Purse Collection Part 1: My most used bags + How they’ve held up


Dresser (old) + bronze knobs // Prada double bag, YSL wallet on chain, Céline nano bag (review), Chanel medium flap, Gucci soho disco bag

Recently I listed a few handbags for sale for the very first time, after carefully re-evaluating my collection. Each one of my designer bag purchases are precious to me so it was extremely hard to part ways, but closet needs change over time with lifestyle and life stages (i.e. being a mama to a toddler with perpetually sticky little fingers)!

I made a list of my most used and least used bags at the moment and wrote out some of the reasons, for those debating over any of the styles. I actually removed the “least used” section since the reasonings were more personal to my own lifestyle and I wasn’t sure if it’d be interesting to anyone, but let me know if you’d want to read it! (Update: read that post here!) In the meantime, I’ll start with my most used bags over recent years and how they’ve held up. This list is designer-heavy, but these are the actual items that I reach for most regularly now and been worth the splurge for me!

Most used bags at the moment

1. Gucci Soho Disco

See countless outfit post with this bag. Also sold at Ssense (free international ship), Nordstrom.

This bag has been a common sight for years now across the blogosphere, but for good reason. I’ve owned it for 4 years and it’s consistently been one of my most used casual bags! It has a wide zippered opening, allowing the full capacity of the bag to be useable and easily accessible. It’s fairly lightweight, can be worn crossbody or on the shoulder, and the rose beige color (a light caramel tan) I own is just super versatile.

This bag does not come without issues, but here’s how I’ve been addressing each one:

  • Base sag. The overall leather on this bag will soften and slouch with use, so do not expect it to maintain a sharp looking rectangular structure. I noticed the base of mine sagging in the center early on, so I cut out a piece of cardboard in a rounded rectangular shape to fit inside the base. I used this as a template and sent the measurements to a company to order a custom acrylic base shaper. The acrylic shaper ended up not fitting my bag, so I just ended up using the piece of cardboard as my base shaper all these years!
  • Long flapping strap tail. If you’re petite and need to adjust the strap to the shortest setting, you’ll likely end up with a long flapping tail end. Here’s my quick and easy fix for this.
  • Color transfer. The #1 question I get is how to avoid getting color transfer from dyed denim onto this bag. There is no magical answer but there are a few things that help mitigate it. I personally did not spray my bag, but I have done so with others so you could try using a leather protectant spray to help any future color transfer wipe off a little more easily. I mostly choose not to use this bag if I’m wearing a newer pair of blue or dark jeans that hasn’t been washed at least several times (and be extra careful if it starts raining). If you’re unsure how potent the dye on your denim is, rub a soft white cloth vigorously back and forth on a pair of jeans to see whether it gets stained. Lastly, if the damage has already been done, you can try blotting any color transfer off with a soft white cloth and some leather conditioner. I’ve also read a tip to try using a little saddle soap on a very slightly damp cloth to remove denim dye transfer.

casual spring outfit white jeans striped tee

Halogen linen cardigan (current version) in tan cobblestone, xxs petite (also styled here & here), Madewell tee xxs, similar jeans (love SE brand jeans), KJP bracelet, similar Marc Fisher wedges sz 5. Outfit from this blog post.



2. Saint Laurent Wallet on chain (WOC)

Older review posts:
Saint Laurent WOC (larger size) vs. Chanel WOC
Saint Laurent WOC size comparisons (larger WOC, smaller WOC, and Kate WOC)

It’s easy to see why a timeless small bag that converts seamlessly from elegant evening clutch to daytime crossbody would earn a spot on this list.  They’re also awesome for traveling with due to the versatility. Previously the Chanel wallet on chain pictured below was my no-brainer choice for the WOC category (and it’s still well loved), but after getting my Saint Laurent ones they are a little more practical for a few reasons, not to mention easier on the budget!

little black dress leith wrap style nordstrom

Chanel WOC, Leith ruched dress, Zara heels (similar with a low heel). Outfit from this blog post.

If you are considering a first wallet on chain purchase and want the most practical and durable option, my top recommendation would be the YSL monogramme wallet on chain (larger size starts at $1550 USD). This is made in a lower maintenance pebbled leather, and if you get a darker color it should last you decades and show minimal wear when cared for. As pictured below, the larger WOC has a higher quality, thicker chain strap that is actually a little shorter in length (perfect for my height) compared to the smaller WOC. The capacity of the large is also quite decent (see this review post for what fits inside). Mine has held up remarkably well over the years, and I just wipe it clean with a very slightly damp cloth if needed. There is one corner where the color has scuffed off a little, but leather polish / cream in a similar color will be an easy fix.

YSL saint laurent wallet on chain kate tassel bag review

YSL larger WOC, YSL smaller WOC (how to tell the difference: the smaller size is priced lower and there is a leather strip at the top of the chain strap), and Kate tassel WOC. All are also YSL monogramme wallet on chain w/ free international ship) // Calvin Klein coat (old), Sam Edelman rain boots 5

My YSL Kate tassel bag has also been appearing in a number of posts over the past year, but FYI bags in this style are made of a smooth leather that requires more care than pebbled, and are more prone to scratches. I usually use this when my toddler will be nowhere in sight and try to make sure my hands do not have lotion residue and are completely dry, etc. So the practicality prize within my YSL collection goes to the large pebbled WOC, without a doubt.

petite faux leather leggings

Express peplum top xxs (on sale!), Express faux leather leggings xxs petite (heads up: lower rise), sunglasses, TB pumps 5 (similar), YSL Kate tassel bag – outfit from this post.

3. Goyard St. Louis PM TOTE

This should come as no surprise as this is likely my #1 most used and featured bag! But as a testament to how tastes and lifestyle needs change over time, the very first time I had this bag in my possession (as a gift from my husband 9 years ago – he never tried to surprise me with a bag after that ; ) I actually returned it thinking it was highly impractical for my lifestyle and flimsy. I still do acknowledge that it’s quite expensive for a coated canvas bag with thin leather straps and no zipper.

That being said, what make this bag a serious workhorse for me:

  • Pliable and light as air. What I initially thought of as “flimsy” has ended up being the reason I use this bag the most. I tend to load this tote up, so the bag itself not adding any extra weight is much appreciated. I’ve come to realize that the lack of structure makes it look smaller and more petite friendly compared to a structured tote with the same dimensions. I also like that it folds completely flat for tossing into either my suitcase or another bag when traveling.
  • Low maintenance material. The print camouflages any potential stains, is easy to wipe clean with a very slightly damp cloth, and I’ve also been caught in light rain with no concerns (except for my laptop, since the top is open).
  • Versatile black/brown chevron pattern. This seemingly goes with pretty much everything I wear. Also since I wear a lot of solid colored, more basic pieces, I love having a pop of print from this bag.

I’ve had my St Louis tote for 6 years now and there is some creasing on the handles and light scuffing on two outer corners (which can get patched up someday if it gets more serious), but for the most part it’s still looking great with lots of life left. I do treat all of my bags with care though and avoid putting them on the ground. Here’s some examples of how this bag can complete a dressier, professional outfit vs a very casual one:

goyard st louis tote j crew petite coat

similar Ann Taylor top xxsp, J.Crew coat 00p, Ann Taylor pants (old color) 00p altered. Outfit from this post.


Similar utility jacket xs (see it on me), similar striped tee, similar Nike sneakers, Zella live-in leggings xxs hemmed, similar camel scarf. Outfit from this post.

4. Chanel beige Medium flap

This is a newer addition, but one I can’t stop wearing! I do have to be careful about color transfer, so if “low maintenance” is a priority for you then definitely go for a dark color handbag. From owning other Chanel flap bags, I also know that proper storage is important for helping the bag keep its structure over time, so I try to stuff this with a white cloth bag when not in use. We also try to keep our home at an optimal humidity level for our skin, which hopefully also helps with bag storage since overly dry or humid conditions could affect leather over time.

I’ve gotten a lot of questions on the small vs medium classic flap, both of which I own. I think both sizes are petite-friendly and the size difference looks fairly minimal from the outside. You will fit more inside the medium though, and the key benefit to me of the medium is that the strap is a little longer. It is just long enough for me to wear crossbody style (may not work if you are much taller or have a longer torso), which is actually my favorite way to wear it to dress it down a bit! If you haven’t noticed a pattern yet within this post, having the ability to wear a smaller bag crossbody is KEY (esp as a toddler mama! I’ll just swivel the bag to my backside while carrying Nori).

See my blog post on 5 ways to wear the straps on a Chanel medium flap bag.

chanel medium flap boston petite fashion blog


5. budget buy: Sole Society Zeda tote (under $60)

Also sold at Nordstrom. Compared to the other bags on this list, this one is quite different budget wise but it’s been a bit of an unsung hero in my wardrobe over the past year! I got my first Zeda tote during the NSale last year and love the neutral colors it comes in like the new “mocha.” When I go to work daily at my local coworking space, if I’m not toting my Goyard St Louis then this is my weekday or travel workhorse bag.

The bag itself is fairly lightweight (given the thickness of the material) and roomy, so I load it up with a laptop, change of shoes, lunch, and makeup bag (or with toddler gear). Sometimes I’ll even fold up my Goyard or just stack it inside this Zeda tote for travel, since bags can get manhandled through TSA and then under airplane seats and overhead bins. You kind of get what you pay for in that this is faux leather, and the edge trim on one of my handles is peeling off with use. The overall bag is still well intact though with pretty much no marks or other signs of wear on the faux leather despite undergoing a fair beating.

work outfit inspiration office laptop tote


stylish laptop bag office tote for work
Sole Society toteAnn Taylor jeans 00p, hems cut (reviewed here), H&M sweater xs. Outfit from this post.

What is the most used handbag in your collection? 

Leave a Comment

46 Comments

  1. Anonymous wrote:

    Would love to know which bags you’ve used the least, even if because of personal preference!

    Posted 5.27.20 Reply
  2. Alicia wrote:

    I love posts like this! Pleeeease, do a post of all your bags! 🙂

    Posted 5.25.20 Reply
  3. Pauline wrote:

    Hermès Garden Party. Really lightweight, subtle, holds everything, beautiful, and no color transfer.

    Posted 5.6.20 Reply
  4. Pavi wrote:

    Hey Jean, this blog post is damn useful. My most used bag is my grey longchamp that I got in London

    Posted 5.5.20 Reply
    • Anonymous wrote:

      I love my longchamp as well! very durable and pairs well with anything. ALso, not as pricey as others

      Posted 10.30.20 Reply
  5. Maureen wrote:

    These posts are always so fun and it’s probably because I love handbags. I seriously was drooling over each one. I think my favorite would be your Gucci Soho although you can never go wrong with a Chanel. Right now, I am loving on my AW mini Rockie. 🙂

    Maureen

    Posted 3.17.20 Reply
  6. Anne wrote:

    I love posts like this! They’re both fun and helpful

    Posted 3.14.20 Reply
  7. Jolien wrote:

    You’ve got a nice bag collection I must say.
    I LOVE the red YSL WOC in particular.

    Lots of love,
    Jolien

    Posted 3.10.20 Reply
  8. Cathleen wrote:

    I got the Gucci soho bag from looking at your blog, and I love this bag! (I got it in Paris so it was much cheaper than the US, so yay!) Anyways, it goes so well with everything and thanks for the cardbox tip because the bag does sag a lot like you said!

    Posted 3.9.20 Reply
  9. Karen wrote:

    Hi Jean, do you know where I can get my Goyard St. Louis bag corners patched up? Is there any trusted repair shops in Boston? Thanks!

    Posted 3.9.20 Reply
  10. Tiffany wrote:

    I wish I could say one of my pricier bags is the most used, but find that the Longchamp Pliage and Small Neo Pliage (with removable shoulder strap) versatility transcends seasons and are like the “comfy sweatshirt” version of purses – practical, easy, & carefree.

    Note: an unexpected purse I often reach for (when not wearing a puffy winter jacket) is the YSL Uptown Clutch in croc. Easy to carry necessities for errands/appts/date nights (using a cardholder), and the patent is relatively carefree and easy to carry with the top corner in your hand or tucked under the arm.

    Posted 3.9.20 Reply
    • HH wrote:

      Yes to the small Neo Pliage! I bought it a few years ago and almost use it exclusively except if we’re going out sans toddler at night. Which is…not terribly often.

      Posted 3.12.20 Reply
  11. Stephanie wrote:

    Hi Jean, where is your tweed jacket in the first photo from? I’ve been looking for one but it’s so hard to find! Thank you!

    Posted 3.9.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Stephanie, sadly its VERY old (from a brand called uniqueen that went out of business) and I spent a lot altering it to fit. Ann Taylor regularly has tweed jackets though – not quite the same, but usually some decent options!

      Posted 3.9.20 Reply
  12. Angela Krablin wrote:

    Hi Jean,

    Thanks for the great post. Wondering if you have had any issues with your caramel-colored Prada shown in the photo above? I have a similar Prada in black and am so disappointed in how the sides sag, causing the entire bag to look misshapen. Prada claims there is nothing that can be done about it but I’m hoping you have an idea for a magic fix! 🙂

    Posted 3.9.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Angela – Are you referring to the saffiano lux totes (I have that in caramel but it’s not pictured in this blog post) or the Double bag (which is pictured here in grey, but it’s much sturdier than the saffiano lux)? Unfortunately the saffiano lux style totes are known to sag more with use. I have an acrylic base shaper inside that bag and I think it helps, but I don’t know if there is anything you can do retroactively.

      Posted 3.9.20 Reply
  13. Mireia wrote:

    All these bags are too pretty!

    Mireia from TGL

    Posted 3.9.20 Reply
  14. ST wrote:

    Hi Jean! Thanks for this post. It is very helpful. I would also be interested in your least used handbags if you are happy to share it 🙂

    Posted 3.9.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Will do! Thanks for your feedback : ) xx

      Posted 3.9.20 Reply
  15. Ann wrote:

    Loved this post!! I agree with fellow commenter that it would be nice to see the “least used” section. I’m curious where your white Celine Luggage falls? Been a long time reader and have seen that bag a ton!

    Posted 3.9.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Ann! I’d say it’s medium use : ) It’s one of my only white bags, so fills that void and is an easy one to reach for when I need that color However since the nano strap is a little longer and not adjustable (and I never managed to take it to a cobbler to get shortened), I haven’t been wearing it as much after becoming a mom because I like to have my crossbody bags a little shorter and closer to my torso (when I’m carrying my kid by hand, etc). I’m also less likely to choose white leather now with a toddler!

      Posted 3.9.20 Reply
  16. Anna wrote:

    Great timing on this post! I was just looking into the YSL larger WOC because of the practicality and shorter chain you mentioned but hesitating due to what I’ve read about the leather peeling after just a few uses. How obvious is the scuffing on yours and did it get worse over time? Thanks in advance. (I would be interested in hearing about your “least worn” as well!)

    Posted 3.9.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Anna – wow, I wasn’t even aware that was a commonly talked about issue! I got mine several years ago so now I wonder if there has been any changes that makes it lower in quality since then. My scuffing is literally a little bit of paint coming off a corner from rubbing, not peeling.

      Posted 3.9.20 Reply
      • Alison wrote:

        Hi Jean, thanks so much for this post! I’ve been waiting for you to post your thoughts on the Goyard St Louis totes, since you feature them so often. I’ve been debating this purchase for literally years because I read so many horror stories on the PurseForum about the handles/straps cracking and the corners wearing soon after purchase. It sounds like your bag is holding up well though. Is it just a matter of not loading up the bag with too much weight or caring for it in a certain way? I’d love to take the plunge and buy one! Thanks in advance!

        Posted 3.9.20 Reply
  17. Kimberly wrote:

    Dear Jean
    Please share your least worn bags! It will help avert any mistake-buys , definitely to be avoided esp for a luxury purchase!

    Posted 3.9.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Kimberly – I’ll finish working on the post, but to be honest I wouldn’t consider any of the bags on my list mistake buys! Totally just for different preference and lifestyles.

      Posted 3.9.20 Reply
  18. Caitlin wrote:

    I’m debating between the YSL large WOC in black/gold and the Goyard St. Louis PM in grey – thank you for listing out your experiences with both! If you didn’t have either in your collection, is there one you would buy first?

    Posted 3.8.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Caitlin! Oh my … those are two very different options for very different purposes so this is a tough question! It totally depends on whether you’re desiring an everyday roomy tote more, or a weekend/ evening bag. I will also add my 2 cents that I have the goyard st louis PM in grey and I use it minimally compared to the brown/black. I had thought the grey would be more unique but the brown black is just so versatile, but of course if you wear a lot of colors that go with grey then this would be a different story.

      Posted 3.9.20 Reply
  19. Meredith wrote:

    Definitely my Goyard GM but the handles have cracked. Goyard replaced my first one after 3+ years as the print rubbed off on one side! Those handles were pristine condition! In a close second is my Chanel classic jumbo in black w silver hardware. I love how it wears crossbody to give it a more casual vibe. I’m 5’9 so jumbo is definitely right size for me.

    Posted 3.8.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      How nice that they replaced it! I had never even heard of the print rubbing off as a potential issue!

      Posted 3.9.20 Reply
  20. Jordan wrote:

    Hi, Jean – thanks so much for this post! Is your YSL Kate in the powder color, or the blanc vintage?

    Posted 3.8.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Jordan! Unfortunately I can’t find my receipt for the color name as it’s so old. It might be powder or it might be called pale pink. These days I would prefer a shade a little less feminine to be honest for more versatility!

      Posted 3.9.20 Reply
  21. Anne wrote:

    Thanks for sharing! I’d love to see your whole collection and would love to see what outfits pair with each. It’s fun to build out a collection of my own!

    Posted 3.8.20 Reply
  22. Michelle Wu wrote:

    Hi Jean! What color is the sole society tote you’re wearing? It doesn’t seem to be available anymore (unless it’s light gray?)

    Posted 3.8.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Michelle, I got it last summer from Nordstrom and I forget the color name, but it’s more of a dark taupe. It’s currently sold out but I included the link above to Nordstrom (currently there is only Oxblood listed under the link) but last week I DID see the exact same color pop back.

      Posted 3.9.20 Reply
  23. Nicci wrote:

    Loved the post and am always interested to hear what handbags, especially luxury, are most used since they’re such an investment. I would also like to see what your least used handbags are. Even though they may be your own personal reasons,, they could help convince someone to buy or not buy a bag depending if their needs are similar to or different than yours. 🙂

    Posted 3.8.20 Reply
    • Stephanie Tran wrote:

      Thank you so much for this post, Jean. What’s the name of the color of the pink YSL WOC in your picture? I’m searching around for that beautiful purse

      Posted 3.8.20 Reply
      • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

        Hi Stephanie! It’s so old I’m not entirely sure. It might be called pale pink. But it’s definitely on the feminine side and as I have to admit, as I get older I’m gravitating more to more neutral shades (love the newer taupe color YSL came out with!)

        Posted 3.9.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Happy you like the post, Nicci! I’ll plan to publish the other half then!

      Posted 3.9.20 Reply
  24. Carla Krae wrote:

    Years ago, tge Today Show had a massive discount on Robert Matthew saffiano leather shoulder clutches. I bought 2, one in black and one in dark blue. Whichever one I’m using is my daily bag. I have nerve damage in my right shoulder and arm so using the smallest purse that still works is crucial. My phone goes in the front zipper pocket and my cards are in the interior pocket. The clutch easily holds lipstick, lip balm, a small mirror, a pen, etc. It would be easy to pick up a crossbody strap from Mautto if desired. https://robertmatthew.com/collections/all-handbags/products/robert-matthew-sofia-24k-gold-leather-shoulder-clutch-black-diamond

    Posted 3.8.20 Reply
  25. miki wrote:

    My most worn bag is the LV speedy, I can’t stop loving it!
    Miki x

    Posted 3.8.20 Reply
  26. Sara wrote:

    Hi Jean! Love this post. I actually recently got a Goyard St Louis PM in the same colorway after initial concern that it would be too bulky on my shorter frame… but I absolutely love it! I’m curious to hear about your least-used bags, too.

    Posted 3.7.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Sara ~ Happy to hear that, and I hope it’ll continue to be one that you love and use often!

      Posted 3.8.20 Reply
  27. Lauren wrote:

    Hi Jean. Nice post. I actually would be quite interested in the reasons for “least worn”, as I think this would be helpful for some of us debating a luxury purchase. I’m curious- what did you decide about your mint blue Chanel medium flap? I love that bag but wonder if you find it wearable with lots of outfits? Thanks.

    Posted 3.7.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Lauren! I went into buying that bag knowing it was never going to be one of my frequently worn pieces, since my closet is generally neutral. In looking over my collection I only have about 2 colorful bags (1 red, 1 blue) which are just nice to have for those days when I do want some color! I generally use it more in the spring-summer with cream or pastel outfits.

      Posted 3.8.20 Reply

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