Confession time- I’m not a bagoholic (is that even a word?) As much as I am obsessed with shoes, spicing up classic, timeless outfits with a choice of more… interesting footwear (Paris Texas rhinestone boots, anyone?), I choose my bags very, very carefully. I usually buy one luxury handbag every couple of years but I can go for much, much longer periods without a new one if I can’t find one that I love and see myself wearing for many years to come.
Why is it so hard for me to buy a handbag? Whilst my the shoes show more fun side of my personality, the one that can dance until dawn, new bag is a serious business. It tells you on a daily basis who I am and how I like to see myself. It has to match my lifestyle and my wardrobe. Bags often come already infused with certain personality and for me there is always a question- does its vibe matches my own? Take for example a Birkin. How I obsessed over a small black version with gold hardware I spotted on Vestiaire Collective! My birthday was coming up and I thought about gifting it to myself. But despite loving the bag, I couldn’t bring myself to get it. Somehow, it felt a little too mature for me. C’mon, I said to myself, you ARE mature. You’re about to hit 40. You are entrepreneur. You CAN get it. And yet, I couldn’t and I didn’t.
It’s been two years since I bought my Bottega pouch, a buttery soft leather in caramel, utterly devoid of logos and hardware. I like my luxury bags discreet and recognisable only to a knowing eye. I wasn’t surprised when Business of Fashion reported a spike in classic, timeless bags during the pandemic. They are true wardrobe investments that will just keep giving for years to come.
But how to choose in such a saturated market? Ideally, I want something that’s undeniably luxury without having to shout about it (That Balenciaga Logo knit? It’s a stuff of nightmares for me). It would be nice if it was a little under the radar, too. No hardware or as little as possible and of course something that will stand the test of time. I don’t want to be selling it in a few years, I want to carry it for decades years like my classic Chanel.
So what are the bags worth splurging on this year? Here are my top picks:
A relatively new contender in the handbag word, Metier has already acquired fans such as Nicole Kidman or Katy Holmes. I can’t decide between caramel suede (so chic) or more utilitarian (but still beautiful) black or maybe summery white and cognac. I love Roma for its very little hardware and its luxurious yet discreet feel. When you see it, there’s no doubt that the bag costs serious money and yet, it doesn’t shout, it whispers- refinement, discretion, cool.
This one is a serious contender for me because it has everything that I love- no hardware, discreet embossing rather than shouting logos and manages to combine minimalism with making a statement. It has that Bottega or The Row “cloud” like look and it looks expensive despite less than £400 price tag. It only came on my radar a few days ago but I’m seriously considering either cognac or white for the summer.
I speak from experience here- I bought mine (already vintage) in 2006 and I carried in almost every day for 17 years. I paid £250 for it in one of London’s consignment shops. The shop only accepted cash and as I’d already spent my cashpoint limit that day on a DVF dress. I marched my friend to the nearest ATM machine threatening never to speak to her again if she doesn’t lend me the money and buys the bag herself. Luckily, she’s always been a good friend! My Chanel still looks good – I actually think it looks better a little battered than brand new, and it elevates absolutely every outfit. After 17 years it is coming apart a bit and I know that I’ll buy it again. It was truly worth every penny.
I hesitated last year, unsure if I wanted to buy what was essentially a shopping basket with leather logo. I bought a small cheaper version and a large shopping basket for a few euros. And I wore them constantly between May and mid September. I like my bags to elevate basic outfits and this bag will do just that. After the initial success of the original basket bag a few years ago, Loewe now has an array of different baskets but I still hanker after the very first one.
Be still my beating heart. Elegant, discreet and oh so luxurious, this is a bag for women with noting to prove. Pair it with a sleek demure classic like our Sascha, leather slides and big, glamorous sunglasses for the summer. For winter, wear it with camel cashmere coat and oversized cream jumper. This is a bag that will elevate even the simplest of outfits.
Decisions, decisions! Which one do you like best?