The Best Designer Bags For Your First Big Luxury Splurge

Buying your first designer bag is a moment you’ll always remember.
Zoe Kravitz carrying YSL tote and a matcha

When it comes to purchasing designer bags, there is no getting around the luxury price tag. In turn, taking the plunge to invest in your first one can be a nerve-wracking experience.

Much like buying a new car or pressing ‘buy now’ on a long-haul plane ticket, parting with that kind of money is something you only want to do when you have done extensive research and are sure it’s a decision you’re going to love for a long time.

So, when it comes to buying a designer bag as a beginner, what should you be looking for?

Resale Value

Luxury handbags are increasingly becoming investment pieces that people keep in mint condition in order to sell. It may be worth considering what the resale value of your bag would be if you did want to pass it onto another avid bag lover in time.

You can use resale sites like eBay and phone app High End to see what similar styles to the one you’re shopping are selling for second hand. Remember, it’s never guaranteed that a bag will go up in value, so it is an investment you need to make knowing you may never see that cash again (but will have a gorgeous handbag for the ages).

Consider Cost Per Wear

If it’s your first designer bag, it’s probably something you’re going to look after, but use often. You’re going to want to pair it with every outfit you put on and take it to every major outing you’re invited to.

It might be worth going for a style that is reasonably affordable (in comparison to other designer bags), that is a little more timeless, in a style you’re going to want to wear with everything.

While we absolutely love the idea of your first designer bag being a Birkin, if you start small and work your way up, you’ll know a little more about how you’re likely to treat your bags and which styles you’ll actually use the most.

The Best First Designer Bags

As designer bag purchasers ourselves, we’ve combed high and low for the best entry-level designer bags for those who are looking to dip their toes into luxury. And a word of warning, once you start you won’t want to stop.

Kate Medium In Grain De Poudre Embossed Leather, $3,000, Saint Laurent


The Kate is a brilliant first designer bag with a timeless envelope style. It’s made from grain de poudre (pebbled) leather, which makes it more of a hardy bag that is resistant to scratches.

While it doesn’t feature an adjustable strap, you can loop it around twice to shorten the handle, and the medium size is big enough to fit your phone, card case, lip glosses, keys, mints and more.

Prada Re-Edition 2005 Re-Nylon And Saffiano Mini Bag, $2,040, Prada


Your very own Prada triangle: the Re-Edition bags are known for their trendy shape and durable nylon.

While it may not be a leather buy, the attention to detail and quality in the nylon version is just as high as you’d expect of any designer bag, and will wear well over time. There’s a reason this is such a popular bag, you’ll wear it time and time again.

Ophidia Shoulder Bag, $3,000, Gucci


Featuring the iconic Gucci Diamante, this is a taste of the Italian house’s luxury in a small shoulder bag that you’ll want to hand down for generations.

A simple design that will fit key essentials, it’s the perfect weekend or event bag.

Pochette Accessoires, $2,490, Louis Vuitton


If you’re going to be purchasing a Louis Vuitton bag, you’ll definitely be looking toward their iconic monogram canvas, which has become synonymous with the label over the years.

The Pouchette is a classic shape, ideal for the everyday items, and also has a removable strap in leather as well as a gold chain to customize the design to your tastes.

The natural cowhide leather is durable and the monogram style works well to hide light wear and tear.

Mini Wallace, $3,090, Bottega Veneta


This soft calfskin bag features a rounded handle and a little bit more internal storage than the Mini Jodie, although that is also a cult bag to check out in your research.

The Wallace offers a timeless style, the woven exterior that Bottega is known for, and single roomy compartment for all your go-to items.

Baguette Mini In Brown FF Jacquard Fabric, $3,520, Fendi


This one slightly breaks the $3,000 mark, but for such a cult style as the baguette, many first time bag owners will find it hard to go past it.

Featuring the iconic Fendi logo with the brown FF motif, this front-flap style bag has a detachable cross-body strap and chain shoulder strap, allowing it to be worn a multitude of ways.

Max Mara Jacquard Raffia-Effect Fabric Mini Marine Bag, $1,375, Max Mara

Image: Max Mara

This mini Marine bag is in a beautiful neutral raffia-effect fabric. The design is so versatile, with foldable sides and iconic tubular leather handles. A removable shoulder strap is also available to wear it on the shoulder or crossbody, and it is lined in a luxurious salt-and-pepper cotton twill.

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