The fashion industry can place a lot of weight on newness, with a constant quest for the next It thing, the next big designer, and the trend we'll be wearing in six, 12 or 18 months' time. We are, however, slowly seeing a shift in how we think about shopping, with an emphasis on longevity and wearability over viral pieces. Building a wardrobe of classics can offer a more sustainable approach to fashion.
This is why we launched our Survival of the Chicest series, which highlights the items we think will always rise high above trends, making them the perfect pieces to invest in and add to your capsule (or not-so-capsule) wardrobe. We've already covered the basics (think leather jackets, trench coats, Breton T-shirts, little black dresses and white shirts), and next, up we're giving you a rundown on the classic designer bags that will always be in style.
A designer handbag is a big purchase, as they tend to cost £800+ when you're dealing with brands like Gucci and Loewe. This means you want to be sure you choose a bag you'll love and treasure forever—one that's not only practical but will slot within your existing wardrobe. If you're in the position to invest in a designer bag, you'll probably want to put some thought into this decision. Below we have done some research for you and identified nine classic bags that have only become more and more popular with age. There are bags that were created over 100 years ago and some that are just a few years old, but they're all modern classics that will always be considered the height of chic.
1. The Row Ascot Bag
The Row released its slouchy evening bag, the Ascot several years ago, and it has quickly become a modern classic. The satin and velvet finishes have been particularly popular as an alternative to a clutch bag, but this year they also updated it in a more relaxed white linen version.
There has been a lot of change in the overall aesthetic at Celine thank to a change in creative direction, but one thing that has remained constant is the box classic bag. It has classic in its name—a clear indication that this shoulder bag is resistant to passing trends.
The Marmont is a Gucci classic that has been one of the reasons behind Alessandro Michele's monster commercial success at the Italian house. The velvet quilted styles have been particularly popular since their release in 2016.
Mark Cross is a heritage American brand that was relaunched in 2010, and all of its bags have the same distinct feel, with boxy, structured silhouettes and elegant finishing touches. They have such an uptown feel that this is the name of one of the most-loved styles.
JW Anderson has turned Loewe's handbag department into a greatest hits collection, but it's arguably the Hammock bag that will be his real legacy. This has an interchangeable silhouette, which means it can double as a shoulder bag and a tote bag, and it now comes in dozens of colours and textures.
Acne creates timeless, elevated basics, so it's not surprising the Scandi brand has a handbag on this list, even though it was only launched several years ago. The knot detail on the side of the bucket bag is a distinctive touch to this otherwise simple style.
The Chanel 2.55 bag needs no introduction. This is arguably the most famous bag in the world, and it was the very first shoulder bag when it was created in 1955. Another detail about the 2.55 bag Chanel fans love is the special compartment for a lipstick.
Italian handbag brand Valextra was founded back in 1937, and its signature Iside bag is the ultimate quiet luxury piece. The triangular handbag has a recognisable if-you-know-you-know silhouette, but it doesn't have the shouty branding you'll find with other designer brands, so it's a discreet option that won't date easily, which, given the price, is essential.