The Story of a Handbag and the RealReal

I finally bit the bullet and removed a handbag from my collection. That wouldn’t be a big deal for most women but it is for me. I’ve frequently regretted giving accessories away so usually hold on to them. This is the second time I’ve given this bag away. I hope the new owner gives it the love I couldn’t.

In 2005 Louis Vuitton came out with a playful interpretation of their monogram pattern on stonewashed denim. My then boss, a woman I admired tremendously, surprised me with one for my birthday. It was an extravagant gift that was just her style. Louis Vuitton Monogram denim at The Real Real

I was initially delighted but quickly stopped using it. The style was just not right for me. I prefer deep wash denim over stonewashed any day. Shabby chic in my decor means French Antiques with time earned patina, not artificial wear and tear.

It languished in it’s felt bag and box, inside my closet for 5 years. I finally gave it to my daughter and suggested she could sell it, donate it or keep for herself.

She did neither. Two years later, after my old boss had passed away from ovarian cancer, my daughter wrapped the handbag up and gifted it back to me at Christmas. I cried when I opened the box because it brought back wonderful memories of this lady I’d adored so much.

I was grateful to have it back, but again, I never used it.

Mailing a Louis Vuitton to The Real Real

Last week I packed it up and sent it to The Real Real so they could find an owner who would use and love it. The RealReal is an online consignment store that sells authenticated luxury items.

As part of our day after Christmas Day store peruse, my daughter and had fun trying on Chanel bags in Neiman Marcus. I was curious if they were my style. Most were too large for me and the prices are steep so The Real Real came to mind again.

Chanel medium flap bagMy husband had surprised me with a burgundy suede Chanel Flap Bag he’d bought me in Paris over 35 years ago. Sadly, it was lost during one of our moves. It’s one thing to lose some glassware, it’s much worse to lose a Chanel handbag!

Wearing- Jacket by Comfy- similar here // Bootie  // Leggings

Trying on a Chanel handbag for size

I have never considered buying a previously owned handbag before now. When I think about my story with this Louis Vuitton, I realize there may be a Chanel out there with my name on it:)

Unlike many women, I don’t buy or own many handbags. I prefer to purchase a quality bag and use it for 20+ years. I buy the best I can afford and wear it to death. I consider it investment dressing and use cost per use as a guide to its value.

Does your handbag have a story?

This post may contain affiliate links which generate income for AWSL. Please see my complete disclosure statement here.



  1. My Chanel bags are the ones gathering moss, they just aren’t my style, I feel too ‘badged’ when carrying them, they have not been out of their boxes for yonks!

    Hope you are well!

    1. You might want to consign them if you think you’ll never use them again, Tabs. So nice to hear from you!

  2. I have 12 boxes yet to unpack, and I fear mother’s great china and crystal is not among them. Gasp!!! Like losing your Chanel bag. A friend once said two moves were like one fire… He may be right.

    1. Oh no, Brenda!! I really hope you find them. That would be very sad to lose. Happy New Year! XO

  3. Lesley Watson says:

    I don’t change bags to coordinate with outfits so mine tend to be real basic. About 2 years ago I was introduced Maruca Bags. These are the most wonderful hand bags/purses/totes etc that I have ever found. They are made from textiles designed and manufactured in the USA. The factory & warehouse are in Boulder Colorado . I love these bags and am so addicted. They are the easiest purses to work out of on a daily basis and with the wonderful textiles they are made from I’m always getting compliments as I’m shopping. They are not cheap, but I discovered and got on the e-mail list for the seasonal warehouse sales. I own 6 purses (City Girl is my favorite) & a tote that is great for travel. I have gifted several to close friends and can’t say enough about these wonderful and fun bags. Take a look at their web site and find out where they are sold close to you. Have Fun I have.

    1. I haven’t heard of these. Thanks for the tip, Lesley! A warehouse sale sounds amazing, I’ll check them out. Happy New Year

  4. I do BELIEVE the CHANEL bags are made in ITALY NOT FRANCE………..
    NOT that THAT has ANYTHING to DO with your purchase!
    I received CHANEL SHOES for CHRISTMAS one year…………..they are THE MOST UNCOMFORTABLE SHOE I HAVE EVER OWNED!Then again I seldom wear them but maybe one has to wear for the comfort to ARRIVE!?!
    NO,if YOU want comfort right off the BAT at an INCREDIBLE PRICE TRY AEROSOLE SHOES!!!!!!!SOME are UGLY BUT there is ALWAYS A STELLAR SHOE TO BE FOUND!
    I Knew your BOSS as I was a client!I have a few of her hand picked pieces HANGING AROUND MY HOME.SHE WAS A BEAUTIFUL LADY with GREAT HAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!XX

    1. Italy does make some of the finest leather goods so I wouldn’t be surprised. If luxury is not comfortable, it is sure not a luxury! I love Aerosole shoes, and yes some are ugly, but plenty are not! xox

  5. I would never buy a handbag that costs as much as a semester of college tuition because I’d rather make an investment in a scholarship. That could make a real difference in the life of a student, or several students! My conscience says that a purse is just a thing that will go out of style, not an investment. I could shop the sales at a well-known retailer and get a stylish, quality leather bag for a few hundred dollars, and still have thousands left over for a scholarship (assuming that I had that much extra money floating around in the first place). The extra cost for a bigger status symbol just is not a personal value for me. And this is someone who used to coordinate fashion photography shoots speaking.

    1. Investment is a personal choice and I see why your education would be most important to you. Fashion investment is very different than lifestyle investment.

  6. Talking about storing handbags in cupboards for years, I have a tale to tell! When my maiden great aunt passed away, my Mum and I had the task of clearing her home. She was bit of a hoarder to say the least (she had lived through the London Blitz and post-war rationing) and every room in the house was packed with stuff. We started with the ground floor, working our way upstairs, eventually reaching her own bedroom. In her wardrobe we found all sorts of old coats and outfits going back years and then, reaching down to the very back, I pulled out an old brown leather handbag. It was not just one old handbag, but three, and they had been abandoned at the bottom of the cupboard for so long that they had literally fused together into one! My Mum and I still chuckle at the memory.

    1. That is funny, Rowena! I bet you found many treasures among her things. That wartime mentality really affected how people thought and lived. My Granny lived through the depression and saved her aluminum foil in great balls, to reuse. We are really so fortunate. Thanks for sharing!

  7. This year I treated myself to a Longchamps ‘Cody’ handbag. It was an extravagant purchase but Holt Renfrew had it 50% off for Black Friday Sale. Still not cheap but within reason. It is the Le Pliage style but leather(black) on the lower half and suede(red) on the top. It has a shoulder strap as well so can be dressy or not! I intend to carry it for many years!! I have a small Chanel classic shoulder bag it’s so small it gets limited use but it’s black and still looks great after all these years so expect to have it for a long time too.

    1. Great find, Allison! I have a Longchamp nylon tote that I adore. There are some amazing treasures to be found at those sales. Lucky you having that tiny Chanel. Cassic is perfect for its timeless styling and appeal.

  8. Until recently, I was a one bag girl, but now I have a larger purse for traveling that can accommodate extras and a lovely tote for summer. I’d like to branch out even further, but I’m a frugal fashionista so I won’t likely ever own a really expensive bag.

    1. I am a new convert to the tote trend, with smaller clutch inside, and finding it a really handy way to go.

  9. Cathy James says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    Another enjoyable post! I love handbags and like to change them with the season – I live in a 4 season region. Changing them each season allows me to have a “new” bag each season – even if it is a “new” bag from my own wardrobe!

    In summer I wear dresses and sunscreen and so each year I buy a new vinyl plastic bag that I don’t mind ruining. I’ve found over the years that, no matter how much care I take, sunscreen always transfers to the expensive leather. Now I’m happy to get rid of my summer bag every year and know I can buy a new one next year. It solves lots of my handbag problems.

    Thanks again for the post! Happy New Year!


    1. I’m so happy to hear you slather yourself with sunscreen like I do! Bravo, CJ. It certainly does transfer because my car seats are coated with the residue. A straw or canvas tote helps me keep it off my handbag during the dog days of summer. But I agree, I will not risk ruining a quality handbag with sunscreen. Happy New Year!

  10. Yes, I’ve experienced “seller’s regret” more than once! I’m sure someone will be very happy to add your LV to their collection.

    I’ve decided to start using my Chanel flap more often. It’s a great bag, goes with everything, and there’s no need for it to languish in its box. To quote my grandmother, “There’s no point in having nice things if you don’t use them.” I’ve sold bags and other accessories with The Real Real and have satisfied with the transactions. I currently have my eye on a classic watch on their site… 😉

    1. I have noticed and admired your bag several times! A classic never goes out of style. Now that I’m looking around The RealReal, I see many fabulous things! I’m in total agreement about using our nice things. We deserve it.

  11. I have never owned a luxury handbag. I do. It from the Canadian leather company Roots and buy quality made vintage bags.
    If money were no object or if I won the lottery I would buy a Chanel bag!
    Have fun shopping!

    1. A quality vintage bag would be awesome. I did inherit an Aligator one from my Granny but it hadn’t been stored well and was sadly dried out beyond repair.

  12. marlene alves says:

    As shocking as it might sound, I am a one handbag-at-a-time person; with admiration for high-end purchases, but have never made one. What comes to mind with this focus on handbags is the idea that some wonderful organizations (like the one mentioned above) would love to have donations of gently-used & new bags to raffle off at a fund-raising event.

    Here in Sonoma County a good deal of cash is raised to assist neglected/abused pets; might some of those with unused handbags consider putting them to this type of good use?!

    1. That is a wonderful suggestion, Marlene. I have donated several bags over the years to worthy charities. My latest was to raise funds to help sex trade workers get the help and medical care they need.

  13. I change my bag too often to make that kind of commitment. I prefer to go with the trends than classic. Just me but I get bored. I do like classic style clothes -LBD, crisp white shirt, etc. So, I guess my handbag is my nod to fun.

    1. That’s definitely a fun way to go. Handbags are such great accessories.

  14. Paula Moreshead says:

    I really like the idea of buying a quality purse once in 20 years, but I think I have a fear of committing that much money and then not being satisfied with it. Guess I need to do a better job of figuring out exactly what I want in a purse, but that can also change with time. Purse commitment issues???:)


    1. Maybe that’s why it takes me so long to chose a bag too, Paula! Purse commitment issues:) I think about them for a very long time, experiment with putting my things in them, visit the store often and rethink many times.

    2. I so agree Paula, I have realised that whole ‘investment dressing’ is baloney – for me at least!
      what I have loved at 30, 40 etc, I have not loved at 50 odds

  15. Hi Jennifer,
    I was wondering about the Rockports that you have on. I clicked on the page to check them out because they look so good on you and I just love them. I wear an 8.5 W and they did not have them in wide. I can where some 9 M but I wanted to know how yours fit. Thank you.

    1. I’m usually most comfy in wides too, Donna. I’m wearing a 9.5 medium and they’re plenty wide for me. I usually wear a 9 or 9W so going up that half size gave me the extra width I needed!

  16. I am one of those people who has a lot of bags! the most I have ever spent is $500. I do regret buying some of them, since I don’t use half of them! I live in Florida now, and carrying Chanel just doesn’t seem right down here. But I do think they are absolutely beautiful handbags!!!

    1. Good point about location, Linda. I do have friends in Florida who routinely carry them, but they could seem too formal.

  17. I purchased a Louis Vuitton at a fundraiser for an organization I volunteered for to raise money for hearing impaired children. Name brands have never been a draw for me, style attracts me more. However, to support the cause I did purchase an LV. I carried the bag for many years, took great care of it, kept the authenticity papers, dust cover, tag etc. I just recently decided to get rid of it. I did realize though with my LV purchase that was extravagant for me that I did enjoy the bag. I also realized that I would have purchased many more reasonably price purses, over and over again. I stopped that for about five years. I probably saved money in the long run.

    1. Exactly, Dorothy! I’ve spent much less over the years on handbags than most women and I feel happier carrying a quality handbag.

  18. Great information! I did not know about this site…thanks for keeping us informed.

    1. And now I’m spending too much time looking at it 😉

  19. LV bags have never really appealed to me (so many fakes too) but I would love to own a Chanel bag one day. I have a lot of handbags but tend to use the same few ones for work. I like a statement clutch for going out though.

    Emma xxx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *