As a college student on a budget I’m pretty frugal, but I’ll occasionally drop some extra cash on concert tickets, or a slice of pizza that’s bigger than my face. I will never, however, never, splurge on a designer purse. Never. And I’ll never understand why people do.
I cannot tell a lie. I have a Coach bag. It’s turquoise and patent leather with “C”’s all over it. I bought it with a gift card last Christmas at the Coach Outlet in Atlantic City for $86. The original price was over $400. Since then, I’ve used this bag maybe five times, and that’s being generous. Frankly, using it makes me nervous. I’m afraid I’ll get it dirty or rip it or somehow jam the zipper and never be able to open it again. And I hate bringing it on the subway. When I do, I clutch it in my lap like it’s my child so no one makes the mistake of thinking I actually have money in there and attempts to rob me. It’s an ordeal I’d rather not have to go through.
Now, I’m not totally opposed to all name brand things. For the 86 bucks I spent on my Coach bag, I could have bought a nice pair of Hunter rain boots that would keep my feet dry (unlike the 9-dollar ones I got at Wal-Mart). Or I could have bought a LifeProof case for my iPhone that would better protect it from falls than the $5 one I currently have. Sometimes it’s better to splurge for quality, especially on items that’ll be used every day. Alex Chan, FCRH 2015, agrees.
“I’d rather spend $300 on an iPhone than on a purse because I use my iPhone all the time,” Chan said. “I’d only use the purse a few times a week.”
She brings up another good point – “Fashion trends go in and out.” A classic pair of black rain boots will never really go out of style, but it’s different with bags. So basically, in a few years my Coach bag could possibly be “so 2000 and late” and I’d never even want to be seen with it. That’s not a gamble I’d like to make.
But Kayti Greer, GSB 2015, disagrees. “Classics like Louis Vuitton and Burberry are smart, classic, and lasting brands,” she said. If these bags are anything like black rain boots, it’s likely they may never stray far from what’s considered to be “in.” But sometimes that means they’ll be considered boring. Take for example the Longchamp bags almost every girl at Fordham uses for class. It’s a plain solid-colored bag with brown leather handles. Right now they’re going for over $100 online, and they’re probably the plainest bag I’ve ever seen. I’d rather use a trash bag – it’s still plain, but it’s bigger and cheaper.
I’d rather spend $300 on an iPhone than on a purse because I use my iPhone all the time
Greer again disagrees. “What impresses me so much about the industry is the detail that goes into everything. Because high fashion is so competitive, they have to have great quality items fresh designs,” she explains. She’s not wrong. Handbags exist that are both name brands and unique, but they tend to break the bank. The Marc Jacobs Carolyn Crocodile bag, for example, is classic, elegant, and one of the company’s “most popular” items, according to consumer website HubPages. The price is $38,000. Yes, 3 zeros is correct.
With designer bags, the buyer is going to have to choose among style, quality, and price. A buyer will rarely ever find a relatively inexpensive name-brand bag that is both well-made and uniquely stylish.
You may, however, find a non-name brand bag that is all three. I did. I bought it from Target when I was in middle school, for $12.99. It’s red and white checkered with a happy face made out of bacon and eggs on it (the eggs are the eyes and the bacon is the mouth, in case you couldn’t picture it). I’ve never been afraid to carry it in public, and it’s lasted me over six years. I still get compliments on this bag on a daily basis.