Are Designer Handbags Worth the Price?

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Designer handbags are a status symbol, a collector’s item, a confidence booster, and occasionally an investment piece. Collecting designer handbags can be a fun hobby, but it can also be a huge commitment of both time and money. Many people discuss designer handbags as “investment pieces” but this is an often misunderstood phrase. This does not mean that one should purchase designer handbags in order to sell and make a profit on a later date. Designer handbags, even an authentic Chanel purse, are not mutual funds or a savings account! What an “investment piece” means when referring to designer handbags is that it is an item that you will have for a long time. You may alternatively think of this type of purchase as an “heirloom” piece; meaning you may possibly have it for the rest of your life, much like a piece of jewelry.

When deciding if a designer handbag is worth the price for you, you must first consider what is the purpose of the purchase. Many people like to treat themselves for a special event, such as a graduation, birthday, or promotion. A designer handbag, such as an authentic Chanel purse, can make a wonderful way to mark a special occasion or treat yourself. However, the optimal word here is “treat”! The prices of designer handbags can vary widely from $300 to approximately $15,000, or even more! If you are planning on purchasing a designer handbag make sure that you pick one that is well within your budget. It is never worth it to put yourself into debt for a designer bag!

Many people like to make luxury purchases because they are, after all, a much higher quality of handbags. Bags like Chanel, Yves St. Laurent, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, and others, are of exceptional quality. This means that carrying them as an everyday bag can increase your quality of life. Having something of beauty on your arm can pick you up every time you look at it!

When considering a designer bag, you may also consider size as a deciding factor. A small clutch, rather than a large everyday bag, can be more cost-effective, while still allowing you to own a piece of wonderful design. The smaller size and lower price can also lead to a better resale value because of a more accessible price point.

Something very important to consider when weighing your bag options is the appearance of trends. Unless you have a lot of disposable income, you would be wise to avoid purchasing a bag that is exceedingly trendy. A bag that seems like the height of fashion now may seem dated and out of fashion in even a few years. Some things that you want to watch out for when looking for a designer bag that is too trendy are; strange, new or over bright colors, loud patterns or hardware, and straps and handles that are impractical. All of these things can date a bag in a fairly short amount of time, and no matter how wonderful the construction is, if you’re the kind of person who would purchase a designer bag, you are probably the kind of person who doesn’t want to be seen carrying a bag that is obviously dated!

When shopping for designer bags be sure to shop for classic shapes and character to get the most bang for your buck. This includes classic and natural leather colors like black, camel, and cream as well as classic shapes like the iconic Birkin or the classic Chanel quilted bag.

A terrific way to figure out if a designer handbag is worth the price to you is to calculate the price per wear. Simply take the price of the item and divide it by the number of times you expect to wear the item. Obviously, if you plan to keep and carry the item for 20 years, carrying it an average of 40 times per year, the price per wear of a $10,000 designer handbag comes out to a mere $12.50 per wear. Try figuring out this formula for the bag you are considering and see what this number looks like to you. Are you considering a special occasion bag that you plan to carry only once or twice a year? Then perhaps a $10,000 designer bag isn’t for you!

Many people also advise considering the resale value of a designer handbag, however this is a dangerous proposition. Styles, trends, and fashions can change quickly, and so can the resale market. There are only very few styles of bags that consistently fetch a high resale value, and these are often the most expensive to purchase new as well. Again, a Birkin or a Chanel bag is going to fetch a high resale price, but they are also among the most expensive to purchase.

On the other hand, if you find yourself lusting after a classic bag, do consider checking out various resale outlets to find a “gently used” designer bag. This is an affordable, and more environmentally friendly way to satisfy your urge for designer bags. There are many sites that will even verify the authenticity of a bag a part of the sale.

Another thing to consider when purchasing a designer handbag is the care of the bag. Why bother to purchase an expensive item if you are not going to make the commitment to care for it properly? If you are planning on spending a significant amount of money you want to commit to the proper care, cleaning, storage, and handling of your bag. Perhaps if you have several small children or work in a very dirty work environment, this is not the time to treat yourself to a designer handbag! Storing a bag properly doesn’t have to mean having an enormous handbag closet as some celebrities do, but it does mean keeping the bag stored in its dust bag, and doing what you can to maintain the shape of the handbag while it’s being stored. Luxury bags also need to be cleaned regularly. Dry cleaners or specialty leather cleaners can do a good job of keeping your bag in tip-top shape.

Whether you purchase a designer bag on a whim, or save up for it for years, deciding if a designer handbag is worth the money to you is a personal choice. We hope that taking these above issues into consideration will help you make the right choice for you.

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