May 17th, 2012
Bags, Celebrity Style, Fashion Bomb 101, Shopping
Fashion Bomb 101: Ten Fly Investment Handbags
By Claire

MBA Candidate writes, “Love FBD and the entire crew! I absolutely adored the post you did on 15 Luxury Shoe Brands, and am hoping you will do a similar post on handbags! I am finishing up my MBA program, and would like to treat myself to a classic go-to bag for work. I typically don’t enjoy carrying bags in the crook of my arm, but I’d like to see a variety of options. Thank you so much!”

Though we did a guide to investment handbags back in 2009, I realize that styles and trends change, and new houses offer silhouettes that become must haves. Sure, the Louis Vuitton Speedy, Gucci Boston, and Chanel Caviar 2.55 are still classics, but there are of course a few more to add to the list. You ready?

$1,500 and up

You’ll spend a ton, but you’re paying for top craftsmanship and quality. Expect to hold onto these bags for years.
1. Hermès Birkin and Kelly Bags:

Though we neglected to mention Hermès options in our first investment bag post, the brand’s popular Kelly and Birkin styles are the big momma/I have arrived/who gone check me boo bags.

Handmade in leather, the elusive pieces can cost from $9,000 to $150,000 depending on materials. The ultimate status symbol, you can’t even purchase them online, and there are typically waiting lists to get one of your own.

If you’re up for the splurge, visit www.hermes.com for a boutique near you. Note: You can also rent Hermès bags for $510-$1,632 per week at www.bagborroworsteal.com.

2. Céline Totes


The fashion editor and celebrity favorite boasts a simple design, sleek features, and oversized shape. Priced from $1,800-$2,500, the carryall comes in everything from basic black and brown to blue and hot pink.

Though the bag’s more popular hues are often sold out, you can catch a few at Barney’s or Saks.

Get yours here:

3. Givenchy Nightingale
20120517-115355.jpg
A Fashion Bomb favorite, the Givenchy Nightingale epitomizes understated luxury. The top handle bag features polished pale goldtone hardware, signature straps, and a subtle house symbol.

Get it in cobalt blue, green, beige, red, neon green…the options are endless.

To get one of your own, you’ll have to drop $1,795-$2,375.

Peruse a few hues here:

4. Balenciaga City, Giant City, and Arena Handbags.

Balenciaga bags have always been hot, starting with the Le Dix bag in the early naughts, and evolving into a few newer versions including the City, Giant City, and Arena.

The updated iterations boast more pronounced gold or silver hardware, and eye catching grommet details.

If you want this beaut, you’re going to have to drop anywhere from $996-$1,845. Check ‘em out:

5. Proenza Schouler PS1 .

This new kid on the block is definitely young and hip, and does well in brighter colors and patterns.

The bag’s flap details and satchel silhouette give it a schoolgirl charm, but the supple leather and top handles are all grown up.

Though playful, these bags are no joke, with an average price of $1,595. See a selection here:

$500-$1.000
If you can’t afford or don’t feel like paying over a g for a bag, there are some great options for you from brands like Alexander Wang, Diane von Furstenberg, and more.
6. Alexander Wang Rocco Duffle

The cute bag skews casual, though it has ample bling thanks to signature gold tone rivets at the base.

For $875, you have your choice of colors like black, yellow, white, and brown. Carry by hand, or sling it over your shoulder with a detachable strap:

7. Alexander Wang Emile Tote

Alexander Wang strikes again with the Emile tote, whose roomie design has been spied on everyone from Keisha Whitaker to Gwyneth Paltrow:

Prices range from $895-$975, and colors include white, black, burgundy, and blue:

8. Diane von Furstenberg Harper Day Leather Shoulder Bag

The large ‘day’ version of DVF’s signature Harper tote features a flap-top with leather trim, concealed magnetic closure, a top handle, and a chain and leather shoulder strap. Bonus: it has a special compartment for your Ipad or tablet:

The bag will set you back $595-$695, depending on colors and materials:

9. Tory Burch 797 Satchel.

Though Beyonce is a fan of the brand’s customized $9,950 crocodile version, Tory Burch has all black leather versions of her 797 satchel for a more affordable $675.

$0-$500
If you simply want to have a nice bag made of supple leather, Michael Kors has got you covered!
10. Michael Kors Hamilton Bag

The chic sophisticated tote is made of glazed leather and has enough room to hold your wallet, sunglasses, Ipad, and more.

The $348 pick has the look of any statement bag, and also comes in zebra prints in addition to neutral brown and black:

These are just 10 that we’ve found to be a favorite for stars, editors, and girls around the world. For more affordable, quality bags, hit up stores like Cole Haan, Coach, Rebecca Minkoff, and Botkier. You’ll get timeless quality and plenty of bang for your buck.
I’m sure the list is far from complete.
What are some of your faves?
See our first post on investment handbags here.

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55 Responses to “Fashion Bomb 101: Ten Fly Investment Handbags”

  1. Amani says:

    Chanel quilted bags are another timeless choice.

  2. Amani says:

    Chanel quilted purses are another timeless choice.

  3. dyshaun says:

    Excellent post. But oooh the cheapos gonna skin you alive LOL They wont even notice that “investment” tag.. <3

  4. LMO says:

    Towards the end you offerened Michael Kors and Tory Burch. Are these investment bags? I guess this post meets every price point. That’s fair!

  5. Rio says:

    @Amani that is true!

    @Dyshaun LOL @ ‘cheapos’

  6. Hmmm says:

    Fendi’s “Peekaboo” bags are also great luxury alternatives.

  7. Hmmm says:

    Fendi’s “Peekaboo” is also great luxury alternative.

  8. mesa says:

    The only thing I can afford on this list is Michael kors lol. And hell he’s pushing it! I really want that tony burch my girl bey is rocking lol.

  9. Jlynn719 says:

    Love the Alexander Wang Emile that Keisha is carrying! That will be my newest everyday bag purchase. I have a Balenciaga city I bought in ’07 that hasn’t held up well but I love her anyway

  10. Mrs windy City says:

    Even if I could afford Hermes, I wouldn’t invest in it now. Every basic reality star has one… value depreciated.

    Definitely loving the Alexander Wang Emile tote and your Stella McCartney bag Claire ( you should have included it!! :-) )

  11. Lydia says:

    Ciara is carrying the Givenchy Antigona, not the Nightingale.
    I agree that Fendi has good investment bags as well. The Celine Luggage tote is too played out and is kinda “trendy” just like that Chloe satchel from 5/6 years ago.

  12. Uknow says:

    @Amani she mentioned Chanel in the intro

  13. Toni says:

    love this post Claire……. saving my pennies to cop me a Balenciaga…..

  14. Kitty B. says:

    Alexander Wang has always been my go to for hand bags LOOOOOOOVE HIM!!

    The Proenzas are definitley on my wish list…and i do have a bday coming **rubs hands together**

    LMBO @ dyshaun!

  15. Chels says:

    lmao “who gon’ check me boo” bags.

  16. makeeasweet says:

    im surprise chanel isnt up there,still great post,i been thinking about getting either a Balenciaga or louis vuitton audacieuse pm for a little while now.i cant stand the speedy LV bags,that brown does not go with everything.i rather see the multicolore canvas bags then that horrible brown.louis vuitton make other great bags,love the mahina leather and monogram empreinte.

  17. NunyaBizniz says:

    Ive been in love with the Nightingale… Deep sigh… I swear I need to get my savings game right and purchase it already! On another note y’all do know MK is the new Coach in the hood right? Lol.

  18. Caribbelle says:

    I’d like to add mulberry to the mix. They’re one of my favorites!

  19. LawyerChic says:

    I can never bring myself to even thinking I need a Hermes bag. I almost fall out at the price, but they’re nice to look at lol

  20. hey yall says:

    Lebron baby mom makes her Celine bag look kinda weak..like somebody was like girl u got money wear nice things…she looks out of place…

  21. bella says:

    Ciara is carrying the Antigona in the first pic. Better than the Nightingale imo!

  22. Sofia Maria says:

    LMAO ^

  23. Lily says:

    I want a Balenciaga bag, this is my 2012 goal.

  24. binks says:

    Call me cheap I don’t care but a bag is a bag and no bag is worth 500+ that is just insane no matter how you slice it or rationalize it. Any bag can last you if you treat it with care and rotate it, I really don’t have a favorite any bag that looks cute and can hold my stuff is fine with me…shrugs but hey all women have their vices in fashion

  25. Style says:

    Talk about some awesome looking handbags. I wish I could have them all.

  26. Style says:

    Love them all.

  27. Kris says:

    Or I could just get a nice bag from H&M

  28. cherimacheri says:

    Great choices, but please show us more affordable good quality options for a regular person everyday use…. maybe do a Ten Fly affordable quality handbags!!!! Thank you

  29. Claire says:

    @bella My bad, I updated to feature Ciara in a Nightingale, etc. Not sure how I missed that! We mentioned Chanel quilted handbags initially and also in our last post regarding investment bags. A Céline is on my wish list (love that pink one Savannah has). Gotta start saving! X

  30. Alexandra says:

    Claire, this post is excellent! I’ve been scouring all the discount stores and shopstyle for an affordable real leather bag for under $150. I know it’s far-fetched, but it can be done–I know it! Can you do a post about this? I am underemployed but need a staple bag that can transition the seasons and go with every outfit. I’m thinking not-too-slouchy, not-too-structured, nude color, with very little bells and whistles. Maybe a few grommets or something to keep it fresh.

    For those interested, my search so far has yielded: alot of discount Calvin Klein, Michael Kors in the discount stores, but in colors like white, green, orange, turquoise, or even translucent. Alot of not well-known brand-name but still real leather bags. Lord and Taylor carries Big Buddha which makes excellent large bags, but because they are eco-friendly/vegan (not sure) they don’t use actual leather.

    I’m loving everything Vince Camuto’s doing lately, so I’m waiting for that to go on sale.

    So yes, an everyday leather (or otherwise sturdy material) everyday bag for the babe on a budget would be a greatly appreciated post!

    Thank you as always,
    A loyal reader :)

  31. ms. wynns says:

    Never thought about Michael Kors..but that bag is hot! and the pricepoint is perfect for a fashionista on a budget! will be coping the hot pink!

  32. Aziz_Mom says:

    Thanks for this post Claire…I am and probably will never be a “handbag” whore but good info. *checking my bag* it says Tignanello and it’s real leather. I have learned to not get cheap, knockoffs that are better quality materials. Keep up the good work!

  33. Dominique says:

    I agree, Chanel needs to be on this list. I bought a vintage Chanel mini flap for $1200, and I bought the Alexander Wang “Angela”, which is basically a mini version of the Rocco duffel for $400 (found it on ebay and saved $200)! Love them both. Definitely classics!

  34. Dominique says:

    Oops, my bad, I see Chanel was mentioned in the first investment bag post :)

  35. AA says:

    First designer bag I purchased was my Speedy oh how I love that bag…. It was def worth the money two years later I still carry it … I’ve added a few other bags to my collection as well and I love Michael Kors purchased two bags and I love them quality is good too. And I regardless I will continue to wear them..

  36. Dee says:

    Dang I hate to admit as much as I love the bags listed the only one timeless and worth investing in is the Birkin. The rest are “it”bags.

  37. tyeshawho says:

    no LV Alma?? hmm

  38. FashionPopRocks says:

    If your going to mention Coach and Michael Kors, I would also add Dooney & Bourke. They’re oldies but goodies and their pebble leather can’t be beat. It just gets better with age. Their large Florentine Satchel is awesome and is only about $400.

  39. Anonymous says:

    I find affordable leather handbags at my local Marshalls and TJ Maxx all the time. If the one in your area isn’t great you can always drive further out. I’ve bought quality leather handbags from the likes of Calvin Klein, B. Makowsky, Michael Kors and so forth in the $150 range. And I just found out that Marshalls has layaway. The TJ Maxx in my area carries really nice Fendi bags (not the monogram ones), Chloe, and few other runway labels. TJ Maxx even has “Runway Stores” that specifically carry high end labels.

  40. dyshaun says:

    Binks dont take it personal. Just a little funny…

    Food for thought tho..if you get a bag that lasts you 20 years its def. worth $500. :-)

  41. ladyshawann says:

    MK & DVF, niiiiiiice!

  42. brianna says:

    where is the prada safiano..its really cool too

  43. Jessica says:

    Great list! I’m dying to buy a Celine tote. Me personally, I will keep buying what’s in my budget before I go buy a knock off. But hey, do what you gotta do.

  44. Marie says:

    Great post! I treat myself to a new bag every season I passed on the Balenciaga Arena Classic last time and it’s been haunting me ever since, but I also have love love love the Céline Boston arrgh

  45. Chi says:

    What about Chloe bags….Nobody is checking for Chloe they are the bomb …And I LOVE MICHEAL KORS !!!
    Hermes is soooo overrated !!!

  46. Chi says:

    Chloe, Michael Kors
    Hermes is sooo overrated !!! it’s like CL shoes done got too ghetto .

  47. Kitana says:

    LOL I’m with you Chi, good hand bags are def an investment. I’ve had my Chloe since 98′ and she’s still goin strong. I think my next treat will be the A Wang, the rest are too trendy for my taste…..

  48. A.Pride says:

    Love this post!! I want to invest in a Balenciaga City handbag myself. Hopefully by September I can make that purchase as a 25th BDay gift to myself. I’ve been in love with it for atleast 7 years now. As well as a Classic Chanel Caviar bag and a Gucci Boston bag (My mom got hers the year I was born and it still looks brand new!!)

  49. Nneka says:

    How can the classic chanel flap bag not even be no1 let alone not make the list?!
    Only ones I agree with are balenciaga, and of course
    birkin
    YSL muse over the alexandra wang anyday!
    A Classic british bag is also a Mulberry bayswater bag. pratically a work staple over here

  50. tif says:

    Kim is wearing a Phantom, not Boston.

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