Emily Henderson

The New Secret to Fancy Bags

It’s in the Bag

Emily Henderson Blue Leather Purse

I’ve always considered handbags to be like wedding dresses – don’t start shopping for the real thing because you will fall in love, and then you’ll be sad that it can’t be yours. So when Trendlee inquired about collaborating on a post I didn’t know what to do. I love the idea of luxury items (like most folks), but they are often so expensive that it’s hard to really talk about them here. But, then I was chatting with my staff and they reminded me that just because expensive purses historically haven’t been my thing doesn’t mean that a.) it’s off limits, and b.) we can’t make good content with them. ESPECIALLY when that content is about an affordable way to acquire them. So I started looking at the site, and now I’ve officially hopped onto the top of that “luxury handbag” slippery slope.

Emily Henderson Fashion Trench Celine Bag

I received this bag in the mail, opened it, and liked it. Two days later I had a fancy meeting on the West Side with a new high end client, and I wanted/needed to look good. Extra Good. So I grabbed for my bag, stuffed it with my goods and looked in the mirror. It was a very “Hello, Lover” moment and all of a sudden I thought “oh . . . I get it now. . .”

Emily Henderson Fashion Post Purse

I went to the meeting and I did feel good. A good handbag can do what a really good pair of jeans, or even a good coat can do – it can help manufacture a bit of confidence. It’s not genuine, deep, life-long confidence obviously, and not actually tied to your worth, but it makes you feel pretty darn good, which is fun.

Navy Celine Purse Emily Henderson

It’s not that I don’t have my splurges because I do. I splurge on art, rugs, and the perfect sculptural lamp – just up til now handbags weren’t one of my ‘things’.

This is all to say this, friends:  IF handbags are your jam, then I have a new great resource for you.

Emily Henderson Navy Celine Bag

Trendlee is a high end, preowned handbag, online reseller. It’s highly curated and specializes in mostly luxury brands (Hermes, Chanel, Louis Vuitton . . . but also has a ton of other great brands) at much more affordable prices than those you are used to seeing.

Emily Henderson Vintage Celine Bag Trendlee

When I started perusing their shop I noticed that virtually all of them look like they are brand new – and mine (that gorgeous blue Céline) was practically new when I received it.

I wore it a couple days later with my new boho top from Doen and it looked equally as cute.

Emily Henderson Trendlee Navy Trapeez Celine

What sets Trendlee apart is that they buy from normal folks and then handle the reselling themselves – so it’s very curated as they only buy what they feel is beautiful and on-trend enough to sell (even if it’s seasons old).

Navy Celine Trapeez Emily Henderson Trendlee

I also borrowed this one (below) which is more sophisticated and professional. Still timeless, for sure, and that pony hair is so pretty, but it’s no cobalt Céline. Nothing compares to my cobalt Céline. Oh dear God, am I going to start shopping for handbags now? I can’t have another vice, I just can’t.

Emily Henderson Reed Krakoff Chunky Sweater

They are big on authenticity (because the designer handbag obsession has spawned an even greater obsession of knock-offs), and they guarantee each of their bags authenticity.

Emily Henderson Trendlee Consignment Vintage Purses

Alright, so there you are – pictures of me with my first beautiful handbag in our home, in outfits that I actually tried to care about. Sometimes you need an excuse to care enough to pull together an outfit. For me handbags are something I can see myself splurging on every now and again – to reward myself for a particularly hard job that I have finished. I now see the appeal . . . it’s just how to handle my new love . . .

If you are into handbags – I get it now, and Trendlee has hundreds of luxury bags ranging in every price range. If you aren’t into handbags, or that’s not something you want to/can splurge on then hopefully you enjoyed some pretty photos taken in my house. Here is the the collection I curated from their site featuring a handful of my favorites. They are giving 5% off for all Emily readers, so get on over there and enter code EMILYH when you check out.

Now, your thoughts on luxury pre-owned handbags – Are you in? Or not your thing?

*This post is in partnership with Trendlee but all opinions are my own. I know a handbag post may not be for everyone, but I thank you for supporting the brands that support the blog and keep us creating daily, interesting, and free content.  

*They also give free returns (in the US only), whatever the reason, international coverage with flat $50 fee anywhere in the world. Usually ship same day. 

**Photography by Jess Isaac for EHD, Hair/Makeup by Danielle Walch 

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  1. First, you can do no wrong. Second, this is a compliment not s criticism.
    I have quite a few “nice” bags like Goyard, LV and others….and I have been keenly aware of your bags from Madewell, to the canvas Lands End, to the vintage leather….and I always thought, “that girl is oozing with grace and style and makes those bags 5000x better than a $5000 bag”. Anyone can have style with lots of $. I’m glad you’re enjoying your new purse. But, something that I’ve always admired about you is how you know how to rock the coolest, without spending the most and that is the best look, one that most can never do.

  2. Now whenever I hear the phrase “your jam/my jam” I will forever think of Olivia from the Bachelor and how intellectual things are her jam ;) Love it! I think we need to have an Emily Tells All about the Women Tell All! And that last handbag would be my jam ;) Thanks for a fun post!

  3. I agree when it comes between a new bag or a Feiss fixture, it’s a no brainer….but Trendlee looks like a great site to get some gorgeous quality without being supremely guilty of complete indulgence….just a little indulgence!

    I’d love to see a post sometime about how to recognize a quality piece in an antique store, or tips to see if furniture is authentic (ie markings of the brand, year, asking for a certificate of authenticity. I always get stuck on what exactly a vintage piece is worth and when to haggle.

    Thank you, great content, as always! Part of my morning routine…read emails, check SBEH,..

  4. Love this post – those bags are stunning! Also, those shorts in the first picture make your legs looks AH-mazing! Where did you find them because I think I need a pair now!

  5. You look absolutely amazing! That first photo is stunning. Wowzaaaa. And I love what the first comment said, you can pull off just about any look you want and make it look like a million bucks. I’m not big on spending that kind of money on a hand bag, partly because I don’t have it and partly because I’d rather spend it on old furniture to fix up/hoard in my garage :) I suppose it may be different if I was loaded and dropping that chunk a change didn’t leave me with buyers remorse.

    1. thank you :) I had been hoarding that black/white turtleneck (I think its 8 years old from Express) and so glad I kept it. That cape is awesome from Zara but secretly it kinda itches :)

  6. Thanks for the post. While I’m not ready to jump to uber designer handbags, I did a few years back decide that I’m done with fake leather handbags. The chunks of pleather rubbing off make them not a good purchase for me. Real leather or no leather now!

  7. I’ve always wanted to get a nice “grown up” handbag, but then look at the prices of said bags and decide to rock a $20 vintage bag instead. The high end luxury bags are still out of my comfort zone, but maybe I could graduate to a $200 bag…. baby steps. Baby steps.

  8. Great, Emily. You showed a pretty bag, sent me to a cool website, and I found the most beautiful Gucci bag I’ve ever seen for only $335. Except I don’t have $335. Thanks a lot Emily. ?

  9. Nice article, but I STILL don’t get the handbag thing. I get a second-hand leather bag at a thrift store and use it until it wears out or something abut it’s function starts to annoy me.

  10. Totally agree that designer handbags may not be for everyone. BUT, this site is awesome. So great to know that you can still get the look without having to spend an arm and a leg at the designers boutiques. Love the one you picked out, can’t wait to use the code!

  11. I LOVE your second outfit! You have impeccable style. I think your hybrid trench/pea coat is perfect- right length, good color, dressy but not stuffy…. Lately, I’ve been thinking about branching out my jeans wardrobe to include flares. I just feel like I can never get the proportions right. Can you share your sources?

  12. Love the handbags obviously, but I love seeing sneak peaks of your house even more! I’m always searching for shots of your scalloped hide rug because I’m on the verge of buying it…that’s what I’m saving my splurge for!!

  13. I’m in the $400 or less range for handbags. (technically my most expensive was 500 but I got it on sale.) They all keep so well and looks great with so many different outfits. I sprinkle in a few cheap ones in my mix and I limit myself to one expensive one every 2 or 3 years. Most of mine are marc by marc Jacobs and rebecca minkoff. When I win the lotto and have all the monies then I will 1) call you to design my house 2) buy all the pretty purses. You can borrow them anytime.

  14. The cobalt bag you picked out is gorgeous! Even though I don’t see myself ever wanting to spend $1000 on a handbag, Trendlee seems like a good website to know about.

  15. I used to be into the expensive handbags, but honestly, I get WAY more compliments on my vintage flea market bags. Aged leather is always better, and expensive bags can often (though not always) look like the person knew the bag was expensive/brand-name and are wrongfully equating that with style – versus people with great style who have amazing finds regardless of price/brand. That’s not to say your first bag isn’t beautiful! Just food for thought about how much you have to spend to look stylish.

    1. Yes! This!
      I don’t even enjoy wearing my designer bags anymore (that clearly show the brand like goyard) because I feel like i’m screaming: trying to hard!

  16. That Celine bag is absolutely gorgeous! Such a perfect compliment to your style! I’ve heard of Trendlee but haven’t tried it yet — will have to check it out. Thank you for sharing!
    I come to your site daily for inspiration, which is never lacking, and while many of your posts contain attainable items that I run to the store or online retailer to buy, I also enjoy, just as much, the items that I can stare at lovingly and appreciate for their beauty. There’s no need at all to justify posts like these. Good design is good design, whether it’s a sofa or a handbag. And it’s fun to mix it up every now and again. Keep doing what you do! And keep rocking that handbag, it looks great on you!

  17. I am a huge handbag person. At last count, I had over 50. My husband would die if he really knew how much money they are worth. I have bought from “pre-loved” dealers and always gotten great deals and great quality item. I am going to check Trendlee out.
    p.s. I totally have that Reed Krakoff you were modeling! It’s a great bag.

  18. can you do more posts about your home? those were my favorite! I really miss the way all of this used to be. I miss you!

  19. I’m not a luxury handbag kind of girl, but I have plenty of friends who are. Great looking site, gorgeous bags but… they offer financing?? Surely if you need to organise finance to buy a handbag you really need to be thinking twice, or even three times, about how much you need that bag.

  20. I think that your Celine is very becoming! I used to work in designer handbags, before that I ran a vintage shop and personally only carried vintage bags. After working in designer I was given the opportunity to add a little ooolala to my personal collection and today I love them so much! The quality, beauty and originality found in a luxurious bag are to be treasured and enjoyed, and later passed on.

  21. Also, I don’t believe in being snobby about what others choose to spend their money on. I’m grateful there are people out there who can afford to support artisans. i am also grateful that lovely design is cherished even second hand so the work of these artisans continues to be appreciated for years to come. Luxury is at its best the domain of artists and craftsman bringing beauty into the world and the echoes of their work inform the movement of our culture at large. Also as a woman who has curated a lot of more refined vintage and straight up thrift, I always am thankful someone bought it before me, and hope that someday when I no longer need it someone else will enjoy it.

  22. love this post (and its honesty) as I’m a bit of a handbag bag myself! But I also what to know all about your outfits – love them all! more details please!! Thanks Emily, love your blog btw xx

  23. I am another ‘never understood the luxury bag…until I DID’ person. There is no other way to describe it!

    I still carry a wide range of bags re: price-point, but there’s really nothing quite like a fabulous bag.

    It has always been my personal style mantra that if you have great shoes, a great bag, and a great coat, you look totally put together. (That’s not quite as applicable in CA!) But, honestly, it’s totally true!

  24. Firstly, no judgment, but I’m not an expensive handbag person. I do love handbags and jewelry that support artisans, though. I’ve fallen in love with Noonday Collection who partners with artisans around the world to give them a fair wage and provide a way out of poverty. Check it out here if you are interested. http://www.noondaycollection.com

  25. I used to buy a ton of handbags that were trendy and cheap. I either got bored with them or they fell apart quickly (or both). Now I limit what I buy but buy really well-made bags that go with a variety of outfits, and it has made all the difference.

    Also, I have been dying for that particular Celine bag (but in a different color story), so I’m super jealous.

  26. Nice story! Thanks for sharing. Your bag is very pretty! Bags are part and parcel of our daily life. But bag is not only for carrying goods, but also a huge factor of styling. It can enhance our outlook. There are many kinds of bags for different issues. There are some ladies who choose their bags according to body shape. Bags can be different with the need as well. It’s a nice post! I have enjoyed my reading. Thanks!

  27. I agree with that handbags to be like wedding dresses. handbags are essential for everyone especially for women.
    handbags should be very beautiful and attractive. it increases women’s fashion. today, many handbags are found in the market.
    which is a different shape, color and brand. but one should keep in mind that a good and beautiful handbag increases her outer style

  28. Thanks for sharing amazing collection of handbags. I personally like Charles and Keith handbags. Major Brand has wide range of Charles and Keith handbags. I think they may start some amazing online sale from next months. Read More – http://bit.ly/2b7GdtF