Whether you've been a fan of the brand for years or are just looking to upgrade your wardrobe, purchasing a Prada bag is a big investment.

And while you might plan to carry this bag for years to come, you also need to account for changing trends and fashion during this time.

Here is what you need to know:

For some people, finding the perfect Prada bag might be as simple as walking into a boutique and falling in love.

Look familiar? It takes a lot to decide on the perfect Prada bag!

For others, though, deciding on one of these bags takes weeks, or even months, of window shopping and weighing the pros and cons of each bag.

So if you have your heart set on adding one of these luxury handbags to your wardrobe, but you're overwhelmed by the prospect of investing thousands of dollars into a new bag, we're here to help!

Prada: The Brand

Despite Prada's instantly recognizable name, you might not know much about the brand and its history.

Like most designer fashion brands, Prada is actually a person.

Or, to be exact, an entire family:

Two brothers, Mario and Martino Prada, opened the first Prada store in Milan, Italy, in 1913. Much like today, the Prada of the early 20th century sold trunks, handbags, and other travel accessories.

prada boutique where you can buy original prada products

image via LAUalwigoja on Wikipedia Commons

In 1919, Prada became the Official Supplier of the Italian Royal House. This title launched the brand into its modern luxury status.

With the official seal of aristocracy proudly displayed in its logo, Prada quickly became associated with royalty and prestige.

But this is really interesting:

Mario and Martino Prada were strong proponents against women entering the workforce.

Ironically, though, it was Mario's daughter and granddaughter who would turn Prada into a world-renowned fashion brand.

image CC by 2.0, by , via ​Wikimedia, cropped

I always loved aesthetics. Not particularly fashion, but an idea of beauty. 


- Miuccia Prada

Through the years, Luisa and Miuccia Prada continued producing high-end luggage, bags, and accessories.

But it wouldn't be until the late 1970s that Miuccia Prada and her future husband would solidify the brand's role as an international style authority.

history of prada

The Complete Prada Bag Style Guide

When choosing a Prada bag, it's not just a matter of picking from one or two styles or colors.


Not even close:

Prada's collection of luxury handbags contains hundreds, if not thousands, of different combinations of materials, colors, silhouettes, and hardware.

Red, white, and blue Prada bag. Image via DIY Trade

Prada bags come in a range of styles: from classy and sleek to bright and eccentric.

So before you can purchase a Prada bag with 100-percent confidence, it's important to understand all of the available options.

Image CC by 2.0, by nicogenin, via Flickr

With only one bag, you can change your outfit completely.


- Sonia Rykiel

Here are the basics:

Each Prada bag is part of a specific line.

While these bags might have different colors, material, or hardware options, each bag within a specific line will share the same basic silhouette and aesthetic.

Narrowing down your choices to one or two Prada bag lines can help you get one step closer to finding the bag.

And don't worry:

Because we've put together a quick and easy Prada bag style guide to help you learn which bag is the right fit for you and your wardrobe!

Galleria

The Prada Galleria bag is one of the most understated, classic silhouettes sold by the brand.

Have a look:

The Galleria handbag features an almost square shape and classic double-leather handles and a removable shoulder strap.

While the Galleria isn't quite oversized, it certainly isn't a small handbag, either.

 It features two exterior pockets and three interior pockets for added organization.

Each Prada Galleria bag features high-quality Saffiano leather, gold or steel hardware, and a gold- or steel-accented logo on the bag's exterior.

You can find the Galleria bag in a wide range of colors, from hot pink to natural tanned brown.

If you're looking for a subdued handbag that can be paired with literally any outfit, the Galleria is probably a good first choice. However, it might not offer enough off-the-wall, designer charm for some shoppers.

But we aren't done yet:

Ouverture

The Prada Ouverture bag is another minimalist option.

But this Prada bag cranks up its design with contrasting leather accents.

The Ouverture line features several different silhouette options: handbagslarge totes, and bucket bags.

Most of the Ouverture bags come in quality leather, but you can also find some featuring the brand's classic nylon material.

You have lots of options:

Depending on which silhouette you choose, the Ouverture line of bags can range from fairly oversized to small.

The traditional handbags and totes are on the larger side, while the bucket bag is much more compact.

Each Ouverture bag, regardless of style, comes with a detachable shoulder strap.

This Prada bag typically only comes in contrasting natural leather hues or black, but you might be able to catch unique colorways during seasonal releases.

However, the bucket bag silhouette does come in royal blue and white.

In our opinion, the Ouverture Prada bag is best suited for a wardrobe with an earthy, 70s-inspired style.

Sidonie

The Prada Sidonie line is one of the newest handbag silhouettes to join the brand. This Prada bag is a unique take on the classic saddle bag style and utilizes contrasting leather for added flair.

The Sidonie Prada bag currently comes in a handful of striking colorways, including white, red, and blue.

Most of the Sidonie handbags feature black contrasting leather along the bottom, sides, front flap, and handles.

This Prada bag forgoes the classic triangle logo for bold metal text across the front flap. Metal hardware also adorns the flap's closure and shoulder strap attachment points.

But know this:

If you're looking for a Prada bag to hold all of your day-to-day belongings, this probably shouldn't be your first choice.

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The Sidonie line features some pretty small bags, measuring only 28 centimeters (about 11 inches) at their widest point.

However, this is a great going-out bag for when you just need the essentials.

Margit

The Prada Margit line of bags also feature a silhouette reminiscent of the saddlebag style, but in the form of a tote.

These bags are very understated and simple with hardly any accents aside from the extremely subtle logo on the front.

This Prada bag currently comes in two sizes:

20 centimeters (just under 8 inches) or 29 centimeters (about 11 inches). 

You can carry the Margit bag in-hand or sling it over one shoulder.

Each Margit Prada bag features one large inner pocket with two small sections for added organization.

This line has some variety too:

The Margit line comes in a handful of colorways, from canary yellow to stark white. 

And you can choose from suede or leather for the outer material (though not all colors come in every material).

If you're looking for an extremely simple, clean Prada bag that will go with any outfit, the Margit line of bags might be the perfect addition to your wardrobe.

Odette

This line is quite interesting:

According to Prada, the Odette bag is modeled after vintage camera cases carried by photographers and reporters. And looking at the clean, structured lines of the Odette Prada bag, this inspiration is pretty clear.

The Odette line of bags can be transformed from a large handled clutch to a statement shoulder bag.

So if you prefer a small bag with hands-free versatility, the Odette is one of our favorite silhouettes.

The Odette bag typically comes in Saffiano leather with a small range of classic colorways depending on the season.

But remember:

Like most of Prada's luxury bag lines, you can occasionally find special releases featuring ostrich leather and other premium materials.

Despite its small size, this Prada bag can fit quite a bit in its one main compartment and two inner pockets. 

Plus, the end-to-end zipper offers full access for large wallets, personal technology, and more.

Cahier

The Prada Cahier bag comes in several different sizes, but each one features head-turning metal hardware and contrasting leather accents.

The Cahier line comes in two main sizes:

The larger handbag measures 20 by 26 centimeters (about 8 by 10 inches) and is only available in black and white.

The smaller version of the Cahier, though, measures 12 by 18 (about 5 by 7 inches) and comes in countless seasonal colorways from deep plum to bold metallic studs.

The Cahier bag is definitely a statement piece, but its Victorian-inspired metal accents and clean lines mean that it still pairs well with most outfits.

Not to mention, you can wear it hands free.


This Prada bag would look at home in both a sleek, curated wardrobe or closet full of eccentric garments.

Diagramme

If you like texture in your accessories, the Prada Diagramme bag will be right up your alley.

Take a look:

This bag features an exterior of stunning matelassé (stitched or quilted) leather that adds movement while remaining subtle.

The Diagramme line of bags features many different silhouettes, from small cross-body bags to full totes.

But each bag is adorned with the same matelassé leather.

Another great thing about the Diagramme line is that it comes in dozens of colorways. 

So if you're in love with this bag's textured leather, you're sure to find a color that you love just as much.

Etiquette

While most Prada bags are extremely structured, the Etiquette line offers a slightly slouchy silhouette for those who prefer a more relaxed look.

However, this bag is still very stylish and sleek. And it blends well into any type of wardrobe.

Check this out:

The Etiquette bag comes in a variety of premium materials, including leather and soft suede. And seasonal colors for this line range from subdued and classic to bright and trendy.

Seriously bright and trendy, even tie-dye!

Each Etiquette Prada bag comes with two shoulder straps for versatile wear. Plus, the etiquette includes a removable leather luggage tag with a built-in mirror.

In our opinion, those looking for a Prada bag with casual appeal should start their search with the Etiquette line.


Elektra

The last Prada bag in our guide is the Elektra. This bag brings together designer luxury and a little bit of punk rock flair in the form of metal studs.

The Elektra bag is a simple handbag that goes well with an edgy wardrobe. But you can also pair this Prada bag with a more classic outfit as a statement piece.

You have several options:

As you'd probably guess from the edgy metal accents adorning this bag, it's available in a range of bright colorways.

But you can also opt for a subtler version of this bag with black or white leather.

Like everything Prada, you can find the perfect combination for you. 

How Much Does a Prada Bag Cost?

It's no secret that a Prada bag, regardless of style, isn't cheap. But for many fashion-conscious shoppers, these bags represent a long-term investment that will be a wardrobe staple for years to come.

Prada handbag prices vary depending on factors like size, material, accents, and special releases.

However, you can get a general idea of each line's pricing using our chart below:

price ranges for different prada bag styles infographics

If owning a Prada bag is a lifelong dream, then you're probably more than prepared to invest thousands of dollars in your new bag.

Prada advertisements backlit on a wall

It's horrible when people are only interested in buying labels, because it doesn't bring them the happiness they think it will. 


- Miuccia Prada

Take a deep breath!

Then consider this:

If these prices come as a shock, remember that you can find quality, like-new Prada bags on the used market.

Opting for a slightly used bag can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

And don't worry, because we'll go into more detail about where to buy an authentic, quality Prada bag in the next section!

Where to Buy Your Prada Bag

The most obvious, and most trustworthy, place to purchase a Prada bag is at an official Prada boutique.

Here's why:

Not only do you know that you're getting an authentic product, but you also benefit from Prada's exceptional customer service and warranty program.

Also, Prada boutiques will always have the most recent handbag releases according to the current season.

However, buying directly from a Prada boutique means paying full price. And for some shoppers, these prices don't fit within their budget.

But wait:

Where can you find authentic Prada bags on the used market?

Your first stop should be your local secondhand handbag boutique. If you're located in or near a major city, you're probably surprisingly close to one or more of these specialty retailers.

an actress and film producer Bo Derek

image via Gage Skidmore

Whoever said that money can’t buy happiness, simply didn’t know where to go shopping.


- Bo Derek

Designer handbag consignment stores are expertly trained to identify authentic products. If it's not real, they won't invest the time and money to stock it in their inventory.

Of course, this assumes that your local handbag consignment store is trustworthy. Before spending money at one of these retailers, do your own research through customer reviews or word-of-mouth.

Buying used handbags online

The biggest concern when buying any used designer goods is the possibility of unknowingly purchasing a counterfeit item.

And this is especially true when shopping online.

Fortunately, though, many secondhand retailers have found ways to prevent the sale of fake products on their platforms.

Look at these solutions:

Poshmark and eBay have both released authentication programs for designer goods sold through their apps and websites.

Buying designer goods on one of these websites works much the same as buying any other item.

But instead of shipping directly to the buyer, the product makes a stop with a third party who verifies that the item is 100-percent authentic.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Some platforms, like eBay, only offer their authentication program on certain listings.

Before making a purchase, always double-check that your Prada bag is covered through this program and will receive a professional, independent inspection before being sent to you.

And regardless of if you're shopping online or in person, remember that it's almost always best to pass on a deal that seems too good to be true.

How to Spot a Fake Prada Bag

Sometimes, though, you don't have the benefit of professional authentication.

If someone you know owns a Prada bag that you suspect is fake, or if you've already bought a bag from an unofficial retailer, there are ways to check if your handbag is authentic.

Here's how:

Some counterfeits bags are extremely obvious. Poor stitching, substandard leather, or branding inconsistencies are all easy to spot even with an untrained eye.

But other fake products pose a more difficult challenge. And the best counterfeits can even stump the professionals at times.

If you'd like to watch a professional examine an authentic Prada bag, check out this video from LuxeHD:

play

Logo

When inspecting a Prada bag, one of the first things to look at is the logo:

Here's what to look for:

Most designer handbag experts point to the logo's "R" as the dead giveaway for many fakes. In the real logo, the "R" features a distinct curve in the bottom leg.

If this curve is missing or at the wrong angle, the Prada bag in question is almost guaranteed to be a counterfeit.

While other aspects of the brand's logo can certainly indicate a fake product, the Prada font is the one standard across all modern versions of the logo.

If you're inspecting a vintage Prada bag, keep in mind that the logo did not always include the curved gap in the "R."

For help identifying one of these bags, we recommend reaching out to a vintage fashion expert either online or in person.

But since all modern Prada products feature the exact same font on this part of the logo, it is extremely easy to compare across the different bag styles.

Interior

The inner fabric of a Prada bag varies depending on the style and other factors. But looking at the inner logo tag is another great way to identify a counterfeit product.

Keep these points in mind:

Regardless of what kind of fabric lines the inside of your bag, the logo tag should be the exact same shade or only slightly darker. The corners of this tag should be rounded.

Also, Prada typically only uses ceramic or leather for their inner tags. If you find a tag constructed with paper, plastic, or vinyl, it is almost 100-percent a fake.

If the tag is completely absent, or if the label is not rectangular (for instance, triangular like the outer plaque) the bag is not authentic.

Again, check the logo's font and other features for signs of a counterfeit bag.

Hardware

The hardware on your Prada bag, regardless of the finish, should feel high-quality and work smoothly.

And don't forget:

You should also check the brand name embossed on the zipper. Prada only uses Lampo, Ykk, Riri, Opti, or Ipi hardware, so if you see a different brand, you are holding a counterfeit bag.

Counterfeiters will often misspell these brands by one letter, so keep an eye out for subtler attempts at hiding the bag's counterfeit status.

However, there is always an extremely small chance that the bag's zipper was replaced with another brand at one point if it is older.

Factory number

All Prada handbags will include a small factory code tag inside.

However, you should know this:

Since this tag is not exactly difficult to fake, thorough counterfeiters will often go through the trouble of including a factory code in their products.

But a completely missing factory code tag is a quick and easy way to confirm a fake.

Authenticity card

Independent from the Prada bag itself is the authenticity card.

Here's what to know:

Every piece of Prada merchandise comes with identifying information like a serial number or model number. The authenticity card contains all of this information.

Most trustworthy sellers will keep the authenticity card together with a Prada bag, but some older bags might not come with their card.

Of course, the authenticity card itself can also be counterfeit.

When examining one of these cards, check that everything is spelled correctly and follows Prada's branding (such as checking that the logo is correct).

Also, official Prada authenticity cards are embossed. If the card in question is flat, it is a fake.

One last step that you can take when authenticating a Prada bag is contacting Prada with the item's serial number.

They will be able to confirm whether or not the serial number exists and matches the specific bag in question.

Caring for Your Prada Bag

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Once your new Prada bag is safely in your hands, your biggest concern should be keeping it looking great for years to come.

Here are the basics:

Regular handbag maintenance is extremely quick and easy and is integral to ensuring your bag lives a full life.

But falling into the habit of neglecting your bag can lead to irreparable damage down the road.

If you want to build a consistent handbag maintenance routine for your new bag, we recommend following these simple steps:

1

Step 1

Once a week, wipe down your bag's exterior with warm water and gentle soap. Wipe with the grain of the suede or leather to prevent damage.

2

Step 2

Treat stains immediately with a stain remover designed for leather, suede, or whatever material is used on your bag.

3

Step 3

Every few months, or as needed, use a professional leather or suede cleaner to remove tough stains.

4

Step 4

Use metal polish to clean tarnished hardware, but make sure none of the polish touches the bag's exterior.

5

Step 5

When in storage, stuff your Prada bag with paper to help maintain its shape.

As you can see, keeping your Prada bag looking its best takes only a couple of minutes per week. 

And in a few years, when your bag still looks brand new, you'll be more than happy that you invested in its care.

For more tips and tricks for keeping your handbag clean and beautiful, check out the video below:

Repairing Your Prada Bag

Even with constant maintenance and care, there will come a time when your Prada is looking a little worse for wear.

When that day arrives, remember these points:

While you can choose to take your bag into your local handbag repair specialist, you can also request repairs through your local Prada boutique.

If you have your bag's authenticity card, you can bring it into any Prada boutique and have it repaired for free or for a discounted rate.

Even if you have a trusted leather repair shop in your area, we recommend going to Prada first.

Their repair specialists will be much more familiar with your bag's construction and materials than even the best leather repair specialist.

However, if you no longer have your bag's authenticity card or Prada is unable to repair your bag, any skilled leather repair specialist will be able to bring new life to your Prada bag.

Investing in Your Own Prada Bag

Has our Prada bag style guide introduced you to the handbag of your dreams?

Or have you decided that a used Prada bag is where your heart is at?

Regardless of which direction you decide to go in when investing in one of these designer handbags, the most important thing is that your new bag makes you happy and meets your day-to-day needs.

an american stylist and fashion consultant Stacy London

image CC by 2.0, by Phil Plait, via Wikimedia

Any item in your wardrobe should satisfy one of two criteria: utility and joy.


- Stacy London

Here's the good news!

Fortunately, you have plenty of different bag styles to choose from if you've fallen in love with the Prada brand.

With so many silhouettes, sizes, colorways, and materials available, there is a Prada bag perfect for any wardrobe.

And while Prada stores are the most convenient and reliable place to buy one of these bags, they are certainly not your only option.

If you know how to differentiate a real Prada bag from a counterfeit, you can find quality used handbags for a fraction of the cost. And for fashionistas on a budget, this is a godsend!

With proper care and maintenance, your Prada handbag can remain a staple of your wardrobe for years, if not decades, to come.

Therefore, choosing one of these designer bags is not a decision to be taken likely!

So which of these luxury handbags are going to come home to your closet? Get started on your search today and tell us how it goes in the comments!