Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Shopping Bags under $500 and More Pre-Fall

There's just a little more Pre-Fall, and then six very covetable bags for less than $500. Just in time for Christmas. What about that? Crazy coincidences, people.

Jason Wu
: This collection is more Gossip Girl than Michelle Obama, but I still love it. Jason Wu has managed to make the oversized plaid shirt look chic, found a way to make a sequined mini-skirt into part of a casual but glam ensemble, and concocted a seriously gorgeously black lace cocktail dress. I love the skirt on this last dress--it's very Fall 2009 Balenciaga and builds off the tulip-esque skirts he did for Spring 2010 nicely.

Donna Karan: Donna Karan is the master of draping. That is all. Okay, not really. I want that blue dress. It's insanely flattering. The ombre-ish pattern on this second dress is absolutely stunning, and I don't think I need to explain why this last gown is drool-worthy.

Bags are my favorite things to shop for, hands down. It's so much fun to look for something that's well-made and practical, but that also has a lot of your personality in it. I like to see it as a challenge, finding something that says 'ME' but that works with the majority of my closet and will keep me organized. The only downside is that bags can be expensive. A nice Chanel or YSL bag can run you upwards of $2,000. So, I decided to round up a few bags that are full of style but won't bleed your wallet dry. I realize that $500 is still a lot of money for an accessory, but think about it in terms of cost per wear (I think I say this every time in the exact same words, so I'm sorry if you've already heard it). A Forever 21 bag will cost you $30-$40, and since they're trendy and not that well made, you'll go through about 3 a year. That averages to about $110. A nice bag that costs about $400 will last you at least three or four years years. Three years of Forever 21 bags costs $330. Four years costs $440. The cost per wear of a nicer bag is lower (and I thought I'd never use math), and so it's really saving you money in the long run.

Coach Metallic Cracked Brooke, $498 at, Be & D Bond Street Leather Tote, $415.99 down from $595 at, Marc by Marc Jacobs Classic Dr. Q Groovee Satchel, $498 at I have to say, Coach has really stepped up their game in the last few years. They're churning out some pretty craveable styles (aside from that logo-plastered stuff). Before anyone gets scared off by the Metallic in the name of this first bag, they do make it in neutral colors (and even purple) for less, I just like the texture of this version, which is really more of a textured patent gray than a metallic anyways. The shape is very classic and clean, not trendy, and the hue and chain details give a little bit of a modern edge without taking it over the top. The combination of the industrial extras and the more elegant shape actually makes this look much more expensive than it actually is. The Be & D bag is kind of cheating because it's on sale, but I love Be & D, and this is a gorgeous tote. It's not too big, there's a convenient shoulder strap, and the juxtaposition of the studs and crinkled leather against the very traditional shape works perfectly. I could see this bag on so many different people, worn so many different ways. I've plugged this Marc by Marc Dr. bag before, and there's a reason. It's a very cute, very basic bag. I think it would be a really good first bag for someone, because the style is pretty timeless, it has just enough modern detailing, and it would last you a long, long time.

Foley + Corinna Mid City Tote in Charcoal, $407 at, Olivia Harris by Joy Gryson Studded Ball Leather Hobo, $495 at, Olivia Harris by Joy Gryson Zip Pocket Round Sack, $395 at Do some of these look familiar? This Foley + Corinna bag is one of my favorite styles of all time. These bags are well-made and well-priced, the style is a nice mix of '70s retro and modern architectural, and they're the perfect size. They come in a whole rainbow of colors, but I really love the mixture of shiny black leather and matte gray suede here. The combination of textures livens up the basic shape, and is very on-trend for the next few seasons. I know I just blogged about this first Olivia Harris bag, but I couldn't leave it out. I heart it. It's practical, it's edgy and yet refined, it's crazy-versatile, and again, it looks so much more expensive than it is. Olivia Harris makes a whole slew of other covetable bags, including this Round Sack (it's sold out in gray and dark brown, which are even hotter). I love the way the shape at the top would hug your arm perfectly. It's a nice mix of slouchy and structured, and the adjustable, zippered pocket on the front gives it a hip, downtown edge (plus the flash of suede lining is a cute textural contrast). Did I mention that it's less than $400? I know.

Image Sources:
Donna Karan:, Jason Wu:, Coach bag:, Be & D bag:, Marc by Marc Jacobs bag:, Foley Corrina bag:, Olivia Harris stud bag:, Olivia Harris round sac:

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