The fashion industry loves selling an ‘investment piece’ – from the perfectly-tailored coat to a pair of sleek black boots. But true investment lies in an object that increases in value over time. A pair of scuffed boots may bring you joy for a few seasons, but they’re hardly as sound a financial investment as say, a bag. Classic handbags are a reliable sartorial stake that will prove to be an asset in more ways than one.
The right handbag will be a trusted mainstay in your wardrobe for years to come. It may even become a treasured heirloom to pass onto future generations. But with numerous heritage brands creating coveted bags, splurging on a classic designer piece smartly involves detailed research. Make sure to look for something elegant, versatile, and timeless that will stand the test of time.
Whether you’re looking to splurge on yourself or you’re in the market for a special gift, an investment bag is a great way to go. From larger totes to versatile shoulder bags, here are the best classic handbags to invest in now.
Toeing the line between modern trendy and vintage classic, the Gucci Attaché bag deserves serious consideration. Drawing from the house’s archives, the crescent moon-shaped bag features a G-shaped hook clasp that is similar to the 1975 original. The clasp allows multifunctionality, letting the crescent shape fall open or remain closed as a shoulder bag, top handle bag, or a longer sling bag. While this piece has been updated in numerous colourways, sizes, and materials, this medium black leather iteration featuring an orange and black web trim is a bonafide classic.
Designed by Gabrielle Chanel herself, the Chanel Classic Mini 2.55 handbag has been a sartorial icon since it was first introduced in February 1955. The timeless design was quite revolutionary at the time, thanks to Chanel’s addition of a shoulder strap at a time when women’s bags only had top handles. Crafted in aged black calfskin and featuring an equestrian-inspired quilted texture and gold-tone metal hardware, this is a bag you’ll have to venture into the boutique for.
While the Birkin is synonymous with Hermès, the Kelly deserves equal attention. Introduced in the 1930s, this model soared in popularity when Grace Kelly used one to hide the early signs of her pregnancy in the late-1950s. The trapezoidal bag is simplicity personified with a neat side strap and swivel clasp system. With a few updated size variations, the Kelly is a solid investment given the fact that Hermès hikes up the prices by almost 10 per cent every year. Literally fit for a princess, this piece is a little difficult to get your hands on unless you’re a loyal Hermès consumer, but that just makes it all the more covetable.
Tapping into the trendy noughties revival, the Prada Cleo has been an It-bag since its debut on the SS21 runway. Amongst the earliest accessories to come out of Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons’ genius collaboration, the sleek crescent-shaped bag is designed to fit snugly against the body when worn over the shoulder. Perfectly situated between a shoulder bag and a mini bag, the Cleo transcends trends. Its sustained popularity can also be attributed to its numerous fabric and colour variations.; opt for a classic number like this black brushed leather bag with a metal closure and Prada’s iconic triangle logo hardware.
Popularised by Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw (she was carrying it when she got mugged in the original Sex and The City series), the Fendi Baguette has been the small screen fashion icon’s favoured companion through another two movies and a reboot. With options ranging from a woven monogrammed fabric to a sequined number, Carrie’s go-to has only appreciated in value since its launch in 1997. Invest in this fun purple piece adorned with a gold-finish FF clasp and it’ll add sparkle to your outfits for years; you’ll need to be quick to pre-order, however, considering the ever-rising popularity of this coveted bag.
With a hard-edged silhouette and a sturdy crossbody strap, the Celine Classique Triomphe has all the hallmarks of a versatile, everyday bag. Hedi Slimane launched his retro variation of Celine’s ‘Box’ bag in 2018; the Triomphe’s smooth leather exterior features the label’s insignia for the closure. This natural lambskin iteration is perfect for carrying your essentials forever.
A bag that needs no introduction, the Birkin is perhaps most synonymous with being an investment buy. The stuff of legends, with a mysterious waiting list and unique origin tale, the Birkin was born in 1984. Executive director of Hermès, Jean-Louis Dumas, sketched it for British actress Jane Birkin on a sick bag onboard a flight after hearing about her struggles finding a bag suitable for her needs as a young mother. The supple carry-all tote is a spacious creation with semi-structured lines and a turnlock closure that can be secured with the accompanying padlock and key. The timeless bag has a resale value of nearly 200 per cent, making it the smartest investment buy. Getting your hands on one of these is a difficult task, however, that involves buying a plethora of Hermès products beforehand. Alternatively, check out a classic pre-loved option like this one, crafted from creamy beige grainy leather.
Featuring the house’s signature web detail and a shiny gold GG logo from the Marmont era, the Ophidia is the perfect retro-inspired bag. The vintage-looking Ophidia line was only released in 2018, and has since grown to include box bags, bucket bags, crossbody bags, and even belt bags. This classic small Ophidia is crafted in GG Supreme canvas with an adjustable top handle to ensure it fits snugly under your shoulder. With a resale value of about 72 per cent, the Gucci Ophidia is a sound investment.
A relatively newer brand on the list, Telfar is one to take seriously. The brand’s resale value has a high retention rate, outperforming luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Gucci. Roomy and versatile, this is the perfect everyday bag. Crafted in faux leather with the identifiable Telfar logo embossed on the front, the bag is also functional to boot, with an internal laptop-sized compartment with a zipper closure, a main magnetic snap closure, and double straps allowing for both top-handle and crossbody carry. This cobalt blue iteration is sure to get you in with the fashion crowd.
Inspired by the 1962 French film, Cléo from 5 to 7, this Saint Laurent icon exemplifies Parisienne elegance. The curved edges, clean lines and under-the-shoulder fit make this bag a versatile, minimal collectible. While the bag has several limited-edition renditions, this particular sleek patent leather option adorned with a tonal signature YSL logo plaque hook fastening is both modern and timeless.
The Bottega Veneta Sardine bag became an instant classic the moment it debuted on Matthieu Blazy’s SS22 runway. The bag is a twist on the brand’s treasured Jodie silhouette, featuring the signature Bottega intrecciato weave in a slouchy silhouette with a sculptural metallic top handle. A statement accessory all by itself, this chocolate brown Sardine bag is sure to elevate an outfit.
While the quiet luxury trend may ebb and flow, the appeal of a classic heritage fashion logo is everlasting. A bag coveted across generations, the Louis Vuitton Twist MM has all the hallmarks of a treasured heirloom. The bag’s distinctly sturdy silhouette features the iconic LV Twist lock and comes with a removable shoulder strap for crossbody carry and a chunky chain for an under-the-shoulder carry. Crafted in shiny lambskin, the bag’s black and beige editions are obvious classics, but we love this lilac version for a softer look this season.
This 200-year-old French luxury brand is famous for its spacious totes, which feature a delicate interlocking pattern. Large enough to fit everything you need and more, the Saint Louis tote bag is a no-frills investment piece that is instantly recognisable by those in the know. Boasting the elusive appeal of a brand that does no advertising, Goyard bags are hard to find, with their few brick-and-mortar stores racking up long queues. We recommend the Saint Louis tote crafted in the brand’s signature Goyardine canvas in a deep green colourway.