We may not know where every one of these now-vintage styles has ended up (from an uber-rare, light-up logo top handle bag from Miu Miu, to a corduroy tote from Kate Spade), but we did our best to track them down on resale sites for those looking to recreate the look today—and reunite these editors with their previously prized possessions once again. Below, find 15 tales of handbag obsessions, and discover how these Vogue editors fell back in love with their first-ever designer classics—cross-bodies, pochettes, backpacks, top handles, and more.
The first bag I ever remember owning was from Coach. I spent a lot of time in the handbag section of my hometown Belk Jones store contemplating my purchase. Luckily, Coach has reissued many of their archive styles so I can relive those moments again.
My first It bag was a brown leather Gucci mini backpack with a bamboo handle. My sister had a matching one and we looked like twins wearing them everywhere we went. I remember the leather drawstring closure was so stiff at first, and would get softer with each wear. I wish I could find that bag again!
This was the first major fashion gift I received as an editor, and my first It bag. It was a major moment for me—I’ll have this bag forever.
I got the Louis Vuitton Pochette for my bat mitzvah, a perfect first It bag for me to wear to the rest of the bar and bat mitzvahs that filled my next two years.
I picked this beauty up in Boston during a very premature college trip my dad forced me to take as a freshman in high school. He must have bought me the bag as a reward for enduring the long trek up and down the Northeast, in a convertible with 14-year-old me as head navigator. (And mind you, this bag is so old it predates the iPhone, so I was definitely using a map in paper format—quelled horreur!) Sadly, the purse is now long gone, but if I had it today I'd certainly give it another whirl. I am a sucker for wide wale corduroy, and besides, I've heard the puffer bag is back!
I guess you could say my designer bag fascination started early, when I picked out this limited edition Soho bag from the Coach store on Main Street in Westport, Connecticut for my 13th birthday present (the store has since closed). Its mix of velvet, herringbone, and leather was pure perfection for my pre-teen self—and you bet this early-aughts baby still holds a place on my handbag shelf in my apartment today. It has the snug underarm fit that all the 2020 It girl approved shoulder bags have; plus, I learned my colleague Emily Farra had the same one growing up, so now I know for sure it is certified cool. I still love the bow-adorned beauty 10-plus years later.
My first designer bag was actually a silver metallic Miu Miu top handle tote with a light-up logo—yes, it actually had a little switch inside to illuminate the logo stamped out of the front bottom corner. It was one of my most prized possessions ever, so if anyone can find it on eBay, please DM me! But as for It bags, my first was a Balenciaga City bag. My parents gave me the miniature mint green version for my 16th birthday, and I'd never been so happy to open a gift. This was at the height of its It status in the early 2000s, when everyone—from the Olsen twins, to Nicole Richie, to Kate Moss—was wearing it with their low-slung jeans and Ugg boots.
My sweet grandparents bought me and my sister our (matching!) Dooney & Bourke bags right before high school. I recall thinking we'd chosen one of the lesser-known styles, since everyone else was so into their buckets and barrel bags. We were obsessed with the rainbow monogram, the little bow around the middle, and that cute heart charm. Now that I'm looking at it 15 years later, the mini shoulder style kind of looks fresh again... Maybe I need another?
My first designer bag was a Gucci Jackie shoulder bag that my mom found at a flea market. It was pretty simple: black, small, and a classic boat shape. I liked it because it was my first intro to the world of fashion, and I immediately felt like I was part of something bigger. While the piece ended up quite damaged and never really survived, I’m pleased to see there are plenty of very affordable options—$200 and under on The Real Real, no less—available over 10 years later.
I don't remember exactly how I came to be in possession of it, but I do remember wearing the Takashi Murakami x Louis Vuitton mini speedy to death as a kid—I still have it! I was also obsessed with my light pink Dior Saddle bag, that I wish I still owned. The strap caught fire on the table at a bat mitzvah once, and I never fully recovered from it.
The first designer bag I purchased for myself was from Prada's spring 2014 collection. My sister’s beautiful mug was, unexpectedly, one of the portraits on the bags and clothes, so I decided to make the investment. I rarely wear it, but will always cherish it. The exact one isn't available online right now, but this option is from the same collection.
I just so happened to be in Paris the day that Yves Saint-Laurent passed away. It was June 2008: I had graduated high school a month prior and would head to New York for fashion school in the fall. I remember a city in mourning, and watching the elegant funeral procession broadcast on the local news. I felt an overwhelming need to pay my respects in some way, and so my mother offered to take me to the Saint Laurent store—a pilgrimage of sorts in honor of the late fashion master. She surprised me by allowing me to pick something out. I selected the miniature Y-mail handbag, which was my first “designer” purchase. The bag was patent leather and featured—in a gold script inspired by Saint Laurent's own handwriting—the address for the long-time HQ of the maison. I still have the bag and cherish it so much, but I have to ration its use. I can't find the exact version of the bag—mine was dainty, roughly the size of a cosmetic bag—but there are plenty of Y-mail tote bags still floating around the internet.
I remember saving up my combined birthday, Christmas, and Vietnamese New Year gift money—and then some—to purchase this classic Marc by Marc Jacobs Q Groovee doctor bag. (RIP Marc by Marc!) It was my first “adult” designer bag and I'll never forget it. I've since brought it with me to every place I've moved, but haven’t actually carried it in years. Perhaps with the vintage resurgence, now is a good time to break it out—and feel 17 all over again.
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My first designer bag was Phillip Lim’s 31 Hour Bag. My parents got it for me as a Christmas gift when I was in college, as I had been talking about it nonstop. I was floored! I rocked that bag throughout my entire college years. Now, it sits in a corner in my apartment—it’s starting to wear and I am afraid to ruin it by wearing it too often. (Too sentimental to risk it.) I still occasionally bust it out, however, whenever I need a spacious carry-on.
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