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Classics! The Best Handbags, Vintage and Modern

The world of handbags can be an awfully tricky minefield to navigate. Part of the dilemma lies in the decision between a vintage investment or a classic of tomorrow. When considering an investment in either, there are several specifications to consider.

Whilst any consideration of a vintage investment must include analysis of the number produced, the most popular design and the bags authenticity; a modern investment need only incorporate a timeless or unique style. With these specifications in mind, we’ve teamed up with our lovely friends at MyBag to bring you our top Classic Icons and Modern Investments.

My Bag sale

The Classic Icons

The late 1990s and early 2000s saw an unprecedented rise in demand for the ‘it’ bag. Once a celebrity was seen cradling their new icon, sellers would experience an exponential growth in demand for the new ‘desirable’ (think SJP and the Prada Baguette). This impossibly high demand combined with a limited amount of stock are the key components of the ‘Classics.’

With so many convincing fakes on the market it’s easy to be duped into believing you’re buying a ‘real’ classic. The tell-tale sign of fake rests in the price. In the words of Reetu Rai, collector of ‘classics:’ ‘if it looks too good to be true, chances are, it is.’ It is important to request the purchase receipt or certificate of authentication whenever buying a vintage icon from a Classified ads site.

The Hermés Birkin Bag

Birkin bags. sourced from pinterest

The first of our icons is the one and only, Hermés Birkin bag. Known worldwide by its bag name alone, its prices range from £6,700 to £100,000. An international symbol of wealth named after the singer and actress, Jane Birkin, the infamous Birkin Bag is still seen on the arms of a plethora of celebrities from Victoria Beckham to Tamara Ecclestone.

The extreme demand, means that you’ll have to wait six years before you can nab a new one. However, there are alternatives. Purchasing a Birkin via Preloved means you can purchase an older, 35cm model for a little as £3,000 (with receipts, dust bag and box), with the guarantee that unlike a pristine Ferrari your purchase is likely to increase to in value.

The Louis Vuitton Speedy

Speedy, sourced from pinterest

Since Audrey Hepburn was seen with her custom-made 25cm Speedy in 1965, this unique accessory has captivated generations. The Speedy encompasses an ageless, scuff and tear resistant design whose functionality promises to maintain its desirability. In the words of author of the useful handbag blog ‘the handbag concept:’ ‘No creative director of Louis Vuitton has ever let a significant collection go by without re-imagining the speedy.’

In terms of investment, however, it is inadvisable to purchase an alternative to the classic, monogramed Speedy. The icon of generations (and generations to come), the original 30cm Monogramed bag is the model most likely to increase in value.

Chanel 2.55

chanel, pinterest

The original 2.55 came after Chanel’s successful comeback to the fashion industry in 1954. Based on a 1929 design whose aim was to provide a bag which entirely freed the hands, this bag, like the Speedy, combines both luxury and functionality.

Purchasing a Chanel bag, new or old, still promises an increase in value of up to 84.9% in two years.

Tomorrows Treasures

Whilst the Classic Icon, particularly the Birkin or Baguette,  from a period of history which saw unprecedented economic growth and, hence increased public spending power, the bag icons of tomorrow reflect rather different economic conditions.

Over the past few years clamour surrounding new, high end designer bags has reduced, whilst the desire for middle-level designers such as Michael Kors and Lulu Guinness continues to increase. Producing just as much hype as the Birkin did Kors, Ralph Lauren and Ted Baker bags combine timeless styling with affordable price tags. Indeed, whilst a new Mulberry Alexa may cost up to £1,300, a Kors bag of a similar style with cost around £300 and still promises a good return.

Lulu Guinness – Lips Clutch

Lulu lips, pinterest and MyBag

Encompassing all the uniqueness of the Speedy, Guiness’s creations are modelled on the motto her hero, the Surreliast artisan and fashion designer, Elisa Schiaperalli: ‘Dare to be different.’ And, indeed, Guinness’s pop-art creations have received a cult following by women who dare to transgress the boundaries of normality. From Florence Welch to Helena Bohnam Carter, Guiness’s brand is the epitome of unique and creative timelessness that doesn’t have to break the bank.

Yet, there is one design that surpasses all others – the Dali-esque lips clutch. This stunning bag remains the brand’s staple accessory. At only £245, moreover, the Guiness clutch provides and alternative, edgier alternative to Chanel’s 2.55,

The Cambridge Satchel Company – Original Satchel

Cambridge satchel, MyBag and pinterest

Founded in 2008, by an English mother searching for a way to pay for her children’s private school fees, the Cambridge satchel company has become an unexpected global success. Combining a cult following with handmade designs, the Cambridge satchel company offer all of the perks of a handmade Birkin at a fraction of the cost (and without the 6 year waiting list). Seen on the shoulders of celebrities from Taylor Swift to Fearne Cotton, the Cambridge Satchel is still a global must-have item and promises the same return as any of the aforementioned high-end designers.

Ralph Lauren – Tate City Tote

Ralph Lauren, My Bag

Whilst still possessing the heritage and prestige of Hermes, Ralph Lauren offers an equally stunning and serviceable tote. A stunning alternative to the Birkin, this premium leather accessory at the small price of £280.

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All images sourced from Pinterest and MyBag.

Adele Gardner

Adele Gardner

Creative Writer

Adele is a creative writer for Preloved. She loves literature, travelling, baked goods and is always hunting for new music.