Designer Handbags for Kids

This is a topic that will easily elicit strong feelings on both sides, but it is a conversation worth having. I got my first designer handbag in 7th grade. I was 13. I had been begging my mom for a Coach bag, and after what felt like years of annoyance, my mom got both me and my sister the purses we desired. It was my first designer handbag, and it’s easy for me to now say that moment changed my life forever. I’ve told this story many times, and I’ve had some people say that 13 is far too young for a Coach bag and others tell me that they were given their first bag far earlier than that.

Recently, I’ve ended up talking to several mothers of young girls, varying in age from 1 to 10, and we’ve delved into the topic of buying a designer handbag for their children. I know my view is skewed – I am surrounded by designer bags everyday and someday, if I have a little girl, I’d love to share this passion. My goddaughter turned 9 recently and I wanted to get her a Gucci bag for her birthday – this one, to be exact. While I thought this was a great gift, I was met with great resistance from Vlad. That’s when the questions came to mind: how young is too young and what are the pros and cons for giving a designer bag to a child?

I believe everyone can instill value and appreciation in their kids no matter what, but I’m not a parent yet so I am not aware of all the problems parents face. Of course a little girl with a tiny Louis Vuitton Speedy will look adorable, but is it too much? To me it seems a personal opinion, one that I would love to hear from you.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/petra.brankovska Petra B.

    I personally think that children shouldn’t be given designer things. I speak from experience, since I watched my mother buy herself designer handbags and sunglasses and all I wanted to do was have those, but she won’t let me. Watching her taking care of those precious things over the years I learned how to handle them before I had my own, and she bought me my first sunglasses as a trial when i was 17. I still have those Blumarine glasses and keep them as a reminder.

  • Guest

    IMO, it’s definitely too much. When I see a child with such a bag, the words “spoiled” “entitled” and “poorly parented” come to mind. I would not want my grade school age daughter to know that much about the difference between a designer bag and a purse from Target.

    I was given a Coach bag when I graduated from high school (a family tradition) and that was soon enough. Of course, Coach bags are no longer what they used to be…

    I bought myself a Fendi baguette when I passed the California bar. In fashion terms, that was a very big deal for me. I still have that bag and it continues to hold meaning for me precisely because I bought it to celebrate my accomplishment. I don’t think it would have meant as much if someone had given it to me, and it would have meant nothing if I’d received it as a ten-year-old.

    Let the child be a child, not a mini Kardashian. I’m with Vlad on this one.

    • Retarded May

      Well there are different categories of “designer” so to speak of, such as Juicy Couture , which are relatively affordable and quite youth orientated. But I guess it depends on how they treat it and whether they will actually value it for what it is

  • Adriana

    I don’t really think there are any pros for giving a designer bag to a child — they simply can’t appreciate them the way they are meant to be appreciated. I don’t necessarily think it’s a sign of a spoiled child, because, honestly, I don’t think there are many children who will see a handbag as a sign of status/wealth. At the end of the day, children’s most coveted items are pretty hit-or-miss — a young girl might love a Gucci zoo purse, but she also might love a $2 reusable grocery store bag…it really just depends on how she’s feeling. Why waste money on quality that she won’t appreciate and will eventually outgrow?

    • http://dontaskmetosmile.wordpress.com/ Katrina

      Agreed. If she outgrows it and starts ignoring it, then I suppose that’s a good sign that she wasn’t influenced by the fact that it was Gucci, but that would also mean that your hard-earned money was spent on something that would gather dust in a closet. If she DOES keep on wearing it because she knows it’s fancy, then that means it was money well-spent but would also mean that she likes it for the wrong reasons.

  • Stef

    I had always loved bags from when i was a baby but i didn’t really know much about designers because my mom wasn’t into them. I got my first coach bag as a gift when i was 13. Because i didn’t understand about designer stuff, i didn’t take care of it. By 16 i had completely changed and loved designer bags. Then i started buying with my own money and have taken excellent care of all my bags. I think if a child doesn’t understand the value of the designer bag then they shouldn’t be given it. Now a days, many girls know the value of designer bags because of having moms or relatives obsessed with handbags. If I have a daughter i would definitely start her on coach, anything more expensive she’ll have to fund on her own.

  • elbow

    I have a Speedy 25 that I only used for a year that I plan to pass on to my daughter. She’s only 2 now but she admires it whenever we’re in my closet. It really depends on the child and while she may be ready to carry the bag when she’s 9, I was traumatized when someone stole my Swatch watch at that age so I will wait until she’s old enough to appreciate the value and know how to protect herself from others wanting to take advantage of her.

  • http://dontaskmetosmile.wordpress.com/ Katrina

    I really do think that it would be too much. Apart from the myriad of reasons already pointed out by the other commenters (1. they might outgrow it, 2. they don’t know the value of it, 3. they might lose it, etc.), I also think the money will be much better spent elsewhere: a whole library of books, a trip to Disneyland/world, ballet lessons, gymnastics class, swimming lessons, a cupcake making party with her friends. I could go on forever and ever. Plus, you’ll be remembered for being the coolest godmother EVER for making her dreams of becoming the next Gabby Douglas come true.

  • Laurie

    In high school, my boyfriend bought me a Coach bag for my birthday. It was such a big deal then. Coach was highly coveted and there weren’t any outlets. I was so excited and proud to wear that bag. When I was in college, I got on the Dean’s list and celebrated by buying myself an LV Speedy 30. I took excellent care of that bag and I still have it today. Everytime I bought a bag as a celebration for something I accomplished, it meant something. I don’t think it would mean as much if it had just been given to me and it definitely wouldn’t have meant anything if I was a kid. I am a teacher and I see how kids really don’t understand value and money. I don’t think they really understand designer things either. I say to wait for the designer goods until she’s older and can really appreciate it.

    • rebecca

      I hope you’re aware that you could have put all your above opinions into one comment thread, as it is becoming a bit messy to keep track of! :)

  • loof

    Suri Cruise have all in mini version:)

  • Scottsdale Kim

    What I value most about my bags is that I worked hard to make a good living to be able to purchase them for myself. It would seem best to instill a feeling of pride in your children. Purchasing a designer bag for a child may lead to a feeling of entitlement.

  • lily

    Being a 14 year old myself, I think it really depends on a number of factors.

    First of all, the appreciation that will go into it. Obviously, knowing the value, quality and heritage of such bags, if I am given a designer item, I can appreciate it properly and baby it endlessly and ensure that it outlives me, or at the very least, ends up well worth the “cost per use”.

    Secondly,being the style itself. Is it something that I want as a status symbol to show off to my friends, soon to tire of, or is it something which is beautifully made with quality workmanship which can be appreciated and worn over the years? Then there is also the price to put into consideration, I find that the limit of my spending stops with mid level brands such as MbMj and MMK and RM. I am well aware that there are people who spend small fortunes on brands such as Hermes and Channel, but for now, it all seems silly and slightly ridiculous to me, but each to their own I suppose.

    Regarding the funding for such items, often times, I will save up for the brands my self using pocket money I receive from chores grades and maybe with encouragement and help from my parents, make the purchase. Buying such items for me is an incentive to work hard and earn good grades, knowing that if I want to be able to make such purchases in the future, I need to work hard for it. I personally feel that 9 years old would be the perfect time to introduce your child to designer goods, but I would bear in mind that they should be taught to appreciate and value it for what it is. I would also pick a smaller item of a more classic style, such a small purse, which she can continue to use and appreciate as she grows older instead something which may not appeal to her tastes later on.
    I know parents who spend the same amount of money or more on items such as phones, laptops and gaming consoles. Ultimately, it depends on whether they will truly appreciate and care for it as they should. Hope this helps!

    • Michel

      Hermès and Chanel

  • Cheryl Kuczek

    As a person who teaches kids…they are so much aware of “stuff” now then ever before. They listen to everything around them. I think a child needs to be a child, and not putting the designer influence on clothing, etc allows that innocence to continue, while they can have the time to learn eventually how to care for their things.
    Also making them earn $$ to purchase their own makes an impact, and generally they will value and take much better care of their things.
    Until then pretty things from Target and Gap will more than likely be great presents! Thank-you for being willing to discuss this!

  • Dangling_woman

    If I have a daughter,
    the first thing I’d like to teach her is that it is not wrong to spend money as
    long as she is earning it. And no, gifts from boyfriends or sugar daddies
    aren’t ‘earned’ no matter how much you are ‘putting into the relationship’. Sorry
    but I learnt this the hard way. If she really likes a bag, she may work to buy
    it when she is old enough. A designer bag is neither a necessity nor an
    acceptable indulgence and hence, I as a parent will not provide it.

    Secondly, I would
    want my kid to develop aesthetics of her own. I don’t want to enclose her
    perception of beauty in a (monogrammed) canvas tent. Want to raise a kid that
    understands craftsmanship, not Vogue ads.

    I am sorry, giving my
    10 year old child a monogram speedy feels like letting her/him snort cocaine
    with me, which incidentally I don’t do.

  • lisa

    I think when a mother purchases a designer handbag for her young daughter, it is to show-off her own taste as opposed to buying it for her daughter’s enjoyment.

  • ckc57tbird

    If you have tons of money you aren’t going to Walmart to buy a bag for yourself.. Your going to buy your kid a bag where you shop..

  • Sofie

    I am a 15 years old girl. I have a Louis Vuitton Speedy 30 that I bought when i was 13. I had saved for months and finally I bought the purse of my dreams! All of my purses are bought by me and I am always really proud when I can show them to friends. People judge to fast when they se a girl with a expensive bag.

    • keely

      People also judge ‘to’ fast when they ‘se’ a girl who can’t spell…

      • Brandon

        Keely, your comment is just not necessary. If we are talking about being grammatically correct, the “k” at the beginning of your name should be capitalized. Very immature to leave a comment like that to a 15 year old. If your are going to comment, let your comment have information or thought pertaining to the article.

  • cheryl

    I think it’s too young. Children now a days have very little appreciation for the value of money and what things cost and what it means to earn something. As a fashion industry veteran, I am also surrounded everyday by luxury goods and know I can have a jaded perspective, but some things should be left to when you get a bit older and can truly appreciate them.

  • Guest

    I only think a person should be given a designer bag if they can appreciate it. Most children and adolescents will just abuse it and not care because they don’t even realize the value of the bag given to them. Instead just give them $300-500 in cash and let them throw it on the ground, jump up and down on it, then put it in the garbage can; It’s virtually the same thing. However a teenager may appreciate more if they are into fashion.

  • tiffany

    For me, the answer lies in the post by Guest: “I would not want my grade school age daughter to know that much about the difference between a designer bag and a purse from Target.”

    I went to a private school for two years (7th and 8th grade). Students came from a broad range of family income levels, from very wealthy to struggling to get by. We wore uniforms, but of course took every opportunity to express ourselves in whatever items allowed some flexibility (coats, the white shirts we wore, bags, etc.). At the time, I didn’t really understand why the rules prohibited the discretionary articles of clothing from having conspicuous logos. As an adult, I understand completely. The social aspect of school is difficult enough without having to face unwanted attention because of where your clothes came from.

    Designer items should be special, and reserved for older ages (ideally high school and beyond who earn the money to buy them on their own).

  • Jeannie Shmina Greenwald

    I recently had this discussion with myself. I yearned to give my 15 year old a Rebecca Minkoff 3 zip bag and did not want to even wait for her birthday (her 16th, coming in a few weeks). She loves cool things but she is happy to shop at Forever 21, Body Central, Kohl’s, Hot Topic, etc. She likes pleather just as much as leather. I bought her an amazing black Guess one piece bathing suit last summer – she looks SO sexy (yet surprisingly modest at the same time) in this suit. Well, she didn’t want to tell me that she really never intended to wear it. This bathing suit cost me $104 and it looks FABULOUS on her. Yet, she wasn’t into it. Instead, she snuck out of the house and had her brother drive her to Target where she got a cheap (and adorable) bikini. She’ll never wear the black Guess one piece, no matter that it was pricey and amazing… she prefers her cheap Target suit.

    Point? Well, I told myself to be honest with myself and understand that if I did buy her the RM bag then I would be okay if she didn’t prefer it to her other, cheaper bags… that it was ME who was presenting HER with the designer bag; it was not HER who necessarily wanted it. I WANTED her to have it. As long as I could accept this, I could feel free to give her the bag and be okay with her perhaps not using it as much as I’d want her to.

    So, I bought the bag. I surprised her with it, just because. I explained it was a designer bag, it was special, etc. And then I let it go.

    (So far, she has carried it a lot and loves it.)

    I was giving her designer because I wanted to, not because she really had any idea who Rebecca Minkoff is.

    I would not have given her such a bag at any time earlier in her life. If you want to gift your niece, do so because it’s YOU who love designer bags and not because she’ll know any differently. Personally, I’d hold off on such a gift until she’s a bit older.

    • Guest

      The fact that you’re sexualizing your 15 year old makes me think you need to reconsider your priorities.

      • Jeannie Shmina Greenwald

        You have misread my post.

  • Amanda

    I agree with most of the comments on here. I think 9 is too young. I had to earn every expensive thing I own today. That includes my phone, my current bags, my tablet, etc. To be honest, I never had an interest in brand names. I was never into those super expensive purses that my mom, aunts, and grandmothers always obsess over. They were so obsess they even brought home Coach purses as a gift for me. I was just about 14 years old when I received my first designer bag. I absolutely hated the bag. In my opinion, I hate Coach. I never used the purse to this day. I am only 16. Obviously my perspective towards designer bags have slightly changed. I do value Michael Kors and Kate Spade more than I ever did. I absolutely love them. My birthday is coming up, and I’d like to purchase a Michael Kors Hamilton Satchel for myself. Of course, I’m not going to go up to my parents and ask them to get it for me. Why? Simple. If I just ask them I wouldn’t know the value of the bag and how hard it was to earn the money to buy the bag. I think your goddaughter should learn the value of money before she receives something that pricey. I understand you love her a lot and you want to get her something really special but you shouldn’t spend money on a child that young. Im sure whatever you buy her she will like. It’s the thought that counts. c:

  • Hannah

    I think at the end of the day, it depends on whether or not the person you’re getting it for understands and appreciates the value of the item. Age has nothing to do with it. There are tons of adults out there who would never take out that kind of money for a Chanel or Louis Vuitton bag not because they can’t, but because it doesn’t make sense to them. I got my first designer bag at 14 but because I had been taught to appreciate designer things, I took care of it. And like what Lily said, parents are spending that kind of money on gadgets anyway so I personally don’t see why buying a designer good for a child is that big of a deal.

  • Jennie M.

    My daughter sees my passion for designer bags, sunglasses, jeans, shoes etc. She, most importantly, sees how I take care and cherish every bag. I purchased everyone myself and I express that to her. Now she can tell quality from not so quality and she lets me know her thoughts if she doesn’t like a bag that I have. Most of the time we agree and sometimes we don’t and she’s 9 lol. I’ve created a monster. I had a Versace that I want to sell and she begged me not too. She said “Can I have it?” I said Oh no! your too young! Now when she gets older like 17 then she can have it. To each his own. I think it depends on the parent, the age, maturity of the child but I would just die if I brought my daughter a Gucci, Fendi, Louis, Chanel etc and she lost it or it got stolen because she left it in her locker at school. My daughter god bless her can barley keep up with her 3ds let alone a designer handbag. She almost lost is a couple of times :-s Personally I would wait….

  • Dee

    My daughter is 6 and I have been buying her designer clothes like Burberry and Versace since she born. It was not for her, it is for me because I enjoy dressing her up and shopping for her. She is aware that her clothes are expensive and she does her best to look after them. If she wrecks them i don’t get upset because I halfway expect her to. Now that she is 6 I want to buy her an LV bag but my husband thinks I’m crazy. I let her wear all of my old bags from when I was a teen like those little pochette bags by fendi and prada. If you can afford it and you or your daughter enjoy designer items what is the big deal? My daughter knows how much handbags mean to me and she loves viewing my new purchases. I’m sure getting her started on her own collection won’t be too far off!

  • Allie

    I’m 17 years old and attend a private school. Every girl I know started off with a Coach bag of some kind, but it varies from then onwards. I know girls whose mothers greet them with Chanel when they get in from school, and I know girls who stil carry the same purse as they did when they were thirteen.
    The problem with girls who have very high end bags at young ages is that they begin to view them as a sign of social status, or don’t treat then well, or both. One of my good friends uses her Dior as a school bag and leaves it lying around next to her locker, treats her Louis as a sleepover bag, and forgets what country she left her Chanels in. I have another friend who chooses her favourite bags based on what celebrities are wearing, regardless of whether she likes them or not, and then steals money from her parents (who have already bought her everything from Longchamp to Tory Burch to Alexander Wang to Dior) to buy the bags she covets.
    I don’t think this is necessarily the direct consequence of these girls having designer bags, but reflective of the values their parents have instilled in them. These girls have come to see these bags as representative of these (often skewed) values, and treat them as social currency.
    As for myself (if you’re wondering), I have a Kate Spade and a Calvin Klein (both of which I purchased myself), and a Tory Burch, which my mother bought for me. I’m planning on buying myself my first Prada in August with money I’m earning through my summer job.
    Just my two cents, of course.

  • Zultan

    I think if a parent is within means of getting a designer bag for their kid without having to sacrifice daily needs, it’s fine. Personally I think it’s all about the income ratio, if someone who makes 3k a month buys her kid a $20 purse from target, why is someone who makes 30k a month who buys her kid a $200 purse any different? Don’t spend money you don’t have is what’s more important.

  • shueaddict

    Actually Megs, just for your case I would say that you should run a present like that by the parents. They are the ones who set the limits for their kids and decide what is appropriate and what not. Despite your good intentions (and fairy godmother wings) – the mother might not appreciate you raising the bar for her daughter.

    A Gucci bag like that is a status symbol … nobody would bat an eyelid if you spent the same amount of money on a Dior kids dress.
    All aside, tell Vlad that at some point in time your goddaughter is bound to find out he vettoed her first ever Gucci bag … that might be the time he should invest in protective gear ;-)

  • JH

    I would say wait until they learn to appreciate the value of designer bags. I got my little sister the Watercolor Speedy for her 17th birthday (you should have heard her scream when she saw it on her desk when she got home :D). She’s almost 21 now and she’s carried it 2 or 3 times. She says she’s saving it for special occasions.

  • Taracherrie

    In the part of world where I live, 12ish gals in the city already shows of their minis bals, Celines, givenchys, over the weekends. I’m sure it’s bcoz shooldays are no no designer bags. But do they really know what a brand stands for n how much it cost??? Sigh to me the teens r just with a capital SPOILED and a poor parenthood to let the child be pressured by the peers so young! Let children be children

  • 255

    it depends upon the

  • Angie

    I have a 13 year old and have brought her two designer bags. Rebecca Minkoff and the Selma Michael Kors bag. All of my kids, I have 4 get gift/prizes based on grades. Depending on the kid and age, maturity they get to chose what the gift is with spending limit. Then I tell them what they must do to earn it usually for something 300 is a full year of A&B grades . I have sons and daughters and so why would it be acceptable to buy a 300+ game system and video games but not give my daughter a purse which is what she wants. I use to buy her the mini versions of designer bags since she was 5 and she has every bag neatly organized in her closet. So to me it only instills in her goal setting and reward for reaching a goal. (Sorry for the book but wanted to share)

  • Vanessa Le

    I think it’s an individual choice. My 15 month old little girl already has a couple of designer handbags that are small enough to fit her. She’s been walking since 9 months old. She runs fast and breaks into spontaneous dancing. She’s had a beautiful wardrobe since birth. I’ve decided to get her own bag because she’s been playing with mine so often carrying them on her shoulder and putting things in the bags. She looks absolutely adorable when she wears her handbag. For me it’s just another beautiful and stylish fashion accessory among many beautiful things in her little world. She already picks out her own shoes when we go shopping. Childhood is the best of life’s many seasons. Handbags and purses are just a small part of my child’s incredibly beautiful daily living experience.

  • I.T.

    Honestly speaking, parents should give their daughters designer handbags, only when if those daughters understand the value of it. I, myself, got my first designer handbag when i was around 15 or 16. From my childhood, i have this habit of getting new school bag each and every year. So when i was like 15 or 16, i got my first designer handbag (which is Marc Jacobs) for my birthday. Since then, on my birthdays, end of college semesters, i always get designer bags. My parents bought those for me and i know how much i love those bags. My first Lady Dior bag was during my 19th birthday, and i still remember… i literally kept that bag beside my sleeping pillow for a month. Those bags are my best friend… i can not explain how much i love them. Currently i have designer bags which occupy my entire tall three shelves. My mom promised me, she will be making a big Shelf for me where she’ll keep all of my designer bags…. i mean i literally feel like flying high in the sky whenever i think about a room full of bags… Currently, i want the Céline’s luggage bag!
    I really don’t use my designer bags, as to show off or social currency. Designer bags just make me happy. They are the key to my happiness. One day when i’ll get a job, i will spend 90% of my money to buy designer handbags. <3

  • Anon

    I’m 14 currently and I own a Chanel quilted WOC which I got for my 14th birthday and a Michael Kors wristlet. My mum was always carrying and wearing designer and I always admired her and tried to dress in an ‘expensive’ way with lower end brands. My Macbook and my iPhone I saved up for from small jobs like cleaning the pool, as well as many other things I own. A month before my 14th my mum’s rich friend bought her the WOC and she didn’t like it as much as she already had the 2.55 and I loved it so much I’d go to her room each day to look at it and stroke it so she decided to give it to me on my birthday along with a the MK wristlet. I didn’t ask for any of them (although I hinted heavily on the Chanel, definitely not expecting her to give it to me) and I carry the wristlet around with me everyday as a small purse and the Chanel every 3 weeks or so to parties or more formal events. People might think that I’m spoiled and I don’t appreciate it well enough but I know the time and quality that goes into the bags and I work hard in school so I don’t waste my parents money. I think giving a child a designer bag at any age is fine as long as they know what the value of it is and they will properly care for them.

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