It’s that time again for a signature style post with my chic pals, Cindy Hattersley and Sarah London. Wow the month flew by didn’t it? This episode we are chatting about handbags! The role of handbags has evolved hugely during the pandemic. With masks and keeping our hands clean, I began to going hands-free more and using a crossbody bag, a backpack or just my wallet tucked in my jacket, but now paying with my phone I don’t even really need that a lot of times.
This cream bag is a Rebecca Minkoff that goes as a shoulder bag or a crossbody and is a smart style to have in your closet depending on what you are doing that day! Rebecca has some great options in crossbody/shoulder bags. A similar one to mine here.
The crossbody bag wins me over with its hands-free feeling, less strain on the shoulder and the security too. I now mostly just carry a small card case, a lip balm, glasses, hand spray and my keys. When I need to carry a bit more I have a small backpack which feels light too. Today I’m going to talk about a new trend and bags that make us feel less encumbered.
That brings me to an exciting development that Sarah London shared with our Signature Style group, that the upcoming Sex and The City reboot has our girl Carrie Bradshaw sporting in many scenes a canvas tote bag, not a designer bag. It’s a logo bag you get for giving your money to public television or radio. Many young women in Korea were already sporting these status free bags, bookstore ones in particular.
This begs the question, is the designer bag beginning its descent? When literally everyone has them, from your 12 year old neighbor to all the people at the grocery, have they lost their appeal? When all with a credit card can buy a multi-thousand dollar purse, maybe the smartest 2021 bag is the tote from the last museum visit or that you got with a purchase at your favorite store? Food for thought.
Some of the paparazzi photos of Sarah filming in NYC with canvas bags..
I personally have been collecting these sort of bags on trips for a long time! My favorites come from museums and I never miss a gift shop as they are the kind of souvenir that is useful while traveling and grocery shopping when back home.
Just for fun, I thought I’d wear one of mine out to lunch this week as a handbag. It was light and I felt like one of the cool kids! This was from the Mary Quant exhibit I saw at the V&A before the pandemic. The tote has her name and the other side of it is white 70’s flowers.
I have a lot of the V&A totes – most are under $10 and you can see them all here. My choices of the best below. Of course you need to pay for shipping. Check out local bookstores, museums or historic spots with gift shops for unique ones.
Some more cloth totes like these at Nordstrom, below left and these Baggu ones with a handy outside pocket and in many patterns and colors..
Crossbody bags are everywhere and make up a huge part of the purse segment now. This YSL bag one is my newest and I’ve used so much this fall. I realize this is an expensive bag and I saved for it and used some gift cards too. I chose this bag for the size, lightweight and the color, which I knew would be a fun option, but still classic. I think a lot about each purchase as I don’t want a closet of just okay things anymore. I am really trying to save for pieces I’ll love for years and that is why I splurged a bit on this bag.
I have seen a lot of women with great Tory Burch crossbody bags. I have two that are many years old, worn a zillion times and still looking good.
Tory’s been making more unique styles lately and appreciate the quality of her handbags for the cost. This Kira Chain Wallet in the sycamore color is a pretty design and the right size with a zip section too.
Her Perry Bombe Mini Bags are well designed with two zip sections and very roomy and light. I have a this bag in black. The latest offerings in this style are here. I love the burgundy! All of the Tory crossbody styles here.
If you must have a larger bag, they also come in crossbody styles. I have large vintage Coach I bought at a resale store years ago and it’s still one I reach for when I’m in a big city like San Francisco all day and need to carry more..
If you can find a Coach bag in good condition at a vintage or resale store, grab it. Coach sells these vintage beauties on their site and they have restored ones as well. Keep checking back as some are added regularly if they look sold out. I wish I had saved some of my older bags. I was lucky to get mine many moons ago and for a song. I commend Coach for getting us all in the mindset that we should value what’s here and older items are classics are even cooler than new!
I also love Coach bags from the regular store. They have a pretty bag now called the Willow that’s a crossbody/shoulder hybrid in a beautiful color block and other tones. Coach is making its way back on the cool list I see with a lot of people. Right now they are having 25% off full price styles.
The white backpack from coach is still a best seller.
I have been using this Longchamp backpack that was a gift from a dear friend and it’s the perfect piece for travel as it packs down very small and so good for a hike and can carry a water bottle, sunscreen and a granola bar- and more. I had it in Tahoe this summer biking and forgot I was even wearing it as it’s so light. Such a thoughtful gift.
I also kind of love this ClaireV backpack for dressier times. I have one of her totes and I think her bags are so nicely made and just a little different which I like.
This crossbody is another classic style she makes in many different mixes. This green leopard with the stripes is a standout and fun.
A few of my friends with crossbody bags- Heidi, with a cool zip pouch, Jeanne with a Rag & Bone and and Dawn-of Fashion Should Be Fun with a beautiful silver grey YSL bag.
It is worth shopping your closet and see what bags can be turned into crossbody bags by just attaching a longer strap to the side handle links. Not all bags will have this, but I was able to do this with a few bags by taking the long removable strap off one and attach to another. Play around and see what works!
You can also buy straps from Madewell, which has many versions and gives a new look and options to a bag like below..
If you still need of a good basic crossbody well made, to last you many years, the brand Cuyana, is high on my list for gorgeous basics like this Top Handle Crossbody in many pretty textures and colors..I know many friends who love this brand.
They also have a modern Saddlebag and a pretty backpack. Here is more about Cuyana and their vision of less things, made better and responsibly through good practices and their whole collection.
Staud bags have also been having a moment, particularly this fun shaped crossbody/tote with a removable pouch.
Similar to the vintage Coach style is this Oslo Soft leather Crossbody that’s half off now at J Crew in a few colors. I kind of love the red for a change. It reminds me of French women who often wear a red handbag or a shoe as a pop of color on a monochrome outfit.
I’d love to get your feedback about bags. What are you using and has that changed the past year or so and what are you looking for in bags now? What has lasted for you and still looks great and how do you feel about status bags versus this new canvas uprising?
Please pop over to my chic collaborators blogs and see what they have in store for you today. I know they will have some great thoughts and always beautiful options…
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