Who Pays $300 For a Purse?

The other day my wife and I were in Dillards looking around. My wife has been wanting a black purse for a while now and I thought it would be a good idea for her to go through the purse section with me so that I could get an idea of which ones she liked. Anyway, I saw one that looked pretty nice and I flipped the tag over to see that it was $300! THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS for a purse! I was like, “Come on. Let’s go to Target!”

We looked a bit more and did manage to find one that she liked that was a much more reasonable $60 (or was it $80? I can’t remember). But, it got me to wondering: what would make a purse worth $300? I remember the Dooney & Bourke craze from a few years ago, but I thought that was just a fad. Luckily my wife isn’t in to that kind of stuff or I’m sure we’d be a lot poorer!

Seriously ladies, what makes a purse worth $300?

27 thoughts on “Who Pays $300 For a Purse?”

  1. Ha! Guys just don’t understand. I love $300 purses. Granted, I only have a few, but if they are classic they are worth it. Everyone has their own splurges :-).

  2. I’d say that $300 is actually on the low end of prices for a high-end purses. I have no purse that costs more than free. However, I’d like to defend the $900 purse on the grounds that it’s a strictly female indulgence, so I think it gets beat up on a little more than necessary. Who needs a $1000 TV? Who needs a Jet-Ski? Purses that cost hundreds of dollars aren’t the disease, they’re just a symptom of a larger overconsumption problem and overemphasis on “luxury” brand goods as markers of status. Leave the poor Birkin bag out of it. 🙂

  3. Who would pay $300 for a purse? Lots of people nowadays. And with an almost maxed out credit card that cant possibly be paid off because the 0% apr period has expired and is now at 30%. Time for a 25% loan. It’s ok. “They’s match the payment.”

    I agree with jengod. Purses that cost hundreds of dollars aren’t the disease, they’re just a symptom of a larger overconsumption problem and overemphasis on “luxury” brand goods as markers of status.

  4. Mrs. THC introduced me to Coach bags 10 or 12 years ago when they were only around $200. They’re probably much more than that now. Her first one was a birthday gift from me and now I’m pretty sure she has two or three of them. I can’t complain…I’m about to spend $2,000 on a new bicycle.

  5. Thank you THC! I adore Coach bags! That being said, I proudly carry the knock off I bought for $35 in New York a couple weeks ago! JLP, I’m going again to NYC in a couple weeks- tell your wife she can shop with me! LOL

  6. How about a Target or Wal-Mart plastic shopping bag. That’s what I use for my lunch box. Yeah Can you say – Free!

  7. I bought my fiancee a Coach bag as a graduation gift, the purse is $300 because someone will pay that much for it. Remember, when you buy something you’re paying for the economic concept known as utility. Utility is everything from the actual purse to how it makes you feel, and that’s different for everyone. Just because it’s not worth $300 doesn’t mean someone is stupid for paying that much for it.

  8. Jim’s right. One of my many weeknesses is economics.

    But, this purse story reminded me of a time I went to Sears with my wife. I needed a tape measure. They had several different ones to choose from ranging in price from $9.99 to around $20. The $20 tape measure was a Craftsman brand and the cheap tape measure was some off brand. My wife rolled her eyes when I picked up the Craftsman brand. Looking back, I’m sure the cheaper tape measure would have worked just fine. But, I went with the more expensive Craftsman because I perceived it to be better because:

    1. it was more expensive, and…
    2. it was a Craftsman

    So, I really can’t blame a woman for doing essentially the same thing I did. I guess to me the big difference is the price ($300 for a purse vs. $20 for a tape measure).

  9. It’s all about luxury. They have a service out there like netflix for purses.. pay a monthly fee, get a purse and keep it until you want a new one, send it back and get a new one.

  10. I own two coach bags, and I have to say, they have held up MUCH better than the $25 purses I have bought from Mervyn’s. I’ve gone through 3 of those in the last few months (I stuff purses into laptop bags and suitcases for business travel – they literally disintegrate over time. It is SO unfair that men’s suits have pockets and women’s do not…)

    The cheap purses fall apart in about 3 months, and they’re not leather, they’re vinyl, so in the summer they get all sticky and eventually smell funny. I say this is one of those times when paying for more well made, classic quality – and nice design to boot – is definitely worth it. It’s also a pretty common women’s businesswear cliche that your accessories should be the best quality you can afford – you can camouflage a cheap suit with a designer scarf and amazing shoes, and look great.

  11. I can’t imagine what you’d have to say about the $1500 Prada purse I got my wife for her last birthday. She loves it, so I’m happy. Extravagance? Absolutely. Necessary? Of course not. But, let he or she who has not indulged in some overpriced purchase cast the first stone. The purse is nothing, compared to what people will spend on cars, TV’s and electronics (neither of which are priorities for us).

  12. Miguel,

    LOL! That’s 75 tape measures!

    But you are right, we all have our own extravagances. And, I’m not trying to throw stones.

  13. I guess your wife is one smart lady. She walked you past the $300+ purses so you would happily spend
    “a much more reasonable $60 (or was it $80? I can’t remember)” for one.

  14. All else being equal, it just proves you have good taste, JLP 🙂 I’m sure most guys wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a $10 and a $100 purse.

  15. Jengod said, “Who needs a $1000 TV? Who needs a Jet-Ski?”

    I don’t get the parallel. A $1000 TV definitely out-performs cheaper TVs. It has more features and is obviously does what it’s designed to do better.

    A jet-ski provides an experience that’s hard to have without a jet-ski. I can’t think of an option that’s available for 1/10th the price or less.

    Does a $300 purse have more features than a $30 one? Is it better stitched or constructed (I doubt it’s universally true, but maybe in general they are slightly better). Is it made of any special material (that’s unavailable at the $30 price)? Or and this is the one that I find as the weakest reason, are you paying 10 times more money for the brand name?

    I think in many, many cases it’s the last case. I’m not saying that I don’t make any high unnecessary purchases, but for the item, it’s usually one that represents a good value.

  16. I should have read all the comments all the way through. I can understand the tape measure and not because it’s just a guy thing. Craftsman tools come with lifetime warranties, and the cheap brand may not. So you are essentially playing a 100% mark-up for something seems better quality with a better warranty. Sure they both probably measure the same, after all an inch is an inch, but you are probably going to be even in long run when the old tape measure doesn’t work or keeps bending in half when you measure something.

    As BD mentioned, the more expensive brand in purses may not be the one that does it’s job better or last as long.

  17. A lot of the reasons for buying luxury goods are psychological. Expressing individuality, craving the envy or approval of others, validation of self worth. Things like that. Almost everyone does it to some extent, in some area or other in their lives.

  18. My $15-on-sale straw purse from JC Penney got me compliments every summer that I took it out and lasted for three years.

    My $50(?–a gift) Nine West purse is still around after four, although a bit banged up around the edges.

    It’s worth paying a little extra for better craftmanship, sure, but I feel the same way about premium purses that I do about premium jeans; I don’t argue that they’re better quality, just that they’re not $120-$200 worth of better quality.

  19. As someone who has dropped some bucks on designer threads in the past, let me shed a little light on things. Now, while it’s true, some people are just buying the label (and I’m not necessarily defending that kind of conspicuous consumption), it is also true that there are some real differences, which matter to some folks.

    The differences are both in asthetics, as well as quality. A designer purse, handcrafted in Italy (I’m way beyond Coach here) is a work of art and old world craftsmanship. The materials are also of the highest quality. Plus, the beauty of the design is something to appreciate. These are subtle issues that may not matter to some people, but do matter to others. Like wines, most people cannot tell a $10 wine from a $100 bottle. But, there are clearly those who can and for whom it is worth it.

    Someone pointed out that there is vast differentiation between TV functionality and therefore, a big TV is worth it. But, to whom is it worth? We still have our old tube-technology TV from 10 years ago. In fact, we’re not so sure we like the flat screen TV’s all that much. My wife is like, why am I seeing all the dots and action pictures look kind of blurry – this is suppposed to be better, but it’s not. Yet it costs several times what we paid for the old technology.

    Worth is in the eye of the beholder.

  20. Miguel, I see your point. As to the TV, you probably have an HDTV playing SDTV content. In cases where you have the TV mismatched to the program – yes it’s going be a step down from the old tube-technology. However, if the technology is matched you’ll get 10 times more pixels (SDTV = 200,000, while HDTV = is nearly 2,000,000), which means that indeed the picture is sharper if it’s produced right. I can’t think of how it is not better unless you are doing something wrong.

    You do bring up an excellent point about asthetics. However, who is to judge asthetics? As HC mentioned she gets compliments on her straw-purse so to many asthetics can be purchased on a budget. Another person mentioned that her designer purses fall apart more often than the budget purses, so one could assume that it’s possible to buy quality on the cheap as well.

    I suppose if you really can tell the difference and it’s worth it to you, then it makes sense. However, I think typically the designer pocketbooks are more a reflection of status much like a diamond and not a reflection of great stitching.

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  22. I’m frugal, but in this case value trumps price. A $300 Coach purse will last forever and look brand new with proper care. A $50 purse will not. I’m a Coach fan but prefer the vintage leather ones, which I get on eBay for about $50 each.

  23. I have to agree with Miguel on the tv. The picture quality may be way better for HD programming, but in the end… it’s still a tv show/movie/sporting event. Is the experience worth that much more? I still can tell who scored the goal on my hand-me-down tv. And sometimes all those pixels are a drawback, like when you see every pore and flake of makeup on a closeup shot. Is the digital experience worth 10x more than analog?

    As BD mentioned, the more expensive brand in purses may not be the one that does it’s job better or last as long.

    I think you misunderstood BD. She said she’d gone through 3 cheap bags recently, and that she preferred the higher end Coach bags. In this case, the expensive bag is the better value, just like buying a quality wool suit that will last forever and never go out of style.

    For the record, I’ve never spent big bucks on a purse or a television, nor can I taste the difference in an expensive bottle of wine. But I understand the people who do, and so long as they can afford it, there’s certainly no harm in enjoying the finer things. 🙂

  24. I have a few Coach purses (gifted to me), and I have to say I’m really skeptical of the “better deal in the long run” argument that is used to defend them. Yes, they have held up well, but so has my $80 purse bought from Lazarus 10 years ago. Yes, most of the cheap $30 purses you can buy at Target will fall apart in a few months, but let’s not paint a false dichotomy between $30 and $500.

    Just say you’re buying it for the brand, and be done with it. We all have weaknesses.

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