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How to Buy Your First Designer Handbag: Ultimate Checklist


If you are wondering what should you consider first when deciding which designer handbag should be your first handbag in your collection, then in this post I am sharing everything you should consider before making a big pricey decision. 

I have been in the business of buying handbags for years, and all of these tips will help you not make a huge shopping mistake. 

*This post is all about how to find your perfect first designer handbag.

Table of Contents

If you have been thinking of finally pulling the plug and swiping your card to buy your first designer handbag or you have been starring at all of these designer bags and wondering whether they are even worth it, then this post is for you girlfriend.

After years of spending my hard earned money and sometimes making mistakes in buying the wrong handbags, I have now built a solid foundation on how to decide what bags would be best for me. And I am sharing all my tips with you.

Buying a new handbag can be extremely exciting at the same time so nerve recking. After all , it’s our hard earned money that were are about to hand over for a piece of accessory. 

16 Tips On How to Buy Your First Designer Bag

Do You Even Need a Designer Handbag?

I remember the feeling of being absolutely unsure when I swiped my card to buy my first designer handbag. The moment I clicked on the “Place Order” button (Yes I shopped it online), I regretted my decision. Even now, I feel that way sometimes, but I know that, now I am way more confident in my choices because I have found out what kind of bags work for me and what don’t.

Before you even think of which designer bag you should buy, you should think of do you even need a designer handbag. With Social Media on the rise and us looking at all these influencers rocking amazing trendy designer bags, we often get influenced by them, and end up spending our money which by the way these influencers most of the time don’t. 

Why Do You Want That Bag?

If the reason for buying the bag is just because someone else has it, or you feel the social obligation to buy it. Or, if you are thinking of buying the bag because of social media influence, please stop. Trust me, you will hate your purchase. 

What I recommend is to sleep on it and think again whether you really want the bag.

Do You Think the Bag is Really Worth It?

Before you make up your mind about the bag, think whether its worth it. What if you don’t even like to carry bags around or you find them not so useful. 

Some people are not bag people and in that case, maybe you want to invest your money onto something else that you will actually enjoy.

If you have made up your mind and know for sure that you should get one, then read on.

Think Hard About Your Lifestyle

This is by far the most important factor you should be considering when buying your first designer bag. Forget about budget or anything as a matter of fact, and first and foremost look at any designer handbag from this perspective.

My very first handbag was a Prada Saffiano Tote Bag which is called the Galleria Tote Bag (click here to check the bag)  in Black.  I bought it because that was the bag that I could afford at the time and it look perfectly fine because it was a standard black bag. I thought it would work with everything.

I was so wrong. I was not taking it to work at all, because it did not fit my laptop. And it felt so weird carrying two big bags. Moreover, the bag was too heavy for me, and I felt like a old lady carrying it. Overall it absolutely did not fit my personal style. It collected dust in my closet for more than a year and then I sold it for 1/4th of the price. It sucked big time.

So, when you are looking for a designer bag, think hard of what your lifestyle is and how you can make most use of the bag which will help you to feel better about spending all that money on a bag.

Louis Vuitton Pochette was my next bag, which I have been using for the past 3 years regularly, and probably used it to the money’s worth. It fits my lifestyle very well. Its small enough to fit in my work bag if I need a bag for running errands. And I also use it for special occasions. So all in all, I am so happy with the bag that I can even buy it in other colors without regretting.

How will you Use it in Your Daily Life?

Before you decide which bag is perfect for you, you need to know what kind of bag will be great for you and for that you need to think of how you are planning to use the bag. 

If you are only thinking about a party bag, then look for those styles. Or if you are thinking of an everyday bag, then you can think about those as well. 

The key is to decide the best ways you will using it in your lifestyle before the brand or anything else.

How will you Maximize the Use?

The best way to feel great about your new designer handbag is to find ways you can wear it as many times as possible. This will help you feel great about investing your money on an expensive bag. 

You will also feel confident about being able to carry a designer handbag in your daily style. 

What is Your Personal Style?

Whether this is your first designer handbag or second or even third, its important that it fits in to your personal style. Don’t buy it because someone else bought it, or you saw it in some magazine. 

Though it is a great starting point to get inspired about the bag. Think of how you will use it and how you will style your outfits around it. If the bag does not fit your style, it will not look good and you will hate it for sure.

Just like a piece of clothing or shoes, if you cannot picture yourself using it in different ways and wearing it with different looks, no point wasting money on it, because it will collect dust. 

You Should Absolutely Want it!

This is a key factor in buying anything, if you absolutely don’t love it, you should not buy it. No matter how practical the bag feels, you should also love it completely to feel excited everyday about carrying it. 

I recently purchased two Chloe Tess bags, I could have combined the money and bought a Chanel, but I know that I absolutely had fallen in love with this blue tone bag, but I also loved the white bag and since I didn’t own one, I would use it a lot. 

So after thinking about it for a while, I decided to get both of them. And I don’t regret my decision at all. I use them every single day and love how it fits my everyday style.

What is Your Budget?

Now that you have an idea of what style of bag you want, its important to know your budget or at least create one so you can buy it. I am not a financial advisor, so I won’t tell you to save cash for it.  

But I would say, having money to buy your very first designer bag, feels awesome, because then at the back of your mind you don’t have this regret that you took debt to buy the bag.

Typically I would recommend preparing for a $2000 to $3000 for a foreign brand because often they have more tax included and all that.

I would not recommend going above $3000 dollars for your first bag, because its a lot of money to spend on your first bag. And if you are planning to create a collection, it might take you a while before you can buy your next one. So, typically $3000 is a good amount and you can practically find great bags in that budget.

But if you are going for American designers like Tory Burch, Coach, then you should be good with around $1000 for your bag. 

A lot of people shop at Airports because they can get it duty free, and I have also done it. But, you need to be absolutely sure of the bag you want to be able to do that. Often times, you might not get what you hoped for. And there is this whole problem of return.

So, I would just say save the money and spend it rather than cutting corners.

What to Look for While Shopping?

Whether you are shopping online or in store, paying attention to these things will help avoid any unnecessary dissappointment after you buy the bag. I usually think of these things and prepare myself so that I know what to expect. 


Even though a leather bag seems the best answer and the most durable of the bags, you have to also pay attention to what leather is it made out of. Soft leather like lambskin or deerskin might scratch easily. These bags might not wear very well over time. There is nothing bad about it, but you should be aware of the fact and be able to take care of the bag.


Always check the size of the bag to ensure that your belongings would fit in it, or you know how to fit your necessities. Some people like to carry all their stuff in their bags, if that’s the case, then you need to consider a bigger size bag. 

This is crucial for any bag. If you are on a Petite side, I would recommend looking for a bag that has adjustable strap option and the other way around is also true. If you are on a taller side, you need to be able to extend the strap to fit your body. Some people like thin straps, some prefer thicker straps. So, pay attention to those details.

Keep a Backup Bag Option

Always have a few options finalized for any designer purchase. There are a few reasons for this. 

Most designer products are made in limited quantity, so there is always a probability that something that you absolutely want is sold out from everywhere.

So rather than zeroing in on one bag, pick at least 3 options.

What to Do When You Get the Bag in Your Hand?

Now that you have decided on which bag you want to use and you have made the purchase, there are a few things you need to absolutely pay attention to:

Check The Return Policy of the Brand

Always check the return policy. This is valid for any purchase, but for designer products it’s crucial that you are aware of them, so may think of whether you are absolutely ready for the bag or you dont want it.

Check for Damages In Your New Bag

Check for any damages on the bag. Most bags are handmade and hence there could be some form of damage, make sure to check for them right away. This way if you do find something, you can immediately exchange the item.

Don't Cut The Tags of the New Bag Yet

Till you are absolutely satisfied, please don’t cut any tags. Unlike clothing items that sometimes could be returnable, designer products are not until unless their tags are on. 

Check the Weight Of the Bag

Make sure the bag is not too heavy. Put your items inside the bag and check the weight. Sometimes an empty bag feels all good, but if you stuff items in it and it gets too heavy, then the bag is not for you. Or you definitely need to be mindful about it.

Try It On

Check the style again by wearing it the way you would. Even though it looked great online, always check it again. If you are doing this in a shop, wear an outfit that you will wear and  carry it to see how it looks on you. Sometimes you might not like it at all, or you might prefer a different color.

Hope this post helped you feel a bit more confident about your first, second or third designer handbag. If you have anymore questions, please don’t hestitate to ask. 

For more on women's designer bag, please read:


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About Suchi

A Techie turned Fashion blogger, I have been in your shoes. I have gone from looking like I was trying to fit into my teen clothes, to now a stylist and blogger known to be classy and elevated style. I can help you look your best without spending too much time, effort and money into your wardrobe. 

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