Closet 101 Style

Cost Per Wear: Handbag Edition

Continuing on my cost per wear series, today I’d like to share some of my best and worst cost per wears in the category of….handbags.  Yes…I have a lot of bags. They’re a terrible addiction for me. But honestly, you can wear them so much more than clothes…as evidenced especially for me in the last few months, where I’ve felt like a water buffalo otherwise. I haven’t been able to fit in any of my clothes…but I could still wear and enjoy all of my bags. That’s proof of versatility, right?

Bags Cost Per Wear


Lowest (best) cost per wear: Hermes Evelyne bag, FEED tote bag.

My FEED bag that I bought from Target a year or two ago was $25 full price, so it had an advantage from the start. My cost per wear at this point? Pennies. I’ve worn this bag a ton though – it’s the perfect crossbody size to throw around and go to the farmer’s market with, on a casual walk, etc. The only thing that would make it absolutely perfect would be a zip pocket inside and a zip on top, but I’m guessing that it’d make this more than a $25 bag then. Target no longer has my exact bag, but you can find more on the FEED website. Another one of my favorite canvas bags that supports a good cause is this tote from TOMS – tons of pockets and light as a feather (and under $70).

My Hermes Evelyne bag (reviewed here) deserves a mention as well, for my “luxury” bag with the best cost per wear. I use my plain black Evelyne all the time, and love it so much that I’m continuously toying with buying another. Fabulously easy to use.

Interestingly enough, both of my best cost per wear bags are crossbody and on the casual side. Something to keep in mind!

Medium cost per wear: Chanel Jumbo “Classic Flap”.

I’ve had my red Chanel Jumbo flap bag for 7-8 years now, and I think I bought it for something in between $2,000-$3,000 originally. So looking at current day prices is painful! I used this bag a lot when I first got it – I was so happy to find that it fit so much and found the red color more versatile than I originally thought. In the past few years, I’ve reached for it less as for some reason I’ve found it quite heavy, which was never a probably before. Aging? But whenever I need a fun red bag, this is still my go to, and I’m happy that I bought it.

Worst (most expensive) cost per wear: Bottega Knot.

I love the design and feel of my Knot clutch (review here) and when I first got it, tried to use it for most formal events and even nicer nights out for dinner, etc. Unfortunately, something came along late last year that changed all of that – yes, the iPhone 6 Plus. Which doesn’t fit in my clutch (note to 6+ owners – if you are set on a clutch, I’m told that our phone does fit in Bottega’s elongated Knot version, albeit at an angle).

It’s really my own fault for wanting such a gigantic phone (its screen which I’m using primarily to watch old Dave Chapelle clips and play Scrabble with). I love the design of the Knot so much though, that I’m keeping it around for when I don’t have such a big phone anymore…or the rare times I go out without it. I still think this is one of the most beautiful clutch designs out there and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it…but I have to admit, my cost per wear has been pretty bad in the last year or so.

What bags are your best and worst cost per wear? Would you still recommend them, and buy them again?

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  • Lesley
    July 13, 2015 at 9:04 am

    My best cost per wear is also the Hermes Evelyne. My husband spotted one at a consignment shop last year and picked it up for me b/c he couldn’t resist the deal (that was a really nice suprise). It’s so hard not to automatically put my stuff in it and use it b/c it’s so convenient and carries a lot. I have the “gold” color, so it goes with almost everything. I only own 2 Hermes but your love for them has made me bypass other purses since and just save for another one — quality is impeccable.

  • Lesley
    July 13, 2015 at 9:07 am

    When are you due? Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy and get plenty of rest/sleep!! I haven’t slept in more than 3hr stretches in 6 weeks..I think I’m beginning to forget what real sleep feels like (: But chubby cheeks and fat feet and dimples on hands make it worth it right?

    • Katherine
      July 14, 2015 at 8:43 am

      What a sweet husband!! I’m due later this month….congratulations on your wonderful addition, and chubby cheeks and fat feet are 100% worth it! I hope you get more rest!

  • Sarah
    July 13, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    Clutches (my Kelly pochette) has the highest cost per wear in my wardrobe. But you need at least one clutch right? I don’t use cross body bags anymore so you may have all of mine.

    • Katherine
      July 14, 2015 at 8:41 am

      I almost listed my Kelly Pochette as well, but figured I haven’t owned it long enough to give a real opinion. I’ll take all your crossbodies!

      • Sarah
        July 14, 2015 at 1:58 pm

        Do not let go of the Kelly pochette! It’s spacious and relatively low key. Perfect for those occasions one wants to look impossibly elegant. ( it’s with me on holiday right now) I am now thinking pethaps, I should buy another really impractical, rarely used Kelly pochette in a really impractical colour like ciel or rose dragee..

  • Ava
    July 13, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Dear Katherine,

    I LOVE your Chanel Jumbo in red – how fitting, lol, for good luck – it is gorgeous! And I am so happy that you had the foresight to purchase it years ago at a much better price point than what it is going for today!
    Sometimes with Chanel…you just have to wonder. Still, speaking of price points, did you hear that HOP is adjusting their prices and will give clients a price adjustment? How crazy (yet good) is that?

    I love all the bags you showed – like you, I have a similar tote that I was gifted of a local popular market that I use so often that I’m in the negative pennies 😉 on cost per wear…which justifies any C or H purchases, right? 😉

    My good friend (and fellow loyal reader, J, and I) hope you’re feeling well and that you and your husband both get a LOT of time off after Baby Feather arrives! 🙂

    We both love reading your posts – especially when it has to do with C or H, our favorite vices. 😀

    Be well, dear Katherine and best of luck on a fast and easy delivery!


    Ava & J

    • Katherine
      July 14, 2015 at 8:42 am

      Thanks so much Ava & J!! I hope to have some more happy H posts soon…maybe after baby at this point 🙂

  • Anonymous
    July 13, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    I really love your cost per wear series. I just started working and building my wardrobe. Reading genuine advice from you is really helpful for me to make good purchasing decisions. Please do more cost per wear series for winter clothing, summer wear, fall/spring wear, accessories!

    • Katherine
      July 14, 2015 at 8:42 am

      Thanks so much! I do plan on doing more series, and on clothes…just need to fit back into them first 🙂

  • Kate
    July 13, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    Hi Katherine, I’ve been a silent reader of your blog for years now, but I just wanted to say that I am really loving your cost per wear series! Thank you for sharing your insights and observations with us. Congratulations on your pregnancy!

    • Katherine
      July 14, 2015 at 8:42 am

      Thank you Kate! 🙂

  • ella
    July 14, 2015 at 6:02 am

    I feel your pain – happily the 6 plus fits in a Chanel WOC, which is my go-to small bag!

    Best cost per wear: Hermes Constance; Hermes Trim in toile; Chanel boy WOC (I take it on all my business trips because it is so handy in airports and can be thrown into a briefcase; and most of all my first Chanel bag, a GST with gold hardware that was staggeringly expensive to me at the time, but that I wore every day for three or four years.

    Worst cost per wear: Birkin 35 (so darn heavy but I am trying to use it more); and, weirdly, everything from less expensive brands. I have learned the hard way that it’s better to buy an expensive bag that I love and will use forever than two less expensive bags that I will use a few times each.

    Hope you are feeling well!

    • Katherine
      July 14, 2015 at 8:43 am

      Love hearing about your experience! It seems like your best cost per wear items are more shoulder bags. Birkin 35 was quite heavy for me as well.

      • ella
        July 14, 2015 at 10:53 am

        Oh, you are right about the shoulder bags – that’s interesting and I hadn’t focused on it!

        One interesting thing about CPW is how different it is for each person. I evidently reach for shoulder bags (makes sense, I live in NYC and am constantly walking and juggling my kids’ hands or a big coffee or whatever); someone else might reach for big totes more than smaller bags, or prefer hardier bags to more delicate ones, or whatever.

        Btw, I never use my crossbodies either (other than the WOCs). I should send you my Pandora . . .

  • diane
    July 14, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    I am a Bottega Veneta groupie. I either carry a medium Veneta or a medium cross body “pillow” bag. I tend to carry my neutral colors the most often. Fro me, that means a shade of gray. Gray is my black. I have both light and dark grays in both styles. I sometimes carry a bright color, but not that often as I am basically too lazy to change my bags frequently. (If I switched to Hermes, it would be to the Evelyn bag.)

    I use FEED Project bags for grocery shopping. My favorite is the hand-beaded Kenya bag. I bought 5-6 Feed bags when they first came out and have used them since then. I also use the Docs 2 Docks FEED duffle for short trips. It was a limited edition bag sold to help support the collection of unused medical supplies in the US for shipment to 3rd world countries.

    • Katherine
      July 15, 2015 at 11:35 am

      I remember you mentioning the beaded Kenya bag earlier and looked it up! It’s beautiful and would be on my list for a future FEED item 🙂

  • Whitney Farris
    July 16, 2015 at 10:40 am

    I bought my daughter that beaded feed bag several years ago. It’s perfect for a college student.

  • Elizabeth
    July 19, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    Hi Kat, so excited for you. I have so many friends in their last month or so of pregnancy! Me up next I hope 😉

    Cost per wear on bags: the black Evelyne is #1 for me as well. If they count, all Longchamp Le Pliage bags are in there as well, although I only use them for travel and for office while traveling.
    Runners up:
    Foley Corinna Mid City bag in blue – this should probably actually top the list as it was about $200, so is pennies per wear at this point. Best low-priced bag IMO; no designer cred OR shame; holds a laptop if you really need it to; folds if not full; always on sale; comes in a zillion colors.
    Black Box Kelly 28 (at vintage pricing this is now in a great cost per wear place, although I can’t wait for my Togo 32 to come in….I love the box bag but it is delicate and a 28 only holds so much.)
    Denim Garden Party. What can I say, this bag goes anywhere, second only to Evie in my casual H bag rotation.

    Bad prices per wear:
    Everything from Clare Vivier. The designs seem so nice and then the bags don’t hold up to use. I have the Escale and the Bretelle and a couple totes and they all look beaten up with fairly minimal wear, so even at a very reasonable price point they’ve already become unusable.
    Chanel “So Black/Batman” WOC. This is a GREAT bag aesthetically but it just does not hold enough for my evenings; the snap comes open constantly; and the leather is so delicate that I can’t just throw it around.I really wish I’d kept my caviar mini flap – the perfect evening bag!

    Rouge H box calf sellier Kelly 28. This bag was also a relative steal but it’s so beautiful that I carry it only to events/galas/truly epic fashion moments. However, I don’t regret it at all, as it’s a statement bag and one place where PPW just does not matter to me.

    • Katherine
      July 20, 2015 at 1:51 pm

      Thanks for such a thoughtful answer! And can’t wait for you to become a MAMA 🙂 I have a Box Kelly and funnily enough feel the exact same way…PPW does not matter, it’s just beautiful. Interesting feedback about Clare Vivier!

  • anyii
    July 27, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    I have a simple solution to phone not fitting in my pocket/purse/etc.–put it in my husband’s pocket!
    Where would you put your Chanel WOC on the spectrum of cost per wear?