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Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • kemilia

    I’ve noticed men’s Bal bags cost less than women’s Bals, for pretty much the same style. I figured that us ladies were paying for the great colors.

  • anon

    I guess this means I should take a look at buying men’s bags? lol

  • anon

    Also, is anyone else having issues on this site where the top bar follows where you scroll but becomes kinda wonky and blocks stuff? Get what I mean?

  • Winn

    Fantastic article. Best I’ve read here in a while. The price/sq in is very interesting in itself; the comparison to mens bags even more so. I’d also be interested to read about price/sq in as a comparison between a designer’s difference womens bags.

    • We were just talking about doing that this morning–it’s definitely coming soon.

      And thank you for your kind words!

  • Sly

    I love this article. But I do have to say, women get so many more options, colors, styles, etc than men do; so maybe that would contribute to the higher prices? And as you said it’s harder for a woman to be judged on the fact that she is using a bag compared to men.

    • I thought about this for a while when I was writing, and I think it’s actually the opposite; women’s bags are made in far greater volume than men’s bags, especially in these basic styles and colors that we tested. If anything, that should decrease the per-bag cost for women’s bags because things like leather are usually less expensive, the more you buy.

      • Sly

        OH! Didn’t know that! Thank you.

      • Despite that, though, there are administrative costs related to having a lot more SKUs for women. Master data maintenance, different tagging/coding, additional/separate storage not just for each color/size of handbag but also for each color/size of leather, zipper, hardware, fabric lining, etc. All these variations of the same thing for the women’s line does add some complexity to your supply chain, and complexity = cost. That additional cost probably can’t explain the entire difference, but it’s still there.

      • This is definitely true, and thank you for mentioning it. I would love to be able to test these comparisons with more data, or even some reasonable projections on how much those kinds of issues can affect price. I agree that it probably does account for a portion of the difference, but I’d love to know exactly how much. Like you, I’m betting it’s not the entire thing.

  • Christofle

    Comes down to the basic economics of supply and demand. Men don’t tend to spend as much on bags/accessories so the number of willing buyers is less so they try to capture a greater market share by charging a little less in order to account for men’s smaller willingness to pay. Luxury manufacturers are just trying to maximize their profits, so it’s understandable that they would use a form of price discrimination to achieve this.

  • Ikenani

    Well, no one buys a bag by the inch, you buy it for the aesthetic and the brand. Also, some of the bags aren’t really the same. For instance, the Balenciaga messenger bags are different. The “women’s” has more hardware than the “men’s”. Also all those “men’s” bags cost more overall, regardless of whether or not you want those additional inches.

    • There are minor differences between all the bags, which is why we tried to break down the prices to some sort of objective unit so we could compare apples to apples as much as possible. The aesthetic and brand, as you mentioned, are constant across the comparison for exactly that reason–they’re a huge factor in luxury pricing.

      It’s up to every consumer to decide if those minor differences are worth the difference in price; for example, are a couple pieces of different hardware worth the $300 markup between the same-sized Balenciaga bags? Maybe! Depends on how much $300 is worth to you. We just want to help everyone make informed decisions, as always.

  • CobaltBlu

    Nice job Amanda, good read and wow, plenty of examples. Enjoyed this a lot.

  • st

    I am sorry but this is just plain out not true, you can not simply compare by volume, notice that many of the women’s bags are more detailed compared to the mens which should indeed make them more $$$$. and go into hermes and compare mens to women’s, women have a much wider selection of cheaper bags compared to men, that have an entry level price of 5k :()

  • shueaddict

    Oh, Amanda, I loved the math approach to proving your point beyond any reasonable doubt !!! Well played! I have been shopping from Mr. Porter for a while – for myself !!!

  • Kris

    Great topic and very en pointe.

  • Aliza Zibkoff

    By the inch or by the pound! Nice new way of buying handbags!

  • Aliza Zibkoff

    I think these “MAN BAGS” are really more for office women. Those of us who populate the management arena. Tote around a lap top and files ain’t foreign to use ladies.

  • Kathy Dowdle

    This really doesn’t surprise me at all. Although women continue to be paid less to do the same jobs as men, women are routinely charges more for everything from tee shirts, to jeans, to hair cuts, to toiletries, to underwear, and now bags! The women’s versions of anything are always more expensive, and it isn’t always because the women’s versions are more detailed. Take a look at the photos. The women’s tighty whities $28 for two pair, while men’s briefs come in a 5 pack for $15!

  • love the balenciaga!!!


  • Mary Ellsworth

    This is an interesting article and I agree with many of the factors
    discusses. Another factor that perhaps should be considered though is
    scale. Most men are larger in size than women and this may in general
    necessitate that their bags be larger as well. The manufacturers and
    designers may naturally be making bags for male clients slightly larger
    in size to appeal to a broader number of male clients. A bag which would
    appear over-sized on a petite women may look too small on a taller man.
    A medium sized bag for a man or for a women would be different based on
    what looks appropriate for the average height of each gender.
    Considering size in proportion to stature may explain some of the
    disparity between cost per cubic in.

  • The prices you listed look to be market price from various vendors. Was that full MSRP or did you look at sale information as well?