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Handbags - Buying Guides

Our handbag expert's five favourite sale items

Xupes Handbag expert, Rose-Marnie Shepard with Xupes pre-owned Hermes blue Zanzibar swift leather Birkin

January is here and although most people’s bank accounts are crying, a new year should mean a new bag, right?

At Xupes, luxury is at the centre of all we do, and it doesn’t mean you cannot find something at a saved cost, even those investment bags we talk so much about. 

I have put together five of my favourite bags from the Xupes January Sale and, from a bag experts perspective, the reasoning behind choosing them.

Xupes pre-owned Hermes blue Zanzibar swift leather Birkin

Our pre-loved Blue Zanzibar Birkin 25cm would be my first bag of choice, my first reason for choosing this bag is because I have learned to appreciate clever investment working in this field.

A Birkin for most people would be the most expensive bag they ever buy, it is also considered one of the best strategical money growing investments a person can make in the present day. A Birkin will likely retain its value as long as it is looked after, and in most cases, increase in value with the passing years. 

Working at Xupes I have been lucky enough to marvel in the craftsmanship that goes into making an Hermès bag. Quite simply, no other brand offers what they do. Each bag is made by one Artisan from start to finish and it takes up to 48 hours for one Birkin to be produced providing all the attention that a bag of such status deserves.

With so many leathers, colours and sizes to choose from it really does come down to personal preference. For me, a 25cm or 30cm is a perfect size, enough to fit in all the necessities, and even with my purse, makeup pouch and earphones inside, the bag is not too heavy. I adore the 35cm, but it would be ever so slightly heavy for me to use the way I would want to.

Learning the history behind our bags is an element of my job I have loved right from the beginning. The Birkin was introduced in 1984 the bag was named after Jane Birkin, a woman who needed ‘a bag bigger than a Kelly but smaller than the Serge suitcase’. In 1981, Jane found herself unknowingly sitting next to the CEO of Hermès Jean-Louis Dumas after upgrading her flight with Air France to London.

Two days prior to this journey Jane’s husband Jacques Doillon purposely ran over her go to basket bag, there is no way he could have ever anticipated causing such a monumental dent in the history of fashion. Because of this, the contents of Jane's bag spilt out on the flight.

She famously said: "The day Hermès make one with pockets I will have that.” Dumas told her: “I am Hermès and I will put pockets in for you.” On this flight, the first ever sketch of a masterpiece was drawn on an Air France sick bag. 

Anyone who knows and loves their bags understands that a Birkin is not something you can simply buy from the Hermès store. The truth is that you have to be offered the Birkin; it is a privilege that not everyone is given, no matter who they are. Even our favourite celebrities, whose collections we envy, pay full price for the honour to carry these bags.

The pre-owned market for many is the best place to begin if you are considering buying an Hermès bag. This sale is the perfect opportunity to become a member of the handbag elite.

Xupes pre-owned Chanel white quilted lambskin vintage classic double flap

Chanel Classic Double Flaps, yes I am aware we put a lot of attention around these bags but if I was looking for an investment, and I didn’t quite have the funds to stretch to an Hermès, this is the bag I would choose.

A double flap is the flagship bag of the brand when people think Chanel they think timeless.  The House is iconic and truly the essence of elegance made effortless. This greatly loved shoulder bag has history links to the actual anatomy of the bag, Coco Chanel Designed her first bag in 1955 when she released the 2.55, a shoulder bag that changed history. Before this it was not seen as ladylike for a woman to carry a bag on her shoulder and it was Coco that thrust the style into society.

The burgundy interior often found inside the classic flap bags is symbolic to Coco’s childhood, growing up in a convent orphanage this was the colour of her uniform. Under the top flap of a double flap is a hidden zipper, this is said to be where Coco hid all of her love letters during a scandalous affair. The CC turn lock we all recognize was not introduced until Lagerfeld added them to the bags in the 1980s before this was the original Mademoiselle turn lock.

With the inevitable price increases that come each year at Chanel, you are putting your money into something that if held on to long enough could be a pretty fantastic family heirloom. The double flap is still in production today so it begs the question why pre-owned?

The double flaps today are often spotted in caviar leather, yes it is more durable and to be honest probably more practical but I love lambskin leather to me it just looks more classic. The CC turn locks are also no longer made with 24K plated gold like the vintage bags are, lastly a small classic double flap now retails at around £3,600 plus. Buying Pre-owned means you can keep back that extra money to save for your next bag, a total no brainer, surely?

Xupes pre-owned louis Vuitton hand painted Xupes Year Zero toiletry pouch

This Louis Vuitton Toiletry Pouch is a part of our collaboration Xupes X Year Zero London, a selection of Keepall Bandouliere’s, Neverfulls and Pouches were hand-painted with well thought out, individual and tongue in cheek designs. The collection has been very well received, we later found out one of our Alma’s even ended up in Kylie Jenner's wardrobe after her closet tour. Yes, that is Kris’s Face with a Snapchat filter.

Who wouldn’t want a one of a kind bag? To me owning this pouch would be an opportunity to express you are someone who appreciates a prestigious brand like Louis Vuitton but you also have personality in abundance.

Although Damier Ebene and Epi Leather are highly regarded, the classic Monogram on coated canvas is my personal preference, to me, it is one of the most recognizable links to the brand. Some people like to be more ‘subtle’ about their handbags, to me, if I am wearing Louis Vuitton it will likely be monogram, because I do not do things by halves.

Monogram was introduced by George Vuitton in 1896, this was said to throw off counterfeiters who had begun copying the brand's designs. Safe to say this bag isn’t for the fearful fashionista’s, but perhaps for our more playful bag collectors.

Xupes pre-owned Chanel clear plexiglass Dubai by night gas can minaudiere

Chanel Minaudiere bags are designed with the collection they descend from in mind, they are always beautifully crafted and quite intricately designed. The bags are a novelty and often seen in the hands of, or on the shelves of, serious collectors.

Chanel favours plexiglass for the majority of these models, but this is, of course, dependant on the collection and the season. Minadeure’s come with a large price tag, understandably considering what goes into making these rare bags, recently the plexiglass pieces have broken the £10,000 mark at retail, one of the most expensive to date was a pearl embellished seashell retailing at $43,000 dollars.

Needless to say, this Dubai By Night Gas Can is certainly not something you would usually find with a reduced price tag! We have seen these transparent bags trending for a while now, but regardless of any trend, this bag is a keeper.

Xupes pre-owned Hermes rogue casaque epsom leather constance

A Constance is not a Birkin, it is not a Kelly, but it is still a bag that is sought after amongst the avid collectors of Hermes. Identified best by its signature H clasp, this bag is one I dream of adding to my collection.

The bag can be worn on the shoulder or crossbody which is a big part of my reasoning behind wanting to have one of my own, it is still a bag of status probably the third most recognised bag of the brand but built for comfort.

Jackie Kennedy Onassis was one of the first members of the public eye known to adore the bag let’s face it if it is good enough for this former first lady and absolute style icon then shouldn’t we all aspire to have one?

This is a bag that can be worn with pretty much anything, it could be dressed up for a special occasion or down with jeans and it will always look luxury. The Constance was introduced in 1959 by Catherine Chaillet an in house designer, it takes around 14 to 18 hours to make from start to finish undergoing the same care and attention to detail Hermes always offers. What are you waiting for? Add to the basket!

You can discover our complete collection of pre-owned handbags, with up to 70 per cent off, online now in our Xupes January Sale.