Moderately priced handbags that are cool, of quality, but avoid becoming trendy to a point of irritating ubiquity are not easy to come by. It’s like you either need to drop a few benjamins on a PS1 or head to H&M for a $20 thrill. Where’s my middle ground?
The bulk of the product on the e-shop seems to range from the $50 – $100 mark (which is fine by me!). There’s a tight selection, but they manage to cover all fields from little statement cross-bodies to classic structured totes for us city girls on the go. Plus, I have major respect for a small company that gets tons of coverage (there are literally thirty pages of clips in their press section) but still manages to stay close to its roots without going to big too soon.
Choosing the right handbag is not an easy feat. It doesn’t matter the occasion or the outfit, that tote is responsible for storing all of your necessities when you leave the house. It can be overwhelming to find a bag that fits all of your must-haves but actually looks stylish as well. (Read: not a plastic bag). It doesn’t matter if you’re like me and find the need to carry everything but the kitchen sink, or maybe you can get away with a few less “essentials.” Whether you are a career-savvy professional, or just climbing up the corporate ladder and wanting to invest in a staple bag, I’ve come up with a list of tips to help you find the bag for your lifestyle. If you are a student or a busy mom-on-the go, use this cheat-sheet before you hit the bag department to save time and aggravation.
1. The Stylish Student
When we think “school bag” it’s hard not to conjure up memories of candy-colored knapsacks bedazzled with our favorite Disney characters. While you may still love Belle and Ariel, attending a Psychology 101 class with either one of them on your bag isn’t going to do you any favors. The grown up messenger bag has remained a popular collegiate style for good reason. It comes in a variety of colors and fabrics from berry leather to the classic taupe canvas. They range in size whether you want to fit a notebook and pen or a few binders. The convenient shoulder strap keeps both hands free so you can carry your ever-present Starbucks coffee. If you can get one with an adjustable shoulder strap, do it because they always stretch out over time from the weight of those English Lit texts. Additionally, when it comes back-to-school shopping time, I recommend bringing the largest binder or notebook you plan on carrying with you to the shop in order to ensure the perfect fit. You don’t want to realize the night before class starts that your binder is just that much too big for your bag to close properly. Here are a few solid options:
Lately, my bag of choice has got to be my Tommy by Tommy Hilfiger suede shopper. Unfortunately, the line was recently discontinued and I am still recovering from its untimely end. However, this slouchy tote by Pietro Alessandro mimics its style and shape almost perfectly. When choosing a bag, I tend to stick with neutrals, so I don’t have to worry about clashing. I have always aired on the classic side for my day-to-day handbags, and prefer saving the edgier styles for evening looks. These bags are also similar to my day bag:
For me, a bag’s size and straps are the most important features. As a communications major, I never know when I’m going to have to pack up my laptop, making enough space imperative. The addition of a cross body strap also helps to minimize any discomfort. As for what goes in it, you won’t find me without my red Moleskin notebook, perfect for jotting down ideas, or my makeup go-tos:
I lug around my giant bag practically everywhere I go in the city, so as you can imagine, we’ve been through thick and thin together. It’s my utilitarian lifesaver, a simple bag that can be paired with any ensemble (because it’s black) and can take being roughed around a bit (because it’s made of nylon). I actually snapped it up on sale at a Marshalls a few years ago, but see the bottom suggestions for similar versions you can get now. Inside, I keep it to the essentials: electronics, a little makeup, a small wallet and of course, a trusty journal for jotting down my ideas on the go!
My daily bag is a small, leather clutch I purchased in Florence. It fits into my lifestyle because it is small and holds just the things that I need, which is normally just the basics (keys, phone, mirror, chapstick, bobby pins, concealer, liner) I love that I can fit it on my wrist or place it in my school bag, rather than transferring everything.
Here are three good alternatives to my staple bag:
1. Deux Lux cognac basketwoven iPad case
2. Deux Lux black textured faux leather ‘Snake Charmer’ dual pouch clutch
3. Gustto purple leather foldover zip detail clutch
Wherever I go I seem to pack everything but the kitchen sink. I’m the sort of person that likes to plan ahead, so even though I’ve got my contact lenses in I’ll still carry my glasses around with me just incase a gust of wind just so happens to come and blow my lenses out of my eyes (unlikely I know). Similarly, you’ll always find I carry a book around with me just incase I get stuck somewhere or I’m left waiting for someone I’m meeting.
So the main characteristic I look for in a bag is something that is spacious and durable. Like magic answering all my prayers is this satchel. This style bag is perfect for me because it allows me to pack to my heart’s content. Read More
My daily bag is a Rebecca Minkoff Morning After Mini. I love satchels because they have a classic appeal, but can be worn in so many ways. Mine is in elephant (dark grey) with light grey trim because I wanted something neutral, but not as predictable as black or brown. It’s also a good compliment to my wardrobe, which is a varied mix of minimalist meets vintage. I love that I can carry it in my hands or sling it over my shoulder so I’m hands-free on the go. This bag is big enough to carry all my essentials without being overstuffed or too heavy. Here’s what’s inside: