We often talk about ‘investment pieces’, the things that will supposedly see you through a lifetime of wardrobe crises.
Nowhere is this more true than when it comes to a handbag. A well-chosen one really can last you forever, and even become a valuable heirloom after you're gone (sorry, bit morbid).
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Here, we round up the designer bags that are really worth pumping your hard-earned, hard-saved money into…
First we look at it from a fashion perspective, but then if you scroll down, we have some up-to-date information about the financial advantages of investing in some of the world's key designer handbags.
But let's start with style…
1. Cèline Classic Box Bag
Ever since Phoebe Philo took the reins at French fashion house Celine in 2008, the brand has become a byword for what's hot now.
Philo and Celine's former head of accessories Johnny Coca – now creative director at Mulberry – created a plethora of instant ‘it bags’, but none more so than the beautifully minimalist Classic Box Bag.
It debuted in 2011 and is an update on a much-loved bag from the Celine archives. The most notable changes from the original are the clasp, a simple rectangular gold clasp replaces the horse-and-carriage metal clasp that represented the brand's former logo, and the flap has been lengthened.
The perfect size for an everyday bag, it fits all your essentials and can be worn cross-body, as a clutch or as a shoulder bag.
Available every season in a variety of colours and leathers, it comes in two sizes, small and medium. Small starts at £1.750, while medium is £2,300.
2. Chanel Classic Flap Bag
Meet the ultimate investment bag.
Not to be confused with the brand's 2.55 bag, the iconic bag designed by Coco Chanel in February 1955 (the numerical name denotes the month and year of its creation). In fact, the Classic Flap is Chanel's current Creative Director Karl Lagefeld’s contemporary take on Coco's original 2.55, but has become just as, if not more, iconic as its predecessor.
What are the differences? The Classic Flap has the iconic interlocking CCs clasp and chain strap interwoven with leather, while the 2.55 has a rectangular ‘Mademoiselle’ clasp and all metal strap.
Available in four sizes – small, medium/large, jumbo and maxi – buying the Classic Flap is one of the most reliable investments you could make. Proof? Baghunter reports that since 2010 the value of the bag has increased by an incredible 70 per cent.
£3,200 will get you the small in classic black ‘caviar’ leather, while you’ll need to stretch your budget to just over £4,000 for the maxi.
3. Christian Dior Lady Dior Bag
The Lady Dior was created in 1994 with the sole purpose of becoming a classic – and it succeeded, helped along by Princess Diana.
Originally named ‘chouchou’ (French for ‘favourite’), it was given its current moniker as a tribute to the princess, who was known as Lady Diana Spencer before her marriage, in 1996 after she fell in love with it. She faithfully carried it for years.
Its key attributes are its ‘cannage’ topstitching, described by Dior as ‘a network of lines stitched vertically and diagonally create a precise harmony from which cushions of quilted leather emerge like a scattering of shimmering, faceted diamonds’, and it's D,I,O,R charms, which hang from the top handle.
Available in a variety of colours and fabrics each season (it's also worth scouring eBay for vintage models), and in mini, standard and large sizes, prices start at £1,900 for the smallest.
4. Hermès Kelly Bag
Yes, you may be expecting to see the iconic Hermes Birkin in this list and that would indeed be justified. But we think the French fashion house's Kelly style is in fact the true investment bag.
The Kelly hasn't enjoyed quite the level of overexposure as its label-mate, meaning its altogether more understated look and cleaner lines seems as fresh today as they did in the 1930s, when it was first created.
Known initially as the Sac à dépêches, it was renamed the Kelly in homage to Grace Kelly, a life-long fan of the style who famously used it to shield her first pregnancy from the ever-present paparazzi.
Each bag takes artisans up to 25 hours to make and it's unfortunately as hard to get hold of as a Birkin. Prices start around £7,000, but a Kelly (or Birkin) is a proven investment, it will only increase in value thanks to its exclusivity and rareness.
5. Prada Galleria Bag
Though officially called the Galleria by Prada, it is better know as the Saffiano Lux bag, after the leather it is made of, which was first created and patented by Mario Prada, founder of the brand and grandfather of its current Creative Director Miuccia Prada.
The heat-treated leather is embossed with a cross-hatch pattern that increases durability, scratch-resistance, and water-resistance.
Loved for its roomy interior and simple, suitable-for-work design, it has become a true classic over the last decade.
Available in a variety of sizes, starting at £1,200.
6. Fendi Peekaboo Bag
Though the Peekaboo debuted in 2009, it was about five years later that its popularity really peaked.
Named after the childhood game, the Peekaboo's defining feature is its easy-to-open and close side ‘pouch’, secured by a central clasp at the top of the bag, allowing you to quickly access all your essentials without having to delve around in its roomy inner compartment.
Said pouch often has a statement lining that ‘peeks’ through when the clasp is left undone.
Designed by Fendi's Creative Director Karl Lagerfeld and available in micro, mini, regular and large, prices start at £940.
7. J W Anderson Pierce bag
Launched in pre-Fall 2016 the J W Anderson Pierce bag, that comes in an array of colours and five sizes, has swiftly become a must-have on the street style circuit.
It's eponymous pierce hard wear keeps the ladylike structure looking fierce and it the perfect choice for the fashion maverick.
Since its release Vestiaire Collective has seen a 300 per cent increase in searches for J W Anderson bags. Currently, sellers are recouping almost 100 per cent of the retail price. So keep hold of yours, we predict big bucks in the future, prices start at £625.
8. Loewe Puzzle bag
Jonathan Anderson's first completely new bag design quickly became a staple after it was shown in the men's spring/summer 2015 show.
Composed of 41 different leather pieces, nine textile pieces, 45 pieces of cloth, along with the addition of metalwares and zips, this bag is deceptively complex.
The demand for Loewe bags has increased 111 per cent since 2016 on Vestiaire Collective and Puzzle bags in particular have a strong resale value, prices start at £1,625.
9. Louis Vuitton Neverfull bag
The Louis Vuitton ‘Neverfull’ isn't just one of the hardiest bags out there – LV test the bags by filling them with 3.5KG weight and dropping them from half a metre – they're also durable in terms of cost.
The resale price has increased by 65 per cent between 2012 and 2017, according to Vestiaire Collective. In 2017 you can recoup over 80 per cent of the retails price.
10. Mulberry Alexa Bag
As much as we're all keen to emulate Alexa Chung, there are more reasons than just her effortless style to invest in Mulberry's ‘Alexa’ satchel.
Such as the fact you can recoup up to 48 per cent of the price back at resale.
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