Luxury

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Is it bad to wear fake designer brands?

If you’ve ever contemplated buying or wearing fake designer clothing or accessories but you’re wondering whether it’s worth it or not, then you’re asking the right questions and you’re in the right place. I can speak from experience on this as I have bought replicas from one of the most popular online marketplaces thanks to social media pressures and I’m going to give you my honest thoughts on whether fake goods are worth it and in terms of style but also from a financial and legal perspective. After learning for myself, the truth behind the fake luxury goods industry, it’s not something that I am proud of and I want to prevent you from making the same mistake that I did.

Is it bad to wear fake designer goods

Yes, it’s bad to wear fake designer goods because there are a lot more negative consequences of wearing fake items than there are positive consequences. Even though you might think buying fake goods doesn’t cause any harm and saves you money, the truth is fake goods can harm you and your community.

These fake goods are made with the sole purpose of displaying recognizable logos with the cheapest manufacturing costs possible. They are made from unsustainable synthetic materials that perform like plastic and will never be able to mimic the high quality leather used in genuine products whether they are high-end luxury or more affordable. So even though the visual branding may look somewhat similar, that is where the similarity ends.

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Chloé Woody Flat Mule Sandal
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Fake Chloé Woody Sandals

You may be tempted to accept low quality just to bring a bit of opulence to your style with something that looks like the real thing. But unfortunately these fake goods are so notorious for being fake that they end up detracting from your style instead. Their materials are also unable to mimic the look and performance of genuine materials like leather for example. Below are some sandals from brands that are not so well known but have a similar flat mule style to the Chloé sandal. Sandals like these that are so well made with high quality materials add elegance and authenticity to your style without the big logos or big price tags. 

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If you want to learn more about these particular sandals, watch my TikTok on them.

If you truly want to enhance your personal style then fake goods are not the best way to go. There are much better premium and affordable luxury alternatives that are stylish, high-quality and authentic and can actually make your money go a lot further because they’re more long lasting and versatile. Learning how to find these high quality, versatile pieces is a great way to maximize diversity and longevity in your wardrobe without relying on “trendy” or loud luxury items. 

Related: The most versatile accessories for the whole year

Is it illegal to wear fake brands

In some countries such as France, Italy and Switzerland, buying or wearing counterfeit goods is illegal and could result in huge fines. In the United States, federal law does not prohibit you from buying or wearing a counterfeit product for personal use, even if you do so knowingly. 

However, whether or not wearing fake designer brands is a punishable offence where you live, purchasing these goods online, on social media or from local vendors still funds criminal activity and supports the creation of other types of fake goods.

Groups who are involved in making fake designer bags or sunglasses for example could also very well be in the business of selling fake medical goods, vehicle parts or children’s toys. So even though fake fashion items may not cause direct harm to you, supporting the criminal groups who make them can lead to other more hazardous goods on the market that do cause direct harm to others.

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Online marketplaces like Aliexpress and DhGate are some of the most popular sites that you should avoid when buying branded items. If you’re purchasing an item on second hand marketplaces like eBay and Dpop, then be sure to use an authenticity filter or check for the authenticity icon to know that what you are buying has been verified.

If you are ordering from an independent website then it’s important to carry out some basic checks to protect yourself from fraudsters. Here are some of the checks you can carry out:

  • Check the domain name does not have any strange words
  • Check how to contact customer service. If there is only a generic contact form and no other methods like an email address or phone number then this is a bad sign.
  • Check for a physical business address or business registration number that you can verify at the registry office.
  • If you do get to the checkout page, check that the url has a locked padlock symbol beside and that it starts with https://. If these are not present, leave the site immediately and do not type in any personal information.

Why do people buy fake designer brands

There are many different motivations that people have for purchasing and wearing fake designer items. One of the most popular reasons is that fake designer items appeal to people who want to demonstrate their status or style but do not have the funds to do so with genuine designer products. 

Other reasons include; little regard for the law or intellectual property rights, having a negative attitude towards big business, feeling that genuine brands charge unfair prices, having a desire to wear trendy designer items while they’re still popular but do not want to invest in the real product and a love branded products whether they’re fake or not.

However, if you have bought fake designer goods before, this does not mean that you’re a criminal or a bad person. Sometimes people are misguided by social media and peer pressure to look a certain way or own certain things and they should not feel judged for that. We all have the ability to learn and grow from our mistakes.

Related: How to have expensive taste (authentically)
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Why you should not buy fake designer goods

The extent of the danger of buying counterfeit products isn’t always obvious but there are many important factors that you should consider before you purchase or wear fake designer goods. Least of which is the fact that there are so many better quality and authentic products that can be purchased at a similar price point from brands that have strong brand identity and integrity.

Research suggests that wearing counterfeit products not only fails to boost your self-image the way you hope it would, but it actually undermines your internal sense of authenticity. By wearing things that you know are fake, you are more likely to feel like a cheater on the inside and therefore alienate yourself more on the outside.

The fake luxury goods trade is not a victimless crime either. Every time you buy a counterfeit good, a legitimate company loses revenue and you are funding organized criminals instead. Funding real businesses benefits your community and economy and it’s highly unlikely that these fake businesses are paying any taxes which means less money is going toward essential infrastructure like roads, education and healthcare.

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Unlike legitimate companies with genuine products, counterfeits aren’t inspected or regulated by government agencies. This means even though they may look “put together” fake goods are made as cheaply as possible with little regard for the customer and are in some cases just unsafe. 

If you’re shopping online, you should also take note that there is no customer protection for you and there is no guarantee that you will even receive your item. Because you have no way of knowing for sure what they will send, your parcel could get stopped and inspected at customs which will lead the authorities straight to you as it’s your name and address on the parcel.

Related: What are considered luxury handbags – The luxury hierarchy

Conclusion

There are so many reasons why you should never buy or wear fake designer goods. The most unfortunate is that they do nothing for your personal style and distract you from developing a sense of your own taste. I believe that you can deserve better for your hard earned money than cheap synthetic lookalikes with loud luxury logos and “fake it till you make it” doesn’t really apply when you are doing harm to yourself and others.

By raising your standards and learning how to recognize authenticity and quality, you can find quality items at a price point that you are comfortable with from real brands that align with your style. This is such an enjoyable part of develop your own style and much more rewarding than relying on fake designer goods to elevate your outfits. I hope you found this post helpful and if you have any questions about finding authentic alternatives from more affordable luxury and premium brands, then don’t hesitate to let me know! Tag me on Instagram, Tiktok or Pinterest or you can or send me a message! 

About the author 

Mish has a Masters in Fine Art and she has an interest in classical design, history and culture. She loves to analyze fashion and style through this lens to help people develop authentic personal style.

how to have expensive taste what is expensive taste cover

How to have expensive taste (authentically)

Historically, expensive taste used to be synonymous with good taste, however today it is synonymous with inflated price tags. The expression is used a lot these days, especially within the celebrity culture who like to use it to brag about their wealth and success in a humorous but serious sort of way.

However expensive taste was not always used in this way and despite the misconception, it is not something you need to be a millionaire to have. In fact there are very wealthy people who have very bad taste, so it is not something that only comes from having money or wealthy parents, it’s a skill you can develop. So let’s look at what expensive taste actually means, how you can develop it and how you can use it in your own wardrobe.

What does it mean to have expensive taste

Having expensive taste is knowing when something is made with a high level of quality and craftsmanship. It also means being able to see long term value through the design and durability of a product without relying on a price tag to know whether it is valuable or not. 

Having expensive taste is also about finding beauty in things that are more rare and not mass produced so that they look more unique and are not worn by many people.  It also means recognizing what kind of items are tasteful for the climate or the society you live in so that it reflects your ability to be in tune with the world you live in. 

Expensive taste is about developing an appreciation for the time and dedication that goes into crafting something that is beautiful and distinct. It’s not about having one super expensive item in your wardrobe so that everything else you wear is cheaply made and mass produced. Finding a balance that suits your budget and a focus on authenticity is the key to success and it does not have to stop at fashion but can be applied to a lot of different areas of your life.

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Is it bad to have expensive taste

Expensive taste is bad for your self-esteem and your pocket, if you use it to show off and feel superior to others. However, if it means more to you than just a high price tag or impressing others, then it can have many benefits for you, your purse and the environment.

Many people think that having expensive taste is boastful, needless, wasteful and not sustainable. However, it’s not about never wearing the same outfit twice, it’s actually the opposite. How long and how many different ways can you wear a beautiful piece in your wardrobe and keep it in great condition for many years and in some cases for the next generation. Genuinely expensive taste is not wasteful. It emphasizes the importance of seven things:

  1. Products that are well made with authentic materials that tend to be natural and not synthetic.
  2. Products that are designed to be aesthetically classic or timeless which means it can still be worn for years to come and not just for one season.
  3. Products that are made to be durable, therefore lasting much longer in your wardrobe. 
  4. Products that fit well, and have an impeccable finish.
  5. Products that have a unique historic significance and may even have the ability to appreciate in value over time.
  6. Products that are unique, rare or exotic in some way, not just a basic t-shirt with a designer logo that anyone can have or rip off for example. 
  7. Usually your money goes to craftsmen, artisans or businesses that specialize in a certain area and take more care and time in manufacturing their products rather than business chains that sell huge quantities of cheaply made things.
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How to have expensive taste

So let’s talk about how you can have expensive taste for yourself. Remember the goal is not to buy expensive things JUST because they are expensively priced. The whole point is to find pieces with real beauty, quality and value that you absolutely love so that you can restyle and wear them for many years to come.

1 – Think differently!

Shopping for our wardrobe is something that we’re made to feel guilty about. We either feel guilty for buying too many inexpensive items from fast fashion stores or for spending a lot on a few items that have better quality. 

We live in a world where more is perceived as better so fast fashion stores concentrate on selling as many items as possible that are cheap and easy to produce. However, shopping with genuine expensive taste is not about being reckless with your money or spending it for nothing. 

It involves being careful and particular about the quality and versatility of the item you’re buying. It’s then followed by an intentional decision to invest in the piece because it’s long-lasting, well-made and worth the money that you’re going to spend on it. There is nothing to feel guilty about and if you want to start developing your own sense of expensive taste, you have to start thinking about it as a long term investment strategy that will pay for itself over the many years to come.

Related: The most versatile accessories for the whole year

2 – Look for balance

Having expensive taste does not mean spending your entire budget for your wardrobe on one or two things. It’s important to find a balance until you feel that you have a diverse range of quality pieces in your wardrobe that you can use interchangeably in your outfits before you go and invest larger amounts in more distinct pieces of clothing and accessories. 

For example, how much sense is there in wearing a high-end luxury  handbag when the rest of your outfit is from a cheap fast fashion store that fades every time you wash it. Now there’s nothing wrong with wearing some inexpensive pieces, but it’s important to find a balance throughout your whole outfit.

Related: How to build a classic wardrobe from scratch and long term
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3 – Think about the children

Are there items you’ve inherited from your parents, grandparents or even great-grandparents that you’d never dream of wearing today? Are there items you’ve inherited that you’d have no problem wearing today? This is the benefit that timeless design and classic aesthetics can give you. One day, your style (good or bad) will live on through your items that were passed on to younger generations. 

Keep this generational aspect in mind next time you think of buying that neon green trendy sweater and remember that expensive taste is not only about high quality, it’s also about ageless and intelligent design that remains classy and stylish for decades. Think of a vintage Chanel bag for example and how it has been revered for its beauty for generations because of its simple and elegant design.

4 – Price to Value

It’s not always the case that you get what you pay for. Sometimes you get a bit more than what you pay for but most often you get a lot less. Brands that do a lot of marketing, advertising and brand building to crank up the prestige, exclusivity or even just the hype around their products end up pricing all of those extra costs into their items because they need to pay for it somehow. 

So if you’re starting out, it’s important to pay close attention to the price to value ratio. There are lots of premium, smaller niche or affordable luxury brands out there that specialize in a particular area and are more discreet with their advertising, which means you’ll pay a much more balanced p:v ratio. 

However, it’s always best to do your research on new found brands, read their reviews and when possible, feel and see their products up close so that you can assess the quality for yourself. While they have some benefits, synthetic fabrics are usually the cheapest to produce, the least long-wearing and the most harmful to the environment. 

Do your best to learn about material, weave and fabrication methods so that you can become better at assessing high-quality for yourself. This skill and knowledge is really the backbone of expensive taste, not buying a bunch of Berkin bags just because you can.

Related: What are considered luxury handbags – The luxury hierarchy

5 – Buy what you love

Since what we wear is something that is a part of our lifestyle, the clothes and accessories you should be shopping for should not only focus on the aesthetic and quality that you like but also the brand that’s attached to it and how they make you feel emotionally. 

For example, there is a certain type of person that shops at Tiffany, Ralph Lauren or Gucci and the reasons differ between each brand because they subscribe to a certain kind of lifestyle or ethos that their customers feel aligned with and therefore means much more to them than just another brand.

So try to buy things that not only make you look fantastic but also more importantly, make you feel fantastic because of how you associate your lifestyle or relate your personality to that brand. It can be anything from their aesthetics, their values or their sustainability practices that can reflect something about your style, who you are, how you see yourself and who you aspire to be.

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6 – A different take

Having expensive taste can also be orientated to things that are specific about you. For example, if accessories are not your thing but clothing is, and you just can’t seem to find the right sizes for your body then you are well within reason to spend more on tailoring or clothes that are made to your measurements. This is another very effective way to express your expensive taste and prioritize your own comfort.

You could also pay particular close attention to what is the most appropriate clothing and accessories to invest in, in your particular environment. There’s no point in spending a huge amount on beautiful wool coats if you live in Florida or exquisite linen dresses if you live in Alaska. Start out by focusing on the items that are the most useful to you in your environment and lifestyle.

7 – Take care of your expensive items properly

This comes part and parcel with having expensive taste because there is really no point in having taste if you’re not going to take care of your items and keep them in good condition. This means:

  • Following the washing guidelines for each piece correctly and even protecting them in a laundry bag where necessary.
  • Steaming rather than ironing certain materials. 
  • Keeping good air circulation in your wardrobe so your items don’t get musty. 
  • Taking the time to hang your items at the end of the day rather than leaving them in a rolled up ball or flung across the sofa. 
  • Not leaving your beautiful handbags on the floor but on the seat next to you when you’re out and about etc.
  • Secure loose threads, buttons or hemlines as soon as they happen so they don’t get worse.

All in all, it’s about respecting your valuable items and treating them with care so they last and provide a great return on your investment.

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What to do when your taste is more expensive than your budget

When your taste is more expensive than your budget, it’s important not to get discouraged. Don’t be tempted to purchase replicas or dupes. Search for smaller high quality niche brands that align with your style and create products that are similar in aesthetic to the item you want.

It’s important to recognise that luxury items (while I adore them) tend to be very expensive because all of the costs of keeping their brand exclusive and prestigious is priced in. Don’t get me wrong, these luxury pieces are usually exquisitely made! But if you are looking for something within your budget, then try to find products with a more balanced price to quality ratio.

Related: Affordable luxury alternatives for the Celine Box Bag.

Developing true expensive taste does not happen overnight, it can take practice but it can be enjoyable and something that you become more and more passionate about as time goes on. You’ll find that you see and notice beautiful brands and products that you never paid attention to before and that you enjoy supporting with your hard earned money. And of course this is a skill that you can apply to many different parts of your life beyond fashion.

Finally here are some handy questions that you can ask yourself while you’re starting out on your journey to building a beautiful wardrobe full of long-lasting and tasteful pieces.

Questions to ask yourself: 

  1. Is it made of authentic good quality materials?
  2. Was it made slowly or by hand or was it made rapidly in a factory?
  3. Are all seams, threads and edges neatly finished off and tucked away?
  4. What level of care was paid to the details?
  5. Have you seen it worn many times by other people?
  6. Is it appropriate for my cultural environment?
  7. Is it comfortable for the climate I live in?
  8. If it’s a winter item, does it have a lining? Is it made of a cheap synthetic or something else?
  9. Does it have a dry clean only tag? (Delicate fabrics like wool & silk are DCO)

I hope you found this article helpful. I would love to see how you use these tips to enhance your style so please please tag me on InstagramTiktok or Pinterest or you can or send me a message because I would love to see! 

About the author 

Mish has a Masters in Fine Art and she has an interest in classical design, history and culture. She loves to analyze fashion and style through this lens to help people develop authentic personal style.

what is considered luxury handbags hierarchy of luxury brands cover

What are considered luxury handbags – The luxury hierarchy

I do not have an impressively vast collection of luxury handbags but I’m a lover of things that are made exquisitely and with “savoir-faire”. But if you’ve ever contemplated purchasing a luxury handbag, you might have felt perplexed at all the different brands and products and what is considered luxury and what is not. Well, in this article I hope to clear that up for you and help you to understand luxury handbags from a different perspective that you’ve perhaps seen before. By the end you should be better able to navigate the luxury handbag space. 

What are luxury handbags 

Luxury is not easy to define because it evolves alongside our changing society. However luxury products have shared characteristics that make them unique and set them apart from non luxury products. These characteristics revolve around the product itself, the brand and the customer experience. Handbags are no exception and I’ve been trying to understand what makes them special and what makes us love them so much. 

Luxury handbags contain certain characteristics that distinguish them from other handbags such as exquisite design, fine materials, expert craftsmanship, scarcity and a certain level of exclusivity. Because these bags are so bespoke, they usually come with an excellent customer experience and at a very high price point.

However, the money that you pay for a luxury handbag is not only for the product itself but to also own a product from a brand that usually but not necessarily has a long history of making luxury goods. These brands work consistently on their brand image, product development, creating exclusivity and therefore often have a reputation of excellence and prestige.

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What are considered luxury handbags

The term “luxury handbags” usually refers to a select number of traditional luxury brands from Europe like Hermès, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Gucci etc. However today, luxury handbags exist on a scale because the luxury industry has expanded due to the emergence of contemporary luxury and affordable luxury brands. 

Traditional luxury brands are those that were created before the 1950’s like Hermès, Gucci and Chanel and contemporary luxury brands were created after the 1950’s like Versace and Boarini Milanesi. Affordable luxury brands have been created both before and after the 1950s but they produce at least some products that are targeted to a larger market with lower price points, these include brands like Lonchamp and Coach for example.

What is the hierarchy of luxury handbags

The hierarchy of luxury handbags ranks luxury brands in respect to their different price points and their different levels of exclusivity. It usually takes the form of a pyramid but it does not measure other characteristics of luxury handbags like quality, design, durability or fabrication.

The most inexpensive luxury brands populate the base of the pyramid as they are the most accessible. The tip of the pyramid contains the most expensive luxury brands and therefore the most exclusive as well. The pyramid is based on my own research of all the brands below to see how accessible their handbags were and at what price points. I have also gone into a bit more detail about each individual brand at the end of this article.

what is considered luxury handbags hierarchy of luxury brands pyramid

Affordable

Affordable luxury brands aim to bridge the gap between high quality and accessibility. They create products for people who are willing to pay a higher price for good quality materials and craftsmanship. However, unlike high-end luxury, affordable luxury brands do not try to make their products scarce intentionally to keep the demand and prices high. 

Rather they try to meet the demand in the market by producing higher quantities of their products so that they are more readily available to more consumers. This in turn reduces the exclusivity of their products to a certain degree making them the least expensive luxury brands for handbags on the scale which is why they form the base of the pyramid.

Related: Affordable luxury alternatives for the Celine Box Bag
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Accessible

Accessible luxury brands, as the name suggests, are intended to be accessible to a wide range of people but not necessarily at affordable prices. This means that they are more expensive than affordable luxury handbags but are still attainable for a large number of people if they want them. 

They are also more accessible geographically as they can be purchased online from almost anywhere in the world. This particular category of luxury brand operates by finding and maintaining a careful balance between availability, accessibility and the prestige that is associated with their brand. This balance is accounted for in the higher price points of their products which makes them moderately exclusive while still being attainable to a good number of people.

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High-end & Ultra high-end

High-end and ultra high-end luxury brands produce standardized handbags, as opposed to made-to-order handbags from bespoke brands. They are still characterized by a high degree of creativity that often embodies the vision of the fashion house’s creative designer. They cater to small groups of people with ultra high-quality products.

These categories contain a range of high price points because their handbags must reach a very high standard and they can take a long time to produce. Some brands within these categories are more recognizable to the general public than others (like Louis Vuitton vs Bottega Venetta) but aficionados will be able to spot these bags immediately even without obvious branding. They’re highly coveted as status symbols on social media and are by far some of the most replicated bags on the market.

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Bespoke 

Bespoke luxury brands make handbags that are made almost exclusively for each customer with an extremely high level of craftsmanship, customisation and fine materials. These brands aren’t interested in addressing a large market but rather a very select few clients and their products are usually equated with pieces of art.

These handbags are therefore substantial financial purchases in themselves and are world renowned for their prestige and unparalleled rarity. Bespoke handbags are usually manufactured for particular customers in very small quantities each year to ensure very high standards and attention to detail but also to preserve a very high level of exclusivity. 

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Why are luxury handbags so expensive

The most expensive luxury handbags can cost the same as a brand new expensive car in some instances. Does the extra expense translate into better quality? You can expect a bag that is impeccably made but the ultra high price tag does not necessarily correspond with the same elevated level of quality. This is not to say that they are not high quality but it means that other factors are included in the price tag that are not included in products from other brands.

Luxury handbags are expensive because they are often handmade by expert craftsmen with fine or exotic materials which means they are not mass produced and cost more to manufacture. Brands also price their handbags high so that they remain exclusive to a select few who can afford them.

Exclusivity is not created by randomly pricing products at a high cost however. Maintaining exclusivity around a brand’s products consist of certain strategies to create a particular brand image, a great reputation and a high level of prestige. These strategies include meticulous branding, marketing, advertising, presentation, excellent customer service and creative product development. 

Therefore the “price to quality” ratio of the very expensive luxury bags is not always balanced as it often prices in all of the elements that contribute to the business’s overall exclusivity and prestige. Even though this is looked on unfavourably by some people, it’s just how the luxury business model works because some people want to purchase products that are not owned by everyone so they are willing to pay more for that and certain luxury brands aim to cater to that market.

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Are luxury handbags worth it 

The answer is, it depends. There are many different types of luxury bags and different reasons for buying them. To decide if a luxury handbag is worth it, you need to assess your motivation for buying it. This will provide the most accurate answer to this question for your situation. 

I have identified four of the most common motives that people buy luxury handbags for. These include for financial investment, for the rareness and exclusivity of the bag, for the superior quality and longevity that the bag offers and finally because there is a genuine passion for style and fashion that provides enjoyment. 

Below I’ve tried to help you understand whether luxury handbags are worth it based on these different motivations. However you must also take into account the specific bag you are thinking of buying and carry out some research to assess how that bag addresses your personal motivation and meets your specific needs. 

Related: How to have expensive taste (authentically)

Should I buy a luxury handbag

If you are thinking about purchasing a luxury handbag but you are still a bit hesitant because you’re unsure of whether you will regret it or not, it is important to take into consideration your personal motivation for purchasing a particular bag and how well the handbag matches it. Your motivation can be one, all or a combination of the following things so it’s best to be as honest as you can be to understand if your desired handbag is the right one for you. 

Financial

If you are thinking of purchasing a luxury bag as a financial investment, then it is important to recognise that not all high-end luxury handbags are guaranteed to appreciate in value. It’s important to do a lot of research and manage your risk appropriately. A good place to start is some of the most iconic handbags from some of the oldest high-end luxury brands like Dior’s Lady Dior bag.

It’s beneficial to understand what makes a luxury brand successful and why some handbags retain more of their value compared to others. If you are comfortable with your research and the assessment of your own situation then you should purchase the bag and take good care of it. Don’t forget to reassess the situation on an annual basis to see where your handbag stands on the market place.

Exclusivity

If you want to purchase a luxury handbag because it is rare and not worn by many women in the world, then it is helpful to assess certain factors that contribute to its scarcity. How many of the bags are made annually? Are they available online or only in store? Are they going to be sold over a limited period of time? 

These factors along with a high price point will affect the overall availability and therefore exclusivity of the bag. If your desired handbag matches these criteria then that’s a good indication that you should make your purchase. If your purchase maintains exclusivity over a long period of time or even gets discontinued by the manufacturer this can be good news for the future resale value as well as the bag’s rarity.

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Quality

Here is where it gets interesting. If your main motivation for buying a luxury handbag is to purchase something made with exquisite craftsmanship using high quality materials that can stand many years of wear and still retain its quality and condition then you need to assess and compare the particular bag you are interested in carefully. 

As explained earlier, the most expensive luxury bags do not always translate to equally elevated quality or longevity. The higher price usually reflects the cost of maintaining exclusivity of their products and creating prestige around the brand. There are many more affordable luxury brands that offer handbags that are priced more closely to their cost of production but are still made with very high quality materials that can last a lifetime.

Passion

You don’t need to be an avid and dedicated collector to love and find enjoyment in owning or wearing luxury handbags. Passion for beautiful handbags can come in different degrees and one is not better than the other. So whether you love one particular luxury handbag and everything about it or whether you find it enjoyable to amass a huge collection of them, it’s clear that it means more to you than just for an investment, for its quality or for its rarity. 

People who wear luxury products and women collectors in particular get a lot of criticism from people who say this kind of passion is driven by vanity or the need to feel wealthy. While that may be the case in some instances, other types of collectors or activities that people find enjoyable are not criticised in the same way. So if you absolutely love a particular bag and you know you will enjoy owning and wearing it for years to come then you should absolutely buy it, provided your personal situation allows for it. 

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Whether affordable or bespoke, handbags are an expression of who we are, and as our most prominent fashion accessory, our handbag is both functional and symbolic, allowing the world a deeper look at our personal taste and how we see ourselves. It’s such an exciting time to be watching this space in the fashion world because there are new designers and brands popping up all the time with innovative designs, materials and processes. And sometimes the limited knowledge around up and coming brands provides another type of exclusivity as well 😉 

I hope you found this helpful. I would love to see how you use the tips in this article to enhance your style so please please tag me on Instagram, Tiktok or Pinterest or you can or send me a message because I would love to see! 

About the author 

Mish has a Masters in Fine Art and she’s passionate about classical design, history and culture. She loves to analyze fashion and style through this lens to help people develop authentic personal style.

  • APC, founded in 1987, is an affordable luxury brand that bridges the gap between quality and accessibility. They create products for people who are willing to pay a higher price for good craftsmanship but don’t try to make their products scarce intentionally to keep demand and prices high.
  • Balenciaga, founded 1917, is a French high-end luxury fashion house that made a return to haute couture in 2021. They offer clothing and high-end leather goods at various price points. Some leather goods are more affordable but most of their products are more exclusive and intend to reach a high-end market.
  • Balmain, founded 1945, is an haute couture fashion house and high-end  luxury brand. They offer clothing and high-end leather goods at price ranges that make them quite exclusive. Some of their leather goods products are more accessible but the majority of their products remain exclusive.
  • Boarini Milanesi, founded 2016, is an Italian handbag company and a bespoke luxury brand. Every handbag is impeccably made and created exclusively to order for a specific client and their name is hot-embossed in the leather. Their handbags are some of the most expensive handbags in the world. 
  • Bottega Veneta, founded 1966 is an Italian fashion house and ultra high-end luxury brand. They offer a variety of high-end products including clothing, accessories and footwear and are known for their signature intrecciato weaving technique. Their products are highly priced and intended for a very small market. 
  • Burberry, founded 1956 is a luxury fashion house that is most known for their signature tartan print. Their products are accessible to many people but not necessarily at affordable prices. They are more exclusive than affordable luxury brands but are still attainable to people who want to buy them. 
  • Bvlgari founded 1884, is an Italian high-end luxury brand. They offer exquisitely made fine jewelry, watches, accessories and leather goods for men and women. Their products are highly priced and intended for a small market. They also own a chain of luxury hotels in big cities across the world.
  • Celine, founded 1945 is a French fashion house and high-end luxury brand. They offer a variety of high-end and superb quality products including clothing, footwear and accessories both online and in store and are known for their minimalist Parisian aesthetic. Their products are highly priced and are intended for a small market. 
  • Demellier is an affordable luxury brand that bridges the gap between quality and accessibility. They create products for people who are willing to pay a higher price for good craftsmanship but don’t try to make their products scarce intentionally to keep demand and prices high.
  • Chanel, founded 1910, is an haute couture fashion house and high-end luxury brand. They offer clothing and high-end leather goods at price ranges that make them very exclusive and are known for classic and timeless women’s fashion. Their products are highly priced and intended for a very small market. 
  • Chloe is an accessible luxury brand that offers a range of products at various price points. Some products are in the high-end range but others are less expensive to cater to a younger audience. They are superior to affordable luxury brands but are still not as coveted as high-end luxury brands. 
  • Coach, founded 1941 is considered an affordable luxury brand that bridges the gap between quality and accessibility. They create products for people who are willing to pay a higher price for good craftsmanship but don’t try to make their products scarce intentionally to keep demand and prices high. 
  • Coccinelle, founded 1978, is not considered a luxury brand but rather a premium brand. Their range of products are created in large quantities and are widely available to buy online at very low and promotional price points with little to no exclusivity associated with the brand. 
  • Dolce & Gabbana is an accessible luxury brand that offers a range of products at various price points. Some products are expensive but some are more affordable and available to a larger number of people. They are superior to affordable luxury brands but are still not as coveted as high-end luxury brands. 
  • Delvaux, founded 1829, is a Belgian leather goods house and ultra high-end luxury brand. They offer a variety of high-end products including bags and accessories and are known for being the oldest fine leather goods house in the world. Their products are highly priced and intended for a very small market. 
  • Dior, founded 1946, is an haute couture fashion house and ultra high-end luxury brand. They offer clothing and high-end leather goods at price ranges that make them very exclusive and are known for revolutionising the women’s fashion industry. Their products are highly priced and intended for a small market. 
  • Dooney and Bourke, founded in 1975 is not considered a luxury brand but rather a premium brand. Their products have been seen on some celebrities but their products are created in large quantities and are widely available to buy online at very low and promotional price points.
  • Emporio Armani, founded 1975, is an affordable luxury brand that bridges the gap between quality and accessibility. They create products for people who are willing to pay a higher price for good craftsmanship but don’t try to make their products scarce intentionally to keep demand and prices high.
  • Fendi founded 1925 is an Italian haute couture fashion house and ultra high-end luxury brand. They offer a variety of high-end products including clothing, accessories and footwear and are known for their daring designs and signature “F” logo. Their products are highly priced and intended for a very small market.
  • Furla, founded 1927, is an affordable luxury brand that bridges the gap between quality and accessibility. They create products for people who are willing to pay a higher price for good craftsmanship but don’t try to make their products scarce intentionally to keep demand and prices high.
  • Givenchy founded 1952 is a French fashion house and a high-end luxury brand. They offer a variety of high-end products including clothing, accessories and footwear and are known for their little black dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Their products are highly priced and intended for a small market. 
  • Gucci, founded 1921, is an Italian haute couture fashion house and a high-end luxury brand. They offer a variety of high-end products and are known as being one of the oldest and most famous luxury brands in the world. Their products are highly priced and intended for a small market. 
  • Hermès, founded 1837, is a French fashion house and bespoke luxury brand. They’re known for making fashion’s ultimate status symbol; the Birkin Bag but the brand also makes clothing and other accessories. Their bags are notoriously difficult to buy as there’s a long waiting list and limited quantities.
  • Hugo Boss, founded in 1924, is an affordable luxury brand that bridges the gap between quality and accessibility. They create a variety of products at different price points for people who want well made products but do not have the same quality leather goods as high-end luxury brands. 
  • Isabel Marant founded 1994, is an affordable luxury brand that bridges the gap between quality and accessibility. They create products for people who are willing to pay a higher price for good craftsmanship but don’t try to make their products scarce intentionally to keep demand and prices high.
  • Karl Lagerfeld was founded in 1984 and is owned by Tommy Hilfiger. Their products have been seen on some celebrities but it is not considered a luxury brand because their products are widely available to buy online at very low and promotional price points
  • Kate Spade was founded in 1993 and is owned by Coach following the death of Ms. Spade in 2018. Their products have been seen on some celebrities but it is not considered a luxury brand because their products are widely available to buy online at very low and promotional price points.
  • Lana Marks, founded 1987, is an American handbag company and a bespoke luxury brand. It’s a family-owned and run business that creates luxurious exotic skin handbags and accessories. They’re known for making very limited quantities of their designs and for owning one of the most expensive handbags in the world.
  • Launer London, founded 1940, is an English high-end luxury leather goods brand. They offer handbags, wallets and purses at price ranges that make them very exclusive and are known for receiving the Queen of England’s official seal of approval. Their products are highly priced and intended for a small market. 
  • Lanvin, founded 1884, is a french fashion house and high-end luxury brand. They offer clothing and high-end leather goods at price ranges that make them very exclusive and are known for decadent embellishments in their designs. Their products are highly priced and intended for a small market. 
  • Loewe, founded in 1846, is an accessible luxury brand that offers a range of products at various price points. Some products are expensive but some are more affordable to a large number of people. They are superior to affordable luxury brands but are still not as coveted as high-end luxury brands.
  • Longchamp, founded in 1941, is an affordable luxury brand that bridges the gap between quality and accessibility. They create products for people who are willing to pay a higher price for good craftsmanship but don’t try to make their products scarce intentionally to keep demand and prices high.
  • Love Moschino founded 1983, is an accessible luxury brand offering products within a limited low to mid price range so their products are attainable to a large number of people. They are more popular than affordable luxury brands but are still not as good quality as other accessible luxury brands. 
  • Louis Vuitton, founded 1854, is a Parisian leather goods house and high-end luxury brand. Originally a luggage company they now offer clothing, accessories, handbags, jewelry and more, but they are most known for their monogram printed leather.Their products are highly priced and intended for a very small market. 
  • Marc Jacobs, founded 1986 is an affordable luxury brand that bridges the gap between quality and accessibility. They create products for people who are willing to pay a higher price for good craftsmanship but don’t try to make their products scarce intentionally to keep demand and prices high. 
  • Michael Kors, founded 1981 is an affordable luxury brand that bridges the gap between quality and accessibility. They create products for people who are willing to pay a higher price for good craftsmanship but don’t try to make their products scarce intentionally to keep demand and prices high.
  • Mulberry is an accessible luxury brand that offers a range of products at mid to high price points. They are known for the very high quality of their vegetable tanned leather and English aesthetic. They aren’t as coveted as high-end luxury brands but are very well respected for their quality. 
  • Polene, founded 2016, is an affordable luxury brand that bridges the gap between quality and accessibility. They create products for people who are willing to pay a higher price for good craftsmanship but don’t try to make their products scarce intentionally to keep demand and prices high.
  • Prada is an Italian high-end luxury fashion house founded in 1917, and is very well known in the luxury fashion industry. They offer a variety of high-end products both online and in store and rarely run promotions so as to maintain a certain high level of exclusivity of their products. 
  • Ralph Lauren is an accessible luxury brand that offers a range of products at low to high price points so some of their products are attainable to a large number of people. They’re more respected than affordable luxury brands but are still not as exclusive as other accessible luxury brands.
  • Rebecca Minkoff founded in 2005 is not considered a luxury brand but rather a premium brand. Their range of products are created in large quantities and are widely available to buy online at very low and promotional price points with little to no exclusivity associated with the brand. 
  • Roberto Cavalli, founded 1972, is a luxury brand offering products at low to mid price points making them more affordable and available to a larger number of people than other luxury brands. Cavalli products are targeted to a younger mid-range demographic, so they’re considered an accessible luxury brand for their leather goods. 
  • Salvatore Ferragamo is an accessible luxury brand that offers a range of products at various price points. Some products are expensive but some are more affordable to a large number of people. They are superior to affordable luxury brands but are still not as coveted as high-end luxury brands. 
  • Stella McCartney, founded in 1995 is an affordable luxury brand that bridges the gap between quality and accessibility. They create products for people who are willing to pay a higher price for good craftsmanship but don’t try to make their products scarce intentionally to keep demand and prices high.
  • Strathberry, founded in 2013 is an affordable luxury brand that bridges the gap between quality and accessibility. They create products for people who are willing to pay a higher price for good craftsmanship but don’t try to make their products scarce intentionally to keep demand and prices high.
  • Ted Baker founded in 1987 is not considered a luxury brand but rather a premium brand. Their range of products are created in large quantities and are widely available to buy online at very low and promotional price points with little to no exclusivity associated with the brand. 
  • Tory Burch is a designer who founded her brand in 2004. It is considered an affordable luxury brand that bridges the gap between quality and accessibility. Her ready-to-wear pieces are easily accessible online and are for people who want good craftsmanship and design at a reasonable price.
  • Valentino, founded 1959, is a high-end luxury brand that offers some mid-range products that are available online for more people to purchase. Their higher price points make their products more rare than other accessible luxury brands but they are still not as exclusive as other high-end luxury brands. 
  • Versace, founded 1978, is a luxury brand that offers some of their products at accessible price points. They produce ready-to-wear pieces and accessories, as well as haute couture pieces under the Atelier Versace brand and a streetwear line under the Versace Jeans Couture brand. 
 
  • Yves Saint Laurent is an haute couture fashion house and high-end luxury brand. They offer clothing and high-end leather goods at price ranges that make them very exclusive and are known for sophisticated and elegant women’s fashion. Their products are highly priced and intended for a small market.
understated forever classic burgundy designer luxury handbags

Understated burgundy designer handbags

The color burgundy is as classic as red wine. So here is some inspiration for some understated forever classic designer handbags that will also stand the test of time in terms of design.

Christian Dior – Diorever

The Diorever, is very architectural in design meaning that it’s made to hold its shape and quality over a long period of time. And watching the fabrication of this on YouTube is so satisfying.

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Launer London – Juliet

The Launer London Juliet is in its own class to prestige when you look at the history of this brand, they have an official seal of approval from the Queen of England herself. And it’s bulletproof in terms of its timeless appeal.

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Bottega Veneta – BV Classic

Bottega Veneta is a powerhouse when it comes to color. Their BV classic combines clean lines that creates a classic silhouette with the contemporary design of that spherical closure.

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Givenchy – Obsedia

The Givenchy Obsedia is a sturdy top handle bag and offers a crossroads between masculine and feminine design. It’s a very professional almost briefcase looking bag and in burgundy, I think it’s very memorable.

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Mulberry – Bayswater Zipped

The Bayswater Zipped is worth mentioning for Mulberry. It’s vegetable time so over time it develops patina (a soft sheen) that’s part of the natural aging process and a hallmark of high quality expensive leather.

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Bvlgari – Serpenti Forever

The Bvlgari Serpenti Forever has smooth calf leather panels that look exquisite and burgundy. A bit more timeless than it is understated with that beautiful eye-catching serpent focal point.

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Mish Rua

Mish has a Masters in Fine Art and she’s passionate about classical design, style and culture. She loves to analyze fashion and style through this lens to help people develop a personal style that’s authentic and tasteful.

forever classic understated black designer handbags tasteful luxury bags

Understated forever classic black designer handbags

If you are diehard fan of the “Forever Classics” when it comes to luxury handbags, but you want to find something that’s a bit more discreet, then here are some classic black designer handbags that are very understated but that still is speak volumes.

Yves Saint Laurent – Sac de Jour

The Sac de Jour has a rigid rectangular shape and comes in four different sizes, the nano, baby, small and large. It was designed for YSL by Hedi Slimane during his 4 year tenure as Creative Director of the French fashion house. The “Sac de jour” which means “Bag of the Day” in English, comes in various colors and finishes and is made on 100% calfskin. It was first released in 2013 and has remained part of the permanent collection ever since. Featuring top handles and a shoulder strap, this bag is as versatile as it is timeless and is often compared to the Hermès Birkin in terms of its silhouette. 

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Gucci – 1955 Horsebit Bag

The Gucci Horsebit 1955 shoulder bag has the same silhouette as the design that was first introduced over six decades ago but looks really polished in black leather. The bag was revived by Creative Director Alessandro Michele. Even though the horsebit has been used for decades as part of Gucci’s brand identity it’s not as instantly recognisable as the “GG” logo and allows the bag to retain a bit more discretion. The symbol is also much more intricately linked with the brand’s unique history thanks to the founder Guccio Gucci who worked at the Savoy Hotel in London where he learned about the importance of equestrian sports to members of the English aristocracy. The bag does not have any top handles but does have an adjustable shoulder strap so it can be carried on one shoulder or cross body as well.

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Fendi – 2 Jours

The Fendi 2 Jours was first introduced in 2021 and was an instant hit. It is now discontinued but can be a great addition to your wardrobe even in pre-loved condition thanks to its very practical and timeless design. The 2 Jours was designed by a third generation member of the Fendi family, Silvia Venturini. It has a simplistic and softly structured silhouette, topped off with a sleek and enamel bar detail that discreetly displays the Fendi logo. The only other thing that could give this bag away is its superb craftsmanship and high-grade smooth calfskin leather. It has top handles and a shoulder strap to wear crossbody and it comes in two sizes; the petite and the medium size which is actually quite large.

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Balenciaga – Maillon

The Balenciaga Maillon bag comes in three different styles. The most famous is the mini Trapeze bag with the shoulder strap, but the top handle bag is also known for its vintage modern aesthetic and the tote bag is equally beautiful. These bags are jaw droppingly gorgeous, thanks to the ultra smooth, polished calfskin leather and can be found with silver or gold hardware in the form of a chain closure which is what gives the bag its name. The line was first introduced in 2013 for Balenciaga by designer Alexander Wang and offers a unique balance of modern lines with a more French vintage silhouette and feel to the design. Black bags usually look very sophisticated and professional looking with very structured lines and precise angles. However the Maillon offers a look that’s undeniably chic but also unashamedly feminine and elegant at the same time. This is the kind of bag I would be super protective about not getting even the smallest of scratches because the suppleness of the leather is everything!

Louis Vuitton – Monceau

The Louis Vuitton Monceau bag is no longer in production, but maybe you can find it pre-loved because it is one of the most understated bags that you’re going to find from LV. They usually love to use their logo and monogram prints throughout their line which makes this bag particularly unique and special if you can find it! This crossbody shoulder bag is very studious looking and might not be what you’re looking for if you want something that can take you through to the evening. However, it was first introduced in 1986 and is very reminiscent of the vintage style of the original Louis Vuitton luggage goods which gives it a very authentic historic look without all the logomania. A miniaturised version was introduced in 2013 called the Monceau BB and offered a few more vibrant color options. However the original design is more practical and the matt black calfskin leather makes it more timeless in my opinion. It’s such a good option if you love the heritage of Louis Vuitton but don’t necessarily want to feel like a walking billboard.

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Céline – Box Bag

The Céline box bag comes in three sizes; teen, small and medium, and is made with calfskin leather, lambskin lining and has an impeccable finish. Its features are kept to the absolute minimum with an adjustable shoulder strap, a rectangular clasp closure and no visible logo (which instead appears inside the flap). The original Box Bag was designed by British designer Phoebe Philo during her 10 years as Creative Director at fashion house. The design was preserved by her successor, Hedi Silmani who introduced a wider array of colors but stayed faithful to the original design. Even though the design itself is identical to Phoebe’s version, it might interest you to know the logo under the flap was updated to a slightly different font and no longer bore the signature accented “é”. For sure, this is a classic bag that will remain in style forever. It has a very Parisian aesthetic and balances femininity with contemporary design.

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I hope you have found this helpful. I would love to see how you style these bags if you already have them in your wardrobe or if this article inspires you to own your very own understated forever classic. Tag me on Instagram, Tiktok or Pinterest or you can or send me a message because I would love to see! 

About the author 

Mish has a Masters in Fine Art and she has an interest in classical design, history and culture. She loves to analyze fashion and style through this lens to help people develop authentic personal style.