Chloe small grey Marcie bag in grey with gold hardware
Chloe Marcie
Chloe Marcie
Small Chloe Marcie cross body bag in grey
Pin Image

When A Designer Bag {Finally} Happens

Author: Charlotte O'Shea

Over two years ago I penned a piece titled “Bag Lady“, I had never in my life invested in a fancy designer handbag and was contemplating taking the plunge.

Up until last month I still hadn’t bashed the proverbial plastic – as much as I loved the Mulberry Alexa I just couldn’t justify such a large sum on a singular item, regardless of how elegant and timeless the design.

Both my Mum and my Sister have a Bayswater, I completely appreciate the versatility and the quality of such a covetable classic but for me they are simply too big. I’ve become quite adept at “living with less” this year and a roomy tote might only encourage me to carry around a bunch of stuff that I simply don’t need.

I am a huge fan of the cross-body bag. HUGE. Since I’ve become a Mum being hands-free is literally a lifestyle choice. And I don’t see myself ever going back (bar the odd uber posh do which requires a clutch of course). I’m also not a lover of black accessories. I’m not sure why exactly, I think it’s to do with the fact I wear quite a lot of it thus I need to bring in some alternative hues with my finishing touches. I only own one pair of black shoes that I hardly ever wear – I think they remind me too much of corporate meetings in the boardroom…so any investment piece was going to have to be a shade that worked with most things and didn’t clash with my footwear.

And then I found THE ONE. Or at least I blatantly copied my favourite instagram fashionista @cellajaneblog (Becky Hillyard – amazing ability to do the whole casual yet “done”/effortlessly put together thing, also I REALLY want her hair). The bag in question is the Chloe Marcie mini in “Cashmere Grey”. It is small yet perfectly formed. And the textured leather is so soft. I can fit in my phone, keys, wallet (also admittedly very small – it holds a few cards and change) and my travel make-up (powder compact, lipstick, concealer and eyeliner for touch ups) providing I pack it neatly and don’t just chuck everything in haphazardly.

And actually, for work and special occasions where I am sans daughter – these are the only items I really need.

The Marcie was £485, half of what the Alexa costs and equally as pretty. Well, at least in my humble opinion. I love it. It is a delight to use and wear and as was my prerequisite, the colour literally compliments my entire wardrobe.

On the subject of my closet, if you read my fashion piece a few weeks ago then you might recognise the Brave Soul cardigan from ASOS I am wearing in the header image above. So many of you have left messages on my instagram account telling me you went out and bought it and this brings me tremendous joy. Dirty enabling is one of my favourite extra-curricular activities.

You should also probably know that they also do the same style in a lovely dark charcoal. Just sayin’.

What designer bags do you own? Which one is your favourite? Which handbag has been the best investment? Which one do you use the most?

Ever made an expensive mistake?

Some of us are altogether in a meeting as this feature goes live so we’ll be very much looking forward to your own enabling prowess.

Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.
Follow Charlotte on instagram @charlotte.oshea
This post may include affiliate links.

42 thoughts on “When A Designer Bag {Finally} Happens

  1. I own a Michael Kors Selma bag in a plum purple – similar to this one

    I bought it in New York when I turned 30 and I love it. However, it’s not massively practical for me because I hate an across body strap, which it has, so have to carry it on the crook of my arm. I don’t mind that per se but it can get very heavy and now I am a Mum, not at all practical when pushing a pram or holding a small child’s hand!

    For our first wedding anniversary, just after said small child was born, my husband treated me to the Marc Jacobs hobo bag in black, which, in my humble opinion is pretty classic and much more practical with a shoulder strap and an across body strap which I do sometimes use when small child demands it!

    If I ever win the lottery, the two bags I’ll be immedi buying are a Balenciaga Motorcycle bag. I have coveted one of these for 15 years now but at £1,000 I’ve never considered them. And a quilted Chanel! It’s always good to have a dream!

    I’m interested to see what other people recommend. Christmas is coming after all so it’s always good to aim high with the list sent to my husband. Even if we’re much more in the kitchen unit shopping area than leather goods..

    Oh, and your bag is very pretty. Obvs! Xx

  2. I promised myself a proper gorgeous leather bag when I had a job after graduation. 13 years later I finally invested this year in a Hill and Friends Happy Satchel having done a lot of research and trying on of bags in Selfridges. And it was an investment at £700 (even in the sale). This is compared to my normal spend of £100-150 on a bag, but none of them lasted more than 18 months without looking very tired.

    My Hill and Friends bag has a cross body strap (essential) but it detaches, so versatile, and big enough for all the stuff I lug to work on my daily commute. I bought it in black as it has to go with everything and as my husband said when he saw it, I’ll wear it till it falls apart (I’m hoping in 5+, maybe 10 years time, I’m not going to baby it on my insane London commute).

    I’ve had it for about 4 months now and still love it. The leather smells amazing 🙂 and I am also very pleased that it is made in England. On a chat board I frequent I got a lot of comments that I could have got a Mulberry for the same price, but as beautiful as they are I just don’t love them. And I like supporting a new British brand.

    Hill and Friends do gorgeous smaller bags too. One Of these suspect on my wishlist in a non-sensible colour for weekends 🙂

    If you want some bag porn their site is:

      1. Caroline I think discovering new brands is great – and I’m the same with Mulberry, I like them but I clearly didn’t LOVE anything enough to make a purchase. Your bag is lush x

    1. Hill & Friends are my new favourite bag brand. They only started a year ago but I already have two bags which I love and am lusting after a leopard print one – must resist!

      1. Nice to find another fan Bernadette! Their leopard print ones are very desirable, quite like the multicoloured leopard bags too. I saw a small yellow one of their bags on Instagram over the summer and are hoping they release it as yellow is one of “my” colours. Am going to be a long term customers.

        I also collect Lulu Guinness bags, well more clutches than bags… I bought this one as a Christmas present for myself 🙂

  3. I LOVE a nice bag. I now feel I need to have this one to add to my collection. My husband has been very nice over the years and I now have four Mulberrys with my favourite being my Bayswater which was my present for having Alice, lucky me, but my most practical one is my cross body bag but it’s not quite as elegant as this one. In terms of pricey mistakes I have a Chloe bag which I don’t think I have taken out in years. It’s one of the one’s with the huge padlock on and weighs and blinking ton. It’s just not really me but I couldn’t tell Edd that when he bought it. He’s been asking me for my birthday list so I’m wondering if a handbag is ok. I fear he may have had some posh bubble bath in mind….. xxx

  4. Gorgeous bag! I love a bag. I don’t buy designer clothes and instead have a lot of Zara and H&M but I do love an expensive bag. I have a Mulberry Lily large in midnight blue, a years old vintage looking Miu Miu that is pretty beat up now and I was lucky enough to be bought a Maxi Chanel classic flap in black Caviar the Christmas before last after begging for about 8 years… I actually felt so guilty about the cost after buying it I didn’t use it for weeks but eventually got over that ?
    The bag that I’ve had for 6 years or so is the one I’ve used the most, a large black Givenchy Pandora. It’s so versatile and looks quite grungy in the washed leather I have which I like.
    Currently lusting after a little YSL monogram blogger bag in either red or burgundy but very doubtful I’ll actually get one!

  5. I have quite a few designer bags (and non designer bags) but apart from the 3 days a week that I go into work, I can count on my hands the number of times I’ve actually bothered to take a bag out with me since having my daughter. I simply chuck everything in the changing bag. What has happened to me?? ???

    1. Haha…The changing bag is my go to accessory too at the moment. I feel a bit ridiculous carrying two bags around. My worst offence though was wearing the free bag you get from boots for around 6 months before it fell apart ? I have since replaced it with a nice leather backpack still hardly a fashion statement.

  6. Your new bag is absolutely gorgeous Charlotte and totally my sort of colour. I love how unassuming it is yet when you look at the details you know it’s pretty special. I always struggle with big purchases but have to admit that the things I have spent more than I’d usually do on have got so much wear and lasted so well it was definitely worth it. I’ve never owned a designer bag but with the big 30 approaching I have asked for a handbag. I can spend ages browsing the aspinal of london website and when this one came on sale I didn’t even thing I was being ridiculous {}. Being a mum myself the cross body strap will come in handy but when detached I think it makes for a pretty smart number too. I do love bigger bags too but they are much more pricey and I tend to carry a laptop bag around when working so a smaller bag just for my essentials seemed more sensible. (I have been known to go out for lunch with an empty laptop bag just to have somewhere to keep my phones and purse.)Now just 3 more months to wait.

  7. Oooh that is lovely! I love a crossbody bag too, just so easy to walk around not holding on to anything! I have never really been a bag person-more boots and coats! But this means I am always walking around with a tatty bag that never lasts long because I don’t tend to spend more than £35 on said bag. I have always loved a Cambridge Satchel, whilst they look quite big, you can’t actually squeeze loads of unnecessary items into them so that is a bonus. As is the fact that Cambridge Satchel collaborate with VIVIENNE WESTWOOD! Whom I adore but simply cannot afford. Needless to say I have purchased one and it’s perfect because, whilst it is pretty size-y, it still looks smart and cool enough to take out for dinner and the like 🙂 very pleased and worth every penny! (£215)

    I don’t think you can buy them online anymore, but I opted for this navy and yellow one as I love to be bright!

  8. What a beautiful bag! I’m also thinking about taking the plunge and buying a designer bag….possibly a Marc Jacobs one but this may have swayed me….

    I have also just purchased the aforementioned cardigan…… ?

  9. I’m a bag obsessive! I think having size 8 feet and being tall means shoes can be difficult to come by, I don’t think I’d find a pair of Jimmy Choos that would work even if my life depended on it, so I guess a girl has to default to bags in this situation!

    Mulberry are my bags of choice and I adore my two Alexas. I have to say there are some fab Mulberry Facebook pages ran by dedicated ladies who allow preloved and new bags to be sold or swapped. They work hard to ensure no fakes surface and that PayPal is always used. I’ve managed to pick up two Mulberry purses and a keyring in as new condition for a fab prices! Definitely worth joining these groups if you want a Mulberry but at a fraction of the cost. But they are lethal, I’ve been soooo tempted to splurge on many occasions!
    Have you considered a Lily bag Charlotte? Can be worn cross-body or as a shoulder bag, so good for day or night. I have one in black and feel it’s such an investment piece, it’s so timeless. I might be considering it in another shade I love it so much ? And not a bad price as it often goes into the sale! You might also like to know, Alexas are now discontinued and will be sold off in the outlets at discounted prices ?

    I absolutely adore this little Marcie bag however, and do fancy buying into another brand aside from Mulberry. I’m quite taken with it in the berry/oxblood shade and I’m thinking of asking for it for my 30th birthday… Well a girl has to have something statement for a milestone birthday right? Xx

  10. Ah it’s so lovely! I had eyed this up and the mulberry Tessie I think it’s called a kind of cross body saddle type bag and the mini Bayswater is cute too. I don’t deal well with larger bags! I got a small mulberry bag for a birthday a few years ago which is lovely and in a soft pink, and I got a Marc jacobs clutch (with optional strap) in bright pink from Paris for my 30th in a bargain sale! So I was set for a little treat bag at Xmas but now we’ve decided in January to go and buy a heap of new furniture I have decided to sacrifice it until a later date. This is my life at the mo not spending on myself but on our house and revamping it all! My sister made a valid point though that I can’t wear my settee out like a Nice bag but in fairness I spend a lot of snuggled on my settee so I could argue I do “wear” it technically! Just not out, that’s not gonna look good even if it’s from Loaf ?! So the bag has to wait til next year now! Xx

  11. Lovely bag!

    I bought a very small Chanel quilted bag when I was on my honeymoon in LA. Got it on a boutique in Beverley Hills. The whole experience was a one off so I didn’t mind paying through the teeth (and my wedding dress was a £40 French connection dress off eBay so I was allowed a treat!). When I was chatting to the lady in the store, who was an utterly lovely lady just like all the staff there (nothing like pretty woman despite my tattoos, cut offs and grimy band tee shirt) she asked what I do. I said I run a business from home and walk my dogs most days. She said “it would be perfect for walking the dogs it’s a great size for all your things!!” Needless to say I have never ever taken it on a dog walk. Ha!

  12. I also have this bag and totally adore it! I already have a Celine which is completely battered, a Mulberry messenger that I got for my 21st and next on my list would be the current ‘it’ bag – a Gucci Dionysus. Oh my god those bags are divine! These can also be worn cross body because of the chain. and come in such lovely colours/patterns. Love them

    1. Chloe I had never heard of this Gucci you mention but now I have googled it and it’s beautiful and I need one.

      I will send a link to my husband – Christmas is a time for giving right?

  13. I have several designer handbags – all gifts from my then-boyfriend, now-husband! I have a large chocolate brown Mulberry Bayswater which is perfect for an overnight bag or for work if I am going to heaps of meetings and need laptop, paperwork etc. I have a fuscia pink suede Mulberry clutch which I adore and use at every available occasion, including on my wedding day! (on that note, it is quite dirty from over-use, can you get a suede bag dry cleaned do you think?) and I have a Marc Jacobs bag which I have used every single day since I got it 5 years ago. I love it but it has now seen better days and I need a new one. On honeymoon in NYC I saw a beautiful Alexander McQueen but it was super spendy so it wasn’t purchased, but maybe it will appear for my 30th in January?!
    Designer handbags are a lot of money and big investment pieces BUT in my experience they really do last, never stop getting comments and price per wear on all of mine must be in the pennies now.
    Charlotte – love the Chloe but too small for me, my handbag must be large enough for a book!! x

    1. Milly I did wonder about the book/ipad situation, but I do find I don’t use my Chloe every day, only for more “special” occasions and the like. The pink Mulberry clutch sounds amazing! – I have no idea on dry cleaning, have you tried brushing it to remove the marks? x

  14. Gorgeous bag Charlotte <3 <3
    On the subject of Mulberry bags have you ever been to the mulberry factory outlet at Somerset? It's not far from Bath. I got my gorgeous tan Alexa from there for £700 and something which is far less than the asking price in the shops. Woop. They had oodles of bags there in every colour imaginable. I was surprised by how many classic colours there were. They can't tell you over the phone what they have in but it's certainly worth a trip. My bag was classed as a second but there's absolutely nothing wrong with it whatsoever and I love it. Thought I would ask for an extravagant gift for my 30th as babies weren't on the cards for a while longer…oops, now we are nappy bag hunting so the mulberry will be getting a bit of a break in the new year haha.

  15. Beautiful Bag! I just couldn’t justify the price tag for a designer handbag I don’t think – especially not when we have so much money to spend on our renovation…maybe one day! May I ask if that’s a vest top or a bra you’re wearing, and where it’s from whatever it is it – looks lovely!!!

  16. Gorgeous bag!
    I have just bought my first designer bag…because it has the same name as my daughter (!) Not even kidding.
    Now to find one with my other daughters name…?

    1. Oh Gemma I’m with you here! I have two pairs (I needed the grey AND the caramel obviously…) of the Mint Velvet ‘Eliza’ boots, because they are both lovely and my daughters name! I did manage to get them both in the sale though, so it just had to be done!

  17. I love a quality bag – I’d much rather have one good one than several cheapies especially as they always last longer. The colour of the Chloe is fab! I was recently gifted for my 30th a phenomenal little bag by Mark Cross called ‘Grace'(I’d not heard of the brand before) but it’s a miniature valise – apparently a copy of the one carried by Grace Kelly in Rear Window. It’s not hugely practical but lovely for a (rare) night out! X

  18. Love a good handbag! And I need a new one as it goes! That bag is gorgeous Charlotte. Also currently loving the Dockery collection from Aspinal, this dusky pink, rose and chanterelle is just beautiful. I even had 15% off last week and managed to resist. Will power!

    I have a Mulberry Bayswater in a beautiful Raspberry colour which I love but doesn’t get much use now with the little one, so my next purchase definitely needs an across the body strap. I loved my black suede Lulu Guiness bag a few years back, but I came home from work one day to find our puppy had also taken a liking and pee’d on it! No amount of cleaning could save it, still gutted years later! X

  19. Oh Charlotte that bag is gorgeous! I love the colour. I have a Bayswater and an Alexa – I love both, but use the Alexa way more. In fact, it’s pretty knackered looking now after 5 years of daily use. Thankfully (I think), it’s a style that can take a bit of battering and still look alright. The Bayswater is great for smarter work days when I have to carry files etc to meetings. I also have a Marc by Marc Jacobs Hillier Hobo which gets fairly frequent use, though it was nowhere near the price of the Mulberrys.

    I haven’t bought a new designer bag in a few years now, so I’m thinking of taking the plunge again soon. I’m currently coveting the PS1 by Proenza Schouler (;95319;2018&gclid=CL2us_OD1c8CFQ88Gwod5AAPNA#) but it is really quite spendy…

    That said, when I’m not at work I’m usually mumming around with my toddler, so a hands free, wipe clean bag is a necessity. I have rediscovered the joys of a rucksack. I’m currently sporting a £10 blush pink pleather with rose gold zips number from Primark! 🙂

  20. Ah I bought this exact bag pretty much exactly a year ago, my justification being ‘well I don’t have any kids and why shouldn’t I splash out every now and again on something for me’… here I am, 12 months on, 36 weeks pregnant with completely different priorities – but I still have my beautiful Chloe bag for those soon to be rare date nights! xx

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *