Some people are handbag people - and it isn't too hard to single them out from the crowd. They're usually found holding some fabulous bag, something that succinctly expresses their personality without being too dominant. And if you happen to bump into them regularly, you'll probably notice that they own a couple, or perhaps even a whole host, of these subtle yet conversation-starting handbags.
I don't quite know when it happened, but I'm pretty sure that I'm becoming one of those people. Ever since August 2015, when I started professionally buying and selling pre-loved designer bags, I have fallen head over heels in love with handbags. As a result, my personal handbag collection is slowly filling up with some of my favourite designer names - but without the exorbitant prices the you associate with brand-new designer goods.
I'm a firm believer in pre-loved designer goods. Although you can get really stylish designs on the highstreet, I believe that buying pre-loved designer bags offers incredibly quality that make your purchases better value for money in the long-run. Not only do they often have great re-sale potential (so you can get a lot, if not all, of your money back in the future), I also find that they stay looking like new, or almost like new, for a long time.
All but one of the handbags in my collection have been bought pre-loved (I just couldn't resist Zara's suede imitation of the unstructured Gucci Stirrup bag) and although I own some very special bags I do have a couple of holes in my collection. I have been, and to an extent still am, in need of special evening bags - something small and discreet, but still a little fun. I'd been searching online for quite a while before I stumbled across Phillip Lim's clutch bags, and I have to admit that I really liked their simple shape and the availability of fun colours and designs.
Before diving in to my purchases, here's the low-down on the 3.1 Phillip Lim 31 Second & 31 Minute Clutch Bags
- They're the smaller two sizes of Phillip Lim's leather clutch bag, the 31 Minute Medium Clutches are a roomier choice - you can tell these apart because, unlike the bags I own, they have two zips per bag.
- 3.1 Phillip Lim's current season 31 Second Leather Clutch Bags are available from Net-a-Porter for £265.
- Pre-loved 31 Second Leather Clutches can be purchased online for between approximately £50-£280 - depending on the style, and the bag's scarcity/condition.
The 'Bang' 31 Minute Clutch Bag from 3.1 Phillip Lim's Autumn 2012 Pop Art collection
inspired by Roy Lichtenstein (originally approx. £242)
My first purchase was this quirky mixed material clutch bag, with quite a striking pop-art design. This 2012 collection featured two pop-art designs; the 'Bang' and the 'Break-Up'. My new clutch one of the 'Bang' designs, and it's probably my favourite shape from this half of the collection. However, I did also really like the 'Break-Up' bag designs - especially the clutch, which features a larger transparent PVC panel across the front of the bag.
I know that this first clutch bag may well not be to everyone's tastes. Although it is predominantly navy blue, which I consider to be a pretty safe colour choice, the design is very strong and memorable which could make this bag difficult to style and problematic to re-wear. However, I got this at what I consider a very good price and I really wanted to invest in something a little bit younger, edgier and all-round more fun that the bags I would typically choose. This is a clutch that I can pair with simple outfits that just need something to make them pop, and even if it doesn't get worn too many times each year I know that it's a piece that I'll really enjoy whenever I carry it.
Failing everything, I know I could get my money back if I really did change my mind. This is one of the great benefits of finding buying good value pre-loved designer bags, rather than a similar 'trendy' piece from Topshop or Zara.
'OMG' 31 Second Leather Pouch from 3.1 Phillip Lim's Summer 2014 collection
(originally £230 / $275)
My second purchase was made on much more of a whim. After researching the pop-art clutch bag I already knew that I liked the shape and size of the 31 Second Clutches, and when I spotted this version I absolutely adored the deep burgundy colour. A lot of my bags are either black or brown, so I liked the idea of a subtle and classic pop of colour - although it's in the red-family, burgundy isn't much of a risky choice! However, the bag's embossed 'OMG' adds a playful element that keeps the bag's otherwise simple design from looking too boring.
Despite the size and prominence of the 'OMG', I actually find it quite subtle and understated. It isn't like carrying a metallic clutch, or a big in-your-face Chanel - you really have to be looking at the bag to notice that there's something going on. Personally, although the bag is from 2014 I don't find it at all dated. Unlike the 'geek' t-shirts of 2010-11, I think that Phillip Lim's choice of words have a bit more longevity to them. Although, you won't find me carrying one of his bags emblazoned with the word 'CASH' anytime soon!
There are some fantastic online re-sellers of pre-loved designer goods that I really trust. And my new online store Stored and Adored will be launching soon, offering you another platform to browse and buy great value pre-loved designer bags.
If you're interested in buying one of these clutch bags and would be interested in a more full review of the bag's functionality (with photos of exactly how much fits inside them - something I always find useful) then do let me know in a comment. Also, if you'd be interested in a handbag collection blog post then I'd love for you to let me know!