Tuesday, September 16, 2014


{ Coco Chanel }

Every year around this time, I get the handbag itch. September is hard enough, what with fashion week and all the new fall merchandise tempting me at every turn—but handbags tend to make me especially weak right about now. Autumn always feels like the right time to make that investment purchase, whatever "investment" means to me at the time. As I'm deep in my black/white/navy only phase right now, I've got black handbags on the brain.

The Cut put together a glorious round-up of black bags under $400 recently, which must have spurred my inspiration for this post. I chose to dream both small and big, so do what you will with that—my picks include everything from River Island to Givenchy. The truth is, there are so many black bags on the market (for obvious reasons) that weeding through what's worthwhile and what is not is rather exhausting. I did my best to think like a reasonable person with excellent taste.

Bear in mind that the selection here is only my vision of shopping on a budget or for the trophy case, etc. You've got to examine your finances for yourself to determine what's feasible. Then again, what fun is it to be reasonable when you're talking about bags?

Browse the rotator below (scroll right for more bags and higher prices) or all of my nifty descriptions and selling points, farther below.

Budget (Under $100)
  • This faux leather bag from Steve Madden has the look of a Mansur Gavriel bucket bag, without the daunting price tag. At $88, you know what you're signing up for here—this is a faux leather bag that will look rad this season, but may not last you many years.
  • This moc croc top-handle bag from River Island gives you a lot of look for $80, in the most versatile size and shape. It resembles a lot of the covetable designer bags you'll find right now, but it's not close enough to any of them to look too much like a knock-off. 
  • While not technically a handbag, I think this simple, unfussy Baggu weekend bag for $72 is such a steal. It's incredibly roomy, made from durable heavy canvas and just the thing for road trips, train rides and weekend getaways alike. (It also comes in nautical stripes if you're feeling jaunty.)
Semi-Budget (Under $300)
  • I have a hard time resisting anything Madewell does in the fall, but I'm especially smitten with this black genuine leather bucket bag ($198). The dual straps mean you can sling it over your shoulder or carry it in hand—as you do. The simple design ensures you'll want to carry it even after the buck bag craze has ended. (See also: the Transport tote.)
  • Depending on your eye with handbags, you may dig this 90s-inspired Sam Edleman bag ($108) or not. If you're looking for something that feels a bit more edgy, you might like Rebecca Minkoff's 'Julian' bag ($298).
  • I have a little Coach crossbody that is similar to this Tory Burch foldover ($225), and I can't tell you how much use I get out of it. It's small, versatile and works as well for bar nights as it does for Sunday brunch.
  • If you simply need a big, unfussy bag that you can carry to the office without embarrassment, the Kate Spade 'Cedar Street' tote is a great option. I like this because it's a brand with sophisticated street cred, but not so much branding that you're a walking advertisement.
Minor Investment (Under $600)
  • I have always loved Loeffler Randall's 'Rider' bag, and this black-on-black "murdered out" version is so sleek. 
  • Time's Arrow is one of my favorite up-and-coming accessory brands, and this little crossbody with gold hardware ($550) is so cool and special—definitely a purchase you'll treasure.
  • Mansur Gavriel bags are selling out everywhere these days, which is both unsurprising (they're very good-looking) and a little baffling (they're so simple). If you can swing it, the mini bucket bag is total envy bait, and slightly more affordable than the larger version, at $460.
Major Investment (Under $1000)
  • In this price range, you should be thinking about your label choice as much as quality. When you invest, you want your choice of designer to reflect not just your salary, but your taste and your style identity. For the downtown cool girls, the Rag & Bone 'Bradbury' tote is a nice sweet spot. The brand has major street cred, and the design is timeless with an edge.
  • Sophie Hulme is one of the hottest handbag lines at the moment, and her distinctive hardware ensures everyone will know exactly what bag you're carrying. Aside from that, this tote is as functional as it is luxe. Yes, please.
  • When it comes to fancy, tiny and expensive, if it isn't jewelry, it might as well be Gucci. The retro-inspired 'Disco' bag is a patent leather treat, and one you'll pass down to your daughter and granddaughter for sure. 
For the Trophy Case ("Whatever, I'm flush with cash!")
  • If you're going to really do it, do it right. The Givenchy 'Antigona' bag is the satchel that so many other satchels aspire to be. It is a thing of beauty, and a serious purchase at just shy of $2500.
  • Ah, Saint Laurent. Just because the brand lost the 'Yves,' doesn't mean his ladylike, timeless sensibilities aren't still with us. The Sac De Jour ($3290) is a sumptuous, perfect bag to treasure.
  • And for the truly bossy ladies out there, Nancy Gonzalez. These bags are hand-crafted in Colombia from exotic skins, and this crocodile clutch ($2200) is both totally chic and a little bit frightening.

1 comment:

  1. Love the breakdown you've done from super budget to super splurge. Every girl needs a black bag, so these are some great tips.