What handbag styles should I invest in?
There are two main things to consider when shopping for your next designer bag.
The first and foremost, of course, is picking a designer handbag you love, with a style that speaks to you and best complements your outfits.
The second, and perhaps equally as important, is making sure that your next handbag is worth the money and retains, or better yet appreciates in value.
The 2020 pandemic showed us that life is unpredictable. For many selling a few of their designer bags paid the bills in uncertain times. Luxury handbags are ultimate accessories, but as amazing as they are in your hand or on your shoulder, we think they should be there for you on a rainy day too.
That said, the best handbag styles to invest in are made by Hermes, Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Each of these designers have a special factor contributing to their high handbag resale values. Let’s talk about which handbag models are the best investment choices and why.
1. Top Hermes Bags to Invest In
Hermes’ ‘X’ factor is exclusivity and scarcity, but also luxurious styles and ultimate leather artisanship. The designer keeps incredibly tight control over the quantity of handbags it produces, which adds to the demand and ultimately resale value of its gorgeous handbags.
While most other designers will have one or two ‘flagship’ bags that appreciate best, quite a number of Hermes handbag styles retain value extremely well with some greatly appreciating over time. This holds true for the most basic of Evelyn bags all the way to the top-of-the-line, Birkins.
Pictured: The Birkin, Kelly and Garden Party Tote, reflecting the various price points of Hermes handbags. Even the most basic Birkin can easily command $15,000+ on the resale market. The Kelly would go for $9,000 - $12,000, while the Garden Party for $1,500.
The best Hermes investment bag is of course the legendary Birkin, perhaps the most sought-after bag in the fashion world. You can’t even buy it new from Hermes directly, unless you are an A-lister or have spent a lot of money at the Hermes boutique and established a relationship with one. Even then, you’d be lucky to get the call that Hermes will “issue” you a Birkin.
For this reason, the resale market for these bags has exploded, and resale values increased year over year, beating returns on S&P500 stocks and gold in some years! Speaking of gold, the gold standard of investment Birkins is black leather with gold hardware, as this is the most liquid color/hardware combination. You would have no problem selling one for top dollar (depending on condition).
However, if you are looking for the highest future return, Hermes Birkin or Kelly made from exotic crocodile or alligator leather are the best choice. Many designers are phasing out exotic leathers in their handbags, making these beautiful creations even more rare.
The simplistic luxury of the black leather Birkin with gold hardware is unmatched, except of course by another black Birkin made of Porosus Crocodile leather! While the ‘regular’ leather Birkin can easily net you around $20,000, the crocodile variants can be valued at over $50,000!
Crocodile Kellies (pictured above in the far right) are also incredibly valuable, with pricing on the resale market exceeding $30,000 in the right condition.
The Birkin’s legendary status and investment potential extends to nearly every other Hermes handbag. While other styles might not appreciate as quickly as Birkins or Kellies, other staple Hermes bags like the Evelyn, the Garden Party Tote, and the Constance retain their value very well.
You could even wear the handbag quite regularly and expect it to retain 60-80% of its original value if you’ve maintained it and kept it undamaged. Designer handbags, with Hermes in particular, are made of quality that lasts, which is part of the reason why the resale value remains strong over time.
The Hermes Kelly is an excellent contender for your next investment handbag. Their resale value continues to increase year over year because of their limited production. You could opt for the Sellier “Box” Kelly (Red and Black pictured below), or the Retourne Kelly (Pink pictured below). Both perform similarly on the resale market and are a matter of personal preference.
Pictured: Three beautiful examples of Hermes Kelly. Red and black are classy colors, fitting of the Sellier silhouette, while the Pink is more extravagant. Hermes’ unsurpassed leather treatment enables them to infuse such lush colors into their leathers.
2. Top Louis Vuitton Bags to Invest In
Why are Louis Vuitton bags worth it? Louis Vuitton’s investment value is mainly derived from two things: the unmatched LV branding capability, and the quality monogram canvas material, which the designer has perfected over a century.
Whether it’s handbags, wallets, duffel bags or suitcases, anytime you see the famous LV logo monogram, you immediately think luxury. Louis Vuitton has also emerged with a more contemporary Damier print monogram canvas - a little more bespoke than the LV logo, but it still denotes a subtle luxury that many love.
However, LV’s main selling point is their signature canvas: with a firm, leathery texture that is highly durable and ages beautifully with a vintage patina, the canvas is unlike any other.
You can confidently carry your LV handbag everyday without fear of damage or loss of value. In fact, Louis Vuitton retains value so well because more often than not, pre-owned Louis Vuitton handbags are still in amazing condition.
In fact, the monogram canvas is so amazing that on many vintage examples, we see the metal hardware tarnish and the vachetta leather trim develop patina before the canvas shows noticeable signs of wear.
Pictured: from left to right, the Speedy, Neverfull, Keepall and Alma bags, all finished in LV logo monogram.
Vachetta leather trim varies in color across bags depending on the age. You’ll notice the Speedy bag on the image above has the darkest handles while the Keepall has the lightest. These bags are nowhere near as expensive as Hermes - expect price points of pre-owned examples at $1,000-$2,000 depending on size and condition.
The best Louis Vuitton handbags to invest in are the Speedy, the Neverfull tote, the Alma and the Keepall duffle. Due to their popularity, these styles tend to keep up to 80% of their original value on the purse resale market. They are very liquid options and sell quickly.
Picking up a vintage Louis Vuitton handbag is the best value for your money, because they are more affordable yet still offer Louis Vuitton’s unbeatable durability and quality craftsmanship.
However, when shopping pre-owned Louis Vuitton, always be sure that you are buying from a reputable reseller that stands behind the bag’s authenticity. Because of LV’s popularity, it is also one of the most counterfeited bags.
3. Top Chanel Bags to Invest In
Chanel is a staple and a pioneer of the designer handbag world, arguably starting it all with the iconic 2.55 flap bag.
While Chanel excels at creating the classic handbag styles, it continues to pave the way for contemporary fashion, unveiling seasonal runway shows with modern handbag designs. The investment value of these more modern handbags depends on whether or not the temporary, seasonal hype solidifies into a long-term trend.
The classic handbag models, on the other hand, are the best investment choices because they always have been in style, and always will be. We are talking about the Classic 2.55 Flap, the 2.55 Reissue, the Wallet-on-Chain, the Boy Bag and the Shopping Totes.
To learn more about each bag’s characteristics and key investment points, check out our detailed Chanel Bag Investment Guide.
Pictured: Left to right - The Classic Flap, the Boy Bag and the Wallet-on-Chain. These are some of the best Chanel investments you can make. They are truly timeless and the demand for them will transcend all future fashion trends. Best used for a special occasion, these classics will hold their value indefinitely if well maintained.
These timeless Chanel handbags hold their value incredibly well. If you can get your hands on a black caviar leather Chanel 2.55 flap bag with gold hardware, you know that bag will appreciate over the years.
The same holds true for the other two styles - however, Chanel handbags tend to not be as durable as Louis Vuitton bags, thus their resale value relies greater on their condition.
If you purchase a Chanel bag with the intent to preserve its value, it is not recommended to everyday carry it; instead, you should still enjoy its beauty and luxury on special occasions, but be very careful. Check out our handbag care guide to learn more about how to protect your investment.
What is the best way to invest in Chanel? Buy one pre-owned! It may take some time for you to find the perfect one, authentic and in good condition. But once you do, you can enjoy the best Chanel has to offer knowing you spent wisely.
Vintage Chanel handbags are very special and collectible because they have real gold infused into their hardware, and they feel heavier and more solid in-hand. Like any other pre-owned designer handbag, be sure to purchase from a reputable reseller with an authenticity guarantee.
What makes designer handbags such fantastic investments is that they are usable assets. If done properly, you can buy a designer handbag, use and love it for years, and still be able to sell it for most of what you bought it for, and, in some instances, receive more than you paid.
Here are the key takeaways if you want your next designer handbag to retain the most value:
- Buy a handbag made by Hermes, Chanel or Louis Vuitton. These brands are simply most popular.
- Choose more classic or timeless styles. The demand for these handbags has already been well-established and won’t go anywhere but up!
- Choose high-demand colors. Fluorescent, flamboyant and neon handbags are not for everyone. Look for black, white, taupe, brown and traditional hardware like gold/silver/palladium.
- Don’t be afraid to wear your investment, but be prudent and careful. LV monogram canvas can withstand daily elements, but Chanel leather and most Hermes leathers are sensitive to water, dirt and scratches.
- Don’t be afraid to invest in vintage: oftentimes, it is more value for the money, plus you get the special vintage “you-can’t-buy-this-in-stores” charm.
- If shopping pre-owned designer handbags, be sure to shop only at a reputable reseller with transparent policies and money-back authenticity guarantee.