So you’ve saved up and are ready to take the plunge and invest in your first designer fashion purchase—that’s no small feat! Understandably, you probably want to choose something that you’ll use for years to come, is versatile, retains its value, and just feels special. After all, you’ll remember your first designer purchase forever. But as you likely already know, there are a lot of options out there that meet these criteria. That’s what I’m here for.
As a longtime Who What Wear editor (who writes our annual Luxury Report), I’ve learned a thing or two over the years about smart designer shopping. I’m also well aware of how important that first big purchase can be, and I’ve come armed with recommendations. In my personal opinion, the best first designer purchases are handbags and shoes. You’re likely to wear them more often than you would an article of clothing, and they’re great investments. Below, shop my top 13 picks for each category, all of which are smart buys whether you already own designer items or not.