Should a Bag be an “Investment”?

By Morgan Robinson

If you’re a handbag aficionado, the ultimate dream is seeing rows and rows of handbags fill your closet. As much as we love to wear and style our bags, curating the perfect collection is just as important, and finding the perfect gems to fill it is a matter of time, knowledge, and resources. The process of buying handbags is tough and a game of strategy within itself. PurseBop even developed a whole science of handbag math to help you work through price anxiety. You’ve probably asked yourself “how much will I really wear this?”, “is it worth it?” or even “how much is too much?”. While it’s easy to admire and cherish our bags, sometimes we have to ask ourselves “what can I get out of my bag?”, and the answer is inevitably different every time.

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@my__closet__diaries

With the steep price tags of designer handbags, sometimes you just really want to know what your money is buying you. Sales associates and brands themselves often throw around the term “investment” when it comes to luxury goods to reassure you that your purchases are really going to good use. Although seeing handbags as big investments is something we’ve come to naturally accept,  the concept of “bags as investments” is a bit strange. Everyone has different uses and purposes for each of their bags, PurseBop wants to explore what the implications of investing in your bag are from all angles.

Let’s start off from a purely definitional standpoint:

Investment (noun) –

the investing of money or capital in order to gain profitable returns, as interest, income, or appreciation in value.

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Investing: It’s only up from here!

So, a bag, seen as an investment, is supposed to hold its value or perhaps even gain in worth for potential resale in the future. The concept of this is novel, but when it comes to an item such as a bag, good investment is mostly wishful thinking.

Much like a car, a handbag will depreciate in value as soon as it leaves the store for a couple of reasons. While some people have an inclination to “baby” or be cautious around their bags that are more special, the average bag will experience at least a bit of wear and tear because of its utilitarian function of carrying our everyday lives. Bags usually don’t appreciate in value because they are mass-produced. There is a large market for people simply looking for less expensive, pre-owned bags. In general though, the more accessible a bag is, the less it will be coveted on the resale market. On the same note, there’s a fast turnover for what people find interesting and the “it bags” of the moment tend to change quickly. With new styles being introduced frequently, there’s no guarantee your bag will hold the same appeal over time.

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The Ever-Changing Cycle of “It Bags”. Photo Courtesy: FashionMagazine

Don’t feel so discouraged yet! It’s true, most bags objectively will not be valuable assets. However, there are a few brands and certain bags that consistently retain their value pretty well:

  1. Hermes (the Birkin and the Kelly)
  2. Chanel (the Classic Flap, the Boy Bag, the Re-Issue)
  3. Louis Vuitton
  4. Celine (the Luggage Tote)

Although most of these bags are widely produced, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel in particular have a prestigious reputation in the handbag world and have created some truly loved silhouettes. In the case of Hermes, the Birkin and the Kelly can make large profits on the resale market because it is rare to be offered a B or K, and finding one in your preferred color, size, and hardware is another challenge. For Chanel, even though most the iconic styles are more available, recent price increases have sparked some to look for older or more vintage pieces.

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Chanel Price Increase Over Past 30 Years. Photo Courtesy: MarketLuxuryBrands

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However, if we can’t always see our bags as a monetary asset, we can definitely view them as valuable. Buying a finely crafted, good quality bag is a special moment, and we love to showcase our new treasures thoroughly in our community through instagram shots and reveals. Even though your bag may not gain in value, it will definitely be a long-term staple. At the end of the day, everyone has their favorite items they cannot resist, and most of us find bags to be simply beautiful. When we can’t numerically value our bags, we can also consider “investment” in a different sense:

Investment (noun) –

a devoting, using, or giving of time, talent, emotional energy, etc., as for a purpose or to achieve something

What we want to “achieve” with our bags may be something different every time. Maybe you want to find the perfect everyday bag, a crazy statement piece, or score that elusive, limited edition bag. Whatever the case, you don’t have to justify your bag in terms of money. A price tag is arbitrary, but your bag can tell a story in your bigger fashion journey. Invest in what you love and what adds value to your self-expression!

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@anika_bozic displaying all her mini bag love!

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BopTalk @mylifeincolors_ Chanel Appreciation

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@bibi2couri Hermes Rainbow

Join the conversation on BopTalk and share your opinion: Should a bag be an “investment”?

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