The number of handbags that I'd call true classics is relatively limited. The Hermès Birkin and Kelly fit the bill, of course, as do the Chanel Classic Flap and Gucci Bamboo Bags and staples like the Louis Vuitton Speedy and Noé. All of those bags have been around for decades, though; what's next?
We don't have any firm answers to that question, of course, but we're in a pretty good period for potentially classic bags right now--designs that have been around for a few seasons and have proved popular with consumers, but that aren't so aggressively 2015-looking that they will soon feel dated. We talked it over in the office, and the results are the bags below, alongside our rationale for why they might make it for the long haul. Let us know which one you believe will last forever, as well as which bags we missed, in the comments.
Céline Classic Box Bag
$3,900 via Céline Boutiques
This bag has the word "classic" right there in the name, and that's hardly the only indicator that it could go on to be appreciated by future generations. Luxurious, elegant and walks the line between "discreet" and "distinct" like a champ.
Chanel Boy Bag
$7,000 via Chanel Boutiques
Chanel built this bag in the image of a proven classic with the intent of appealing to a younger customer base, and it's been a resounding success. Only time will tell, but the Boy Bag's bones are strong.
Christian Dior Diorissimo Bag
Available via Dior Boutiques
The Diorissimo is a softer, more casual extension of the ideas that have long worked well in the Lady Dior, and as commercial fashion becomes more about wearable, everyday clothes, the Diorissimo is likely to weather the tests of time well.
Fendi Peekaboo Bag
$3,450 via Bergdorf Goodman
With the Peekaboo, Fendi has done something curious: brought a recent design back from the dead for a second tour through the spotlight. I can think of no other brand that's been able to do that in recent memory (lord knows that Chloé really wanted it to happen for the Paddington), and the fact that the Peekaboo's second act was so easily successful bodes well for the design's long-term staying power.
Givenchy Antigona Bag
$2,435 via Bergdorf Goodman
Like many of these bags, the Antigona carefully toes the line between subtle and notable. Its popularity has been strong for years now, but it's never quite hit the point of eye-rolling ubiquity that the Céline Luggage Tote (or the Chloé Paddington before it) did. In this case, that's a good sign for the design's potential longevity as a cool-girl staple.
Gucci Jackie Soft Shoulder Bag
$2,350 via Gucci
This new design owes its DNA to a long line of classic Jackie bags, but the particularly elegant finish of this latest generation has us hopeful for a full-on
Mansur Gavriel Bucket Bag
$625 via Barneys
This bag is primed for popularity over the long haul. The brand manufactures in small batches in a single Italian factory, the design is spare and classic and the bag itself is functional--roomy and light as a feather.
Prada Saffiano Double Zip Tote
$2,500 via Bergdorf Goodman
Really, this could be any of Prada's saffiano totes; they've all become part of the Successful Working Woman Fashion Canon, and their longevity as such has been ensured by none other than TV's most popular boardroom superstar, Olivia Pope.
Proenza Schouler PS1 Bag
$1,575 via Moda Operandi
The PS1 is a handbag feat that Proenza Schouler has yet to top. The bag is a perfect match to a particular kind of downtown cool girl, and the bag looks to have transitioned fairly well from it's super-popular heyday to the position of brand staple; that's crucial if a bag is going to turn into a classic, and it's the step at which most bags falter.
Saint Laurent Monogramme Mini Bag
$1,990 via Net-a-Porter
With a big, iconic logo, 70s-inspired tassel and teeny-tiny size, this bag has the potential to be the go-to choice of party girls for years to come. I can only imagine how much fun it would be to have one of these little bags passed down to me from the back of my mom's closet on, say, my 21st birthday.
Valentino Lock Shoulder Bag
$2,345 via Neiman Marcus
The Rockstuds have had more longevity than I could have ever predicted, and probably more than Valentino ever dreamed. When the topic has come up among my other friends in fashion, there seems to be something of a consensus that the shoes in particular have already started to become classics; the mix of femininity and edge is just about perfect. If any of the bags make the jump, my money is on this sleek little shoulder bag.