How to Choose Your First Designer Handbag

Everyone has things they like to spend their money on – for me it’s always been bags. I love handbags. So, naturally, I was super excited to pick out my first designer handbag ever.

I think it’s because bags are like little houses you carry around. Think about it – it’s got your whole life in it. I’m a sucker for a good handbag and knew one day adding a designer piece to my collection was inevitable.

I researched, I lusted over different styles, and I took the plunge! If you’re looking to buy your first designer handbag check out my tips on how to choose below.

Check out these tips on how to choose your first designer handbag!

Set a budget.

This is step numero uno my friends. There are so many different tiers of designer handbag pricing and it’s important to pick a budget and stick to it.

Not all of us can afford the $6K Chanel bags or the $10K+ Birkins, but there are some amazing designer bags right around the $1,000 range. The Gucci Soho Disco for example floats around $980. You can also find some amazing quality Louis Vuitton Speedy’s pre loved in the $800 range.

Whatever your budget make sure to set it, save for it, and stick to it! We love luxury but we also love big bank accounts. Ya feel.

Pick a brand.

Setting a budget and picking a brand kind of go hand in hand. For example if my budget is $1K, I’m probably not going to walk out of Chanel feeling super satisfied.

My main advice for choosing a brand is to think through the brand aesthetics and make sure they align with your own personal style. I also love to read about brand history – legacy is pretty much everything when it comes to buying designer.

That’s why these brands are “designer” after all – because of the history of the fashion house.

I was really drawn to Louis Vuitton as my first designer purchase because I love the story of the brand. I seriously cannot even believe the OG Louis Vuitton left home at age 13 heading for Paris – on foot no less. It took him three years to get to Paris and he used the time to stop and work along the way, perfecting his craft of box making. Louis Vuitton is a luxury brand that to me is synonymous with travel, durability, and French simplicity.

Have fun reading about the legacies of all the fashion houses and picking one that resonates with you!

Check out these tips on how to choose your first designer handbag!

Check out these tips on how to choose your first designer handbag!

Choose a silhouette.

This is probably my most important tip – pick a silhouette that fits into your lifestyle.

You may have noticed that I am showing off a Neverfull here where as I was proudly toting around this little Louis Vuitton bag only a couple weeks back. That little bag (the Pochette Metis) is beautiful.

It also broke after five wears.

I was so devastated. I popped into my local LV store and they offered to replace it with a brand new one. It was a nice gesture, but I felt burned. It made me realize that little bag really wasn’t the right bag for me (not to mention I didn’t trust that it wouldn’t break again). It is gorgeous and seriously blogger worthy – but it also was super impractical. I work a full time corporate job and that was not a suitable bag to take to work.

The LV store wasn’t into the idea of letting me exchange (what part of it broke in less than 30 days do you not understand). One phone call to the amazing customer service hotline and that was cleared right up. Now I’m the happy owner of a practical tote I can use and enjoy every day.

Think through colors.

If you’re about to drop major dolla dolla bills on a bag – you want to make sure it goes with the clothes you own. Not everyone wants to rock their bag on the daily, but it would be a real bummer to invest in a piece you hardly wear because you have nothing to wear it with.

I chose to go with Louis Vuitton’s Damier Ebene print because it felt classic and neutral. Whether I’m wearing all black everything or a pop of color, it’ll pair back perfectly.

I did go out on a limb and opted for the light pink lining instead of the traditional fire engine red. For the most part no one gets to see the inside so it’s like a little pop of pink just for me to enjoy.

Literally never knew I could be so feminine and I’m into it.

Check out these tips on how to choose your first designer handbag!

Shop Popular Designer Handbags

Check out these tips on how to choose your first designer handbag!

Pick where to shop.

A lot of people want to shop designer to get the “luxury experience.” Heck – that’s totally what I expected. I was ready to walk in, talk about the history of the brand, shop around, and get excited with my sales associate about my first ever big girl handbag buy.

Except that isn’t always reality. Sales associates sell these handbags every single day. It’s a norm to them, even if it’s an exception to you. I’ve definitely met some amazing “SA’s” but unfortunately my experience at both Christian Louboutin and Louis Vuitton boutiques have been womp womp.

The associate who sold me the first bag seemed less than excitable. The store also gave me tons of trouble during talks of an exchange. In my mind when you spend that much on a bag it should last – and if it doesn’t they should be willing to talk about an exchange or refund. We’re talking less than 30 days of ownership here so the amount of pushback I got felt really icky.

Literally my girls at Vera Bradley take way better care of me.

That being said – I’m fully over the in store experience. I think it’s overhyped and unless you have a trusted SA, I would recommend ordering online. Plus it means you might be able to snag major deals because you can shop around!

Since buying my first designer bag in store, I’ve actually been shopping for designer bags on eBay! I’ve just wrote an entire post about how to buy designer bags on eBay right here – talk about snagging amazing bags at crazy prices.

Enjoy your new baby.

I’m a firm believer that bags are meant to be used – even designer ones. Every scuff and scratch has a story. You’ll remember that time you got caught in the rain every time you look down at that watermark. If you’re a bag collector, more power to ya.

I’ll be sitting happily (and pretty) over here loving, using, and abusing my first designer handbag. And I fully encourage you to do the same. 😉

Check out these tips on how to choose your first designer handbag!

Check out these tips on how to choose your first designer handbag!

Other handbag blog posts I’ve written:

Why The Neverfull GM Might Be My Favorite Designer Bag – a Fashionphile Review

The Best Neverfull Dupes

The Best Work Tote

How to Buy Designer Handbags on Ebay

The Perfect Everyday Handbag

Can’t get enough bags? Me neither. Make sure to follow along on YouTube where I share lots of handbag and lifestyle videos!

Photography by Hamee Ha

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7 responses to “How to Choose Your First Designer Handbag”

  1. Kendal says:

    I LOVE my LV Neverfull!! I use it everyday for class and it’s perfect. Yours is gorgeous! Also love all of your tips on picking a bag. My absolute dream bag is a Chanel flap bag… hopefully one day!

    Kendal // Life With Kendal

    • Blondes & Bagels says:

      Do you have the MM or GM?! I ended up with the MM but part of me wonders if I should’ve gone bigger…

      Also fully agree on the flap bag front lol! That’s one of my dream bags too!

      xoxo Kelsey

  2. Kelly Russell says:

    I’ve been wanting a LV for like 10 years. I can never decide which one I like! I just need to do it already! 🙂

    • Blondes & Bagels says:

      Are you a big bag or small bag person! 🙂 That’s where I would start – thinking through size! The Neverfull is AMAZING if you love to haul all your stuff with you.

      xoxo Kelsey

  3. […] in my life did I think I would be a pink girl but I’m big into blush this season. I even got my Neverfull with a pop of pink on the inside instead of the traditional […]

  4. Lynn says:

    Thanks for this post. I was actually looking for some advice which bag to invest in and I also thought about the Neverfull. It is a great choice. Lynn