Why your handbag should be an investment

hindmarch handbagPeople often feel like they can't financially keep up with fashion -- and the truth is, that has less to do with your finances and more to do with fashion itself.

What I mean is: in America, especially, fashion is funneled through the obsession of keeping track of what's this-minute, this-season, in, out (Kristin Young over at our sister blog Luxist wrote a great post on the subject this week). Fashion often means living and dying by trends, when it should be more about buying pieces that will flatter and thrill you forever.

Sure, that's easier said than done -- but a simple place to start is with your everyday handbag. We asked the fabulous designer Anya Hindmarch (who's launching a new line of bespoke accessories on Sept. 21) for a little investment advice.

Why should people invest in an expensive, classic bag instead of buying a cheap, new bag every season?
Ever since my mum introduced me to handbags when I was a young girl, I have been an addict. Even though I could have easily accumulated a hundred by now, I prefer to invest in a few special pieces that I know I will treasure for a lifetime. People have moved away from the 'it bag' phenomenon and the idea of disposable fashion because it feels wasteful. I have never been a fan of the 'it bag' idea. My idea of luxury is defined by things that are beautifully handcrafted, have longevity and are unique to you.

If a handbag designer can resist the urge to buy every purse in sight, I guess I can learn to do the same. So what should people look for when they're shopping for a bag that will last?
Good fabric and cut are essential. Design and hidden details can make a bag feel special, but ultimately, the way a product is put together defines its quality. Classic styles are timeless and those items that are personalized or hold sentimental value tend to be the things you will cherish for years to come, and they're worth the investment.

What's the ultimate investment bag in your line?

I am still obsessed with the Bespoke Ebury -- a bag I created to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of my first store opening. Each one is custom-made to order using the finest materials, and you can choose your skin, color and size. It's meant to last and be handed down. The idea of luxury and heirlooms is very relevant right now because they evoke a memory or a moment. My daughter can't wait to inherit mine, but she's going to have to wait a bit longer!

Anya's Eburys run into the thousands of dollars -- but not to worry. We've got four bags at lower price points that are built to endure -- and designed to look timeless year in and year out.

THE BAG: J. Crew Campo
THE TAG: $298
Like a fine wine, the Campo literally gets better with age -- its oiled leather takes on a deeper color and shine with wear and age.

THE BAG: Etienne Aigner Vienna Satchel
THE TAG: $132
Etienne Aigner has been the classy lady's go-to brand for decades, and they make plenty of perfectly classic purses under $200. This sturdy hold-all hits all the right notes with its colors, sizes and detailing.

THE BAG: Topshop Leather-Chain Slouch Bag
THE TAG: $100
Nothing goes with everything like a neutral bag glammed up by gold hardware.

THE BAG: Deena & Ozzy Tweed Chain Bag (at Urban Outfitters)
THE TAG: $42
This quilted number is pure Chanel – at a very un-Chanel price.
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