A complete bag wardrobe (splurge and steal editions)
A text thread makes me re-evaluate how many handbags I really need. The five suggestions I gave to a friend with an onslaught of work travel and festive events.
Good morning readers! Coming at you first thing today to enjoy with the coffee of your choice. Here goes.
When a friend recently asked what I thought a complete handbag wardrobe would consist of, I found it an interesting exercise. I, like may of you I assume, have more handbags than I actually use. Some that I HAD TO HAVE are currently collecting dust and would probably fetch a pretty penny at resale. But the psychological toll of letting go is just too much…what if they come back around? Bag prices are going nowhere but up! Hello Chanel, looking at you. Which just reinforces I needed less to begin with. Bags are tricky to store and taking up way too much real estate in my NYC-sized coat closet. So using this week as a practice in pairing back: thinking about what I really use and what to buy that has longevity. I’ve found if I keep it to five or so, I don’t really even need to put them away, avoiding the storage issue all together. My list came down to the five pictured above. Ideas for each category they represent below.
The Work, Laptop, Schlepping Bag
There’s so much pressure on the work bag now that carrying around a laptop day in and day out is expected. It should be durable, hyper-functional (but god forbid look functional!), designer, but not a designer price point. Its embarrassing to admit how many hours I’ve spent looking for this style. Winners at the extremes below. *But note that I’ll do a full post on this later, since there is A LOT to dissect.
The Indestructible Crossbody
The bag in heaviest rotation at the moment is my Uniqlo purple crossbody Mary Poppins pouch. Mostly because I’m a mom of a toddler. It weighs nothing. It is not branded. I wear it to the playground or to run out for some bananas and yet it looks pretty good with a tailored coat in the winter. I think the key to this bag, is that it should be minimal enough that it can go from the park to your adult life. It is shocking how many people ask me if this bag is The Row. Lesson here: avoid any branding so it can literally be an anywhere, anytime bag. This means no to the super sporty Lululemon version I see everywhere (sorry Lululemon, I love you!)
*Editor’s note: I’m not going to do a splurge for this category, because I think Uniqlo’s is perfect, no matter your budget.
A trendy swing over your shoulder Y2K bag (but for grownups)
This all stems from the Prada Cleo of course. Which I love, especially in the shiny red and yellow shades. But the 90s/Y2K-ish bag that stole my heart is this Alaia Demi-Lune. Alaia is on fire with their bag launches right now. Each is better than the next. The heart! The crossbody! I digress. The shoulder bag feels equal parts trendy and practical. Shoulder strap, check. Can be carried by Euphoria stars and my banker college roommate (hi Stephanie!), check.
A Little Lady Clutch
My favorite category! It’s intentionally inconvenient. You hold it in your hand. It fits almost nothing. But that’s kind of the point. For when you want to just grab your phone and wallet and pods and feel free from stuff. Also just looks great. It doesn’t steal attention from your outfit. And it gives you something to do with your hands other than scroll Instagram. I use them during the day (throw in your work bag and pull out for lunch, chic!) and at night when presumably you will be shlepping less stuff anyway.
An Evening Bag
We all need a super special occasion bag, even if we don’t bring it out often. You don’t want to show up at a black tie affair with the wrong bag only to leave it on your chair because the look is off but then spend the entire cocktail hour wondering if someone took it. So commit to this style, even if you only bring it out once in a blue moon. And actually, not no to these sparkly ladies with your summer skirt and slides. And final note here, I don’t think an evening bag should be trendy, AT ALL. This literally should last in your closet for decades. I feel strongly about this! Notice below I am not including Paco Rabanne paillettes, which I love.
IN CONCLUSION! Obviously there will be the fun find on The Real Real that we just have to have from time to time, and you will probably want to keep your Chanel 2.55 forever, but keeping the count down can be a relief from the it-bag cycle. Also, I hope this helps you avoid buying the black designer bag just because its the “practical” designer bag. Have fun with your five and think about your personal style when doing this, not just practicality alone. They’re bags after all, practical by nature of holding stuff!
Final tip: When choosing, remember that it is very easy to get caught up in the bags brands are pushing, but the real gems are usually hidden a few scrolls or shelves down. You are very unlikely to love an it-bag forever. Here’s looking at you Chloe Paddington and Fendi Spy (and yes I know Bella Hadid has been wearing one ironically). So think about shapes that feel old already or strange enough that seasonality doesn’t matter as opposed to the shiny new sponsored post. Notice the Bottega laptop bag I’m suggesting is NOT the super puffy Bottega bag but only a semi-recognizable weave that has aging potential.
And if you are thinking, “Shut up, already! I’m just here for something fun for summer!”, I can’t stop smiling at this. I might need it. Face palm.
See you next week. Leave me any love, or themes you want me to cover, or your MUST HAVE bag in the comments below.
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thoughts on the savette bag? does it seem like it will hold up long enough for you to pass to your grandchildren? it has captured my heart but I'm wary to spend so much on a (basically brand new) brand whose longevity is unknown
max mara bag - such a find!