Ever since I discovered Pinterest (you can stalk my dedicated handbag account here) I've spotted Gucci's Stirrup Bags lurking in fashion photography. Typically, I see the structured version much more often than the unstructured alternative - probably because it just looks so good in outfit pictures.
Although I can't deny that in an ideal world I'd like one of both styles, the structured version of the Gucci Stirrup bag is probably ever so slightly too vintage-looking for my everyday wardrobe. Whilst the unstructured Gucci "Soft" Stirrup Bag looks a lot more casual, which for me would make it much easier to carry on a regular basis.
Gucci's Stirrup Bags were a big hit when they were first released in 1975, and their re-issue a couple of years ago saw them reach a whole new level of popularity. The structured version was the first to be released, and based on their success the unstructured version soon followed. From what I can gather the Soft Stirrup Bags bags were available in; smooth calf leather, nubuck leather, suede, pony hair and calf leather, ostrich skin and python skin. Additionally, they also came in a number of different classic colours; black, brown, burgundy, khaki green etc.
I've dreamed about owning an ostrich skin or pony hair version - but these come up so rarely on the pre-loved market that I knew it was unlikely that I'd find one. I did, however, settle on owning pretty much any other version - so long as it was in good enough condition to wear for a couple of seasons.
I believe that the Gucci Soft Stirrup Bags come in two sizes, and the bag I own is in the smaller size. Ideally, I do prefer the larger size as I think it would suit my frame a little better. However, it isn't really all that small and it holds absolutely anything I could want to carry. The slouchy shape means that it has a lot of space, which I subdivide by storing all my belongings in various leather pouches.
On the second hand market I see a lot of Gucci Soft Stirrup Bags priced at around the £600 mark, with some larger sizes or rarer models clocking in at over £1,000. For a pre-loved bag this is a pretty strong price tag, although there has been some depreciation in the price as these bags would have originally been upwards of £1,500 for the basic black/brown leather models.
I was very lucky and managed to get my Gucci Soft Stirrup Bag at a good discount, namely, because the lining needs a total overhaul. I don't quite know how some people manage to so completely trash their designer handbags, but the previous owner really did a number on this one. I haven't yet organised it, but I'm planning on sending this bag off to a handbag spa for a bit of TLC, if that goes well then I'll let you know. I'm sure there are many others out there who would like to know how to refresh their designer bags so that they can enjoy a few more years of use.
As much as I've already complained about the interior, I have to admit that the exterior of the bag is in pretty good condition. The only really noticeable signs of wear are on the handles, but if it really bothers me then this is another part of the bag that I could have replaced/"refreshed". Overall, I'm really happy with the purchase - it's one of my Holy Grail handbag styles, so I'm really happy to have it in my collection.
If you're looking for pre-loved Gucci bags then there will be plenty available to buy (in much better condition that my Gucci Soft Stirrup Bag!) from my website Stored and Adored, which is launching in September 2016. As part of my job I've handled hundreds of designer bags and sold to clients across Europe; so if you're a fan of designer handbags then you should definitely sign up to the mailing list.