carry daily, has plenty of style, and is practical. Do you think it would be a good investment to purchase a Louis Vuitton Speedy?

Yes, but there are plenty of practical, stylish bags to choose from! If you too need some handbag help, read below for…

The Fashion Bomb’s Guide to Investment Bags for every budget!

celebrity-bags1

High Range: $700+

Meticulous craftsmanship and top of the line materials mean that these bags have high price points. Rest assured, however, that you can wear them everywhere–and pass them down for generations!


Louis Vuitton Speedy
, $700+:

brandy-louis-vuitton-speedy

Whether in camouflage, damier, or monogram, the classic Speedy is infinitely versatile. Wear it to go shopping in jeans, like Brandy, or dress up a black shift for a day at work.

Chanel 2.55 Quilted Bag, $1,000+:

chanel-quilted-handbag

Chanel’s Quilted handbag has infinite ‘pass down’ potential, and should be apart of every fashionista’s wardrobe. It might not be for every day use, but you’ll tap this bag for nights on the town and weekend excursions.

Yves Saint Laurent Muse, $800+:

serena-williams-ysl-muse

Introduced only two years ago, the Muse is the perfect luxury bag for the career woman–roomy enough for your magazines, yet elegant enough to make a splash.

Balenciaga Motorcycle Le Dix Bag, $1,000 :

nicole-richie-balenciaga-motorcycle

Celebrities flock to the Balenciaga bag for its hanging tassles and one of a kind shape–it’s quintessentially classic with a bit of edge!

Gucci Boston Bag, $630:

gucci-doctor-bag

Gucci has plenty of classics (Jackie O anyone?), but the Boston bag has a particularly cute shape. Whether vintage or brand spanking new, you’ll look polished and tasteful.

Now for…

Mid Range: $300-600

Expect to pay at least $300 for quality leather–expensive, but you’ll get lots of bang for your buck. These brands are known for offering a variety of styles, bright colors, and look-at-me hardware:

Coach Totes ($300+): Coach handbags carry a legacy of fine materials and high quality fabrics, and is one of America’s most notable luxury lifestyle brands:

coach-totes-1

Top Row: Parker Leather Satchel, $458; Leather Large Sabrina, $498. Bottom Row: Penelope Leather Shopper, $348; New Patent Zoe, $428.

Kooba Leather Hobos ($327-$645): Don’t want to blend in? Kooba bags are known for their distinct styles, dominant hardware, and hot colors like pink and yellow:

kooba-bags

Top Row: Kooba Tess Hobo, $575; Kooba Ryder Tote, $595. Bottom Row: Kooba Isabella Shoulder Bag, $327; Kooba Katy Medium Satchel, $387.

Botkier ($400-$600): Inspried by urban chic, Botkier bags are perfect for the busy woman on the go:

botkier

Top Row: James Tote, $650; Bianca Medium Satchel, $357. Bottom Row: James Satchel, $595; Sasha Small Duffel, $345.

Foley + Corinna ($420-$600): These have a cultlike following amongst New York Magazine Editors, who flock to them for their unmistakable style and no nonsense design:

foley-corinna

Top Row: Bender Bag, $485; Jet Setter Junior, $422. Bottom Row: Glazed Leather City Tote, $485.

Other great brands in this price range include Cole Haan and Marc by Marc Jacobs.

Last, but not least…

Low Range: $300 and Under

These might not be as eye catching as the above options, but they’re relatively affordable–perfect for these lean times:

DKNY ($200-$350): Donna Karan accessories are cute and functional while encompassing the fashionable DKNY spirit:

dkny-bag

Top Row: Urban Fusion Large Shopper, $245; Nappa Leather Hobo, $200. Bottom Row: Vintage Small Leather Sack, $285.

The Sak ($100-$200): The Sak has transitioned from woven to leather designs with panache:

the-sak

Left to Right: Silverlake Leather Convertible Satchel, $199. Gen Signature Leather Hobo Bag, $109.

Kenneth Cole ($80-$400): While Mr. Cole shines as a shoe god, his handbags are also fashionable and funky. Canvas or leather–you’ll make an impression:

kenneth-cole-bags

Top Row: Slick or Treat Shopper, $89; Hard to Pleats Hobo, $248. Bottom Row: New York Pleat Week, $260; Shoulder Service Bag, $242.

What is your go to investment bag?

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20 Responses to “The Fashion Bomb’s Guide to Investment Bags for any Budget”

  1. This is an EXCELLENT post Claire!
    ;D

  2. Wendy says:

    My go-to investment bag has always been a Coach. But this post has completely turned me on to a bunch of other bags. I love the Louis Speedy (the one Brandy is carrying, in particular). I’m also really liking the Foley + Corrina bags. I love this website and tell everyone about it. Keep up the excellent work!

  3. Kim says:

    For affordable bags I would recommend checking out Banana Republic. They have great quality leather in really chic styles.I get compliments on my bags from Banana all the time.

    Also a lot of the mid priced brands like Foley + Corinna and Kooba often pop up on Gilt Group sample sales.

  4. A*E* says:

    Thanks for this post! I’ve been in the market for an investment bag and have been eyeing that Kooba Ryder Tote for months!

  5. Anonyous says:

    Also check to find these bags at sample sales and regular sales…you can get anything in the low to mid price range for at least 25% off.

  6. JOY says:

    My investment bag was my Gucci (love her!). Until I get my fine Chocolate man, I’ll settle for my chocolate Guccissima!

    But I must say that after living in London, I am soooo against Coach. I think Americans wear Coach all too much and end up having the same bag as the next girl.

    My American sistas please switch it up! Coach doesn’t even make the quality they used to back in the day. Go to Nordstrom and see the vast variety of bags to add some pop to your everyday. And it may not even run you that much more.

  7. Nik says:

    @Joy

    I agree with you on these brands not making quality bags and understand that it’s not just Coach. Most of these “Luxury” brands don’t make quality bags like they used to, it can easily be said about all the labels listed especially Louis Vuitton, Fendi and YSL.

    I suggest reading “Deluxe-How Luxury Lost Its Luster” by Dana Thomas before you consider buying an “investment” bag to see what you’re really paying for when dishing out two months rent on a handbag.

    I commend you Claire on the Foley + Corinna bags, many don’t know too much about them but I’ve found that its the emerging designers who source domestically and internationally, and produce smaller yields that often have the best products – that’s where you’ll get an investment bag from and not too many people will have your bag.

  8. JJ says:

    I have the convertible satchel by the Sak, but in black. Since I’m a student and can’t really afford a Speedy or Gucci, it was a great practical choice. I love it and wear it often. I don’t think it’s necessary to go out and buy the LV, there are so many other go to bags. You may want to focus on getting key pieces for your wardrobe and then invest in a more expensive bag. There’s nothing worst than someone with a designer bag paired with cheap clothes or shoes. Makes me automatically think the bag is Fake!

  9. Leah says:

    Hi Claire. Thank you for this post. This is Leah (the person who asked the question. I believe Im down to two choices. I love love love one of the Foley and Corinna bags as well as the original LV Speedy (the larger one). I was definitely not aware of Foley and Corinna and am very grateful that I wrote you. You and your staff have been great with not only assisting me with finding out which kind of Coach bag Halle carried in previous pics but now you’ve given me some amazing ideas. I have some other ideas for posts if your ever interested. Thank you again! Many blessings to you and your passion!

    Best Regards,

    Leah M Jeffers
    jeffersleah@gmail.com

  10. bklyngrl82 says:

    I loove Marc Jacobs bags. Moderately priced, chic, and versatile. I’ve invested in two in the past year!

  11. Niks says:

    As a bag FIEND this post is right on point. Love love love this site, and kudos to the upgrade. I have to agree with one of the previous posters, laides please expand your bag line (when $$ permits). I’ve recently moved to Berlin (from Toronto) and everyday I literally ask people where they get their bags because I see amazing bags 24/7… Europeans def. have fashion on lock. Another fave site of mine is bluefly.com . I drool at the bags on there and they have a really wide range of bag collections/designers.

  12. kim says:

    Claire,

    Thanks for the great post. This really helped me. I have 4 of the 5 high range bags. I was considering getting rid of two 1) Balenciaga City Bag and 2)Gucci Jackie O . However, I decided to keep both after reading the article. I have a love hate relationship with LV. Nonetheless, I have small collection, which I had for years. My speedy has been sent out for service, so I have been carrying the eclipse lately. I don’t have a YSL. Really don’t like this one. My true dream bag – like every other fashionista – is a Hermes Birkin. Maybe one day I will be able to comfortably add one to my collection. ~That would be dreamy.~

    Thanks again,

    Kim

  13. Ally says:

    You can never go wrong with a Louis Vuitton Speedy, they are classic. I purchased my Damier Speedy 25 last year right after new years and haven’t looked back. I believe it is a must have for all women, you can dress it up or down.

  14. sloane says:

    i also suggest looking on ebay and using a website like the purse blog to help authenticate it before bidding. i’ve bought genuine chanel and gucci bags from ebay with the help of that website. i also suggest looking in vintage and resale shops. the bags are usually still of good quality with a significant price reduction. i bought a beautiful l.v. bag in a designer vintage store in nyc.

  15. sloane says:

    i also have to disagree with jj. i wear my chanel and gucci bags with vintage finds, zara, and forever 21 all the time. 1. because clothing generally won’t last as long as bags, shoes, and coats will. 2. because that’s the beauty of high/ low shopping, you can wear expensive and inexpensive pieces together and still look incredibly chic.

  16. i lvoe this post, getting a new bag the end of this month. I also think people should check out the label “Hype” I’m really into them now, super well made, luxurious and cheap compared to the other brands, they are on bluefly.com

  17. Claire says:

    I am late one this post. I agree with some of the comments. I love bags as well and there are a lot of fabulous chic bags by many designers. I just bought three bags last week from Loehmann’s in NY. Browse department stores where there is always a sale. Many offer coupons. Check on line sites like Bluefly.com. NET-A-PORTER.com and the like. Although name brand is great, you can really get quality leather bags at affordable prices. Also, check out boutiques who offer quality and style and the plus side is everyone won’t have your bag. I like Kooba, HYPE, Linea Pelle, Rafe New York. Cynthia Rowley and Besty Johnson make really cute and different bags. I can go on and on but you get the idea. Oh, I also love Coach bags. Try to get the limited edition styles. I have Coach bags I have never seen on anyone. Lastly, try outlets, T J Maxx, Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters.

    Happy shopping.

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