Woman holding handbag


Whatever happened to the simple handbag?

At one time, a bag was something to carry your purse and various other bits of paraphernalia about in, now they are the most desirable accessory in the world of fashion, and the next must have bags carry such long waiting lists that by the time your turn does come around they will probably be deemed by those in the know as “so last season dahling”.

So what makes certain bags stand out for all the rest and has the young, the beautiful and rich clamouring to be seen with one? Tricky question with no easy answer, but here is one view. You can understand the appeal of a top luxury brand who releases a special, limited edition bag as everyone who is anyone will obviously want one, but then comes along a bag that everyone seems to have so the exclusivity is gone, but the brand screams out.

Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Longchamps, Miu Miu, Balenciaga, Marc Jacobs, Goyard and YSL are just some of the names that regularly fill the must have bags list that you will find on the Internet and in the huge glossies that sit neatly on the end of a coffee table that is so highly polished you could use it to apply your make up.

There is no real uniformity to these bags, they come in all different shapes, styles and sizes, but whether it is due to clever marketing or clever design, these are the bags that are the accessory equivalent to an LBD, or little black dress, and you must have at least one or two in residence. These are the bags that never go out of fashion, and some of them, such as the Chanel Classic Flap, have been with us since the 50s.

The term ‘luxury goods’ means different things to different people, but the general consensus is that they aren’t considered essential to Joe Public but are must haves for the affluent. These bags personify this definition, as most of us merely aspire to owning one of these but will make do with the cheaper copies readily available on the high street, or the imitations available abroad.

The problem with the latter is that, even though the bags look like the real thing to those who aren’t in the know, the fact that you average supermarket or call centre simply couldn’t afford one lets the cat straight out of the bag. There is always the opportunity to get one second hand of course from an online auction site or something similar, but unless you are a real fashionista you have no idea if you are buying a fake or not.

At the end of the day, although many aspire to being seen with a Louis Vuitton Mahina we are loathe to part with the money it takes to own an original. There are those who will go into debt to keep up with the latest trends but owning an item in the category of luxury goods will put a spring in any girls step.