Clothing yourself comes with a very serious finance background we don’t really think about. The only question asked is if we can afford the item we desire, but we rarely think about if it’s a good investment in detail. Timeless pieces like jeans or basic t-shirts have a lifespan of 1-2 years, but what about that certain accessory that can last 20-30 years?
Guys, let me introduce my true companion, a friend who has seen 4 continents and 13 countries by my side, who faithfully stuck with me through sunshine and snowstorms – my bag. Here, pictured.
I bought this Furla bag called “Martha” in an outlet for €150 in 2014, and ever since that I’ve been carrying it almost every single day. I used to be the one who buys bags to put them on a top of a pile, but I ended up with this thing that magically works with every single outfit, fits whatever I need, and transforms from day to night.
The only other bag I’m alternating it with is a 15 year old vintage Louis Vuitton I bought 8 years ago. This wasn’t a conscious decision, it just happened, but it made me realize how priceless it is to operate with very limited pieces.
VERY LOW COST-PER-WEAR
Let’s face it, that bag you bought on sale at Zara for €30 probably hasn’t seen the sunlight for the last 6 months. You can’t really call something a good investment that costs you €5 every time you leave the house with it, just imagine if this was the case with everything you buy and wear. You could finance a weekend getaway every month from what you spend on useless clothes.
I did some crooked math and my Furla bag cost me about €0.2 per wear so far, and if I keep using it, this amount will get lower and lower. We can talk about a great investment, if it’s worth the price in the long run. No matter how scary it seems to splurge over 10 times more than you would spend on a bag normally, you would probably buy at least 10 disposable ones throughout the years you’re wearing it.
IT’S A SIGNATURE PIECE
Duh, who cares if you wear the same thing over and over again? 20-30 years ago it wasn’t even an option to have options, these days we are forced to feel embarrassed if we wear something all the time. Signature pieces became signature styles, you can’t be the girl with the crazy backpack anymore, you have to be the girl with the crazy backpack collection.
I think it shows character to say you simply don’t care. If you own something fabulous and timeless, just make it an extension of yourself. If you want to wear the same pair of jeans, sneakers, or handbag all the time, I see no reason not to do it.
THE QUALITY REALLY MAKES A DIFFERENCE
Well but there’s the thing, you can’t really make something disposable the extension of yourself, neither something that is attached to current trends. Bags are to carry stuff, so they need to be sturdy, well made, and weatherproof. Nobody wants to end up with a broken zipper, a broken strap, rusty metal parts, or cracked faux leather. A designer label isn’t proof that these things will never happen, but no matter where you’re looking at it from, there is a huge quality difference between handmade and mass production. Just try it, you will never go back!
YOU DON’T HAVE TO BOTHER ACCESSORIZING
Nevermind my mild snobbery, but I do believe that a bag speaks about where you are in life, even if you’re lying about it. In Japan, people share 20 sqm apartments, but wear head to toe Chanel, and in Eastern Europe the streets are shimmering with cheap fake handbags, because women desire the status they can’t afford.
Leather goods are mostly the only market that keeps designer houses afloat. Shoes get worn easily, nobody can see your wallet, and if you have logos on your scarf or belt, it’s usually because you desperately need to communicate how much you spent on them. A bag is functional and always with you, if it speaks sophistication, quality, and taste, you don’t need much else. If you buy yourself an investment bag, I guarantee your wardrobe choices will become a lot more simple, and dressing up quicker and easier.
YOU CAN GET THEM SECOND HAND
If your dream bag costs 3 months worth of rent, you can just go on eBay and find a used one for third the price. Second hand designer bags sometimes even drop to 80% off, and because the quality is great, they still have long years ahead of them.
It is hard to make conscious financial decisions in an era where the pressure of daily goods consumption is the norm, but just imagine how rewarding it feels to hold something in your hands that you saved up for 6 months for. Unless it’s a dream holiday or a car, we don’t usually get this childhood-flashback tingle of being emotionally attached to something we really-really wanted. Bring the feeling back!
Oh, and the cherry on top of the milkshake: These bags have a resale value even after years of wear and tear. Click here for my blogpost on the resale value of designer brands!
All illustrations by Lainey Molnar, 2016