How I bought my first luxury bag – I have been wanting to write this post for a long time, I just did not have material until very recently (joke’s on me). In all seriousness, I am beyond excited to share all the details of my first luxury bag purchase in this blog post. I will be talking about everything from the decision process and why I picked exactly this bag vs. the other options on my list, as well as the money factor and how I afforded it.
The bag that I ended up getting is the Louis Vuiton NéoNoé Monogram Empreinte in black leather. If you follow me on Instagram you might have already seen it appearing in a few pictures here and there as I got the bag in June 2020.
For quite some time I’ve been lusting over designer handbags. I do blame Instagram for drilling this idea into me – and to a certain extent also how “casual” these bags seem to be for your “next follow influencer” these days – but at the same time how could I resist? Anyhow, strangely enough, the pandemic really enabled this purchase. With the first lockdown, we went into heavy savings mode. In addition, my savings were also already boosted by my tax returns, and suddenly I kind of had the $$$ to make such a purchase. The lockdown also sort of messed with my brain and I could not stop thinking of getting my hands on a bag. Very poor behaviour on my side but it is what it is! With that said, scroll down below to read more about:
- Why I picked this bag
- What were my other options
- How I afforded the bag
Why I picked this bag
First, I must confess I absolutely love the bag. It’s stunning in person and the black embossed leather looks and feels very luxurious to me, as well as very elegant. It’s also a bit more on the understated side; especially when thinking about the traditional monogram on canvas that is so popular with the brand. Add the gold hardware to the mix and it simply seals the deal for me. I also love the slightly “playful” look of a bucket bag and that definitely sold me on it.
The versatility of this bag was a huge factor in the decision-making process. Given the pandemic and the fact that I knew I would not go to the office in the foreseeable future, I wanted a versatile bag that would be easy to wear in a variety of situations, not just the office. I knew that I can use this bag for casual outings, going to the office, as well as traveling. I would probably not wear it for a client meeting, but I also don’t have many face-to-face client meetings planned given the turn of events.
The bag comes with a detachable handle as well as a detachable shoulder strap. The shoulder strap is adjustable and can become a longer strap that could work for wearing the bag cross body; however, it’s too long on me so I never wear it like that. These two details add a lot of versatility to the bag and make it easy to carry.
To be fully honest, I also considered the Monogram Canvas one – which is substantially more affordable as it’s not leather – but I opted for a more “muted” or understated version, like the embossed black leather. The canvas versions do not come with a detachable handle so that was also a small detail against the option.
The bag itself is quite roomy. It has two compartments along with a little pocket with a zipper as the separator. It fits a bottle of water, wallet, cardholder, sunglasses, a book, basically whatever you want, but it does not fit a laptop (e.g. MacBook Pro 13″), so I would definitely not recommend it as a full-on work bag. It does however fit an 11″ iPad, so if that’s your working device, this bag can work for work (pun intended).
What helped me with the decision-making process was going to the store and trying the different versions quite a few times. I tried the Epi leather in black, the monogram canvas, and this one. In addition, I also toured all other designer shops to also try out all the other bags on my list and more, to make sure I chose the right one; not only on looks purely but also on how it looks on me, how it feels to carry and so on. I highly recommend doing that a few times before you buy your first or any bag.
What were my other options
I never really thought I would have a Louis Vuitton bag as my first pick and initially, this bag wasn’t even at the top of my list. But then 2020 happened and life as we knew it changed, so I had to reassess my priorities. Going to the office wasn’t the main thing anymore so I had to take that into account.
My list, initially looked like this:
- Celine Luggage Tote in black – This must be at the top of my favourite workwear handbags. The structured look is so appealing to me, it is an absolute beauty and ultimate work bag in my opinion. The main reason I did not end up choosing this one is because of work from home and the need of going to the office being rather low for the foreseeable future. I was also quite unsure in terms of the size and whether I would choose the Mini or the Micro. Besides, I am sure that if I would have bought it, it would have stayed in the box most of the time. The mini or micro Celine Luggage Tote in black nonetheless remains a big favourite in my wishlist and I am sure I will get my hands on it at some point.
- Prada Galleria Double Zip Tote in Saffiano Leather – I love the lean and minimalistic design in this bag. It fits the definition of a work bag to perfection in my opinion. I tried out the medium version and to my surprise, it fits a MacBook Pro 13″. I did not get the chance to try the bigger version – which I see as a better size for the office – but this discussion is not settled yet. The Prada Galleria Saffiano Leather Tote is definitely still on my wishlist, I just need to find the right timing and $$$ to get it.
- Gucci Dionysus in burgundy – The Gucci Dionysus was also a favourite of mine. I love the look of it and also the colour is among my favourites. However, the more I toured shops, the more I was convinced that the first bag should be an office friendly bag – besides, my working self is the only self I kind of can justify buying a luxury bag – so this one took a bit of a backseat.
As you can see, the NéoNoé wasn’t even in my top three choices. If I look back at my wishlist, it was somewhere at number 5. However, as I mentioned, as I started thinking more about it and visiting shops, it became clearer that this bag would best fit my lifestyle for the foreseeable future.
How I afforded the bag
I don’t know about you, but I definitely can’t afford to make a 2k purchase lightly. Whenever I see all these bag collections on Instagram, in vlogs and so on, my most burning question is always how did that come to happen from the money perspective? Naturally, now that I am getting into this world, it’s only fair that I answer this question; especially given that I am your regular working girl with a 9 to 5 (well, 9 to 7 on most days to be more precise, but that’s another story) salary.
Let me first clear the air around my finances. I earn an ok or even a good salary for a 27-year-old living in Germany. I don’t have any inheritance, family help nor anything like that. The money I spend, comes from my salary. And I like living life, therefore I spend quite a bit. However, I have no debt. Thanks to Covid, we got a tad more serious about saving, and also with lockdown and most businesses closed, it was an easier feat. Tax returns also contributed a bit towards it, so in early 2020 I built up my emergency fund to the 50% target of what I wanted it to be. That milestone is what enabled the timing for this purchase.
Initially, I wanted to link the purchase to a big milestone such as a promotion, landing a new job, etc. however, in the end, I opted for simply treating myself.
I do recommend that you first have your finances in order – e.g. ideally having no debt, having some emergency savings, and not getting into debt for buying the bag itself – before making such a purchase. Yes, having a good bag is nice, but let me tell you, nothing can beat the feeling of having your finances in order and making a financially sound decision. I also don’t really see bags as financial investments, so following the above definitely made me feel better about buying it. I went in and out of the store with a lot of peace of mind. You might wonder why didn’t I resort to the pre-loved market for such a purchase. For my first bag, I simply did not want to use the pre-loved market. I wanted to have the full experience and feel like I’ve fully “earned” it to say so. Might sound like a silly thought to some but it’s what seemed to make sense for me.
So this is it, the story of how I bought my first luxury bag. I am quite happy I was finally able to get it; I wanted a designer bag for so long and being able to finally get one sort of “calmed” me down … while I think about the next one. The bag already traveled a little bit with me over the summer so I definitely bonded even further with her. I have a few more bags on my wishlist but we’ll get to that in another post.
On a more down-to-earth and closing note, it’s worth saying that yes, having the bag is great, but it didn’t really have a huge impact on my overall happiness. That said, I am proud of being able to afford it with the money I earned, and I am very much enjoying owning and wearing it. Bottom line is, it’s great having it but it’s just a bag. Setting the record straight in this area is very important from my perspective. If you can’t afford a designer bag right now, it’s no big deal. It’s nice to have goals and aim high but there are more important things in life.
Thank you for reading and let me know if you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you!