When It Comes To Designer Handbags, Borrowing Is The New Buying

Bella Gerard
When It Comes To Designer Handbags, Borrowing Is The New Buying
Photo: Bella Gerard.

When I first moved to New York City and started attending events in the fashion circuit, I was wowed by how everyone dressed to the nines for every occasion. What impressed me even more, though? There seemed to be absolutely zero outfit repeating—sorry, Lizzie McGuire. In particular, I couldn’t help but notice many of my colleagues sporting new designer bags with every single look, and after a few months in the game, I finally learned their secret. Now, it’s time to pass on my knowledge to all other luxury fashion-lovers by way of an honest Vivrelle review. Let’s begin, shall we?

When it came to always having a new outfit, getting a Rent The Runway membership was an absolute lifesaver for me. And it wasn’t just a matter of keeping up with my peers; I loved getting to try new looks without the commitment of buying them to sit in my closet forever. Still, while RTR had some nice accessories, the word “runway” was loosely defined in terms of brands offered. I wanted quilted Chanels, Fendi baguettes and Goyard totes!

I considered splurging a time or two, but three things always held me back. First, my taste was ever-changing, and I never found one bag I could justify buying when I knew I might not love it forever. Second, I didn’t want to blow all my money on one purse when everyone around me had dozens to choose from. Third, I didn’t have a cool five thousand dollars lying around to drop on a handbag. Sound familiar? I realized I wasn’t the only one with this very first-world problem.

STYLECASTER | Vivrelle Review

Bella Gerard.

It was a friend at fashion week that first told me about Vivrelle, a club that allows members to borrow (aka, rent) handbags, designer and diamond jewelry (they just launched an exclusive collection with Stephanie Gottlieb!) and even accessories plucked directly from influencers’ closets. This was the secret to how everyone I knew seemed to have a brand-new bag every few weeks—they simply borrowed a piece, wore it to a few events, posed for a few Instagram pics, then swapped it for another bag when they were over it. I was shook! How had I known about Rent The Runway and yet not been in the Vivrelle loop?!

Needless to say, I reached out and asked to try the service, and Vivrelle generously let me do so in exchange for an honest review. Members of the club (you can apply on their website right this minute) mostly select their bags online, but seeing as I live nearby their HQ in New York City, I stopped in to pick my pocketbook in person and spent a fair amount of time drooling over the selection.

STYLECASTER | Vivrelle Review

Bella Gerard.

 

Ultimately, I went with a pink lambskin leather Chanel bag, complete with the classic Chanel CC twist-lock closure and a slew of kitschy charms adorning the strap, similar to this one currently on the Vivrelle site. Were I to buy a Chanel bag for longterm wear, I’d certainly pick a more low-key style, but that was the beauty of using Vivrelle: The bag was temporary. I could afford to have some fun with it.

After loving it for a few months longer than expected—thanks, quarantine—I decided to swap it out for another bag to try out Vivrelle’s direct-to-member delivery experience. I selected another bold Chanel piece, this time a PVC and yellow calfskin leather backpack. The online selection process was a breeze, and my bag arrived quickly, packaged neatly in a box with a Vivrelle dust bag and return label for when it was time to send back. I was impressed!

 

STYLECASTER | Vivrelle Review

Bella Gerard.

Again, I’m in no position to be dropping thousands of dollars on a handbag right now, but getting to wear one for a few weeks was a treat like no other. I can easily see how this style-and-swap method of borrowing bags could become addictive, especially if you like changing up your look as often as I do.

No wonder so many people in the fashion world are Vivrelle stans. It’s true—if you’re planning to buy and use one bag for the rest of your life, it makes more sense to save up and purchase said bag than to pay a monthly rental fee. But, if you’re like me and want a new look on the reg, borrowing bags is the absolute best option. In fact, I’m now mind-blown at the idea of splurging on a trendy purse that I know will ultimately go out of style. Why bother?

STYLECASTER | Vivrelle Review

Vivrelle.

That said, let’s talk pricing. Vivrelle offers three membership tiers: Classique, Couture, and Couture+. Classique will run you $99 monthly, and you can borrow one item a month with a retail value of under $4,000. For anything above $4,000 as well as unique and limited edition pieces (like my borrowed Chanel beauties) you’ll want to upgrade to Couture for $199 a month. If you’re a big spender, Couture+ will cost you $279 a month, and you’ll be able to rent two items at a time, one from the Classique selection and the other from the Couture range.

Oh, and BTW, you don’t have to swap every month. If you love a bag so much you want to keep it the entire year, you totally can! Vivrelle is ideal for people who want a constant change-up, but who says you can’t rent one piece for six months and then decide you love it so much, you want to buy it for real?

STYLECASTER | Vivrelle Review

Bella Gerard.

While I love an on-sale deal or a thrift store find as much as the next girl, I admit that my eyes light up when I see a designer handbag that checks all my boxes. A piece that feels special, luxurious and beautiful. Still, as my own taste evolves and I enjoy playing with fashion, I don’t feel the need to limit myself (and drain my wallet) by splurging on one designer item.

If you’re in a similar boat and want to explore some options, Vivrelle is a major Yes in my book. Borrowing is the new buying, and I no longer look enviously at others sporting new handbags every few weeks. Now that I know their secret, they only serve as inspo for what bags I should borrow next.

Our mission at STYLECASTER is to bring style to the people, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale and the retailer may receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes.

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