When I was in my early 20’s, fresh out of college, I worked for a political magazine. My boss was a sought after political consultant who was on TV all of the time. He introduced me into the world of the elite and society.
I love fashion. I bought books on how to dress for political society, as well as any event that could come my way. I picked up a part-time job in the Men’s Polo Ralph Lauren department and learned about clothes in a new way. I learned about quality.
I had a steady progression. I wore Ralph Lauren for years, then Kenneth Cole. In later years, it grew to BCBG Max Azria and Calvin Klein. As I reached my mid-30s, I switched to couture, thanks to a $2 Valentino dress I got at The Outnet clearance.
I still shop at The Gap, Ann Taylor, Forever 21, Loft and Banana Republic. But I also buy the investment pieces from the couture brands, because I know the pieces are going to last a very long time.
My weakness though are handbags. I have a collection. I started off with the designer labels (Kenneth Cole, etc.). Then I bought my first Valentino bag second hand. Next, I bought a Prada, Versace, Louis Vuitton and Gucci. I realized that I could build my couture handbag collection without spending thousands of dollars on brand new. I learned that if I want a brand new bag, I shop around because I might find it for a cheaper price elsewhere.
Today, I’m sharing Gucci finds under $1k. I paid $30 for my first vintage Gucci. It is a black leather handbag that I still own to this day. The girl didn’t know if it was real or not, but I looked at it closely and saw that it was indeed the real thing.
When you buy vintage or secondhand, you need to know how to spot a fake from the real, especially if it does not come with its own documentation. There are plenty of instructional guides out there on how to spot fakes from the real deal. Louis Vuitton is the only brand that is becoming more and more difficult to spot a fake from the real one. LV is the only brand I will not purchase secondhand unless it is direct from a licensed retailer (like Portero or Fashionphile).
If you are looking to invest in a couture handbag, here are a few rules: 1) Never, ever buy white. It gets dirty and discolors quickly. 2) When buying leather, make sure to buy it in a color that ages well. Black and Tan colors age very well as the wear progresses. 3) Try to avoid suede for the long run. It does not age well. 4) Go for functionality. Totes are usually the way to go. Go for leather or a material that wears well in the rain and is easy to clean off. The Louis Vuitton Neverfull is one of the most popular bags. Every major designer has their own version. This type of tote is the best investment for bags that pack a punch. 5) Buy a classic look, i.e. one that will last for years to come.
Take a look at some of my Gucci favorites under $1k. Maybe you’ll find your first Gucci in this batch!