For most of us, the thought of owning a branded luxury handbag from one of the world's biggest fashion houses, such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada and Hermes, is simply an ambitious dream. The Hermes Birkin bag, for example, widely viewed as the most desirable bag on the planet, and considered by some to be a better investment than stocks or gold, sells from a mere 1.75 million to just over 8 million Sri Lankan rupees.
Featuring palladium or gold hardware, the Birkin is designed with high-quality materials, including cow, lizard, and luxurious ostrich, as well as various types of crocodile skin. Extraordinary attention is paid to detail as the bag is sewn, polished and then painted by hand. As with most luxurious handbag design houses, there can be a long waiting list to secure one of their new season's range of swanky bags, but ultimately you will own an iconic bag of superb quality and craftsmanship.
Luxury handbags though come in all shapes and sizes and – luckily – all prices, too. Whether you are looking for high-end customised bags embellished with crystals, or glamourous yet functional shoulder bags, totes, clutches or backpacks, you will still need to consider a few things before splashing out extra rupees on that bag.
PURPOSE – It's all too easy to be tempted by the array of trending handbags on display and fall for innovative clasps, fancy frames and bags that make a style statement, but you should know before shopping what exactly will be its purpose. For example, should it be designed to hold all of the necessities for a night out such as a mobile phone, keys, money/credit cards, and perhaps a favourite lipstick? Or will the bag be used more for daily essentials or at work to hold make-up, hair straighteners, diary and even a change of clothes? Being clear about the bag’s intended use will determine what size makes the most sense.
DURABILITY – No matter how much you are planning to spend, you should think about the material/fabric, clasps, seams and zippers and how often the bag will be in use. A bag for everyday use will need to be more robust than one that will only make an occasional appearance.
PRACTICALITY & SECURITY – What will you be putting into this bag? Take into consideration whether the bag has multiple compartments and whether your personal belongings will be safe inside.
PORTABILITY & SIZE – It's important to decide how you prefer to carry your bag, i.e. over your shoulder, on the crook of your arm, in your hand or tucked and hugged under the arm for maximum style and comfort.
COLOUR – You should match your bag with at least 3 items of your wardrobe, and again consider its purpose. If it is for frequent use, you may wish to avoid buying a light-coloured bag which is more likely to get marked, thus reducing its longevity.
Last but not least, if you're willing to be a little patient and strategic, explore your options when purchasing a higher-quality luxury bag. There are many online sites that offer designer bags with huge savings on their retail prices, and you’ll be faced with a wider selection. At the end of the day, the important things is to choose a bag that meets your personal tastes.