Investing in a designer handbag

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This post has been kindly sponsored by House of Fraser.

It’s been over two years since I took the plunge and bought my first designer handbag. I reviewed my precious Michael Kors Selma shortly after I purchased it (you can read that here), but I thought it would be useful to do a follow up review and show you how it’s stood up to being used daily in my busy life. Has it been worth the cost?

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When I first bought this beautiful bag, I babied it. I’d never spent so much on a single fashion item in my life, and I wanted to be sure not to ruin it. I cleaned it regularly. I protected it from people brushing past in the street. It was my pride and joy.

As time went on however, life got in the way of being too precious about something I use every single day. It wasn’t that I stopped caring about keeping my bag in good condition; I just realised that this bag is way tougher than it looks.

This realisation was such a relief; my bag can keep up with my chaotic lifestyle. I can squish onto the tube with it. I can rush down Oxford St and brush past tourists. I can carry way too much in it, and it’s fine.

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The build quality of this bag is impeccable. I expected that being a designer handbag it would be made well and would last me a long time, but the fact that it’s in such great condition after over two years of constant use is amazing. Like I said, I don’t baby this bag anymore. I’m not afraid to stuff it with things like a laptop, cameras, snacks, a water bottle; all my on-the-go essentials. It’s got 5 pockets at the sides, and a nice big space in the middle to carry all my things (even if the bottom of the bag does end up being a 2cm thick layer of receipts most of the time…).

I’m very impressed with how hard-wearing it is. The Michael Kors Selma is made from saffiano leather which gives it a textured look compared to a perhaps more luxurious, but also more easy-to-damage, soft leather. This material is perfect for a busy lifestyle though, especially if you’re someone who has better things to worry about than scratching their handbag.

Making the decision to buy a designer handbag was not easy for me. I was used to buying bags for $50 at most, but I’d end up replacing them after about six months when they’d wear out. So I figured that surely investing in a well-made bag would save me that trouble. I’m so pleased that I was right! This bag still looks great and I’m sure it will keep on being my trusty crook-of-the-arm companion for years to come.

Spending a lot of money on a handbag can be scary, so if you’ve got the disposable income to invest in a designer handbag this season here are my tips for picking one that’s right for you and your lifestyle:

Look at your options

If you’re new to the world of designer handbags (as I was), start by taking a look at what’s out there. Check out the House of Fraser website and scroll through their tote bags. Which one catches your eye? Don’t worry about what the ‘in’ bag of the moment is, look out for one that suits you, and will be big enough for the things you need to carry around.

Do your research

Once you’ve picked out a few bags you like the look of, start googling and finding blog posts from people who already own one. You’ll be able to read about how the bag has lasted, if it lived up to the first impression, and hear about any flaws it may have.

Test it out

If you can, head in-store and test how the bag feels on your arm. Remember you’ll be carrying this every day, so you want it to feel comfortable, and you want it to suit your style. I also like to see what can fit in the bag by putting the contents of my current handbag into it. You have to make sure it fits all your essentials after all! If you can’t do this in a store near you, buy online from a retailer with a great return policy in case if it’s not quite right.

I love my Selma tote bag (that may be obvious) but here are a few more bags I like the look of to get you started in your quest.

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1: Michael Kors Selma, £264 • 2: Ted Baker Tabatha, £189 • 3: Lauren Ralph Lauren Charleston, £315 • 4: Michael Kors Hamilton, £228 • 5: DKNY saffiano medium tote, £195 • 6: Michael Kors Dillon, £285

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I’ll end with one last, hopefully obvious note; buying a designer handbag doesn’t mean you have to buy designer everything-else too. Handbags are one of the few items of fashion I consider worth spending a lot of money on and in these pictures I’m wearing Topshop jeans, a Zara t-shirt, and a second-hand velvet jacket from the Camden markets. A designer handbag can easily fit into a not-so-designer wardrobe, and I like that my bag adds a special touch to my outfits no matter where they were purchased! Brand names aren’t very important to me, but being hard-wearing and great quality is. My Michael Kors Selma bag ticks those boxes, and that’s why I’m glad I invested.

If you’ve been considering a splurge this spring/summer, I hope this post has been useful. Tell me about your dream handbag in the comments below!

Thank you to House of Fraser for sponsoring this post and encouraging me to share my experience with designer handbags.