Though my luxury bag obsession has died down a bit in the last couple of years (thanks to being a bit more conscious about my consumption habits and also getting into slow fashion), I’ve still purchased (and sold) a lot of designer bags in my lifetime. So why not share my experience of the 5 worst and 5 best designer bags I’ve ever purchased and used.
1) Goyard St. Louis GM bag: I reviewed the Goyard St. Louis tote here and even in the review I stated all the things I didn't like about it. My main gripe was the fragile and floppy canvas. Also the straps were quite thin and would dig into my shoulder when the tote was filled up (which is something one does with a tote). This tote was only for the brand-name looks. If you’re looking for a cheaper practical workhorse of a tote I recommend Everlane’s Day Market tote or if you’re looking for a more upscale tote but one that’s still practical, I would go with the Celine cabas phantom tote (which is on the “Best” list below). If you absolutely love the Goyard print and have to have one, the PM size might be better since it won’t flop around as much nor can it be weighed down with too much stuff.
2) Loewe Hammock bag (reviewed here): When I got it, I just really loved the unique shape of the bag. But because it doesn't close very securely (which my mom demonstrated to me once by pick-pocketing me without my knowledge), I was hesitant to use it as much. You could clasp the inner hooks together but then it becomes a really awkward shape to carry. The flat handles were also not that comfortable if you were carrying the bag on your arm (and the handles were a bit tight so that if you were wearing a coat, you wouldn’t be able to really carry it in that way). Also, if you aren't careful with how you store it, the leather starts to bend in weird ways. I sold it for about a $200 loss (for about a year of use).
3) Celine Small Trotteur bag (reviewed here): The problem for me is that it was just too small for my needs. If I wanted a small going out bag, I’d reach more for my Chanel, so this Celine didn’t get used much. Plus the metal hardware as a closure isn't as secure as I would like. Looked cute but not super functional in the small size.
4) Valentino Glam Lock bag (reviewed here): Sort of the same problem as the Celine small Trotteur, this Valentino bag was just too small. Also the leather on this is super delicate and fragile, while the studs would poke and damage my other bags adjacent to it in storage (so it had to be stored separately—what a pain). Also the look of the bag is so specific to a certain time that it can look outdated fast. I ended up selling it through Fashiophile and got a trade-in bag that made the “Best List” below!)
5) Gucci WOC (reviewed here): I was following the crowd on this one, getting the newest "IT" bag. The construction was meh and I regretted it pretty much as soon as I got it. I'm glad I sold it fairly quickly so there was still a lot of buzz around the bag, so I didn't lose much money on the purchase. I think that was the last trendy bag I've purchased and I'm glad I'm finally starting to learn to buy bags for their quality and not for their name.
1) Celine soft Cube Bag (reviewed here): This is the bag that I traded my Valentino Glam Lock Bag for and it was the best bag decision I ever made (I did the trade over at Fashionphile, which sometimes has a soft cube bag now and then). I used this Celine soft cube bag so much that it was my number 3 most used item in 2018 (and I only got it in September). This bag has held up like a champ and you know how I abuse my bags (case in point). I can throw all my essentials into this bag and then some. It’s the perfect size between a small bag and a mid-size one. The top handle straps are easy to use when carrying the bag on my arm and the crossbody strap is convenient for carrying the bag over the shoulder but it’s thin enough to not get in the way.
2) Celine Small Cabas Phantom (reviewed here): This bag was also one of my top 20 most worn items of 2018. This is a really well-made high-end leather tote. The leather is soft but not floppy and it can stand on its own base. I like that you have the option of pulling the straps and tying them to make the bag smaller and more secure. The small size is the perfect size without being too big and the bag itself doesn’t weigh a ton. Hands-down my favorite luxury tote ever. You can usually find a great selection of authentic used Celine Cabas Phantoms at my favorite consignment site, Fashionphile here. If you’re looking for a more affordable but similar option, I recommend Cuyana’s Classic Structured Tote.
3) Celine Micro and Nano Belt bag (Micro reviewed here and Nano reviewed here): The Celine belt bag is so nice I bought it thrice, lol. Yep I started with the mini size (the first size to have the crossbody strap—the small size has just the top handle). And when the Micro size came out, I got that one new at the Celine store in Hawaii (that’s the black one in the pics above). As much as I love that size, it still was too big for my everyday needs and ended up weighing a lot more than I wanted to (mostly because I would fill it up, but also because it was just bigger, had more leather to it and thus weighed more). So the following year I upgraded by downsizing to the newest smallest size, the Nano, and I’ve finally found the right belt bag size for me (that was a classic goldilocks story right there lol). As I stated in the review, I love the Nano size because it’s lighter but also because it has a regular clasp for the front (instead of the finnicky hook thing that all the other belt bags have) and the crossbody strap is adjustable. The Nano is harder to find on any consignment site, though Fashionphile usually has a pretty good selection of Micro belt bags here.
4) Fendi By The Way Bag (reviewed here): This is currently the oldest bag in my collection and is probably one of my most practical bags. I love the foldable handles for when I want to carry the bag crossbody and the three compartments on the inside that make finding things super easy. Even though this was never a popular style, I’m never going to give this bag up. And since this was never an It bag, you can find them for really good prices used.
5) Hermes Lindy 30 (reviewed here): This was my “holy grail” bag for a long time even though it’s such an obscure bag (at least for Hermes). I first heard about it through a purseblog or bagsnob post in the height of my bag obsession days. But ever since then I’ve always thought this would be the first Hermes bag I buy. And so two years ago, when I saw a used one at a decent sale price at the Fashionphile I bit the bullet and have no regrets. I love the way the bag slouches like a duffle (thanks to the soft Clemence Taurillon leather). I also love that I can carry it by the handles or sling over my shoulder. It’s surprisingly roomy and can fit a lot of things if I need to. This was the bag that made me realize that even though the Loewe hammock bag above had a similar concept, it just wasn’t the same (and whenever possible it’s best to go with what you really want over some kind of substitute).
So I should note that I obviously have a favorite type of bag and these kinds of bags make up 4 out of the 5 on my “Best” list: it’s the bag with both top handles and a long shoulder or crossbody strap. I love the convenience of these bags because it makes it easy for me to grab things from my bag by holding on to the handles or I like to sometimes carry it on my arm by the handles, but when I want to go hands-free, I can sling the bag over my shoulder. I have other favorite bags, like my classic Chanel flaps (which I use only when going out or special occasions), my Balenciaga work bag (for when I need to carry a lot of stuff), and my Longchamp nylon bags (for travel). But these bags are not my most used bags, instead they each have their specific use case scenario. So of course take this best and worst list with a grain of salt but in general I can attest to the quality of Celine bags (or at least old Celine bags), and would not recommend the Goyard totes, trendy Gucci bags, or delicate Valentino bags.