9.03.2014

foundations: chic handbags under $500


shopping for luxury style at contemporary prices has never been easier.

my kryptonite is the well-made leather bag. while i do save up and plan for the occasional big splurge, many of my favorites are vintage, or pieces by younger designers.

i don't believe in buying something just because it's a 'luxury brand'. instead, go with what you love, what suits your budget, lifestyle, and needs. if something checks those boxes, chances are it will transcend trends and become a wardrobe essential. 

these are my best bets to start with if you're looking to build an edited and functionally chic handbag collection:

1. the minimalist slouchy tote // Celine-esque with a bonus – a handy shoulder strap! soft leather, lightweight, roomy enough for work and weekend. (another excellent option: see my review of Everlane's leather tote.)
2. the quilted flap bag (in more colors) // can't go wrong with the timeless quilted leather + chain strap combo. 
3. the trio crossbody // this topped my year-end favorites last year, and is still one of my best wardrobe purchases of all time. after 1.5 years, it still looks new.
4. the structured medium satchel (in more colors) // sleek silhouette, clean lines, work appropriate.
5. the sportif duffel // the well-rounded sporty classic, perfect for travel too.

what's your go-to bag these days?

12 comments:

  1. My go-to bag is a Diesel "Mallory" tote bag that The Boyfriend bought for me in Greece. It is black and slouchy and fits everything but the kitchen sink. I love that it's lightweight - while I love a substantial leather bag, they can often be heavy on their own, and with all that added stuff.. ouch!

    I bought the Rebecca Minkoff Quilted Affair (studded version) on eBay earlier this summer and I love it to death. Super classic, and perfect for those of us who have resigned to the fact that we will live a life without a Chanel classic flap ;)

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    1. maja - i saw yours and it looks great on you :) i think it's great that there's an affordable Chanel-esque option, and it's also handy if you're 'testing out' the style and don't want to commit to such a huge splurge...

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  2. I was looking for a smaller handbag that would be my go-to for special events, but also add instant polish to a casual outfit. Chanel would have fit the bill if they took off a zero from the price, especially given how infrequently I planned to use it. Anyhow, enter the Furla Metropolis! It has sturdy saffiano-like leather that is still pliable, along with lovely pale gold hardware that feels luxe and well made. Since the chain isn't adjustable, I stick a bobby pin through the chain to make it stop at the length I want. Voila! A hand clutch + shoulder bag + crossbody in one!

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    1. i love the idea of adapting an accessory to suit your own needs :)

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  3. I am using a Marni tote at the moment, but am starting to get sick of having to dig around for my stuff - I got it on major sale on the Outnet last year, but now wish I had gone for an East-West tote instead...maybe something along the lines of the Mansur Gavriel tote.

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  4. The day to day, I use big totes that I can throw things in and go. For school it's a LeSportsac, for work lately it's been my el cheap quilted/chain strap tote that I get so many compliments on no-one believes its from f21.

    I can't really get into those RM "chanel" bags, I don't even find the chanels 2.55 esp with the CC logo so appealing anymore...not to mention the prices are just... ...., and I'm not rich enough for it to be a drop in the bucket. ;P I'm old enough to remember when chanel bags were under $1000.

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    1. i wonder when the price hikes will stop. :P oh, the days of (vintage) Chanel!

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  5. I have the big black Everlane leather tote....had my cobbler add a magnetic snap to the top of it so I could shut it closed. It really is a great all-purpose bag with that small addition.

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    1. what a clever add-on! :) now that it's cooling down i'm using mine a ton again.

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  6. Thanks for the link! This is amazing.

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  7. the rennes "gretel tote" has been a go-to lately. it's sturdy with nice, soft bullhide leather. the hanging pocket inside is super helpful for keys and cellphone--no digging!

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  8. i also have to put erin templeton out there--ecofriendly, sturdy bags with fun shapes. i love her harvest moon bag, which is a great, circle-shaped tote. it can also be folded in half and used as a clutch!

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