Would you rather own 20 trendy high-street bags, or just one super fancy so-called It bag? I don’t know about you, but I’m in the camp of quality over quantity; give me a classic, timeless bag any day, and I’ll carry it literally every day. If you’ve saved up for the ultimate Christmas present for yourself, or just want to splurge your AWS / year-end bonus on a bag, these are the ones you absolutely cannot go wrong with. They are bags you can pass on to your daughters / granddaughters or be buried with. You (probably) also won’t get sick of them, and will be proud to bring them out for any occasion. I wouldn’t even call these “cult” bags… they are beyond cult status; they are investments in style and taste, and actually appreciate in value over the years!
Without further ado, here’s the full price list of bags you should totally invest in:
If you want a Chanel bag (who doesn’t want a Chanel bag?!), I think it should either be the Classic Flap Bag (with the interlocking C’s) or the 2.55 (with the Mademoiselle lock) — they are similar and similarly priced, but with slight differences, mainly the lock and chain strap. If this is your first Chanel bag purchase, get it in black, and in either caviar or distressed leather; they will both distress nicely over time, and you won’t have to worry about rain and scratches as much as bags in other colours and materials. These classic Chanel bag designs also appreciate in price every year. True story: I bought the Classic handbag (the standard size) in Paris in 2009, for around SG$3,000 after VAT. Today (9 years later), that same bag is close to $8,000! That’s definitely what I call a worthy investment.
YEAR OF ORIGIN — 1955
Designer — Coco Chanel
CHANEL CLASSIC HANDBAG:
YEAR OF ORIGIN — 1983
Designer — Karl Lagerfeld
LV has many classic bag designs, including the Neverfull, Alma, and Noé; but it’s the Speedy that, to me, will never go out of vogue. I love its round, duffel-like shape that references back to luggage and travel, which the brand has much history with; and the practical zip closure and included padlock. There’s another version called the Speedy Bandouliere, which has a long shoulder strap perfect for wearing the bag cross-body. The OG is the Speedy 30 (30cm in length), and comes in three different canvas materials — but of course, the Monogram Canvas featured here is the one to buy (unless you don’t like the print… then why are you even considering this?). There are very slight price differences between the sizes so you can choose one according to your needs. Remember, the bigger it is, the more things you can carry, but the heavier it will be.
LOUIS VUITTON SPEEDY:
YEAR OF ORIGIN — 1930
Designer — Gaston-Louis Vuitton
While the Chanel flap bags and LV’s Speedy are great for both casual and formal wear, Saint Laurent’s Sac De Jour is the one you’ll want to bring to the office every day. The clean lines, minimalist aesthetics and structured, almost briefcase-like shape exude a sophistication that screams success! This bag design was introduced in 2013 during Hedi Slimane’s time at Saint Laurent, with the classic version in grained leather now available in 6 colours and 3 sizes (see image below).
SAINT LAURENT SAC DE JOUR:
YEAR OF ORIGIN — 2013
Designer — Hedi Slimane
The ubiquitous Balenciaga City bag is the roomiest of all the bags featured here, and in particular, the standard size is perfect for travelling with. There are many variations of this bag — like limited edition designs (eg. graffiti) and exotic materials — but for the more affordable solid versions, it comes in black, grey, navy and red. There’s no price difference between gold and silver studs, with the black version having the option of black studs (love!). Note that the leather softens over time and use, and every bag includes a mirror and detachable shoulder strap. Unsurprisingly, this bag has also risen in price over the years.
YEAR OF ORIGIN — 2000
Designer — Nicolas Ghesquière
The ultimate investment bag has to be the Hermès Kelly or Birkin; and these are so exclusive, we called the store for pricing and info and on how to get one, and they wouldn’t entertain us. They could only tell us that a person who was on a waiting list for five years JUST got her bag this month. Also, they are not entertaining anymore requests for both these bags. For the Birkin, Wikipedia tells us that the price ranges from US$11,900 to $300,000. The Kelly is also similarly priced, depending on materials and embellishments.
YEAR OF ORIGIN — 1930
Designer — Robert Dumas
above: kelly bags / Images from Hermes.com
YEAR OF ORIGIN — 1984
Designer — Jean-Louis Dumas
above: birkin bags / Images from Hermes.com
If you want one now, your best bet is getting it second-hand. We spot quite a few on Style Tribute and Reebonz. Alternatively, consider the Hermès Herbag Zip; it has the clean stylings of the Kelly, but made with canvas and at a far more affordable price. You’ll also have better luck asking in-store for this design.
above: herbag zip ($3,750 FOR SIZE 31 — INFO FROM STORE)
Speaking of Hermès bags, I’ll just leave you with this: