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The year is 2000, and Carrie Bradshaw is strolling aimlessly through Soho carrying one of today’s most iconic investment bags: a purple sequin Fendi Baguette. Fast forward over twenty years, and in Sex and The City’s reboot And Just Like That, Carrie is toting the very same shimmering accessory—the one she hypothetically held onto for decades (despite having it mugged in season 3 episode 17, but that’s another story). Part of Fendi’s Fall/Winter 1999/2000 collection, this bag is perhaps Sex and The City’s most remembered accessory (and, of course, it’s not the only Baguette in Bradshaw’s closet). In that sense, if there’s one pop culture character that got the biggest bang for her buck in a designer handbag, it’s Carrie Bradshaw. And that’s not even factoring in the current value of the bag.
In a retail world that is more circular than ever before, choosing a bag that will increase in value (both in dollars and in your heart) is wise. But of course, there’s a science to said pursuit. “There are several characteristics to take note of when determining a bag’s resale value,” shares Kelly McSweeney, The RealReal’s Senior Merchandising Manager. “Does the bag have visible elements that are classic or iconic to the brand? Think monogramming or identifiable logo hardware. Additionally, does it have any other apparent brand signifiers that are renowned to that brand’s DNA?” And, of course, there’s one last characteristic that is well-reflected in Carrie’s bag: “If the bag is limited in production or can be considered a collectible, that typically increases resale value. Hermès’ Birkins and styles from Telfar are great examples of this.”
Fendi’s Baguette is another great example: after selling more than 100,000 Baguettes in 1997, its debut year, the Italian house continued the style for nearly twenty-five years before pausing and then relaunching the design with Sarah Jessica Parker herself. Releasing new versions of the design each year of its reign—including limited-edition embroidered denim and patchworked satin renditions—Fendi created a collector’s item, a perfect example of a bag that will grow in value with time.
From age-old classics to new wave novelties, here are the bags that retain the highest resale values, according to experts at The RealReal.
Reminiscent of styles popular in the 1970s, Gucci’s curved bag falls into a category of silhouettes that is reportedly on the rise. “Crescent and half-moon shaped bags have been and are certainly still trending,” McSweeney shares. “Looking at the second half of 2021 versus the same 2022 time period, we saw a 67% uptick in demand for the shape. We’re seeing strong demand for Gucci’s re-issued Attaché.”
Gucci Attache small leather-trimmed printed coated-canvas shoulder bag
Gucci Attache small shoulder bag
Proclaimed an “It bag” by Vogue just last fall, the Sardine handbag floated down the runway of designer Matthieu Blazy’s fall/winter 2022 runway show for Bottega. It’s already a favorite for Chloë Sevigny and Kendall Jenner, and according to the numbers, it doesn’t look like this bag is going anywhere.
Bottega Veneta Sardine intrecciato leather tote
Bottega Veneta Sardine top handle bag
Another curved icon, this Saint Laurent classic is inspired by the 1962 French New Wave film, Cléo from 5 to 7. Famous for its representation of ‘60s Parisian fashion, the film’s influence can be seen in this bag’s clean lines, classic clasp, and under-the-shoulder fit. It comes in several limited-edition variations, including python and calfskin, making it a true collectible.
Saint Laurent Le 5 à 7 hobo bag
Saint Laurent Le 5 à 7 croc-effect leather shoulder bag
4. Hermès Kelly 28
If there was ever a shoo-in for the best investment handbag list, it’s the Hermès Kelly 28. Originally designed in the 1930s by Robert Dumas, the son-in-law of the fashion house’s former president Émile Hermès, the Kelly is the most original Hermès bag (yes, it even came before the Birkin).
One scroll through Instagram or walk through New York’s Lower East Side will confirm that Prada’s revived 2005 shoulder bag has had a moment over the last few years—and according to The RealReal, she’s here to stay. Honoring the original silhouettes of the aughts, the Tessuto has been reimagined in crystal-adorned, leather, and satin versions.
Prada Re-Edition 2005 Re-Nylon mini bag
Prada Re-Edition 2005 nylon pouch shoulder bag
Making a comeback of its own, Louis Vuitton’s most iconic tote was recently praised by Vogue writer Liana Satenstein as a perfect executive tote. In her words, “The standard investment piece has an air of killer executive realness. It means business.”
Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM Damier Ebene canvas tote
Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM bag
7. Chanel Classic Mini Flap Bag
Originally designed in 1955 by Gabrielle Chanel, the Classic Mini Flap Bag is the epitome of an accessory that has stood the test of time. In fact, according to The RealReal, it still flies like hotcakes. “The iconic Flap Bag is a consistent best-seller,” shares McSweeney. In the past decade alone, this bag’s value has increased by 100%.
8. Luar Ana Bag
A newer accessory on the scene, Luar’s Ana Bag is inspired by ’80s and ’90s briefcases and made its mark in the fashion world when it appeared on the runway last fall. “Though their new ‘it-bag,’ the Ana, is officially launching in Spring 2023, we’ve already seen they are in high demand on The RealReal,” McSweeney shares. “We’ve had 100’s of obsessions on the handful of units we’ve received.”
Luar Ana croc-embossed top-handle bag
A modern icon, Coperni’s Swipe Bag has been spotted on Dua Lipa, Doja Cat, and Kylie Jenner, to name a few influential dressers. After being introduced in the brand’s Fall/Winter 2019 collection, the bag has taken off and been reimaged into new colorways and sizes. After maintaining its popularity over the last four years, this bag has secured its place as a true investment piece.
Coperni gray mini swipe bag
A crowd favorite, Jacquemus’ signature handbag has undoubtedly made waves in the fashion world. Since launching in 2018, it has made runway cameos in nearly all of Jacquemus’ shows and is carried by Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Rihanna, and more stylish icons. According to the team at The RealReal, this mini bag is only becoming more valuable with time.
Jacquemus Le Papier Le Grand Chiquito top handle bag
Jacquemus Le Chiquito Moyen top-handle bag
Another mini bag on the rise is Miu Miu’s Matelasse bag. “We’re seeing strong demand for mini bags,” McSweeney says. “If we look at Miu Miu, for example, demand for mini bags is up nearly 3x, comparing Q4 of 2022 to Q4 2021. The Miu Miu Wander Mini Matelasse Nappa Bag has been a particularly popular style.”
Miu Miu Miu Wander mini matelassé leather shoulder bag
Miu Miu Miu Wander matelassé nappa leather hobo mini-bag
According to The RealReal, our return to the office has also made a significant impact on bag trends — and Prada’s 1995 tote is no exception. “We’ve been seeing strong demand for ‘Back to Business’ styles, exemplified by totes trending. Looking at the second half of 2021 compared to the same 2022 time period, we’re seeing demand for totes is up 30%.” Prada’s iteration is a specific bag that The Real Real team has seen soared in demand.
Prada Re-Edition 1995 brushed-leather mini handbag
Prada Re-Edition 1995 medium brushed leather tote bag
“We’ve been seeing an uptick in demand for cylinder-shaped bags like this one from The Row,” The RealReal shares. “The search for cylinder bags is up 35% in the second half of 2022 compared to the first half.” According to their team, The Row’s 90’s Bag is a hard one to find, but a valuable treasure to hold onto.
The Row 90’s bag in leather
14. Polène Numero 10
A newer brand with strong investment potential, Polène launched its equestrian-inspired bag less than two years ago. Already, it’s become one of high demand. “Polène is certainly a brand we’re keeping an eye on at The RealReal,” McSweeney tells me. “New styles, like the Number 10 crossbody, have seen incredible demand as of late.”
American fashion designer Brandon Blackwood is best known for his beloved bags, which have been worn by Jessica Alba, Winnie Harlow, and members of the Kardashian clan. While a newer design, the Kendrick Trunk, a mini shoulder bag that comes in a variety of joy-inducing colors, is a popular piece in the resale market.
Brandon Blackwood mini Kendrick rhinestone box bag
Brandon Blackwood Kendrick mini denim cross-body bag
16. Fauré Le Page Tote
“Fauré Le Page is perhaps less broadly known compared to Goyard and Moynat; however, we’re still seeing strong demand,” McSweeney says of the 2009-founded French fashion house. “Totes from the brand, for example, sell for an average of 88% of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.”
Fauré Le Page Daily Battle 27 tote
Founded in 2012, Mach & Mach is famous for its glittering bows and feminine take on accessories. Since releasing its Mini Samantha Bag, the brand has taken off as a player with true resale value potential. “A brand better known for their best-selling shoes, (Mach & Mach) also has an incredibly sought after handbag collection,” The RealReal shares. “Their Mini Samantha Bag is selling up to 80% of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price on The RealReal.”
Mach & Mach Mini Samantha leather top handle bag
Mach & Mach Samantha double bow mini bag
According to The RealReal, a standout bag that has made a swift but steady rise in resale value over the last five years is the Telfar Shopping Bag—a handbag that is almost always sold out. McSweeney shares that the notoriously hard-to-find bag is a perfect example of a limited quantity, collectible piece that retains (and even increases in) value in secondhand markets.
Telfar vegetarian leather large tote
Telfar medium shopping bag
19. Fendi Baguette
Last, but certainly not least, is the highly sought-after Fendi Baguette. Whether adorned with purple paillettes or woven with the classic FF jacquard fabric, Carrie’s go-to handbag’s value has grown significantly since its 1997 launch. Its original price ranged from $1,000-$1,500, and Baguettes today range between $2,950-$3,750. According to The RealReal, the search rate for this treasure only continues to grow.