When I worked the corporate life, every year during the time my bonus came around (sigh…i miss that bonus), I would go splurge on one really nice thing for me. One time it was diamond earrings, the next year it was a luxury bag and anytime I want a little insider info on whats the low down on which bag to buy- I turn to my friend Esha (remember her from the P&B Panel?) . 5 years later- this tiny human being has two kids on one arm and a nice luxury handbag on the next (All I can manage is an orange bar in one hand and my phone in the other) . So I knew I had to get her to spill the deets on what to look for in your first purchase.
My First Luxury Handbag
Hi! I’m Esha & the first luxury handbag I bought for myself was way back in 2008 (this almost sounds like an AA meeting – except its an addiction to bags) . I did own a couple of them before this but they were gifts from my family and part of my wedding trousseau. It was a Gucci open tote bag with metallic bronze finish, no zip but very spacious. I bought it from the Gucci showroom in The Oberoi, New Delhi because DLF Emporio hadn’t opened then. I still have it, it still is one of my everyday bags. Its in good condition; I can resell it but I keep it for sentimental reasons.
Here’s what to keep in mind before buying:
- Lifestyle – If you work in a corporate environment then you should be looking for a sturdy work bag like a tote bag from LV , Fendi or Gucci. But if you don’t want an everyday bag , you can opt for an evening shoulder bag that you’ll only carry on special occasions. The staff at these stores is quite helpful. If you tell them its your first purchase they guide you on whats most appropriate.
- Budget – Chanel and Dior bags are on the higher end (1 lac+) while Salvatore Ferragamo, Fendi, LV and Gucci have a good collection in the range 60k – 1 lac. Do your research and ideally ask someone who’s travelling to Europe to get one for you. I got a LV Neverfull from Paris for around 63k.
- When to buy (sales): In Delhi, DLF Emporio goes on sale in the first two weeks of December so if you can wait go ahead and buy at this time . Some stores never go on sale, but some do (Edit: Mehak here now…I did this- i bought my Fendi tote on sale for like45K , discounted down from 65K)
- Physique + Age – If you have a petite build, purchase a shoulder bag / cross body bag instead of a big tote. Girls in their 20s prefer totes that they can carry around everywhere. Gucci, Fendi and LV are good options to start your collection with as they are youthful and trendy.
- Classics – Keep longevity in mind, try and opt for evergreen classic designs rather than special edition bags. Practically speaking, you’ll be using them for a long time (and spending a sizable amount) so get something you won’t grow out of or one that won’t go out of trend anytime soon. Example – Chanel Classic Flap Bag.
- Fabrics & Colors – Lambskin, caviar leather, crocodile skin are dearer and the more affordable option is Canvas bags. Canvas is quite durable and a good fabric. Suede bags are very high maintenance so I wouldn’t recommend them. If you want to get maximum use out of your first luxury handbag, try to get a colour that matches most of your outfits. Every girl’s wardrobe has an underlying colour. Pick a bag that matches this colour. Or you could stick to black, brown and nude that are safe bets.
Luxury handbags have excellent quality and can last easily for 10-15 years (if you treat them well). Storage is very important. Always, always, always store them in the dust bags you get during purchase. Keep the stuffing in place as well. I’ve had mine for about 10-11 years and none of them show any signs of wear and tear.
After sale services
If anything happens to the hardware of the bag, you can go to their official store to have it repaired / replaced (no extra charge). If they send it back to their manufacturing unit it may take up-to 3 months for you to get it back but its done with utmost professionalism. Having said that, if the bag is worn down due to negligence / carelessness, they might not offer this service.
Professional Handbag Care
I have personally availed the services of The Shoe Men in GK II to get my handbags refurbished. They do a decent job.
Good market for Pre-loved bags
There’s a huge market for pre-loved luxury handbags provided they are in good condition. Louis Vuitton and Gucci have a high resale value. For example, the LV Neverfull was for $600 in 2009 and now it retails for $1200. Currently there are a lot of websites / apps out there like Couture Confidential that help bag owners sell their bags.
My Top 7 Luxury Handbags
(1) Chanel Flap Bag in Black (Medium) – I have it in the caviar leather finish + gold hardware and it will never go out of style. In fact its value keeps increasing every year!
(2) Dior Diorama in metallic gold – It’s a long chain bag that can be used as a cross body as well as a shoulder bag. Great for formal outings.
(3) Dior bag in nude leather + gold hardware – It has a button up closure.
(4) Chloe Drew bag in Nude Pink – Great for a nice girly lunch or semi formal outings.
(5) LV Saint Michel – Medium size cross body bag in their signature monogram canvas body and black epi leather flap. Its the latest Summer 2017 launch.
(6) LV Damier Canvas Trevi PM bag – Very spacious, great for travel and taking my kids to school. LV Totally and Fendi Mia chain bag – For when you want to carry your world with you.
(7) Jimmy Choo Candy clutch – In the Champagne colour which is a beautiful silver gold. Perfect evening bag and a good option as a first designer purchase.
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