I've Had This Prada Bag for 5 Years and It's Still the Quickest Way I Elevate an Outfit

This baby was definitely money well spent.

Prada Bag
Photo: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

The memory of the day I purchased my first big investment piece, a black, medium-sized Prada Saffiano Lux tote, definitely seems a little hazy these days, but I do remember what pushed me to finally take the plunge. I was working as an assistant fashion editor, writing about celebrity style — who wore what, why it worked, how to get the look, you know the drill — when I realized my own wardrobe was somewhat lacking. Nothing that I owned felt particularly special, and my closet was full of fast fashion finds that said more about fleeting trends than it did about my personal style. So, with a few extra dollars in my bank account, I scrolled on over to The Real Real, found a style I'd been eyeing for a while, and checked out before I could change my mind.

I landed on this specific structured Prada bag because, to me, it felt more timeless and elegant than some of the other popular designer picks. The rectangle shape was a classic, and there were zero bulky zippers, embellishments, or extra-large hardwear, which, in my mind, seemed distracting and too chaotic to really be considered versatile. Plus, the size was just big enough to hold the essentials (even a small laptop!) without overpowering my petite frame.

Once I added in the fact that I was buying it secondhand, and the site knocked over $1,000 off the original price tag, it felt like a super smart choice. I was being practical, buying a quality staple that would serve me for years to come rather than an impulse purchase I might not love in a few months.

And, I can't lie: The idea of walking around with the Prada logo on my arm — an instantly recognizable fashion house that's rich with history — seemed pretty cool, too. In a way, I now had something in common with the style icons I idolized and wrote about every day.

I'm happy to report that, five years after taking my Saffiano Lux out of its dust bag and slipping it onto my shoulder, it still feels like money well spent. I've gone on to wear that thing everywhere, from New York Fashion Week, with elaborate, eye-catching outfits, to brunch with friends, where it helps amp up a simple jeans and T-shirt combo. I've stuffed it with cardigans and water bottles before heading to the office, and (carefully) slipped my makeup bag and a change of shoes in there for weddings. Partially due to the neutral color and somewhat simple design, I've found it looks just as great with a fancy gown as it does with a matching sweatsuit (and pairing Prada with your sweats truly is the celebrity way to wear it). It's become the bag I reach for whenever I'm in a pinch and have no clue what to wear. It mysteriously works every time.

Over the years, my bag has seen me through so many important moments and milestones — interviews, vacations, date nights, you name it — that, in a way, it's gained something that money can't buy: sentimental value. I admittedly haven't splurged on a bag like that since, but I know that when I do, it'll be another well thought out choice that will more than earn its spot in my rotation.

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