Doper Advice On A (Pricey) New Bag

I’ve been thinking for some time now about buying a high-quality handbag. I wouldn’t mind paying a few hundred for something that I thought would last me for years. So, partly inspired by this thread , here are some questions:
What are some good brands?
What about buying them on eBay? I’m a little wary of buying high-end branded stuff on eBay for fear I’ll end up with a fake.

About me: I’m not usually flashy, I’m not trendy. I like large-ish bags, as I tend to carry a lot of stuff. My style tends towards the conservative/classic. I don’t work outside the home, so workplace appropriateness is not an issue. I’m 45 years old, and don’t want anything childish or dowdy, and the styling should be classic enough to carry through for some number of years.

So, thoughts? Ideas? Recommendations?


You know what I think Norine? Buy something frivilous! You deserve it!



Vera Bradley if you like the Paisley thing…

I am extremely not a bag person, being a guy and all that, but I’d be wary of buying something off the net unless you had already seen and tried out an example, liked it, and were looking for that exact, specific item. This is up-close and intimate. You need to see how it fits with everything else that makes up your personal style.

You’re so sweet! Thank you! I don’t think I’d go with the Vera Bradley, because they just don’t seem to have the stuff that longevity is made of. But Coach isn’t out of the question.

Excellent point! I hadn’t even considered that. (See, this is why I’m soliciting advice!) :o

Just pointing out that these are two very different kettles of fish. A big VB bag will set you back around $75 (if you can find one, they’re very popular); a big Coach tote will cost around $400.

The only expensive bag I ever bought was a Gucci shoulder tote bag. It’s sturdy and holds a lot of stuff, which works for me. Some people find the logo pattern tacky, but I don’t mind the Gucci pattern (LV, on the other hand, grates on my nerves for some unknown reason). Jimmy Choo and Hermes also have fairly big shoulder bags that you might like as well.

One trick to buying expensive bags is to find a way to get them at a duty-free shop. My friends were always flying in and out of the country for one reason or another, so if we wanted a certain bag we’d look it up, find out the model number, and then ask whoever was leaving the country to get that bag for us at the airport duty free shops. It’s cheaper that way, but obviously this requires you having friends who travel a lot. :slight_smile:

I like Coach. I also like Brahmin, but they may not make a bag as big as you like. Dooney & Burke is also nice. These are all mid-priced bags, BTW, the really nice ones (like Louis Vuitton) will cost you a lot more.

I would buy off eBay if you had clear pictures and a guaratee of authenticity. You might get a good deal on a used bag, but for new I would definitely insist on all tags being attached.

If you like Coach, there really are some good deals at the Coach outlet stores. The bags there still cost more than a lot of others, but they are discounted off the Coach full retail price. If you don’t care whether yours is a “last season” bag, then the outlet store is definitely the way to go, IMO.

If you decide to buy off ebay I’d recommend reading their “how to spot a fake X” series of articles and buy from a power seller (high rating and lots and lots of positive feedback).

You can also bypass the nervousness of eBay by going to a Coach outlet store (as others have suggested), if you really really want a recognisable brand like Coach.

2 other retailers I’d recommend are Ann Taylor and Banana Republic. However, they are not going to be cheap-IMO their prices are skirting just under Coach.

If you have a set price, you could also go to Bluefly and check out what’s available in that range.

Coach is good stuff. But for God’s sake PLEASE take the little leather keychain/fob/tag off of it!

I had no idea you were supposed to do that. Mine is still dangling from the side of my bag. I kindof like it there. Oops!

No. :cool:

By the way, one way to make sure it’s a real Coach is that the hardware (like buckles) should have “Coach” stamped on it. It would take real attention to detail to get that right on a fake.

If it’s outlet, the tag on the inside will read “O”.

You’re right to be leery of ebay. Bags are very often faked (as opposed to shoes, which rarely are). I wouldn’t buy off a designer bag off ebay unless I had an iron clad recommendation from someone I knew. And if you’re not loooking for the trendiest “it” bag, you won’t need to.

Like others have suggested Coach, Banana Republic, and Ann Taylor all make quality bags. J.Crew also has excellent bags. If you’re not in a huge hurry and don’t need the latest thing, check the outlet stores. You can find definite bargins there. Also, check the bags at major department stores, you may find a great bag that’s not a “name”.

Some things to look for:
quality leather is supple, not stiff
real stiching, no glued seams
even stitching with no loose threads
slightly slanted, overlapping stitching is stronger than straight stitches
handles are firmly attached
a leather interior will look better and last far longer than fabric

I understand. And I’m looking for something that will last, not something that’s trendy now. As I said before, I’m not big on the trendy thing. Also, the Vera Bradley bags, being made of fabric, just are probably not as sturdy as I’d want.

anu-la, I’m not hung up on brand recognizability. The only reason I can think of for going for a known brand, is that I could go for a brand that has a reputation for durability and good warranty.

If I like it, I’ll leave it on, if I don’t like it, I’ll take it off. I’m old enough that I’m not out to make anyone happy but me. :wink:

I don’t know of a Coach outlet around here, but there’s a Dooney&Bourke outlet about an hour away. Maybe I’ll duck in and have a peek.

Well, I’m looking for quality, not a ‘statement’ bag. I wouldn’t mind spending, say, $300.00 on a Coach, because I can understand how it could very well last me 10 times longer than a bag I pay $30.00 for. But I can’t see spending $800.00 for a Vuitton or something, because I cannot see them being more than twice as good as a Coach (or D&B). Y’know what I mean?

My handbags make me happy.

If you buy Louis Vuitton on eBay look for sellers recommended by MyPoupette like this auction.

Otherwise look for good feedback, guarantees of authenticity, some form of buyer protection (like PayPal). Also you want big, clear photos like in the auction I linked. If a seller doesn’t have them in the auction, ask for photos of the serial number, the hardware, the stitching, and the lining.

I have one of these- or something like it, it isn’t a $300 bag, its a good quality classic bag that’s lasted years and still looks new.

I’m not the type to carry a $300 bag - this was a lot of money to spend on a purse for me and they only reason I spent this much is that my mother bought me some god awful designer bag one year for Christmas that was completely “not me” so I needed to trade in an expensive bag for another relatively expensive bag.

I’ll add another vote for Coach. Their leather bags are solidly made and hold up extremely well to repeated use and abuse.

Hey. That’s my purse.

Good to know that it will wear well.

I am completely, utterly hooked on Brighton

I have several of their handbags, and I have had them for a few years. They all look almost as new as the day I bought them.

Of course now I have graduated into their wallets, sunglasses, cell phone holder, etc. etc.

Yeah, I’m outta control :cool: