Picture it: you’re about to part with a hefty sum of cash over the counter, as you prepare to take home your latest, delicately wrapped, dust bag clad handbag purchase.
You’ve probably been eyeing it up for weeks and then finally taken the financial nosedive and become its proud owner. But how much pre-purchase thought went into your investment handbag? Was it really an investment, or merely a whimsical buy?
The key is to draw a clear line between ‘investment’ and ‘It’ bag; the former is a well thought out addition to your bagdrobe, a season-skipping, wardrobe complementing buy. The latter is a little dangerous for some, because it spells the beginning of a love affair with a bag that’s either on everyone’s wish list, or so trend-centric, it lasts one season, worse still, one outing!
So, with your autumn/winter wardrobe nicely taking shape, and a huge selection of new season statement bags relabelled as ‘investment bags’ seeping on to the fashion scene, it’s time to take a lesson in arm candy savvy!
Here are the major handbag shopping pitfalls to avoid when investment bag hunting:
1. Don’t purchase the bag as soon as it lands in store.
An investment buy will usually mean a top quality handbag that will cost a fair amount, with a view to long-term usage. If you’re the kind of shopper who hates to wear what everyone else is championing, then it’s best to avoid a popular bag from a designer’s collection, as it will usually evaporate as soon as it becomes available!
Hold fire on purchasing the bag until around two months into each new season so that you can do your street-spotting homework and see how often you spot your favoured design. The popular colours/designs will fly off the rails, and often the options left behind will barely be seen repeated on the streets.
2. Don’t stick with safe colour options
This is not to encourage you to begin a costly, neon Proenza Schouler handbag collection, but do steer clear of the predictable shades of black and tan. Mulberry Alexa pandemic, anyone? If you stick to safe (read: boring) colour ways, you’ll end committing number 1, albeit indirectly.
The petrol green and aubergine versions of the super-popular 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli satchel are fine examples of opting for an investment bag in an alternative hue. The plus point: unpopular colours are often considerably cheaper than the popular ones.
3. Downsizing due to price or finished stock is a big no-no
If like us you fall for cute and compact packaging rather than looking at the larger picture, then this one’s for you. Don’t splash out on a mini version of an expensive investment bag just because the one you initially wanted is out of stock, or slightly higher in price. It’s a classic mistake made by handbag shopping novices who are often solely driven by the rush to add said bag to their ever-expanding collection.
A classic case of this is the Celine Boston tote which comes in two sizes with virtually no difference in the price tag, but a big difference in the inches you loose when downsizing. Remember, if it’s for long-term use it should be able to carry all your essentials and more. If you are able to wait, then order in the size and style you want, and part with your hard earned cash properly!
4. Beware of the mini messengers
As much as we love slinging on a cross-body bag, we wouldn’t really call them an investment. It’s not worth frittering upwards of £1000 on a bag (cue: Chanel mini bags) that only allow for squeezing in your Blackberry and bank card, and not much else.
Yes, Alexa is often papped with her itsy-bitsy Chanel bag in tow, but does she have to carry much to warrant buying an investment bag? Nope. She probably employs other humans to carry her things.
5. Don’t dismiss function and personal style for celerity trappings
If you’re the serial squealer who spots the latest drop of handbags at Selfridges, recognises the design a particular high profile celerity has been carrying and then loses power in all limbs as you withdraw your bank card from your purse to snap it up without delay, please take note: celebrities have bottomless cash dispensers that allow them to snap up ten different versions of that bag long before it entered through Selfridges’ doors.
Don’t let celebrity endorsement cloud your shopping judgement and instead consider whether it complements your personal style, and indeed your entire wardrobe. Before purchasing an investment bag, have a wardrobe clearout and review the items you are left with to see how your future buy will work with them.
Also, remain focused on why you wanted to purchase a particular investment bag in the first place. Was it to carry your iPad or laptop in? If you’re job involves large amounts of paper work, did you want something sturdy and roomy enough to carry a few folders? You’ll only curse said celebrity when a torrential downpour soaks your Mac Book.
6. Don’t dismiss handbag sales
We admit sale shopping requires the patient of a saint, but luckily with handbags, there’s no case of ‘can’t find my size’, and often than not, the prices of popular colour ways from end-of-season stock will be considerably reduced (remember, an investment bag is not about what’s hot this season, but what will remain hot forever), so those looking for a safe colour bet could be in luck.
Bag pictured (above): Givenchy Nightingale medium shoulder bag, £1,130