How to Choose your First Designer Bag 2022

If you found this article, then Congrats on buying your first designer bag. I can distinctly remember the first designer handbag I added to my collection. The excitement of going to the store, trying on different bags, and finally bringing that bag home. 

How to choose your first designer bag
Diane wearing a Black Special Order Hermes Birkin Bag © PetiteinParis

Today we will discuss what your first best designer bags be depending on your budget, what to look for when buying a designer handbag, and should you buy your first designer bag secondhand?

One of the biggest concerns I hear from people when they are buying their first designer handbag is the following, “What if I spend so much money on a designer handbag and in a few months or even next year it’s out of style?” 

I totally understand that fear, which is why I do endless amounts of research to ensure I recommend bags that are considered timeless, will stay in style for years and are high quality bags.   

First Designer Bag if your budget is under $1,000

There are so many designer handbags if your budget is under 1k. In fact, when I started writing this article, I ended up splitting it into two articles because I found 10 incredible designer handbags under 1k. I highly recommend you check out that article.

Strathberry Tote Bag

Strathberry Tote Bag Size Medium in Black
Black Strathberry Tote Bag © Strathberry

I highly recommend the Strathberry Tote Bag as your first designer handbag. This London based brand is making big waves, and I've been a huge fan of their high quality bags for years now. I recommend picking up a Strathberry bag before they go too mainstream and raise their prices. For reference, I have the Strathberry Nano tote it's so cute and small, I love it.

LongChamp Bag

Longchamp Nylon Bag in Beige
Beige Longchamp Nylong Bag

The LongChamp Nylon Bag is such an easy bag to style and wear. It is my favorite bag to take with me when I travel. The Nylon material makes it so easy to clean if it ever gets dirty. Priced at a little under $200, this is the perfect first designer handbag to start your collection.

Gucci Bag

Mini Gucci Bag under 1k
Mini Gucci Bag Dionysus

I love small bags being popular, because that means a bag that Gucci carries is on the list for first designer bags under $1,000. It's hard to believe that this Gucci bag falls into this cateogy, but I recommend if you are thinking about buying this bag, buy it sooner rather than later. I anticipate it going up in price in the future.

In short, my favorite designer handbags if your budget is under 1k are the following: Strathberry, Alexander McQueen, Longchamp, and one Gucci Bag!

First Designer handbag if your budget is between $1k-3k 

Many designer handbags fall into the budget of 1-3k. There are 3 bags that I recommend if you fall within this category. Celine Belt Bag / Celine Luggage Bag, the YSL Lou Lou Bag, or the LV Neverfull Bag. 

Celine Belt Bag

Celine Belt Bag Mini in Beige
Celine Mini Belt Bag in Color Beige © Streetystylebest

First on my list is the Celine Belt Bag. This is the ultimate Parisian IT bag, and has gain popularity through the years. This is such a timeless piece that is the epitome of a Parisian Chic handbag. Another incredible Celine Bag that is worth looking at is the Celine Luggage bag, this structured bag is also another favorite   

YSL Lou Lou Bag

YSL Lou Lou Bag size Small in Beige
YSL Lou Lou Bag Size Small in Beige © YSL.international

No list would be complete without a Saint Laurent LouLou bag. This is the ultimate first designer handbag buy. This bag is so effortless and will help elevate even the simplest of outfits. I absolutely adore this bag and would make for a great first designer handbag. The LouLou bag comes in different sizes but I adore the smaller size too!

LV Neverfull Tote Bag

Louis Vuitton Neverfull Travel
Louis Vuitton Neverfull Bag Size MM © louisvuitton.style

LV Neverfull – The LV Neverfull tote was actually my first designer handbag I added to my collection. I still love this bag to this day, and I definitely recommend adding it as  your first designer handbag. 

The most popular Louis Vuitton Neverfull Size is the MM, however if you are unsure what size would fit you best, then I recommend checking out this LV Size Guide article I wrote about the different sizes. 

Other popular brands to check out that fall into this 1-3k budget category are Gucci bags, Many Prada pieces, as well as Loewe Bags. 

First designer handbag if your budget is $3k + 

If you have a budget over $3,000 you certainly have the most options. In the over $3000 budget there are many brands I tend to recommend. I love investing in classic pieces that are not only a good investment, meaning you can resell them for at least 80% of what you paid for, but also handbags that will last for years to come. 

Classic Chanel Flap Bag in Caviar
Classic Chanel Flap Bag in Caviar Leather © Chanel Community

Classic Chanel Bag

If your budget is over 3k, then I definitely recommend a Classic Chanel Bag in Caviar, this bag is so effortlessly chic and timeless. The Chanel Classic Flap bag will continue to be around for years and only increases year over year in price. 

Lady Dior Bag

Beige Lady Dior bag price
Beige Lady Dior Bag Close up © Diorcommunity

The second bag I would recommend is the Lady Dior. This classic piece is one you will have in your wardrobe for a lifetime. I absolutely recommend adding the Lady Dior bag as your first designer bag! 

Hermes Birkin or Hermes Kelly Bag

Hermes Birkin 25 in color Gold with Twillys
Hermes Birkin Bag Color Gold Size 25 © Hermesfans

If you can really splurge on a handbag, then I undoubtedly recommend a Hermes Bag. Hermes is the upper echelon of designer bags. The Hermès Birkin or Hermes Kelly bag are the ultimate it bags with impeccable craftsmanship. 

In short, if your budget is over $3,000 for your first designer bag, I recommend a Classic Chanel Bag in Caviar, a Hermes Birkin bag or Hermes Kelly bag, or a Lady Dior bag. These are all timeless pieces that really hold their value. 

What to look for when buying a designer bag?

Closeup of the Chanel Flap Bag
Detailed photo of the Chanel bag© ChanelInternational

The most important thing to look for when you are buying a designer handbag is quality. I always tell people to invest in a quality handbags that will last a number of years. 

If you are buying the handbag in the store, then I highly recommend looking the stitching, does it line up, does the open and, does the zipper unzip and zip easily? These are all essential things to inspect when you’re looking at a bag.

It’s easy to get excited, try on the bag, walk around the store with it, but whatever you do, NEVER buy a designer bag with inspecting it first. 

It's important to make sure the bag is perfect before ever leaving the store. A Lot of times they will have more in the back so you can ask for another one if the current one isn’t perfect.

Should you buy your first designer handbag secondhand? 

Hermes Birkin horseshoe club size guide
Closeup of Hermes© Streetstylefashion

I think buying your first designer bag secondhand comes down to a personal choice. I can see both sides. 

I love buying secondhand designer bags because it is sustainable, gives a new life to the bag, many times they are in great condition, and sometimes (not always) you can get the designer bag for a discounted price.

On the flip side, I get the thrill of walking into a designer store to buy your first handbag, it truly is a great experience. Some places, such a Louis Vuitton, even offer you champagne!

Recap on how to choose your first designer bag

Chanel top handle bag
Chanel Caviar Top Handle Bag© Chanelcommunity

When it comes to buying your first luxury handbag, the main thing is figuring out your budget and stick to that price point. Once you determine your budget, then you can really figure out based upon that budget what brands fall into that category. 

Regardless of what your budget is, I always stress the importance of inspecting the bag to make sure it’s up to the high quality standards it should be. The last thing you want to do is get home and realize the stitching is off. 

Finally, take a look at the preloved luxury handbag market. Often times you will find great deals on handbags that haven’t been worn at all or only barely used. 

Sincerely Petite in Paris,

Diane 

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