I have a confession. I was never really a handbag girl. Although fashion has been an anchor and lifelong passion of mine, I never invested much thought or funds in the designer market (with the exception of dreaming of the Chanel flap, of course). Aged 15, my aunt generously gifted me a pre-loved Burberry satchel and although I adored it, I wore it with careless abandon, until the edges became frayed from wear-and-tear. Said bag remained my only designer piece until my 30s, when I invested in the Dragon Diffusion Double Jump bag.
There’s a well-known rhetoric that you either belong to the handbag or shoes camp but I’ve always been about the clothes (more specifically dresses). When I turned 30, however, I noticed a shift and leant into the power of small goods. This also coincided with the introduction to handbag brands far and wide. I found myself gravitating towards well made bags and honed in on shoulder bags specifically, to compliment the considered wardrobe I was establishing. Therein, I began studying the intricacies of handbag design, the origin of accessory brands and stumbling across designers in their infancy. The bookish part of me enjoyed learning about craftsmanship, the anatomy of handbags and (in styling terms) how sleek accessories have the ability to uplift the simplest of ensembles.
Whilst it’s important to note that the designer market is not always synonymous with quality, the designer brands I admire pride themselves on expertise and in many cases, heritage and the legacy of its predecessors – in the case of Chanel, for example.
Despite people’s wavering funds, the luxury handbag market continues to boom exponentially and there’s an evident appeal to sourcing and wearing designer that continues to live on. To some extent, the luxury market is broadening — paving way for mid-price brands that hold themselves to the same standard as their counterparts, regarding quality and design, so you needn’t part with thousands of pounds to acquire something high in quality. Continue reading to see and shop a luxury shoulder bag edit, courtesy of a discerning handbag shopper who always prioritises quality over labels.
Wear rattan styles year-round. This pallet looks particularly good with chocolate and burgundy hues.
Demellier create quality and timeless bags.
My Dragon Diffiusion bag is one of my best investments to date.
Relaxed styles like this encourage us to be less precious about our designer bags. Instead, fill it with essentials and wear it till your hearts content.
The interlocking design feature is so unique. As it the lacquered maroon hue.
Not only do they create exceptional apparel, Reformation also have a capsule of classic accessories.
The scrunched handle is so sweet.
Wandler’s Penelope bag comes in a plethora of warm shades.
For suede shoulder bags head to French designer Isabel Marant.
There’s something incredibly timeless about the bucket bag, yet it always feels noughties-inspired.
Tory Burch is yet another understated designer that I always follow.
Neous’ designs are so unique and the Lyra bag is no exception — from the crescent shape to the thin twisted gold chain.
Straight from the runway to the crook of your arm.
The shaping is so unique and big bag people will appreciate the spaciousness.
Savette is one of my favourite accessory brands. It’s understated, whilst boasting a sleek refined look. The gold fastening pops against the deep suede.
If you’re on the market for refined accessories, look no further than The Row. The Abby is one of its latest styles, so bookmark this page for the release date.
The Aphrodite is a relaxed silhouette with hobo shaping.
A cream dream with gold adornments.
The curved nook and elongated strap makes this an easy-to-wear style.
Loewe spearheaded the quiet luxury phenomenon so as you’d expect its bags are understated but oh so special.
The Khaite appeal never wavers.
I’m in love.
While Bottega Veneta is best associated with its Jodie, the label has since released additional woven iterations to its arsenal.
Promo image: @anoukyve