The best designer bags worth investing in - these luxury handbags hold their value at resale!

We want them all...

row of colourful designer bags
(Image credit: Getty)

There are some fashion purchases we’d love to forget (bell bottom jeans anyone?) but a luxury bag will never be one of them.

Making it easy to admire the most iconic accessories in one place, we’ve rounded up the very best designer bags - all for your browsing pleasure.

A bag for life in the most glamorous sense, buying a luxury handbag is always going to be a considered purchase rather than an impulse one.

The good news is, months or years of saving (or dropping birthday hints!) can reward you with a piece that delivers on look, fabric and craftsmanship.

So, whether you’ve got your eye on a buttery-soft Hermes Kelly, a sumptious Dior Saddle Bag or a cross-body Chloe Tess, we’ve broken down what you need to know about the most desirable designer bags.

Why are designer bags so expensive?

With a designer bag, you’re not just paying for bragging rights, but the time it’s taken to piece your new purchase together.

Take Loewe’s Puzzle Bag for example. Epitomising the level of craftsmanship that goes into making designer bags, it takes an eye-watering 524 steps to complete. That’s before we’ve even considered the fabric of a luxury bag.

And flying the flag for full supply-chain transparency, Mulberry have been members of the Leather Working Group since 2012. This first ensures that all of their leathers are a by-product of food production and livestock are properly treated. If you’re looking to make more ethical fashion choices, you can’t put a price on that level of commitment.

Do the best designer bags go on sale?

Yes and no. The most exclusive bags and labels, like Hermes and Louis Vuitton, never go on sale. To grab yourself a cheap Louis Vuitton bag or equivilent, it's often a case of buying them secondhand from a reputable reseller (but be warned: they hold their resale value so you won't save much).

However, many of the other luxury labels do tend to have seasonal discounts. And some brands have sample sales or even have designer outlets, such as the Mulberry factory shop, where you can save hundreds of pounds.

Are luxury bags a good investment?

Designer bags have the potential to become a beloved, hand-me-down piece. But, if you want to find yours a new home outside of your circle, there’s plenty of money to be made on resale websites. Farfetch and Vestiaire Collective are our top pick.

So, what sells well on the sites?

‘The best investments tend to be timeless pieces that will never go out of fashion,’ says Sophie Hersan, co-founder of Vestiarie Collective. ‘Hermes is still widely considered as a good investment and continues to be one of our bestselling brands. Several styles are highly coveted, and the history of the company adds to the exclusivity. There’s a mystery around the bags which makes them even more sought after.’

‘Limited edition pieces are also something to consider when buying a handbag. Rarity drives up the price. A special colourway or limited edition collection for example increases demand.’

The best designer bags to buy now

If you're looking for 2020's trendiest designer bags this isn't the list for you. This edit of luxury handbags is for people who want a beautiful, classic, solid fashion investment they won't grow out of, or won't tire of. Any of these bags you'll trot out year after year, which is just as well, because that will help make the eyewatering cost become more palatable when you calculate the cost per year over decades...

Chanel bag

(Image credit: Chanel)

Chanel 2.55 Flap Bag

Specifications
Price: From £3,000
Fabrication: Leather or fabric, depending on the design
Reasons to buy
+Iconic shape+Available in a wide range of colours
Reasons to avoid
-No cons that we can think of!

The bag that spurned a thousand copies, Chanel’s iconic 2.55 Flap Bag was created by Gabrielle Chanel in February 1955. Easy to spot thanks to it’s simple yet effective rectangle shape and signature quilting, this is a bag with the potential to make even your pyjamas feel instantly glamorous. Black leather is the classic choice, while seasonal tweed or colour-pop options offer a more fashion-forward take. You can browse online via Chanel’s website, but for the widest choice of sizes, colours and fabrications, it’s best to visit one of their boutiques. Prices start at around £3,000 for a mini version, and rise to more than £6,000 for a maxi.

Dior saddle bag

(Image credit: Dior)

Dior Leather Saddle Bag

Specifications
Price: From £1,950
Fabrication: Sheep, goat or calfskin depending on design
Reasons to buy
+Purses offer a more accessible price point+Plenty of nostalgia 
Reasons to avoid
-Has to be carried by hand or shoulder

Worn by Carrie Bradshaw and coveted by all of us, the Dior Saddle Bag was the ‘It’ bag of the 90s and 00s. Despite its popularity, the brand eventually ceased production of the shape - causing resale demand to rise. Fast-forward to 2018 when Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri sent a re-imagined version of this classic down the runway, and the Saddle Bag 2.0 was born. The beautifully curved shape might have remained the same, but this time it’s not just about canvas and embroidery, but shiny goat leather too - all complete with the stirrup ‘D’ closure. For a brand-new Dior Saddle bag, expect to pay £1,950 for mini version, and up to £3,000 for full-size.

Loewe Puzzle Bag

(Image credit: Loewe/Selfridges)

Loewe Puzzle Bag

Specifications
Price: From £1,300
Fabritcation: Calfskin
Reasons to buy
+Folds flat+Can be worn in 5 different ways
Reasons to avoid
-Opening can be hard to get into

Relatively young by iconic bag standards, Loewe’s gorgeously geometric Puzzle Bag was dreamt up by Creative Director Jonathan Anderson in 2014. Proving early on that his appointment was a very good move indeed, the Puzzle was actually the very first thing he designed. Not only can it be worn in an impressive five different ways, from shoulder bag to clutch, it folds completely flat for easy storage. Neary all Puzzles are made from buttery soft calfskin, but the grain can vary from style-to-style. Easy to get your hands on, buy direct from Loewe or through Harrods, Selfridges or Net-a-Porter. At the cheaper end of the designer bag spectrum, prices start at £1,300 for a mini and climb to £2,300.

Fendi baguette bag

(Image credit: Fendi)

Fendi Baguette Brown Fabric Bag

Specifications
Price: Starting at £1,550
Reasons to buy
+Great choice of sizes and colours within the Baguette range+Two ways to carry
Reasons to avoid
-Full-on branding isn't for everyone

Another iconic 90s and 00s bag that’s enjoyed a recent renaissance, the Fendi Baguette Bag is back, and bigger than ever. Now, instead referring to one specific style, ‘Baguette’ encompasses a whole family of luxury bags, with the iconic shape having been reimagined in a range of different sizes, strap options and colourways. The rectangular original remains instantly recognisable, the perfect shape to sit prettily, and comfortably, beneath your arm. Never one to scrimp on branding, all bags in the Baguette family carry Fendi’s gold logo hardware. Prices start at £430 for the Nano Baguette Charm, but remember, it’s only big enough to hold a single lipstick. The average Baguette bag is around the £2,000 mark, with a crocodile skin version ringing in at £19,000.

Mulberry Bayswater Bag

(Image credit: Mulberry)

Mulberry Bayswater Leather Bag

Specifications
Price: £995
Fabrication: Leather
Reasons to buy
+Timeless+British made
Reasons to avoid
-Heavy

The ultimate carry-all bag for the fashion conscious, the Mulberry Bayswater is one of Britain's finest fashion icons. And it’s been worn by plenty of Blighty’s fashion icons too - from Kate Moss to Alexa Chung. The original 2003 design underwent a revamp in 2016 when then-Creative Director Johnny Coca took the helm, making it both more durable, and more modern. Today, the Bayswater is almost identical to the 2003 version, with a zip version (handy for commuters), a simple tote and backpack joining the collection. Prices start at £695 for a tote, with a slouchy Bayswater costing £1,625. The price of the original Bayswater has crept up over the years, now nearer to the £1,000 mark than £900.

LOUIS VUITTON SPEEDY BANDOULIÈRE 25 BAG

(Image credit: Louis Vuitton)

Louis Vuitton Speedy Bandoulière 25 Bag

Specifications
Price: £1,070
Fabrication: Leather
Reasons to buy
+Detachable strap +Personalisation options
Reasons to avoid
-Shape can slouch during use 

Originally created for travellers in the 1930s, Louis Vuitton Speedy remains a sought-after purchase for busy folk today. Elegant yet sporty, the almost bowling bag shape means it’s roomy enough for all your essentials, while the signature rolled leather handles ensure maximum comfort. The little details count too, like the luxe engraved padlock. If you travel heavy, opt for a bigger size, and consider a shoulder-strap too to free up your hands. Selected styles can be personalised with coloured stripes and your initials via Louis Vuitton’s online store or in their boutiques, but bare in mind these can take longer to ship. Prices range from £830 for the Speedy 30 Bag to £2,310 for the 40.

Chloe Tess Bag

(Image credit: Chloe)

Chloé Tess Bag

Specifications
Price: From £1,160
Fabrication: Usually leather and suede, depending on style
Reasons to buy
+Compact and practical +Two ways to carry
Reasons to avoid
-Not for us!

Taking the humble saddle bag and transforming it into a cult buy is no mean feat, but thanks to a deliciously soft leathers and plenty of metal hardware, Chloé have made it look easy. As practical as it is beautiful, nestle your Tess in the crook of your arm or wear across your body thanks to the wide shoulder strap - the choice is yours. An extension of the range, Chloé’s Day Tess bag is slightly more classic, with a boxier shape. The key details remain the same though, so you can still expect to spy their instantly recognisable ‘O’. Bag yours via Net-a-Porter, Farfetch and Selfridges, or buy direct from Chloé. Prices within the Tess family range from £1,160 through to £1,660, depending on the bag size.

Hermes kelly bag

(Image credit: Collector Square/Hermès)

Hermés Kelly Leather Bag

Specifications
Price: From £6,000
Fabrication: Leather
Reasons to buy
+Timeless shape+Hold their value well
Reasons to avoid
-Hard to get hold of 

It’s almost impossible to put together a round-up of the best designer bags without including Hermés. The Birkin might be the A-list-approved bag that first springs to mind, but for real glamour, Kelly has our vote. First created by Robert Dumas, the son-in-law of Emile Hermés, the grandson of founder Thierry Hermés, it gained real notoriety when worn by Hollywood legend Grace Kelly. Rumour has it that the actress, and Princess of Monaco, used the bag to conceal her pregnancy in the late 1950s, and as a result, it was renamed in her honour. Effortlessly elegant, the real beauty of Kelly is in its simplicity. It won’t date with trends, so you can rest assured this is a bag you’ll love to use for years to come. Unfortunately, getting your hands on a Hermés bag is not as easy as heading to the store. Not everyone who wants one is approved to buy one, and even if you do make it onto the coveted short list, you can still face a long wait. As a result, the resale market is booming, so buying second hand might just be your best bet. Exact prices are hard to come by, but depending on the leather you choose, a Kelly bag bought directly from Hermés will set you back upwards of £6,000.

Bottega Veneta casette bag

(Image credit: Bottega Veneta)

Bottega Veneta Cassette Bag

Specifications
Price: From £1,510
Fabrication: Lamb or calfskin depending on design
Reasons to buy
+Easy to source
Reasons to avoid
-Padded version not too spacious

Intricately woven from either high-quality leather or suede, Bottega Veneta’s cult Cassette Bag comes in a range of incarnations. Keep it simple with the slim and structured original, beautifully finished with a magnetic clasp closure and narrow shoulder strap. If you prefer a more statement look, try the pillowy, puffy Padded Cassette, or the lavish Chain option. The colour range is vast too, with a rainbow array of shades - from candy brights through to muted neutrals. Easy to source, buy online from Browns, Net-a-Porter or Matches Fashion. Prices start at around £1,300 and can rise to £2,800 or more depending on the style.