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Ask PurseBlog: What Should I Get For My First Designer Bag?

Hello! My name is Kerri and I am 20 years old. For the longest time (almost a year and a half now!) I have been wanting to purchase my very own luxury handbag, but have been continuously stuck on how to start my collection.

Since I am a college student and am unable to work a lot throughout the school year, it takes quite a while for me to save up any money. Now that my spring semester is coming to an end and I’ll be working throughout the summer, I think I might be able to purchase my very first luxury handbag!

I am torn between which bag to get, as I am very much in the Louis Vuitton Speedy 25/30, Balenciaga Classic First, Prada Saffiano Lux tote, and the Chanel Mini Flap Bag. Do you have any advice as to which I should start off with? I haven’t held any of them before, so I plan on going sometime this summer. I am closer to being able to get the LV Speedy (and possibly Balenciaga) than the Chanel Mini Flap.

I would really, really love your help. I have had a passion for purses ever since I was about 6, and your website and forum have made me fall in love with them even more. God only knows how many reviews I’ve watched on Youtube about each bag!

I hope to hear back from you, and thank you again for always making my day better!


Thanks so much for the incredibly kind words about our site. I’ve felt incredibly lucky to have such a great group of readers following along and it has become a big handbag-loving family over all the years. I’m so happy to have you along for the ride!

When I was 20 I was really solidifying my love for luxury handbags as well, and right around that time I started PurseBlog and PurseForum with Vlad. I spent so much time, much like you, trying to decide on my first luxury bag purchase and saved up for a while. Mine was the Fendi Spy bag. I got the bag for Christmas from my parents and it was in the height of it-bag times, which lead me to only fall further. I was so happy with that bag and still love it, but it was more trendy than a classic, and for your first designer bag you definitely want a classic.

So let me give you pros and cons for each of the bags you list above as options and tell you which bag my vote goes to. You should definitely take some time to go check the bags out in person to see which fits your personality best and feels best on you.

Louis Vuitton Speedy 25/30
$950+ via Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton Speedy 30

Some may be surprised, but I don’t think you should get this bag. Yes, it’s a classic and will forever hold a spot as one of the most well-known designer bags of all time. Many girls start their collections this exact Louis Vuitton bag, and it’s not a bad choice, but this bag is hard to use as an everyday bag. I have a few Speedys, including the 30 cm version.

The bag looses its shape when you start to fill it up and while you can buy a bag shaper, I just don’t see the need. Also, it’s a dark interior makes the inside feel like a bottomless pit. I can rarely find what I need in this bag and because of the shape it seems to be worse than other bags. There are Speedys that come with a shoulder strap, and if you end up getting a Speedy, I highly recommend a shoulder strap. The handles are short and you can wedge this bag into the crux of your arm, but it’s going to get super heavy quickly and you will eventually end up annoyed.

With all that being said, there are still plenty of reasons you should own a Louis Vuitton Speedy at some point in your life!

Balenciaga Classic First
$1,685 via Balenciaga

Balenciaga Classic First

Can I convince you to get a Balenciaga City bag? This is where my vote goes for you! You are young and Balenciaga works so well for the younger crowd and easily transitions as you get older. I can’t speak highly enough about my Balenciaga bags and the price is still really ok for a designer bag. I know the City costs more than the First, but the First is smaller and ends up working best for casual use or weekend wear. If you are shorter, it could work out ok for everyday use, but I think the City is perfect.

This is your first designer bag, you want to be able to use it often and for a long time. The Balenciaga City bag is lovely, and while I think the shoulder strap is too short, other seem to think it is perfect in it’s size. I am 5’11 so it makes bags fitting on me look much different from someone who is substantially shorter, but Amanda is 5’6 and prefers the City as well.

Balenciaga offers so many colors and the leather ages well with time. I think if you went with a Balenciaga bag you will be so happy. So Balenciaga gets my vote.

Prada Saffiano Lux Tote
$1,990 via Bergdorf Goodman

Prada Saffiano Lux Tote Light Blue

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Prada Lux Tote, but I think it has more of a work bag or ladylike vibe than a 20 year old in college vibe. If you are super preppy and this is what lures you in, by all means go for it, but if you are similar to how I was in college you may end up feeling like this bag is too fancy.

The Prada Lux Tote photographs extremely well and I’m sure you’ve seen beautiful photos of it all over instagram, and I don’t deny the bag’s beauty, but I think for your first bag you will want something a little more laid-back. However, if you love the structure and lines, there are so many color options and sizes in this bag. I want about 10 of them to be honest.

Chanel Small Classic Flap Bag
$4,700 via Chanel

Chanel Small Classic Flap

The Chanel Flap Bag is about as timeless as they come. I love this bag, and if I got that as my first designer bag, I would have been so happy. I didn’t realize how much I would end up liking Chanel bags, I didn’t end up feeling drawn to them until later in my handbag obsessing days. The Small Classic Flap, which is 5.7″ x 9.3″ x 2.6″, costs $4,700. It’s an expensive bag.

In defense of the price, if you got this Chanel bag as your first you would treasure it for the rest of your life. Maybe someday you’d have a daughter you could pass it down to. But I don’t know that you would use it that much, and if you’re anything like me, you might be a little afraid to carry it often.

Overall, you have great bags picked out that you like and you can’t go wrong. But I think your first bag should not only be a bag you adore but also a bag you plan to use and love. Because of that, I still think a Balenciaga bag is your best bet. Best of luck to you and please let us know what you end up deciding on!


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