I’ve been obsessed with bags since I was young. My parents always instilled in me the importance of having a good work ethic, so I got my first job at 16 working at designer retailer Cruise Flannels (as it was known then, it’s now known just as Flannels). I was lucky enough to spend my weekends working with some of the most beautiful collections and would lust after all the bags and clothes – it’s probably what fuelled my love for fashion.
My first ever designer bag was a small Prada nylon rucksack, when they were first popular in the 90s (they’ve since come back into fashion and have been reissued). It was a cool, drawstring design which I was totally obsessed with. One weekend when I was with my friends, I decided to take it with me on a night out – someone unfortunately threw up down my back, which completely ruined it. I wish I could still say I use it now…
I don’t own as many bags as you might think. It probably comes as a surprise to hear, but I’m not the kind of person who wants the same bag in every colour. I try to keep my collection quite concise and not ostentatious, as I’d prefer to actually use every bag I own. My wardrobe is quite small, and I don’t have endless amounts of room, so I tend to sell my bags and stick to a one in one out rule. I keep my favourites which I know I’ll wear time and again and pass down to my daughters one day.
My most used bag is my black Hermès Constance. It’s so practical, fits exactly what I need inside and has a long strap, so it’s very comfortable to wear, too. It’s not a hugely popular bag either, which makes me love it more – it’s very hard to get hold of, so it feels a little more unique than some other styles by the brand. It’s definitely a bag I’ll keep forever and never sell!
My go-to bag for an evening out is my mini Bottega gold pouch, which I got a few years ago. It elevates any outfit and is perfect to take on holiday. For the winter, it has to be my black Chanel mini clutch, which is quite a rare one. I much prefer a smaller bag for the evening, one which is just big enough to fit my phone, keys, credit card and a lipstick.
The bag that holds the most sentimental value for me is my grey Hermès Constance – it’s one of my most treasured possessions. I purchased it on Vestiaire Collective with some money my father left to me when he passed away – he was the most immaculately turned out person I have ever met and had such style. It feels like he bought it for me as a gift, so it’s very special to me.
My best bargain find was a burgundy Chanel quilted mini bag with a gold chain. I purchased it about 12 years ago on eBay for about £500, which is a pretty incredible price. It came in the box with the original receipt, so I could be sure it was authentic. It’s one of my favourite bags and I still wear it a lot.
My biggest splurge has been my Hermès handbags. A few years ago, I was in Selfridges with my daughter Winter when she was a baby, and one of the store managers asked what my dream Christmas gift would be. I mentioned the Hermès black baby 25cm Birkin, which is impossible to find and when I got home, she called me and said that one had become available. I immediately ran in to get it. My hope is I’ll be able to pass this bag down to Winter when she is older. I also had a bespoke Hermès special order bag made, which is the 25cm Kelly in Blue Paon. I will be saving this one for my other daughter, Soleil, – it also has my initials embossed on it.
I never buy into the latest trends. When it comes to handbags, it’s generally best to invest in timeless designs you know will last for years to come, and ones which will hold their value. Chanel and Hermès are my all-time favourite brands, but I also love Celine and Bottega Veneta. The latter has had the most incredible run of styles since Daniel Lee took over as creative director.
The next bag on my wish list is something in the colour tan – I don’t currently have anything that colour in my collection and I’ve been looking for a shoulder bag in that shade for some time now. My dream is to find a vintage Constance that I can wear every day, but I haven’t found the perfect one just yet – watch this space!
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