Affordable Handbags Inspired by Extraordinary Luxury Purses

 

INTRODUCTION

It is a well known fact in the fashion industry that haute couture can only be afforded by the very wealthy. Thanks to the world of ‘knock-off’ fashion, the extraordinary becomes affordable. Therefore, this blog post provides some really surprising financial examples of this in the handbag industry.

extraordinary becomes affordable
Anne Hathaway’s famous blue sweater that Meryl Streep lectures her about in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’
As Meryl Streep deliberately explains to Ann Hathaway in, ‘The Devil Wears Prada‘, the extraordinary births the ordinary. Meryl Streep describes the origins of a shabby blue sweater that Anne Hathaway is wearing. Its history is from glamorous haute cuttiere. Anne Hathaway is totally oblivious to this. At this stage in the movie, Anne has no idea that the the ordinary is inspired by the extraordinary.

 

WILD ABOUT HANDBAGS

Although I am not devotee of high fashion clothing, I am wild about handbags. Therefore I have been studying the world of glamour in this industry. One of my favorite companies is Rebag. I have been introduced to luxury handbags through their social media and website. This adds to the knowledge I already have to what I consider affordable quality handbags including Coach, Dooney and Bourke, and Kate Spade.

extraordinary becomes affordable
Luxury Gingham bag on left and two less expensive bags to its right

 

HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS

Since I have only been able to encounter handbags in the hundreds in person, I can only surmise the difference in the cost of those in the thousands.

My favorite Coach vintage bag is called the Willis bag. Because it is a classic, variations of it have been made over many decades. A recent version, in green, and two original designs are pictured below.

They are all high quality Coach products but their age can impact the price by several hundred dollars. Due to its rarity, the vintage Willis is about twice the cost of the new one.

extraordinary becomes affordable
Three Coach Willis bags are pictured here. The green one is the latest version. Photo from Coach. The two on the right are classic version. Photos from Etsy.

 

THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS

I had no idea that there were handbags that were more expensive than new automobile or even a house. Even those designer bags have imitators or want-to-be handbags. The designer bags include the Hermes Birkin bags which are six and seven figures. Their inspired versions cost a few hundred retail like the totes from Coach and Kate Spade.

extraordinary inspires affordable
Three pink totes ranging from nearly a $1 million Hermes Birkin Bag, a five figure Prada bag to a Coach tote on sale for about $100.

 

WHIMSICAL

Both very expensive and less expensive handbag companies make whimsical purses. Great whimsy inspires affordability. The most famous of this is Judith Leiber handbags. They are very whimsical as well as expensive. In similar fashion, Kate Spade came out with its frog bag. The former retails for a few hundred dollars. The latter goes for between about $5,000.

whimsey for all
A Kate Spade Wicker Frog Bag next to A Judith Leiber Frozen Marguerita Clutch. The Judith Leiber is over 10 times as expensive as the Kate Spade bag.

 

ALMOST TWINS

These two totes are so similar. In fact, I took a double take when I discovered the Burberry Remington tote. It’s hard to believe that it can cost up to five times as much as the Kate Spade on the right when this designer ‘knock’ goes on sale.

almost twins
Two bags that look so similar. The Burberry on the left can be five times as expensive as the Kate Spade on the right when it goes on sale.

 

GUESS WHICH BRAND THIS ONE IS

Sometimes the affordable bags are so well made that one can’t tell the difference between luxury, ‘working girl designer’ (like Coach and Kate Spade) or a total ‘knock off’. This example is from the best knock off company I have found. If you’re curious, the answer is in the Sources and Resources section.

guess which brand
Guess which brand this is. The answer is in Sources & Resources.

 

CONCLUSION

As a handbag collector and flea market stalker, I am always on the prowl for that special but accessible bag that the seller is practically giving away. Wouldn’t it be great if someone was selling an extraordinary purse for next to nothing. That is my dream. So I continue to search and collect in the hope my dream comes true.

 

SOURCES & RESOURCES

Anne Hathaway’s Cerulean Blue sweater in The Devil Wears Prada

Coach Gingham Purse

Mansur Gavriel Gingham purse on Rebag

Judith Leiber on Rebag

The 8 Most Expensive Birkin Bags Ever Sold

Coach Pink Mollie Tote

Dasein – Affordable Fashion Design Handbags

Kate Spade River Large Bucket Bag

Coach Leatherware

Coach Black Willis

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TRAVELING COACH STYLE

 

Traveling Coach Style is a very fun and pleasant ways to coordinate a purse with an outfit. As a connoisseur of fine leatherware, I gifted myself a new purse each birthday for many years. In fact, the brand has either been a Coach or a Dooney & Bourke.
traveling Coach style
Above is the blurb about Coach on their Yahoo page. Note the Coach logo in the top right

Each company has a long history of quality leather goods. Although they both use primarily leather and fabric, their results are uniquely recognizable. So whether one is ‘traveling coach style’ or in ‘all weather leather’, with these products, it is always with fashion in mind.
traveling coach style
The original logo of a duck representing the Dooney & Bourke brand of all weather leather.

I have not always been able to afford the latest and newest creation of my favorite leather goods. Since our budget has changed dramatically in recent years, I have become a frequenter of thrift stores. I am always on the lookout for great buys. In this category I have found many.
traveling coach style
Rebag is newest, hippest, most affordable ways to acquire re(used) luxury handbags.

In fact, I recently discovered Rebag, re(used) purses that are not just for the shabby. They are very chic but less expensive than to buy them new.

For your viewing pleasure, future posts about this topic will feature pictures of great designs, colorful bags, and some of my very own favorites. Keep reading these fun fashion posts, to find out my most desired bag for my upcoming birthday.

Learn how I developed in detail a system of responsible and profitable credit cards use to make such purchases. There is a very affordable collection of Amazon Ebooks that I wrote that will teach you how to use credit cards responsibly and profitably.

traveling-coach-style
Here’s are illustrations of early Coach bags. When was the Coach Company founded and who designed their early bags?
QUIZ
To answer this Coach quiz question, ‘when was the Coach Company founded and who designed their early bags’?, or comment on this post, scroll to the very bottom of the page and engage in Disqus. If you do not find Disqus, click on the ‘continue reading’ box on the right hand side to reveal it.

SOURCES AND RESOURCES

Coach – The Early Years

Bonnie Cashin

First Dibs on Bags

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