PurseBlog Asks

Do You Have a Price Ceiling?

Prices of handbags have become astronomical...what's your upper limit?

What an individual qualifies as “expensive” or “inexpensive” varies from person to person. How much money is too much money to pay for something depends on a wide variety of factors. When it comes to purchasing luxury goods and handbags specifically, every person’s perception of a fair price for a particular piece will be different. With the luxury goods industry’s ever-increasing prices, consumers are almost always forced to spend more than what they would have been willing to spend a few years or even just a year ago.

Objectivity and Handbag Prices

And when it comes to objectivity, it can be hard for those of us in the industry to name a fair price, as the “sticker shock,” as they say, wears off when you’ve been doing this for as long as I’ve been. I honestly have no idea what a non-bias, reasonable price for a handbag might be. Not only have I been working in the luxury space for almost my entire career in fashion, but I’ve loved and collected handbags for most of my life.

Despite all of the aforementioned, even I can acknowledge that the prices of handbags have become a little insane. Gone are the days when we could offer you a nice roundup of picks $1,000 and under spanning many luxury brands. These days, you have to be willing to drop well into the four-figure mark if you’re looking for a decent-sized bag from a luxury house, which is a massive change from when I started working at PurseBlog six years ago. Times really have changed!

What’s Your Price Ceiling?

At this stage of my collecting journey, the most I’ve spent on a bag has been around $3,000 *insert monkey covering eyes emoji here*, and it’s not that I wouldn’t be willing to spend more; it’s that right now budgeting for a bag that costs more than my rent (on top of a rising cost of living) is simply not possible. It should come as no surprise that the value of owning a good handbag matters more to me than most people on earth, and I’m lucky that a bag at such a high price level is even an, albeit rare, option for me.

With price increases happening left and right, what you’re willing to pay has likely changed greatly. Most shoppers do have an ideal upper limit in their heads, and we want to know what yours is. Has it changed recently, and are there any extenuating circumstances that you could see yourself breaking it for if you really loved a bag?

Let’s talk!

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Jaime
Jaime
11 months ago

Hard Ceiling $5000 and comfort range $1500 – $2500. I have never spent $5000 so it has to be perfection. And the games that Hermes and Chanel are playing aren’t fun or worth my time.

Amy
Amy
11 months ago

I’m older and can afford many of anything at this point, but it’s just not that important to me anymore. I have many Chanel, LV, etc… bags, shoes, accessories (no Hermes) that I spent a bloody fortune on collectively and honestly, I don’t really use/wear the vast majority. They don’t fit my simple and understated look that I prefer now. I guess it took me all these decades to realize that really it’s just my health, the health and happiness of those I love and my relationship with them, and my mental wellbeing that matters to me. “Things” aren’t part of that.

Barbara
Barbara
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy

Well said, Amy! I can relate, as I bought many bags over decades and found that only a few were my true favorites. Even worse is the realization than many of my high end bags like Chanel and Bottega (my two faves) bought years ago were much better quality and downright “affordable” compared to today’s outrageous prices. With age comes wisdom, and mine has evolved to knowing that no bag is ever worth $10K or more.

poleneceline
poleneceline
11 months ago

Soft ceiling: 2k
Hard ceiling: 3k

Comfortabe range: 500 dollars or less.

I bought celine bags because I really like the triomphe but when you look into resale values you realize these bags just aren’t worth that price tag, even at secondhand prices. So I went back to affordable and contemporary designers.

Ali Ashby
Ali Ashby
11 months ago
Reply to  poleneceline

That’s the same as me. I really want a Céline to have a well-rounded collection (I’ve obsessed over the luggage since 2011). The price hikes at LV have compromised that $3k ceiling, but I don’t think they’re “worth” that.

Saligator
Saligator
11 months ago

I stopped buying luxury handbags several years ago. When NY’s Barney’s went out of business, I was able to get a nice selection of Mark Cross bags (Retail ~$2500+ and up) for around $400-$650 (at the Barney’s outlets) that fit my needs (wicker for summer, big, small, evening, clutch, etc.). The are beautifully made, and come from a heritage American brand that is over 100 years old, with a fantastic back story (including some “South of France” tales of glamour. I saw a photo of Taylor Swift carrying the model I have the most of, so I know they were out there “in their day” with the fancy people, too.

Previously, I had invested in Hermés, with my ceiling being about $4000, buying a LONG time ago (but not B or K bag). I got really sick of babying the Hermés bags and worrying about them. I kept my Evelyn, which is a fantastic bag.

With the Mark Cross bags, I still get the status of the “luxury to quasi luxury brand” bag (they are/were sold at NM), but I care less about them, because they didn’t cost a fortune for me. I also don’t have to worry as much about being a target of sorts, because they aren’t bags that anyone really recognizes like the Birkin, Kelly, 2.55, or LV’s.

These days, if I were to buy a new bag, I’d buy Lancel or Longchamp, but I never understood the mystique of Chanel or LV, but I’m really happy with my Mark Cross bags and don’t really see buying any bags in the near (or far) future.

Ali Ashby
Ali Ashby
11 months ago
Reply to  Saligator

Your point about babying the bags is valid. When I spend $2500-3000 on a bag, I don’t want to use it because I’m so afraid of ruining it. How backwards is that? But I think it’s an indicator that my comfort price range is below $2k.

Deann F
Deann F
11 months ago
Reply to  Saligator

I also started to buy Mark Cross, American company, good quality, somewhat unique – not everyone has one, not too outrageous prices, subtle luxury, does not scream logo. I am Asian American and these days.

LisaLovesouis
LisaLovesouis
11 months ago

Back in the mid 2000s, I bought and sold quite a few LV bags and I still have two or three that are in my collection. The most expensive bag I bought was a Celine Micro Luggage back in 2013 for $2200 – that pretty much sits in my closet.

I have always wanted a Chanel classic flap bag, and I can afford one, but now I just don’t want to spend the money on it. Instead I’ve been buying less expensive but still good quality Mulberry bags – I have a pink tweed Mulberry Lily bag that has satisfied my need for a Chanel bag. I think the quality of my Mulberry bags is right up there with Celine. I’d love to have a Hermes bag as well, but I don’t want to deal with all the BS that goes with trying to buy one from the store.

Yazi
Yazi
11 months ago

If you have to take a loan or pay in installments then you probably discovered your “ceiling”.

Beryl
Beryl
11 months ago

Hard ceiling $1k. But realistically around $600. I’m more interested in design and quality than name so I just pay these inflated prices.

Amanda R
Amanda R
11 months ago

My holy grail bag is a Lady Dior, so I’m saving for that for Christmas/ my Birthday (which is 3 days after Christmas).

Otherwise, I’m trying to cap it around $2500, maybe $3k if I LOVE it.

Most of my purchases are pre-loved gems around the $1k mark, though. I really don’t feel the need to have the latest trend. I’m sure not dropping THOUSANDS on something that’ll be out of style (and that I won’t even care for or hold its value) in 6 months.

CPL JD
CPL JD
11 months ago

With the price of bags increasing, and the residual value of a preloved bag increasing, I am curious to know what people are doing in the estate planning arena to ensure that at your death or disability (it happens to everyone) your bags do not end up disappearing before the funeral or being accidently sold at garage sale or donated to charity for lack of understanding the brand value. I am an estate planning attorney and am just now realizing that I need to have these conversations with my clients.

Ali A
Ali A
11 months ago
Reply to  CPL JD

The only bags with real residual value (compared to purchase price) are Hermes and Chanel. Most depreciate significantly with wear and time. Still a good point!

Francine
Francine
11 months ago
Reply to  CPL JD

I was just discussing w/nephew who is my trustee, that I will label the art /sculptures that are $$$$. His mom is a bagaholic so he will have help with the bags. I warned him not let certain people help because they are the type who just throw things in the trash pile.🙁. Thinking about the inevitable, is also a reason to get rid of things you would not want others to see!

CPL JD
CPL JD
11 months ago
Reply to  Francine

Most estate planning documents allow you to make a list of who gets which personal items, that you care to list. Check your estate planning document to see if it has that paragraph. If it does, my suggestion is to make a list. Be precise in your description of the item so there is no argument, and be precise in who gets it. They like to recycle names in my family. Put a copy of the list in trusted hands so that it does not disappear if the person in charge does not feel she/he is getting what she/he deserves, or wants to substitute his or her own judgement for who should get what.

Cait O
Cait O
11 months ago
Reply to  CPL JD

What a good call. BRB going to update my will LOL

Susan
Susan
11 months ago
Reply to  CPL JD

When I m dead, they can throw my Birkin in the garbage for all I care. I’ll be back to dust anyway so it won’t matter to me.

CPL JD
CPL JD
11 months ago
Reply to  Susan

Well, in that case, consider leaving it to a charity. They could use the money. If you are not charitably inclined, I would love to have it. 🙂

Ella
Ella
11 months ago

Highest amount I have spent was just over $7k but I’m increasingly not keen on expensive bags anymore because the price often doesn’t match quality. For example I went to try a Fendi baguette in leather the other weekend and it “felt” like a $1500k. Currently debating the Celine Triomphe in black vs the My Lady Dior but the prices just seem so inflated. Might have to start looking at brands like Tory which actually seem very well made and decently priced.

Laura W
Laura W
11 months ago
Reply to  Ella

Have you thought of buying pre-loved? I almost feel like thats the only way to get luxury at a semi sensible pice these days.

sundaysbest404
sundaysbest404
11 months ago

5k but just purchased my first Hermes so 10k. 2-3k is typical but finding that I’m buying less but more high end as I get older.

NurseOrPurse
NurseOrPurse
11 months ago
Reply to  sundaysbest404

I hear you on this one: not sure I’ve got the jam to purchase an Hermes, but, besides perusing them at the Rebag store on Madison Ave., I haven’t been close enough to truly consider purchasing one. As I get older, I also appreciate bags that don’t weigh much, since I tend to fill them up…

FashionableLena
FashionableLena
11 months ago

I have not bought a luxury handbag in probably more than three years. Other than the Chanel Trendy CC and the small Lady Dior, I haven’t liked anything . I’ve been really into Coach and Tory Burch. My ceiling is now $600. I’m willing to go a little higher. Best thing is that I can usually get the bag that’s on my radar on sale.

LvCl425
LvCl425
11 months ago

I will acknowledge I am incredibly fortunate and there isn’t a “max” limit DEPENDING on the bag. However I will say that rule really only applies with any B/K H bag. I have a variety of Chanel flaps and unless there is a future one that I absolutely love (I see you staring at me rainbow 🌈 flap!) I very likely won’t buy another as the prices are no longer consistent with the quality of their bags. Also the price increases have put a terrible taste in my mouth. Just because some can afford those prices doesn’t mean you get to sell one for such. At least with H bags the quality remains. With that being said, I try to be conscious of the bags I’m purchasing and now will rarely buy any bag impulsively that has a fun shape or color and instead stick to classic shapes and colors that are less “trendy”. That way it can be 15-20 years from now and I will still reach for each of the bags I own.

MissC
MissC
11 months ago

ATP I feel like it’s becoming less and less. It feels like brands are increasing prices just because they can without increase in service or quality. LV wont repair their leather bags but want to charge premium prices. It will be interesting to see how luxury brands adjust to fewer and fewer people willing to pay more for less. I recently purchased a wallet at Chanel and I saw multiple wallets in stock, when in the past it was sparse. The boutique actually appeared to be well stocked with plenty of merchandise. Maybe a signal of things to come.

LvCl425
LvCl425
11 months ago
Reply to  MissC

I noticed this too! I was shocked at how much inventory they had in a broad range of colors and styles. All the current season bags (which generally are out of stock before they even hit the shelf) were sitting pretty just waiting for someone to come along and buy them (alas no line in sight to do so!)

Emma
Emma
11 months ago

My ceiling is $2500, and honestly aside from brands that have decent resale value I won’t even spend that much. I’ve bought and returned several bags in the 2-3k range because I simply didn’t think warranted the price (even for luxury), and/or I didn’t think would hold up to regular use. And, I’ve also concluded that I’m not a collector. I don’t like have so many bags I can’t use.

Yolanda
Yolanda
11 months ago
Reply to  Emma

Agreed, I take resale value into consideration too because I don’t have unlimited space and when I purchase a new bag, I tend to sell another one to make room in my closet. My bags that have retained their value the best have been LV classic monogram bags. I live in the US but I purchase them in France (cheaper than in the US) and I get the VAT refund (another 12% discount). When I sell one back a few years down the road—and taking price increases into consideration—I often recoup my initial investment and sometimes even turn a profit. So my ceiling for an LV monogram bag is higher than other brands because there is always demand on the secondhand market.

NANCY
NANCY
11 months ago
Reply to  Emma

I thought my limit was about $3,500, then I decided I might as well pay a bit more and get bags that are going up on the resale market in case I tire of the bag. Then I got bitten by the Hermes bug, and feel like an idiot for paying 16,000 and 17,000 for two that were in pristine condition. I don’t even carry them very often, and my husband is afraid the Birkin makes us a target when we travel. I think it’s an obsession as I’ve gotten older, and I’m trying to rid myself of it!

Slim
Slim
11 months ago

As I get older and think of the thousands and thousands spent on designer bags, I can no longer justify spending more $2k! Most of my collection is sitting in the closet in dust bags. I’m over the hype! Next up, traveling!

Sandy
Sandy
11 months ago

I will admit I have spent a good deal of money on bags. I own a Chanel Classic Jumbo so I am willing to spend probably too much! I really want to add a Chanel Mini Classic Flap to my collection. I am very aware that it is a big purchase and not something I do lightly or often, have to save up. It is just something that brings a bit of joy to me.

Cait O
Cait O
11 months ago

My ceiling would be the retail of a Hermes B25 but only if I didn’t have to play all their games. Otherwise I try to keep it around $5,000, with limited exceptions. I change my mind a lot, sometimes I buy the trendy bag, then sell it, then use that money to get something else I’m feeling – and for that reason, can’t really justify Chanel (or even Dior) pricing. I will say as I get older, the more I realize that leather quality is largely the same across luxury brands, so I’ll opt for a more reasonably priced fashion house vs. another knowing I’m getting a similar product. I also will be a repeat customer who stands behind their products and makes returns/repairs/replacements easy.

Ali R.
Ali R.
11 months ago

I recently bought myself a small bag from the Dior store in Paris. The experience was great, but I had serious buyers remorse right after spending $4500. I had the money, but that just seems crazy to me. So that’s probably my max!!

AM BAGS
AM BAGS
11 months ago

I think it depends. Soft is typically $3k and hard -idk. I am more into understated brands like Alaia and the Row…quiet luxe is where I am at in my 40s and I am willing to pay for the quality vs. what the Kardashians or influencers have oversaturated. I used to love Bottega/Loewe for that, but even though the first didn’t have logos,it’s SO PLAYED OUT now…it makes me sad, because in the past I would have dropped $3k for them, but I would now only get them resale.

Nan
Nan
11 months ago

25k. Last week I got an offered for a Kelly 25 Touch Veau Madame and Croc. Of course, I bought it without hesitation. If it was any other luxury brands, I wouldn’t spend more than 4k for a handbag.

Lorelei
Lorelei
11 months ago
Reply to  Nan

Bless your heart.

Deann F
Deann F
11 months ago

Generally $3,000, if I really really like, $7,000 max. I don’t think the cost justifies the quality of a bag anymore, paying for logos instead of quality.
I follow tanner.leatherstein on TikTok and he dissects/rips apart luxury bags and analyzes the quality of leather and workmanship. It’s really interesting, I have recently bought Bottega because no logos and good quality leather.

Kaly
Kaly
11 months ago
Reply to  Deann F

I LOVE watching his IG reels—fascinating!!

Aspen
Aspen
11 months ago

Yes but it depends on the house. My threshold for a house like Delvaux or Hermès is higher than something like LV, Prada, Chanel.

The other houses run somewhere in the middle.

To me it goes based on how I feel about the quality of the items the brand is pushing.

Lori
Lori
11 months ago

My ceilings are: $10K Hermès, $5K Dior & Joseph Duclos, $1500 LV, for travel. I prefer to buy fewer bags that are higher quality.

Terri
Terri
11 months ago

I don’t have a ceiling, but this is only because I stopped buying bags from high-end brands and buy from indie brands like Primo Atelier. I got their bag for USD140 and I got my dream bespoke bags from them at USD900 in Togo and Swift leather, all hand sewn.

I like to visit local bag shops in countries I go to whenever I have the chance. It is such a delight as the craftsmanship is fantastic, super affordable, and I also get to hear their stories, appreciate their work and get to talk to the owner if I’m lucky!

Tanja
Tanja
11 months ago

I have quite a collection of bags, so I have become rather picky. While I’d like to get a Birkin in classic black, it’s too expensive for me. However, one things I’m also not a fan of is buying products for tons of money, simply to get on a waiting list for the remote possibility to buy a bag.At the moment, there are not that many bags that “speak” to me as I don’t like huge name tags on bags or the current trends of book bags. I have spent up to $2,500 – $3,000 for a bag, but it has to be exceptional

Celia
Celia
11 months ago

Soft ceiling: 16k
Hard ceiling: 20k
Comfortable range: 8-10k

I mostly buy Hermes, and Chanel. Some LV for travel and casual outings. BUT, the more I do, the more I realize I use my LVs and Chanels more. I sometimes worry about carrying my Birkins out in public or in a restaurant where food or wine (gasp) might get spilled on them.

anna
anna
11 months ago

Hard ceiling would be a Birkin or Kelly at retail (whatever retail is at that time). Or a Chanel classic at retail (not any fancy/exotic leather – just something no more than $15k or so). Generally I buy bags less than $5k – my lifestyle isn’t super “fancy,” so most bags I like are in the $5k or less price range anyway that fit within my everyday lifestyle.

Lorelei
Lorelei
11 months ago

I spent €5000 on a black Chanel 19 bag last summer in Paris that would have cost me about $6800 USD. Got a little caught up in the moment with the savings of the euro vs usd and the VAT return. Not sorry I did but it still shocks me a little that I spent that much and it will probably be the last one at Chanel. I purchased an Hermes Evelyne same trip and saved about $1200 USD but I use that bag daily and can see myself replacing that bag, if possible, in the future. I don’t think I’d pay full price USD for a new bag, maybe previously owned! It does seem to be skyrocketing with no end in sight! Yikes!

Heather
Heather
11 months ago

The most I’ve ever spent was $7,000 for my Chanel Trendy, but my ceiling varies by brand. The most I’d pay for Chanel at this point is $8,500, but I’d pay retail (not over) for a Birken or Kelly. I have trouble with spending more than $3,000 on LV, but it makes sense for Bottega.

$3,500 is the current threshold of where I really need to *love* the bag and see myself getting a lot of wear out of it. That threshold used to be much lower and I’m shocked at how I’ve been manipulated by the brands’ pricing strategies.

Margaret
Margaret
11 months ago

My threshold hold is $2600.00 as I want the Versace butterfly tote. I don’t see much out there that I like anymore. I have several luxury brands from the past and they all still look new.
The prices are becoming increasingly insane.

Lola
Lola
11 months ago

I don’t buy a bag more than once a year, if that. Having said that, my hard ceiling is the price of a Birkin 35 or Kelly 32. For any other brand, my hard ceiling is $2,500. I would never spend the same money at Chanel or LV that I do at Hermes. At least at Hermes I know that if my bag needs fixing, Hermes will fix it. No one else does that.

Pjhm
Pjhm
11 months ago

When I first went on this site in 2014, sI went purse crazy, buying 8 different LV bags but set a limit (for leather) at $3k. I already had many Chanel bags which I had purchased over the prior years, at that time none were over $3k. So, one day I looked at my bags and thought, enough already and stopped spending except for a Gucci bag or two, all under $2500. So to this day, 2023 I still have that $3k limit but stopped buying.

Brandy
Brandy
11 months ago

I would pay max $2,000 and even that is too much!

Tricia
Tricia
11 months ago

Soft ceiling: $3500
Hard ceiling: $5k

I have been collecting bags for years (LV, Chanel and others). I have not jumped into the Hermes game and at this point it is likely that I won’t. Unless it is a great resale one.

ChloeP
ChloeP
11 months ago

Soft ceiling (buying on whim): $2-3k
Hard ceiling: $10k
Most spent: $7k

Firstly, I live well within my means and always budget for yearly shopping. I believe in buying only what you love (whether pre-loved or new), and when something is not being used and sits in a closet for more than a year, it’s time to rehome the bag and pass it onto someone else who will love it more. I dont see luxury goods as investments, profit/loss is only realized once you sell. Since I don’t shop with selling in mind, then it’s not considered an investment. I suggest that you park your money elsewhere in real estate, stocks, or bonds if you are looking for tangible returns.

Please do not spend above what you can afford on a handbag. Instead, focus on increasing your salary and earning potential. I do not compete with others in fashion, but will compete with myself. One day, you’ll find yourself at a better place and looking confident in whatever it is you wear.

Brigitte
Brigitte
11 months ago

No more than 30K and that has to be for really exceptional pieces. But for me, it’s more like art collecting than fashion.

Ohlalala
Ohlalala
11 months ago

Same on 3k but with inflations and price increase it’s really 2k + money from reselling a bag I no longer get joy from. I’m also buying pre-loved way more often.

Scentabulous
Scentabulous
11 months ago

Though it was really frivolous to have purchased my Chanel Jumbo Double Flap for $5K. However, the price over time has easily exceeded the stock market. Not a bad investment but for the fact that it is way to heavy to carry often.

Adangerousbeauti
Adangerousbeauti
11 months ago

Dont have a ceiling for B/k in regular leather.
If i get offered a k25 or k28 in matte alligator, i would buy it and sell some of my other bags. Prett much content at my minimal collection riggt now and only rooting for an exotic kelly from the store

12k ceiling for preloved b/k second hand. I dont want to pay any premium.

Robbyn
Robbyn
11 months ago

I’ve paid the most for my Chanel jumbo flap with $$$$ from an LV trade in. $3200 which looking back now was a good move. I have a satisfying Chanel collection. I’m done with LV and if I buy more Chanel it will be pre loved. I’m loving the quality of Longchamp leather after seeing some bags in the wild when recently in Europe.

NurseOrPurse
NurseOrPurse
11 months ago

I shudder to think what I’ve spent throughout my designer bag journey/obsession, but I bought the bulk of my collection between 5 and 15 years ago, when prices were still crazy, but not like they are now. My 35-year-old daughter just scolds me, saying, “What am I gonna DO with all of these when you’re dead??” I told her “It won’t be my problem, and, if you decide to sell, you’ll get quite the windfall, so pipe down!!” I do wonder if a balloon will burst, but there are so many crazy-rich patrons out there, I guess the market will remain strong…. Still, it is crazy.

Kaly
Kaly
11 months ago

I really enjoy reading everyone’s comments, so interesting!! Great questions Kaitlin!!

Chrissy
Chrissy
11 months ago

I thought I’d never pay more than $3,000, but I’m rounding out my handbag collection with Chanel classics so my max is $6,500 before tax.