Should You Bag, Borrow or Steal?

Updated September 1, 2020

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Q: I was on a blog searching celebrity gossip and there was a link called and basically you can rent a handbag, return it and rent another one for a fee each month. Why in the hell would someone want to rent a handbag? Couldn’t you just save up and buy it?

A: I’ve received quite a few questions about and other sites like it. These sites charge a flat fee per month (starting at around $10 bucks and increasing) and then an additional fee for renting ranging from $5 a week for cheap bags you can buy easily at your local Marshalls to $100+ a week for a couture bag that you probably didn’t need anyway.

The appeal is a little like leasing vs. buying a car— those who like to change purses often or want the status that a brand name conveys will like the service. But unlike a car, which provides transportation, you don’t NEED a designer purse.  Folks act like carrying a designer bag is some basic human right. What would be smarter would be to take that $300 a month and save it and within 3 months, you could have the bag. Or better yet invest it in a retirement fund or savings account and forget about this obsession with status.

On a personal note: I’m a big fan of purses. I love them (along with accessories in general).  I would never participate in a service like this for the same reason I would never lease a BMW or Mercedes—if I can’t afford to buy it, then I don’t need to have it.  Although, if I lived in a place like my hometown of Minneapolis, where the public transportation system is practically non existent, then I might consider leasing a BMW . . .but never a bag.

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By Catherine Brock

As a Southern California transplant now living in the Midwest, Catherine has turned layering into an art form and accepted that UGGs actually do have a place in the stylish lady's wardrobe. She's been featured in Woman's World Magazine,, Refinery29, and has made appearances on ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis, KCAL9 Los Angeles, Fox19 Cincinnati, WGN TV Chicago and WCPO TV Cincinnati.

17 replies on “Should You Bag, Borrow or Steal?”

Personally, I think the price structure of the makes membership/rental too expensive to be worth it. The cost of renting designer purses is high enough that you are better off buying one. However, if you “save up and buy one,” that one bag is all you got, whereas bag rental allows you to change it up. I think the concept is pretty clever in that you can try out different designers, borrow bags for specific occasions and looks, and keep up with trends as a “fashionista” would do.

I love everything about handbags…a true junkie! I like the idea of “rentals” because you can have what you want, even if it’s just for a little while. If you only want to get these bags to impress people, then rentals are cool; otherwise stick with bags in your price range and build up a collection….10 hot bags to mix up with your clothes is better than one bag that only goes with one or two outfits.

Honestly, I’m with you.  I love a good bag and it adds a lot to an outfit.  But I would rather buy one high quality, original bag from an unknown designer and carry it for years than spend a lot of time, energy and money borrowing super high end designer purses. 

Plus, given how people treat their leased and rented cars, I can’t imagine that the bags are in the best shape.

I’ve looked at this site before and I just couldn’t do it, because it would be too much torture to return the bags. I’d want to buy them all and then I’d have to sell my house and live in my car full of purses in the Taco Bell parking lot.

It’s a pretty good idea for those women who are very into the “it” bags. But I probaly wouldn’t do it, just because I would fall in love with each of the bags and then I would buy them, and end up spending way to much money.

But I’m in LOVE with the bag that is pictured. Could you tell me who it’s by, and where to buy it at?


You said it!  I know someone who does this and I feel so sad for her because only one or two people even recognize that she’s carrying a different bag (with a name) every few weeks.

People are too wrapped up in their own things to pay attention to your new couture! 

But I’m in DC and not NYC or LA, so maybe there it’s different.

Shelby, that’s the Fendi Spy bag, you can get it at Neimans or Bloomingdale’s or other high end department stores like that.

I went through a bag-o-the-moment phase, fortunately when I didn’t have enough money to be buying bags at *all*… now, I see the quality in owning (bought and paid for) a nice staple (one the higher ups can see me bring into the office without cringing) and then fun bags by independent designers – gives them a boost and lets me be more than one-more-chick-carrying-that-marc-jacobs-bag-down-the-street!

Joi’s got it right…Invest in one or two pricey, quality, designer bags in classic ‘signature’ styles, then get the trendy, seasonal bags at discount outlets.  It’s better to have one or two quality bags you’ll use for years than break the bank trying to keep up with a new designer trend every three months.  Plus this strategy allows you to buy more shoes :-).

I agree with you. The cost of renting any of the bags I would even remotely consider is incredible. I would much rather save that money and spend it on clothes! Plus, every time I head to TJ Maxx or Ross, I always find nice Coach and Cole Haan bags for around $100. Why spend twice that a month to rent them?

I guess I am the only one that really likes it. I have used it and love it. I like having the bags for special occasions and the bags are in excellent shape and I get to try the bag out before I buy it. Just because I love designers bags does not make me superficial or ignorant fool spending money. It is something that I enjoy and that is it.

If it works out for you then great but I can see where it would not for a lot of folks.
I live in DC also and a good handbag can make you feel great and does get noticed in the right circles, no different then a new outfit or a great pair of shoes. I just don’t spend my money on other things like cigarettes or alcohol so I guess this is my vice.

Hi girls in the US,

As I am in the UK unfortunately I cannot make use of this wonderful service !!  Not fair, we have a website over here but it is not anywhere near as cheap as yours so consider yourselves lucky.  Like most of you I love current handbags but get bored easily! 

When a Fendi/Chloe bag over here costs in the region of

This is so true, I bought Coach bags in the past but the styles change so often you would have to constantly purchase new bags to keep up with the current trend.  I can count the number of times I wore them.  I will take advantage of this because I attend different events and most are upscale so this is so ideal for me.  I only wish I would have thought of the idea myself.  This is a genius idea.  If you can afford it I say go for it.

Leasing is just another form of financing at very high terms. So even if you’re thinking of leasing that BMW, think again—in 5 years, you’ll be no closer to owning that hunk of metal, than you would be to owning that Prada.

So, my advice? Do what the Budget Fashionista says. Buy things you really love and are worth it to you to save for, and yes, save your money to buy ….erhm……real estate even though what you can buy may not be what Ivanka Trump can buy.

So, my advice? Do what the Budget Fashionista says. Buy things you really love and are worth it to you to save for, and yes, save your money to buy ….erhm……real estate even though what you can buy may not be what Ivanka Trump can buy.

You may never consider it but I have. First of all I don’t think Bag Borrow or Steal charged anything other than the bag rental, no membership fees. Second, if you’re paying $300/month then that means you’re renting something like the Chanel classic flap bag, the 2.55, which costs about $5,000 to purchase, so you can’t save that up in 3 months. Even a used one will cost about $3,000, so you can save for 10 months if you want to. There are other reasons to rent handbags though. I have my few staple handbags that I own, but sometimes I want something a little more fun and colorful. I won’t spend $1,500 for a trendy, colorful Gucci purse that will be out of style by next year, but I will spend $100 to rent it for a month. Sometimes you want something fun for vacations or because you’re tired of seeing black and grey all winter. Yes there are people spending money they don’t have for something they don’t need. There are also people who realize that renting a bag is sometimes a smaller cost than the hit you’ll take buying and selling a bag you know you won’t want to keep forever. Life should be enjoyed. We shouldn’t exist merely to put away money for old age. With planning you can have enough for your necessities and pleasure. If fashion is enjoyable to some people then it’s money well spent.

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