Splurging on an of-the-moment It Bag: bad idea?

It's looking like my faculty job search might have a good conclusion and I'm considering a big purchase as a reward. Not counting on it, not counting on it, not counting on it... just starting to let myself imagine it working out.

I fell in love with this very of-the-moment handbag by Off-White at Barney's last month. I am not usually one for street-inspired style or bold patterns, but I love this. The strap has Off-White's riff on industrial tie-down straps. And, as my hobby is building industrial art, I spend a lot of time using tie-downs just like this, along with crane rigging slings and such, so the industrial aesthetic of the bag really amuses me.

But, among fashion people, Off-White is incredibly trendy, such that this will be instantly recognizable. That's usually something I avoid, both because I'm a little ornery about trends and because I don't like to have conspicuously expensive things. Also, my experience is that sometimes the It Bag doesn't age well. I don't want to feel "soooooo last year" with something so pricey. And it's hardly something that would be described as understated and classic. But I do love it.

I am really not a bag person, so I currently own a very minimal Baggu cross-body that I use every day. Another consideration is the size, so I need to go back to Barney's and see if my usual contents will fit. It looks to be the same size as my Baggu bag, though.

I'm sure this style is not everyone's cup of tea, but what do you think about the purchase, conceptually?

(Another amusing option if I don't buy the bag - I see there are many knock-offs of the Off-White strap on ebay, mostly as belts. Since it itself is a direct knock-off of real industrial tie-downs, I'm tempted to look into getting custom straps woven with my art group's logo instead. Maybe I can just use it on an existing bag.)

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36 Comments

  • lisa p replied 4 weeks ago

    Well, it's a fantastic bag - I love the binder clip closure.  But - I absolutely understand how you feel about buying into such a statusy trend.  I know the brand but don't know how broad their bag selection is. Is this a their only bag right now?  Or one among many?  If it was one among many and not the one featured in every blog or ad post, then I'd say go for it.  I hate to enable such a $$ piece, but it sounds like it has meaning to you, and makes sense.

  • Toban replied 4 weeks ago

    I think the bag is gorgeous and very you. It also has a classic vibe that can stand the test of time. I don’t think it will date. Absolutely reward yourself on this amazing achievement. This is a challenging job market for academic positions.

  • Kathie replied 4 weeks ago

    Conceptually, I think rewarding yourself is a wonderful idea. This is a huge achievement, to be offered a position at a top research university. The bag seems to fit perfectly with your style, such that I don’t think it would look dated. You’d be buying it not just for the trend, but for all the other elements of your style that it incorporates. Even if you don’t get this bag, I still think you should reward yourself with something!

  • annagybe replied 4 weeks ago

    In my experience when I had a very trendy bag or shoe, only a few people recognized it. And they were mostly people who worked in the stores that sold them, or in some adjacent industry.
    My regular cohort of people aren’t really fashion people. But this is also Seattle. So it wouldn’t necessarily get recognized as a specific designer item, more comments on the item itself. As in that’s interesting/cool/weird.
    How much of your day to day interaction is with fashion people? Plus your general style is not of the moment fashion person.
    It’s far less recognizable than the Louis Vuitton or Gucci logo. Though being Off White you might get a few comments from the sneakerhead Supreme crowd

    ETA that was a long winded way of saying go get it if it fits your stuff

  • JAileen replied 4 weeks ago

    Conceptually, I think buying yourself a treat after a great travail is a great idea. After I passed the CPA exam I bought a new watch.

    As for It bags, I’m out of the loop, sorry.

  • Greyscale replied 4 weeks ago

    Anna, that's a really good point - no one around me will recognize it, which makes me less self-conscious about it. Like you, I'm happy to get comments about it being interesting/cool/weird. The sneakerhead thing is my one concern - I feel like a bit of a poser with this bag maybe? But that is very unlikely to come up.

    Lisa, also a great point. They have many bags with similar elements, but each one a bit different. So it's not like I see this particular bag on the street around me or anything.

    Toban and Kathie, thanks - it really has been a very challenging few years.

    I'm also getting ahead of myself, because there's some administrative delay on my offer at the one place where I know I'm their choice, and I don't know how serious the holdup is. I've definitely seen these things fall apart at the last minute. But after all this time I want to let myself imagining it working out, at least.

  • Jenni NZ replied 4 weeks ago

    Well, I wouldn't. The job and your achievement sounds wonderful, but conceptually I'd personally be having a celebratory dinner not an expensive bag. It's gorgeous but I suspect you won't wear it enough and will be annoyed with yourself?

  • Janet replied 4 weeks ago

    Ok, I’m not reading the other responses first, but I had an immediate reaction: I think it’s awesome.

    Even though it may be of the moment, it’s unique enough to be a classic-for-you piece that outlasts it’s trendy moment. If you love it and envision using it for years to come, and it fits your color palette (which is obviously does), and functions as you need it to, I say it’s worthwhile.

    (I say this from the perspective of someone who splurged on Rockstuds years ago because they were the most “me” pumps I’d seen, and they were comfortable too — I’ll wear them for decades if I can, even though their big trendy moment has passed.)

  • Barbara Diane replied 4 weeks ago

    How many years from now do you want to be wearing it? Do you see it going with your style for that long? Will you use it every day?

    I admit I would be less hesitant if the price was in my comfort zone, but that is individual.

    I love the idea of having something unique made.

  • Suz replied 4 weeks ago

    I think it's fantastic and perfect for your style. It won't date, no way -- it has a classic shape and a crisp appearance. It will add a jolt of fun to all black outfits. It looks versatile. I say go for it. Either that, or the self-designed option you mentioned. And congratulations on your achievement! 

  • Style Fan replied 4 weeks ago

    Congratulations.  Fingers crossed.  I hope it all works out for you.  
    I like the bag a lot.  I am not a bag person and I know absolutely nothing about bags.  But I would not think that bag would date.  It looks classic enough with a twist.  It looks like your style and it has meaning to you.
    I have bought myself presents for different reasons.  I have never regretted any of my purchases but I don't use them all. 

  • Janet replied 4 weeks ago

    Oh! And congratulations! I hope all goes well and you have all the reasons to celebrate! I say a celebratory dinner AND a bag are in order. 

  • annagybe replied 4 weeks ago

    I think unless you wear it with Yeezy’s or some crazy rare Nike’s you’ll be safe. And somehow I don’t think that’s you. ;)

  • Janet replied 4 weeks ago

    LOL Anna! 

  • lisa p replied 4 weeks ago

    Hahahaha! Do it !

  • UmmLila replied 4 weeks ago

    If it was anyone other than you, I'd say no, the clip and the strap are too specific, and a pattern is difficult to work with. However, given your strict color palette and your minimal-industrial aesthetic, I think it's a piece that will serve you for a long time.

    Note -- Barney's is now showing it sold out, so I hope you snapped it up!

  • Greyscale replied 3 weeks ago

    Not to worry, I've found it on some other sites (including consignment). That's just the one I'd bookmarked. I'm hoping they still have it at the Barney's in SF though because I'd like to look at it in person again before I commit.

  • Sal replied 3 weeks ago

    I like the bag for you Greyscale and best of luck on the position.  Hope it all works out!!

    I sometimes have a two week rule for these "treat" items - do I still feel the same after two weeks.  If so then I believe it is genuine not an impulse...

  • efbgen replied 3 weeks ago

    I hope your efforts pay off in this job. It is so nice to see hard work rewarded.
    I think the idea of a treat or reward wonderful. I think SAL has a great idea- just putting a little time and space between desire and purchase is wise. It’s a great bag and not sure it will be dated or off trend over time ( I actually think it has a classic vibe myself). So I think the purchase will be fine.
    I just think patience is warranted until you a) get confirmation and b) understand possible unforeseen expenses associated with getting the position ( relocating costs, legal obligations, travel, unknowns)
    Then it will be an even sweeter reward

  • Gaylene replied 3 weeks ago

    Everything Janet said. Instead of wondering about the bag’s trendiness or “classic” longevity, assess its potential an “iconic” piece which aligns your personal aesthetic.

    The enduring quality of any statement item is due to its ongoing relevance to you, not to the fickleness of the general public. My “iconic” items are always a part in my personal style, regardless of whether or not the fashion deems them of-the-moment, because they are items which identify me.

    Congratulations and best wishes for a speedy confirmation!

  • La Pedestrienne replied 3 weeks ago

    It's a great looking bag and totally in keeping with your aesthetic, but do go and load it up and make sure the functionality is there for you. 4.5x7" is pretty tiny, and I say that as someone who usually opts for smaller bags rather than larger.

  • shevia replied 3 weeks ago

    I hope they clear up the delay quickly - who likes to left on tenterhooks? This bag does not scream fashion victim - it is your style and I say go for it!

  • Sheila replied 3 weeks ago

    I really like this bag for you. It is very cool.

  • rachylou replied 3 weeks ago

    I’m not a handbag person either, but I do have an ‘it’ bag for me. It’s the Queen Mum style purse - top handled, black. I have always known this. In my heart of hearts, it’s The One. Mine is Gucci but completely unrecognisably so, and I think it’s going on 30 years. I won’t need another purse ever, it has my heart so completely. I will never tire of it; I haven’t yet. Every other handbag I will buy will come from Target because I know they will be petty crushes. Lol. My Testament to My Love of this one handbag.

    If this is your bag like this, I say go for it. Otherwise, I say treat yourself to some blue chip stock.

  • gryffin replied 3 weeks ago

    Greyscale - you don’t love this bag because it’s “of the moment” you live it because it resonates w who you are, what you do, and what you love. As Gaylene, rachy and Anna said so well. This bag is iconic for you. I truly believe when we find the perfect thing there is a “recognition of self.” It’s obvious it belongs, looks right, fits perfectly and makes our heart sing. Those are the pieces we should buy. Those are the pieces that stand the test of time. Malcolm Levene calls it “the spirit of clothes” and when that connects to your heart it it those pieces that make you feel wonderful. So it this bag is that piece and you have the resources then a big thumbs up from me.

  • Bijou replied 3 weeks ago

    Well I really hope you get the job. I also think this bag gels with your style and is a great way to celebrate.

  • kkards replied 3 weeks ago

    sometimes, you just have to treat yourself.....fab bag, and as been pointed out seems just so in your style wheelhouse....

  • Angie replied 3 weeks ago

    100% with Anna.

    GO GET THE BAG.

  • bj1111 replied 3 weeks ago

    so did you get it?  the bag? the job?

    ps. if you are headed to the east coast, except for new york, i don't think standard issue academics are going to recognize the bag so you can fly under the radar.  although some of the students might!

  • Joy replied 3 weeks ago

    Hoping you secure the job and find out soon. You have excellent advice here. Reward yourself.

  • Lesley replied 3 weeks ago

    Here's a question: How well do you know yourself? Do you make large purchasing mistakes and have a graveyard of stuff in your closet that you were in love with and dropped 2 years later? Or do you typically buy things you love and wear them to death? If you are the latter, I say get the bag, dammit. If you can afford it and love it you will love it for many years. I find that my purchases that are driven by crazed love are never the ones I regret... they are the ones I still use 20 years later!

  • Greyscale replied 3 weeks ago

    Thanks all for the wisdom! I still don’t have an offer in hand but it’s looking more solid. I can’t believe how slow this process is. 8 months and counting!

    I went back to Barney’s and confirmed that it’s an ok size: keys phone wallet sunglasses fit and I like the proportions. No spare room for the things I sometimes cram in (sunscreen, bandana) but I often have a tote bag for those.

    Barney’s had sold theirs (I looked at a different color) but I have a few possibilities online. There was an authenticated one on Vestiaire Collective at a great price but it sold. :(

  • jill58 replied 3 weeks ago

    Great bag! If it makes you happy I think it would be a perfect celebratory purchase.

  • Diana replied 3 weeks ago

    Heh, around here nobody would recognize it so I say go for it. I think it’s awesome. :)

    And I’m totally late to this post but congrats!

  • tulle replied 3 weeks ago

    I hope you get the job, Greyscale, and if you do, why not get the bag?  I agree with Anna and everyone else that trendiness is not really an issue when the item in question has intrinsic design integrity, special meaning for you, and all-around lovability, so reward yourself, and enjoy it.

    P.S. If I had just achieved an important goal, I would be very tempted by the pink/paperclip bag...

  • Alexandra Nicole replied 3 weeks ago

    I do not splurge on my style unless it is with bags and shoes! In my experience, be weary of colors that can be easily stained. If you are going with an expensive bag, you probably plan on carrying it for the long run! While trendy and, in some cases, classic, cream bags stain easily, even if it is leather. I recommend reconsidering the color choice unless you plan on keeping it stored for special occasions. :-)

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