handbag photo

Bags: The Essential and The Frivolous

handbag photo

These days you can spend a month’s rent on a handbag. A handbag?! I decided not to venture where you’d have to forego taxis, pilates, or that essential color touch up to pay for your purchase. Of course, if you’re the Carrie Bradshaw of bags, I wash my hands of you. Go play on bluefly. I’ve also tried very hard not to make you a walking sandwich board. The very few signature plates are discreet or hanging and therefore removable. The sites themselves are recommended if I’ve hit a look or price point that appeals. Remember, there is only one of each of the vintage pieces shown. Have a good time.

Above Left: Leather Color Block Satchel- If you have to leave in the morning with your life slung over one shoulder, that life should show pizzazz. Great color combo with the dark coats of Fall/Winter. Suede main with contrast leather flap front, short handle and adjustable shoulder strap; fold over stile, metal clasp fastening center front. $129.99 www.asos.com

Above Right: Suede Satchel- Glorious, rich color. Pack for class, the game, a screening, outlet shopping, a meal with the girls…Flap front, contrast triple leather strap detailing, dulled gold-tone metal trims; longline adjustable leather strap. $118.92 www.asos.com

Above Left and Right: Leather Tassel Detail Satchel- Walk into court or your next board meeting with one of these and you won’t have to prove you’re not one of the pack. Pockets (with tassels) for what you need to reach more quickly. Holds simply everything necessary…plus options. Curved square main, fold over fastening; single grab handle and adjustable shoulder strap. Top stitch detailing, brass-tone metal trim. $182.95 www.asos.com

Above Top Left: You Guys Hobo- (Where do they get these names?!) A knock-around bag if there ever was one. Good for errands, outdoor excursions, trips to the gym. Tough and ready. Soft canvas with faux leather detail. Single faux leather strap with metal ring details. Interior lining with zip pocket. Top zip closure. 12” x 16”. Strap drop 16” $65.00 www.zappos.com

Above Top Right: Desi Shopper Odette Hobo from IMoshion- The texture got me here. Really interesting, yet subtle. Handsome go-with-everything color. Conservative but not dull. Braided strap threaded through gold-tone hardware. Full top zip closure. Side zippered pocket for easy access- Metro Card? Keys? 8 ½” x 16”. 6.5” deep. 11” shoulder drop. $198.00 www.endless.com

Above Bottom right: Z Spoke Zac Posen Flap Crossbody- Sport with tailored clothes- the Ralph Lauren pieces? or jeans. The bag of a woman who can make her own decisions. Neat. Ostrich-embossed leather bag. Flap with slip closure. Convertible chain strap. 6 ½” x 5 ½” x 2 ¾” d. 21” strap. $295.00 www.bloomingdales.com

Above Bottom Left: After Dark Daydreamer Bag- From office to cocktails downtown, a little glitter goes a long way. Holds your latest Vogue and/or WSJ as well as microwavable lunch or your oversized cosmetic case. Come on you know it is! Metallic tweed fabric against sleek leather trim. Bow closure. Oversized gem charms. 11” x 12 ¾” $228.00 www.juicycouture.com

Above Left: The Klingner from Aldo- A splash of color for the dark days. With poise and proper panache (say that three times fast,) looks much more expensive than it is. Messenger-style bag of croc-embossed synthetic. Single handle with removable, adjustable cross-body strap. Flap with twist-lock closure. 9 ¼” x 6 ½”. Decorative hardware. Interior lining with back wall zip pocket and front wall slip pockets. $38.00 www.zappos.com

Above Right: Patent Leather Mini Sophia Bag- For the petite and/or young. Like a portable smile. Holds just enough for dinner or a date. Ladylike. Heck-cute. Chain and leather strap detail. Shoulder strap converts to cross-body style. Signature Button detail. 7 ½” x 5 ½” $265.00 www.millyny.com

Above Left: 1950’s Vintage Tapestry Bag- A little old fashioned and a little bit rock n’roll? Lace n’denim? Velvet and cowboy boots? They don’t make’m like this anymore. Large gold perforated metal basket purse with 3-D raised tapestry panel and gold lame rear panel. Black grosgrain fabric interior lining with one main compartment, two open slip pockets and one zippered pocket. Round, snap button closure. 11” x 8” x 3/25” d. $155.00

Above Right: Vintage Burgundy Leather Kelly Handbag- You are your own woman. Striking, strong, original. Speaks volumes without saying a word. Mid 1960’s bag with contrast bold white stitching and large Chinese symbol. One main compartment, one zippered interior pocket, two open slip pockets. Chocolate brown faux leather lining. Four tiny brass feet protect bottom. 10.75” x 10” $125.00 both www.retrodesignerdeals.com.   Remember: Vintage means there is only one.

Above Top Left: Carmella- Glamorous, not ostentatious, this very chic bag is ready for its close-up. Place it on the table beside you at Eleven Madison Park or The Waverly, on your lap at the ballet, on the bar at shhhhh…we don’t want everyone to know where. Handcrafted from Acacia wood. Faux mink (we’ll never tell) with Swarovski Crystal Butterfly. Rope strap tucked inside. 5” x 9” x 3”. $338.00 www.timmywoods.com

Above Top Right: Botanicals Octavia Large Clutch- Here’s one for a resort trip when the weather turns, or your pending deal in LA. Really distinctive clutch. Big enough to fit the contract, in addition to your passport, shades, and electronic enablers. It’s canvas! Lightweight, cotton-coated, printed with custom artwork. Detailed with leopard lining, custom hardware, and trimmed with leather. 14” x 9”. $170.00 www.jessicacushman.com

Above Bottom Right: Whiting & Davis Crystal Crisscross Minaudiere Clutch- Some business cards, a lipstick and compact, your gold credit card if need be, a silk handkerchief. The tickets. What more do you need? Don’t answer that. For elegant occasions when everything else is attended to. Brass mesh and crystals. Jacquard lining. 3.25” x 7” x 2.5” deep. 8” shoulder drop. Clasp closure. In black, pewter, gold or silver $275.00 www.endless.com

Above Bottom Left: The Devora- Rich, seasonal paisley, particularly stunning against fur, velvet or your vintage Givenchy tweed. When they ask where you found it, you’ll have forgotten, of course.. Handcrafted from Acacia Wood with a leather overlay. Beaded shoulder strap. 7 ½” x 8 ½” $425.00 www.timmywoods.com

Top Left: Lauren Merken Ludlow Metallic Goatskin Cross-body- An Audrey Hepburn bag, really. Simple, but drop dead stylish. Lean, with gathered interest (which might be said of Ms.Hepburn.) ‘Can be worn with almost anything, but save it to show off. Suede lining. 5” x 6” x 2” deep. 23” drop. Magnetic closure. $315.00 www.endless.com

Above Right: Bo’s Art Handbag “Elvira Cable”- Whether you’re on the fundraising committee or just attending the auction, at gallery openings (where did I put my Jill Sander dress, you know the one…) or dinner with the Partners, this bag embodies your sleek, modern, very together self. Stainless steel mesh; magnetic closure with detachable 36” chain. 6” x 7” x 3”. $260.00 www.gallery5.com

Above Left Bottom: Vintage 1960’s Andrew Geller Monitor Lizard Skin- An heiress bag. Well, an heiress with taste; possibly inherited from the grandmother who ran away with a painter and scandalized the family. Possibly belonging to the painter who scandalized the family. Snap top frame closure. Taupe leather lining. Structured black suede handle. One main compartment and two interior side wall pockets. 12.75” x 6.5” x 3” d. $245.00 www.retrodesignerdeals.comRemember: Vintage means there is only one.

Bourne Satin Clutch (above)- A flash of crimson in the hand, one on the lips might define the start of any seduction. Living in little black dresses? Here’s the answer. For cocktails or galas, parties or openings. Cheerful, but with pith. Crystals dot the looped straps of this pleated satin clutch. Clasp closure. $170.00 7” x 4” x 1 ½” d. Strap drop 5 ½” $170.00 www.shopnordstrom.com

Above Left: Tasha Heart Clutch- On the side of the angels, this glittering clutch can be the focal point of your ensemble, or a part of overall bling. Dress it up or down. Wear with leggings, his sweater, and thigh high boots or your new L’Wren Scott. And shine. Rhinestones cover the boxy heart-shaped bag topped with refined clasp closure and optional shoulder strap. 5” x 4 ½” x 2” d. Strap drop 24”. $198.00 www.shopnordstrom.com

Above Right: Jo Ann Page Leather Heart- Very cool. The iconic symbol of love in decadent black. Not whimsical. Very much a sign of the times. ‘Will elicit comments, discussion. Prepare repartee? Or just smile and nod. Black (or red) leather, flat bottom, inside pocket, double handles with tassels. 6” x 8” x 3” with 8” drop. $230.00 www.gallery5.com

Ghibli Jeweled Reptile Clutch (above)- Well, I had to put in one that would make you salivate…and it’s not thousands of dollars. A real showstopper, this bag will improve your posture, your disposition, your extemporaneous conversation…your “it” factor. Pure python leather. 10.6” x 7.8”. Removable chain strap; 15.75” drop. One compartment, side zip pocket. Silvertone metal. Signature dist bag included. $690.00 www.forzieri.com (sold out at shopstyle)

Above Top Left: Baroque- Smashingly stylish, this artful accessory (a piece of sculpture, really) is good for an entrance (‘nothing like a tassel!) Go dramatic. Emphasis on the lips or eyes. A sharp, interesting silhouette. This time you be the one about whom they’re whispering. Hand carved Acacia wood. Includes a fabulous big, black tassel and rope strap tucked inside. 5 ½” x 8” x 3” $275.00 www.timmywoods.com

Above Top Right: Santi Sequin Frame Clutch- Some women prefer gold, some silver, mostly gold or silver. Great for trotting out your gold bangles and oversized earrings. Striking with primary colors (and black, of course.) A good size for…extras. One never knows. Sequin sprinkled flowers with gem encrusted centers; kiss-lock closure. Drop-in chain handle. 10” x 6” x 2 ½” d. Strap drop 24”. $198.00 www.shopnordstrom.com

Above Bottom Right: Paco Mena Francesco Clutch- Cousin to the little black dress, this use-it-for-every-occasion bag is perfect for those who travel light. Delicate. Perfectly scaled for smaller hands. Satin clutch with satin lining (and when do we ever get enough satin?!) Clasp closure. 3.75” x 5.75” x 1.75 d” shoulder drop. $43.45 on sale www.endless.com

Above Bottom Left: Ambre & Babzoe Damilia Leather Clutch- Dressed but not formal, this original bag can be carried day or evening. The ivory flowers might be reason enough to bring out your pearls. Soigné with a suit, dress or feminine pants. The softest leather with concealed magnetic strap closure, leather bead detailing. 9” x 5” x 3” d. $215.00 www.bloomingdales.com

Prezzo NY Scenes Box Satchel (above)- It’s a helluva town! Gifts for visitors or an “I Heart” New York expression of your own not to be questioned loyalty and admiration. Inexpensive enough to have one for fun. Canvas and synthetic; polyester lining. Clasp closure. 6.5” x 10.5” x 3.35” d. This one’s the New York skyline. $18.39 www.amazon.com. There are other sizes, shapes and scenes on shopstyle.com.

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