Let’s get it all out on the table – the world of handbags is more than a little daunting. I think this is mostly because when you first become privy to the price tags on some of fashion’s most coveted bags, you want to cry or hide. Chanel – $5,000. Celine – $3,000. Hermes- $10,000+. Eek! Yes, one can always make a case for good quality and craftsmanship, but some of us may not really be in that place right now. Before we can ever dream of spending $3,000+ on a handbag, we’ll likely need to start slow and splurge on something a little less ulcer inducing. So to all fashion lovers who are looking to make the first leap into designer handbag territory, this post is for you. Today we’re talking about the real deal, high end, designer pieces that will last you a lifetime. The ones you’ll look back on fondly as your “first,” and pass on to your daughters… but ones that are NOT in the “I could buy a decent used car with that money” realm. Here are my top picks for high end designer everyday handbags in the $1,000 range. Why $1,000? Well, the hard truth is if you want high end, $1,000 is around the minimum of what you can expect to pay. So, while there are plenty of stylish options from less expensive brands like Coach, Tory Burch, Rebecca Minkoff, and Kate Spade, I consider those to be in a different category – maybe for another blog post. The rules for choosing were as follows: 1) Must be an everyday carryall, no puny clutches. 2) Must be a recognizable, iconic style. 3) High end designer bags only and no secondary mid-range lines – Marc by MJ, See by Chloe, McQ, etc. 4) Absolutely nothing over $1300 – There were a few that came close which I just had to include, but once you go over $1300, you’re in a new category. There are of course several great bags I’m not calling out today – this is simply my personal opinion. These are the ones in the running when I’m shopping for a bag in this price range and the ones I often advise my clients to buy. There’s something here for everyone – from classic and timeless to edgy and obscure.
3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli Satchel, $895 – This bag is the perfect mix of edgy, classic, practical, and sturdy. It has the easy and classic elements you want in an expensive bag yet also those creative and artsy touches that set it apart from other bags. It can be dressed up or dressed down, worn several ways (vertical zippers zipped and structured, unzipped and relaxed, flap in tact or hanging out, top handles or long strap, etc). It also comes in a variety of sizes, colors, and fabrics so you can definitely find something that suits you. It’s not quite as popular as some of the others on this list, so it’s a good one if you’re looking to go a little unexpected, yet still a very solid and chic choice.
Louis Vuitton Speedy Bandouliere, $1,250-1,290 – There’s so much to say about this bag. As many of you know, I recently sold my Speedy 35 (the same bag, only no detachable long strap which now retails for $895) so that I could purchase something similar. This was the something similar. After using my Speedy for a couple of years, I was having a hard time only being able to carry it with the top handles. It wasn’t doing me any favors when shopping for clients or shoots and carrying arm loads of clothes. I need hands free. So even though getting the version with the strap is going to run you an extra $400 (gah), that feature is worth its weight in gold. This version of the iconic style was released in 2011 and offers some great customization features – it comes in 3 choices of canvas/pattern/color (which are all great, so it’s just personal preference), and 4 choices of size – the 25, 30, 35, and 40 (though I wouldn’t recommend the 40 because it’s basically luggage). You can wear the straps so many ways – cross body with the long strap extension, on your shoulder without the extension, take the strap off and carry it top handle like a regular Speedy, etc. Who doesn’t love to have options? The coated canvas is very lightweight, so it’s perfect for travel or shlepping around town. Another bonus is that Louis Vuitton offers complimentary hot stamping of your initials which I think is delightful in gold foil. But the best thing LV has to offer is history and timelessness. Louis Vuitton has been around since 1854 and their canvas designs haven’t changed since the beginning. They are never going away. The classic neutral canvas styles defy all fashion rules – they go with everything and on everyone. You really can’t go wrong.
Reed Krakoff Boxer Satchel, $790-1290 – Reed Krakoff, Coach’s president and executive creative director, launched his boutique fashion line in 2010 and the Boxer satchel caught on like wildfire, with good reason. It comes in an endless array of incredibly chic color combos (some solid and some colorblocked) and sizes and the design is just genius. This one is an unexpected choice for a first investment bag in the best way possible. Another plus is that you can often find them on sale (even as we speak there are several good colors on sale for $600-800 on the Reed Krakoff website).
Alexander Wang Emile, $895 – This bag is unique yet minimal and classic at the same time. There’s no craziness going on, yet it’s far from boring. The wide opening at the top makes it easy to find your keys and lipstick, and it fits a ton – definitely more than the Rocco. So this could be the bag for you if you like to carry the world with you, and are looking for something a little artsy in shape. It comes in two sizes, both of which would serve an everyday purpose depending on your habits. The metal feet are my favorite aspect of this bag – especially in rose gold. Keep in mind the long strap isn’t quite long enough to wear cross body.
Alexander Wang Rocco, $895 – Oh you know I love the Rocco. I carried mine nonstop for an entire year after I got it and I still love it just as much as ever. This bag is the perfect choice for the edgy girl, yet the rivets on the bottom add some glamour as well. It’s been around long enough to have me convinced it’s going to stand the test of time, and it’s every bit as respected as the more expensive bags out there. The only thing to watch out for is that this bag is naturally heavy (with the thickness of the leather and all that hardware, how could it not be?). So you may want to opt for the mini (the Rockie) if you don’t tend to carry a lot with you or a heavy bag isn’t your cup of tea. Also, like the Emile, the long strap isn’t really long enough to wear cross body.
Louis Vuitton Neverfull Tote, $900-980 – If you’re a tote kinda gal, this is a fantastic option. The Neverfull comes in three sizes and three choices of canvas. The smaller sizes (PM and MM) are great everyday options and the GM would be wonderful for travel or just those jam packed days and can’t leave anything at home. The side drawstrings condense the size down a bit if you aren’t needing so much space. There’s no long strap, but the top handles are long enough to wear over your shoulder. This is the ultimate carryall and arguably the most practical/convenient of the bunch.
Alexander Wang Pelican Satchel, $985 – I know, I know. It’s controversial that I included three Alexander Wang bags on this list but the truth is that I really do think he designed three of the best bags out there in this price range. The Pelican satchel is the newest of the group, and it’s definitely on another level. It’s also a top handle + long strap style and it comes in an interesting selection of colors and leather textures. It’s reminiscent of the Givenchy Antigona satchel (a $2,500 bag) but not in an imitate-y kinda way. It certainly stands alone. I love how structured and polished it is – great for a professional environment. It’s not quite as ubiquitous as the Rocco or even the Emile at this point, so it’s the perfect choice if you want something a little more unchartered.
Phew! If you stuck with me til the end, extra points for you! I’d love to hear your thoughts. Tell me – what’s your favorite or first bag in this price range? What’s on your handbag wish list?
Taking a motorcycle ride has been on my bucket list for years, but the right opportunity hasn’t quite presented itself. A large portion of my wardrobe might imply something on the contrary, but my collection of biker boots and jackets is purely for badass inspiration. I expect that someday the time will be right to hop on a bike, but in the meantime I figure there’s nothing wrong with planning the perfect outfit for when it does. Sturgis, anyone?
The Jem loving 80′s girl in me is downright giddy to see the holographic trend showing up everywhere these days. Whose eyes aren’t pleased at the site of a magical prism of colors reflecting off of high voltage metallics? From Stella McCartney and Blumarine to Proenza Schouler and Brian Atwood, it seems every designer is on board. Whether you rock the blinding pleather pants, or do it in small doses – on your nails, eyes, or inside your purse (there’s one way to avoid having to dig around for your wallet), this look is one I hope sticks around for awhile.
Ahhh how I’ve missed this blog over the past month. I don’t like to be gone for so long but sometimes I can’t avoid it. You’ve probably noticed that my blog often battles my day job for my attention. In this case, I spent the past several weeks styling a TV show for HGTV which required pretty much all of my time. I hate to leave my blog hanging but I love the fact that you stick around even if I can’t give you new posts every day. So thanks for your patience during the hiatus and I promise there’s plenty of new inspiration to share, starting with this collection of things that got me through my time working on set. If you find yourself in need of some new staple items for those never ending packed days, I highly recommend each and every one of these items. Most of them speak for themselves, but I do have a few specific notes:
Joe’s legging jeans – They’re equal parts flattering, soft, and comfy so there’s no restricted skinny jeans feeling. Maybelline Vivid lipsticks – They come in such an impressive range of high quality pop colors – I especially love Pink Pop and Shocking Coral. NARS Albatross highlighter + #21 brush – When you’re putting in long hours, it’s downright impossible to maintain a healthy glow without a little help, and this combo really does the trick. Lash extensions – Before starting the show I decided it was the perfect time to try lash extensions (I went to Lashfully). With the early wake-ups, it was so nice to not have to worry about sticking a mascara wand in my eye while I’m still half asleep. They looked glamorous but not too much for a regular day. I’m not sure I will become a devotee since it can get pricey and I still have yet to try the lash lengthening serums. I’ll keep you posted. Wedge sneakers – Even with the wedge, I was surprised to find they are just as comfy as regular sneakers and add an automatic touch of chicness. I’m sold on these altogether.
One last thing before we go back to business as usual. I’m selling my Louis Vuitton Speedy 35! LV just raised the prices on all their classic styles (those rascals), so if you’ve been thinking of adding this one to your collection, it’s the perfect opportunity. I still love it – I just want another LV bag in a similar style and need to prioritize. :) You can find all the details here.
Between the start of winter, traveling and the holidays, the past month has brought on all sorts of new favorite things that have made their way into regular rotation. Some are rediscovered gems like my best red lipstick shade (MAC’s Russian Red), and some are new versions of tried and true staples like J.Crew’s Viv flats (I have loved them in black, now I’m so excited to have them in silver) and a new Michael Kors two toned watch with a simple, masculine dial that will alternate with my old friend rose gold. Some are brand new additions to my life that I can’t get enough of – Kerastase’s Elixir Ultime is a no-joke hair serum that I rely heavily on (I love to apply it to dry ends before bed and wake up to silky smooth 2nd day waves), Cle de Peau’s ultimate luxury of a makeup remover, Maya Brenner’s ‘C’ necklace that sneakily hasn’t left my neck since November, Diorshow New Look mascara with its wonderfully tiny wand to get those hard-to-reach lashes (and great for smaller eyes), Phillip Lim’s black and white leather pouch that serves all sorts of heroic carrying purposes, Jonathan Adler’s divine smelling Muse Blanc candle which I practically carry with me every time I go from one room to another, Miss Dior which put an end to my long-time perfume collecting/wearing dry spell, and Dollar Shave Club’s razors which not only have the most genius branding, but are a clever solution to both his and my shaving needs. What are some of your favorites from the past month?
No matter what the King said, a blue Christmas isn’t always a sad thing. There’s something festive and twinkly about this shade for the holidays that reminds me of a winter wonderland at night, when people emerge from their homes after a day of holiday prep for a night of bubbly sipping and merry making. So consider straying from the usual tones of the season and you’ll be a breath of fresh air in a sea of red and green.
There’s something about this time of year that just makes me want to reach for all things comfortable, cozy, and a little bit traditional. I crave warm sweaters – especially ones that pay homage to the season. But who says Christmas sweaters have to be ugly? It’s actually a perfect excuse to add a little bit of the wild to your wardrobe. Whether your style is cute, girly, sparkly, or edgy, there’s a holiday sweater for everyone. So pick one out, grab the hot cocoa, and get to that tree trimming!
Last week’s early morning visit to H&M for the launch of their collaboration with Maison Martin Margiela was a first for me. I had never before taken the plunge to actually get up and be there first for one of these things. I don’t know, it always felt a little silly to go to such extreme measures (hey, my morning sleep is valuable and I don’t like swarmy crowds). Don’t get me wrong, I definitely coveted pretty much everything from the Lanvin round but wasn’t up for it. I regret that now because I missed out on some stunning finds, and this was my next chance to do it right. I was excited about this one and there was no way I was going to miss out on having my first pick of the treasures.
It helped to have my friend Jessica and her fabulous mom along as my partners in crime for the excursion, and after a pre-sunrise stop at Starbucks, the whole experience really wasn’t bad at all. It was actually exhilarating, inspiring, and tons of fun if you can believe it. There was no pushing, no shoving, no crying – just a bunch of like minded fashionistas (more men than women actually), all respectfully lined up with color coated bracelets for shopping times. How civilized! They even gave us pretty fabric MMM garment bags and samples of the perfume Untitled, which is now next on my list.
Many of the items from this collection were a little on the daring side. Massive wool coats, disco ball pants, upside down purses, and lock of hair necklaces (yep)… But there was also a good handful of must-have pieces. At the very least, I knew I needed the candy wrapper clutch, and was going to be happy with the red if they didn’t have the silver. It’s perfectly oversized, statement, clever, and $59.95. Done.
I was surprised that the other item I walked out with that day was a men’s chunky sweater that looks like it could be from my grandpa’s closet. At first I was thrown off by the idea of getting something that’s more for vegging than peacocking, but I’m thrilled with this purchase. It will probably have a permanent place on me when I’m in Minnesota for Christmas, and I’m excited for the other interesting ways it can be styled. Ian wants to wear it too, so it serves a double purpose.
The rhinestone collar was actually something I went back for this Sunday (yes – there are still a lot of great things on shelves!). I saw it there the first day but was feeling hesitant to spend $60 on a piece of jewelry at H&M. Silly. I had been regretting not buying it as I think it will be fantastic for the holidays with a peplum top. So I was happy to have a second chance on that one.
Overall I’m impressed with this whole collection and I loved my experience shopping it. I’m even still considering a few more items that remain on my mind, and I already can’t wait for their next designer collaboration. If you can get your hands on anything that caught your eye from this one, you won’t be disappointed.
I have a new girl crush. She was brought to my attention in the most unlikely of places – Psy’s second Gangnam Style (if you don’t know what that is, please click here) spinoff music video feat. Korean pop singer HyunA. I cannot stop watching this version and I don’t know why or whether I should be embarrassed. But I do know that I want her sleek black and white eye makeup and nails, crystal cheek embellishments, and silver wedge sneakers (you haven’t heard the last about those from me so stay tuned). What do you think? Am I crazy or is she totally captivating? More importantly, where can I get that crystal encrusted chair?
Nail art crystals, Essie Licorice, Alice + Oliva top (sold out), Thakoon skirt, Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner, Shu Uemura white eye pencil, B Brian Atwood heels (sold out), Isabel Marant wedge sneakers (sold out in silver but available in gold)
There’s something so daunting about packing for a long trip. I always intend to get started a few days beforehand and plan each outfit meticulously but in the craze of travel prep, it usually ends up coming together at midnight the night before an early flight. I then lay awake wondering if I have everything I need. The problem with “packing scatter brain” is that you end up bringing more or less than you need and often times the wrong things. The best thing you can do to prep for a trip is take the time to pack right. Here’s how I did it for this week’s trip to NYC for fashion week…
Start by pulling everything out of your closet that inspires you for this particular trip and place them somewhere where they are visible – I like to use a garment rack. Pull more than you need – you’ll edit later. Once you separate those items out from the rest of your wardrobe, it clears the clutter from your brain and you can focus on just those pieces. Since packing space is limited, I always try to avoid any really bulky pieces that I know I’d only wear once (sorry, sequined sailor blazer). You can make your one-time statements with smaller things like a bright top or chunky necklace.
To pack jewelry, I like to roll each piece into a cloth napkin or scarf so everything is surrounded by fabric and protected from rubbing against each other or tangling.
Once you’ve separated the key players from the bench warmers, it’s time to narrow down and make sense of it all. Starting with the pieces you are most excited to wear, put together some specific outfits out of what you’ve pulled and take pictures of each one. Taking pictures will help you make sure you have enough outfits while you’re packing, and also serve as a “trip lookbook” that you can reference later. You can always go back to the closet if you need to. I find that I always wear multiple different outfits in one day when I’m traveling, so keep in mind that you’ll need enough for both day and night. You don’t need to style every single outfit (more power to you if you have time) but just putting together a few ensembles in their entirety will help you solidify your key pieces and maybe even cause you to choose something random you may have otherwise left out.
Next, create piles on the bed of the things that are definite, categorized by type. You can visualize all the ways to mix and match them and you may find that you don’t need to throw in any extra pieces that would end up not getting worn. Once you see that you have plenty of each type (pants, blazers, etc) you can start to eliminate other things and put them back in your closet. Then you’ll have your maybes still on the rack and the definites ready to be packed.
Now it’s time to start packing. Start by neatly placing your definites into the suitcase. Things that matter the least in terms of wrinkling can go on the bottom (underwear, pj’s, etc). I like to roll each item rather than fold – I find it creates fewer wrinkles. For the items that are a bit more fragile (anything silk), it’s a good idea to roll them in tissue paper. Even if they still get some wrinkles, it gives you a piece of mind that your nice things are safe and secure. Once you’ve packed everything that must come with you, you’ll know if you have any extra space to throw in one or two last pieces. Often times that top you throw in at the last minute is the one that ends up saving you from a fashion emergency.
A note about luggage: Most luggage comes in the same variety of sizes. The biggest are usually around 25″ or 29″. I actually prefer the 25″ because I know I can stuff it full and not be over the airline weight limit, but it still holds a lot. On top of that, I like to bring a duffle carry-on in which I can put my computer, jacket, and any minor spillover from the suitcase. I always make sure there’s some extra space to hold any purchases I make on the trip.
And with that, I’m all packed up and off to New York for a busy week of fashion. Hmm which outfit to wear first?