Bay Area Fashionista

Price does not equal luxury for handbags

mulberry handbags price does not equal luxury bay area fashionista

Pictured: my favorite mini tote by Mulberry /

Have you noticed a backlash on social media as well as the streets against spending a ton of money on a so-called luxury handbag? The current trend is to steer clear of logo embellished handbags, as well as handbag styles which are over-saturated. There are some handbags out there which are too recognizable and have been over produced lately. Those seeking luxury handbags have started to steer towards high quality and thoughtful handbag brands and styles. Gone are the days of the so-called “status” bag, which right now, looks tacky. The chic handbag look is high quality, quiet branding, and feeling like you scored a beautiful investment bag that didn’t break the bank.

While we have been talking about the anonymous handbag here at Bay Area Fashionista over the past several seasons, there is more to this discussion than just a mere street style trend. It goes deeper than a trend. The anonymous handbag is intertwined with what consumers deem to be luxurious in both perception and reality.

There are so many brands in the world which have superior advertising and marketing strategies. They have made us believe through imagery, celebrity and tastemaker endorsements, lifestyle images, and more that luxury is something which can be bought. I assure you; luxury cannot be bought.

Let’s take designer handbags for instance, since “handbags” is a favorite topic of mine. Many “IT” bags can be thousands of dollars while many mid-market brand handbags are in the hundreds. Is there a difference in quality? Well, funny you ask. . .

If you asked me fifteen to twenty years ago if price equaled quality I would have jumped up and said yes! Now, so-called luxury items from designer brands have increased production and cut costs resulting in lower quality products at higher prices. I don’t want to name names, but I will say there is a designer I used to purchase bags from multiple times per year about twenty years ago. Once their bags hit $3000 I stopped buying them. It seemed like I had enough bags and knowing the same bag had been under $2000 just a few years prior to the price hikes, I couldn’t justify the new, higher prices. I dodged a bullet there! That same designer brand now charges $6000-$10,000 for the same bag I purchased for under $2000 fifteen to twenty years ago. In addition, the quality has gone down and my bags are better made than the new ones.

Now, in the past few years, I have found mid-market brands are making better quality bags than so-called “IT” designer brands. Coach, for example, is still killing it with high quality bags. I have also fallen in love with Toteme, Mansur Gavriel, Mulberry, and more. In fact, Mulberry is higher quality than any other designer bag I have experience with.

There are designer bags priced in the high thousands, as well as in the five figures, which don’t hold a candle to Mulberry’s quality. I found Mulberry bags to be the ultimate investment and they offer a feeling of luxury no other designer offers me. Love that!

Here are a few of my favorite high-quality handbags which won’t break the bank:

I have always looked at purchases as investments, not status symbols. Finding better quality at lower prices is the most luxurious thing for my bank account, and me! What do you think about price and luxury? Do they go hand in hand or are they two separate entities?

Thanks for stopping by!


BAF Weekly IT List

BAF Weekly IT List from top left: golden hoops / silver hoops / silver bracelet / black satchel / blue nail polish / Chanel nail polish / olive dress (has pockets!) / neutral tote / caramel top handle bag / espadrilles / small neutral tote (on sale!) /

Summer got here fast! Temperatures are soaring, and it didn’t really feel like we had a spring. Where is the fog? I went from jeans and sweatshirts to summer dresses, there was no in-between! But I digress. . .check out this dress with pockets!

Yes, you read that right, dress with pockets! In case you missed my post earlier this week, this summer dress has pockets. I don’t know why I love having pockets in a dress so much. I carry a handbag which contains everything I need, but sometimes pockets are nice for an emergency Kleenex or just as a place for resting one’s hands. I don’t know, men have pockets in everything, so I want pockets too! haha

It’s espadrille season! While finding espadrilles with foot support is harder than getting a job as a QB in the NFL, there are solutions. These wedge espadrilles offer a bit of heel support due to their wedge nature. While not ideal for walking around town, they are fine for small amounts of walking. I was able to survive without foot pain for roughly thirty minutes the other day, so I will call that an espadrille win!

The summer 2024 season continues our quest for investment worthy pieces to add to our wardrobes. Keep investing in timeless, high-quality items which can last for years. I hope ultra-trendy dressing does not return. I love the chic, timeless look of investment dressing. Don’t you?

Thanks for stopping by! Stay tuned for summer coverage and reviews!



Designer or Deal: small boxy tote

Designer or Deal: small boxy tote: designer tote / affordable tote /

There are so many versions of a small boxy tote on the market right now, it can be a little overwhelming. While considered a cult classic style, it seems to be moving into the forefront of handbag fashion right now, and everyone is grabbing one!

Prices can range from common designer price points in the $1000-$3000 range as well as upwards of five figures. Thankfully there is a mid-market handbag brand known for good quality at affordable prices. Love that!

The small boxy tote shown above near the “deal” arrow, is actually labelled “medium” by the handbag brand. It is available in a mini, small, medium, and large. All of the available sizes are right on trend, and can be considered classic as well, so you can put them in the investment category. I also love that these totes are anonymous, chic, and offer strong leather and finishes for under $500.

Of course, the designer version of the small boxy tote is luxurious and also offers excellent craftsmanship, so it is up to you which direction you would like to go.

Boxy totes can be worn in neutral or black, as well as fun colors for the summer season. Right now, we are seeing vivid colors and pastels in addition to timeless neutrals. Which color will you choose? The deal version above is at the top of my wish list right now!

Thanks for stopping by!