Question for all expert and experienced purse shoppers

In Vogue

Fashion Addict
Jun 26, 2009
11
0
Toronto
So I was just thinking....if I'm gonna dish out a lot of my hard earned money that was a result of my blood, sweat and tears in the name of fashion (my one true love lol)...well then I really want to ensure that the item I'm splurging on will last me a loooong time.

So for all you expert purse shoppers which purses/brands would you recommend for their quality of craftmanship and durability?

I wouldn't want to to dish out for something that's gonna fall apart on me.

Would love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

Thanks in advance! :smile:
 

isbltqe07

Member
Aug 3, 2009
110
0
It really depends on your style and budget. If you like modern and sassy go for a Jimmy Choo or Marc Jacobs. If you like classic and elegance go for Chanel , Bottega or less expensive Tod's.I would recommend all leather instead of Canvas and Leather for durability. These purses last for a very long time specially if you take care of them real well. I wouldn't mind getting wet in the rain. as long as my bag does not and when not in use I stuff and store them in their dustbag. Hope this helps.
 

In Vogue

Fashion Addict
Jun 26, 2009
11
0
Toronto
Thank you! Your post is much appreciated.

Are there any brands you would recommend avoiding?

Any tips or things to look for when purchasing ie. type of stitching, lining etc?
 

BgaHolic

Emma 4ever in my <3
O.G.
May 23, 2009
7,338
127
NYC
I ditto what isbltque07 says! Depending on your wallet, the above are great premier designers to invest in. I would add a non logo leather Gucci to the list as well. If you can't afford the above, Botkier, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Gryson are moderate priced ($400 - $650) designers that manufacturers quality bags.
 

chloehandbags

ChloéClutchCollector
O.G.
Mar 23, 2006
13,297
48
England, UK.
I think the thing is that quality and durability are two very separate issues and that many very high quality bags won't be overly durable, due to the delicate nature of the materials used in their construction.

If your main concern really is durability, rather than aesthetic appeal, then perhaps a Prada nylon bag would be a good choice (not that they're ugly!)? Members on here have Prada nylon bags that they've been using consistently since they first came out in the '90s and they're still going strong! :tup:

Obviously, if you want long-term durability and for the bag to still look as new as possible after lots of heavy wear, avoid very delicate materials like very soft leathers and silks and go for black, or other dark colours (e.g. brown, navy or burgundy), with similarly dark (rather than contrasting) thread.

Typically, I think the thicker and firmer the leather the more hard wearing it tends to be - although this isn't a hard and fast rule, as very hard leathers can be more prone to scratching, in my experience and some very soft leathers, like those used by BV, almost seem to 'heal' themselves when damaged (bizarre, I know - makes you wonder if they use unborn animal skin? :s :shocked: :sad: ).

So the compromise would probably be a thick, firmish, but still flexible, leather.

This may not be that easy to find, though, as I think most designer brands seem to use either very/quite soft, or very hard, leathers most of the time.

If you do want leather, rather than a durable fabric, bear in mind that all leather is a perishable commodity that has to be looked after, to a certain extent and that dirt/grease/salt from hands, heavy rain and impact from use etc. will all affect it over time, however relatively durable a leather it may be.

In terms of construction, most high end designer bags are going to be well made enough to be durable, assuming they're made from durable materials; however, some bags/brands are known to be susceptible to 'quirks'.

Chloe (much as I love Chloe!) is one of those brands, for example...

Which brings me to my next point, which is innovation - the newer a design is and the more new and innovative designs a brand tends to puts out, the more likely it is that there will be 'issues', as the first customers are, effectively, the guinea pigs for the new design. This is pretty much to be expected, though, as fashion companies, obviously, don't have years to test new designs for possible faults before releasing them.

However, if you do want the first release of an innovative design and anything does go wrong (with normal use [which is, basically, using the bag as a bag!]) within the first year, or so (and most of these faults normally become apparent pretty quickly), it should always be possible to get an exchange or a refund. :smile:

My final thought would be simplicity. If you want a better chance of durability, go for a simple design in an ergonomic, easy-to-use shape (for ease of use [which should decrease the risk of wear/damage]), without lots of bells and whistles; as if you do, there is, obviously, less to go wrong. :smile:
 
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mothbeast

O.G.
Jan 12, 2009
9,198
59
chloehandbags put it very well I think.

look for classic shapes and colors, not to busy with trendy embellishments
probably avoid brand new styles and brands.
in short probably go conservative.

other considerations - can they do repairs and cleaning? in the US or overseas? do they charge? can you get a spare part sent if you need one (like a zipper pull or something) or do you have to mail the bag in?

when you do find a specific item you think you might want poke around the forums for that brand. people here will be able to give feedback on customer service as well as the general quality durability of the bag also about where to buy

fwiw i they're not very fashiony but I love my nylon and leather Tumis and they'll mail you zipper pulls.
 

BgaHolic

Emma 4ever in my <3
O.G.
May 23, 2009
7,338
127
NYC
I have to agree with Papertiger. I bought a Gucci about a year ago but I just wasn't ready to spend $1500 @ that time, and I'm sorry to say I returned it. It was a black leather pelham. Strong as iron, would probably last me a lifetime. Here's a great example of what you should buy - It was made of pebbled leather, (no "G" logos to speak of) and the handles had simply a brass or gold plated horsebit on either end. It was a timeless bag. I am soooooo sorry I returned it!! I couldn't justify the price @ that time & I have another bag extremely similar in style. Ironically the other bag is a Luce. - Very inexpensive, strong as iron too and one of my favorites! Anyway, I ended up recently buying a chocolate colored Rive Gauche by Yves Saint Laurent. I do love it & am happy I bought it.

My advice is take your time and look around for a while and see what you are comfortable with. My preference is bags that can be worn comfortable over my shoulder. It's individual taste. Check out different leathers. Calfskin is the strongest. Lambskin is expensive, and the softest. Lambskin is found in BV bags as well as Chanel and some in Botkier. Good luck! Hope we helped! :dothewave:
 

chloehandbags

ChloéClutchCollector
O.G.
Mar 23, 2006
13,297
48
England, UK.
chloehandbags put it very well I think.

Thanks, mothbeast - the feeling's mutual! :flowers:


other considerations - can they do repairs and cleaning? in the US or overseas? do they charge? can you get a spare part sent if you need one (like a zipper pull or something) or do you have to mail the bag in?

That's a very good point. :yes:

Again, not to demonise them, but Chloe aren't too good for that, either, in my experience - they tend to send the bag back to Italy to be repaired (it's normally free for the first year, or so, I think [assuming you haven't abused the bag and so, caused the damage yourself] and then they charge after that). But, in my case, when it arrived in Italy, they damaged the bag further (by removing some paillettes that were still loosely [but sufficiently to not just fall off of their own accord!] attached and needed securing) and then claimed they didn't have the right parts to mend it and just sent it back to the store! :rolleyes: :nogood: :lol:

I had a vision of a bored 'artisan' pulling my bag out of its box, taking one look at it, looking around to see if anyone was looking and then pulling the beads off and throwing them in the bin! :lol:

Admittedly, it was a reasonably rare, seasonal item (rather than a Paddy, or something), so I suppose they had a bit of an excuse for not having the parts a year later, but to pull them off intentionally?

I suppose it's testament to the design and quality of the bags in general, that I'll still consider buying Chloe, despite that having happened and you know, despite all this, I'll still happily (assuming they're not criminally expensive [which most of them are, at the moment!]) buy bags with embellishment and so on, as I'd rather take the chance of there being a possible issue (there's usually not a serious one, after all) than miss out on a beautiful bag. As, apart from the quality, that's why I buy designer bags; for the artistry of the design.

Actually, that was an example of a Chloe design with 'issues' - it was gorgeous, but the edges of the rectangular paillettes were sharp and they used to saw through the thread attaching them to the bag (I've seen several bags of the same [or similar] design, now, with the same problem).

Issues with other Chloe bags over the years have included the Heloise's handles becoming detached from the bag, which is, obviously, quite a serious fault that can't be ignored and then they often seem to have other, less serious, 'quirks' (such as the metallic finish rubbing off certain bags very easily, little bits of leather/HW missing, the odd bit of dodgy stitching, too-strong magnetic clasps etc.) that you tend to learn to live with if you love the bag and can't replace it easily.

The only other experience I've had of needing a bag to be repaired was a vintage woven BV that needed mending and redying. They said they couldn't redye woven leather; so that may be something to bear in mind, too (just in case you were considering woven leather, In Vogue [which I assume you probably weren't!]).


when you do find a specific item you think you might want poke around the forums for that brand. people here will be able to give feedback on customer service as well as the general quality durability of the bag also about where to buy

Very good idea. :yes:
 

Bay

O.G.
Feb 7, 2007
6,381
2
I love RM bags but I think you should invest in a nice and classic MJ, Prada or YSL purse :smile:
 

Mimster

Member
Jul 20, 2009
3,445
5
ITA with chloehandbags!

I don't think that you can ask what handbag is the best unless that person has the exact same taste & requirements in a bag as you. It's very much like asking about shoes. Some brands are great in durability & designs looks great on others and don't hurt their feet but are just not comfortable on YOUR feet.

Take your time in choosing what works for you. Visit the stores and try on the bags.

Also, remember that cost is not directly correlated with quality & durability. Just because a handbag cost $$$$ doesn't mean that it's going to last a lifetime.

Personally, I like leather as I think that it can last a very longtime if you take care of it.

Good luck in your search!
 

McLoverly

O.G.
Oct 7, 2006
1,865
199
This is terrific information! Thank you all for sharing your knowledge and experiences. Very helpful!
I think we'll be able to give you more specific advice if you let us know what your budget is. Hermes, for example, is timeless, well crafted, and many of their leathers are durable, also Hermes has spa service for your bags to refurbish them regularly.... but it comes with a very hefty price tag which you likely aren't prepared for. Chanel Caviar Leather is extremely durable and most Chanel designs are quite timeless. There are other less expensive options, but without knowing your style and budget it's really hard to advise.