Everyone needs an everyday bag. A large bag to hold all the daily essentials, but not so large that it ends up holding you. For me, that means a lightweight shoulder bag in a basic neutral shade (black, brown, gray or beige), with just enough details to be interesting, but still conservative enough to be taken anywhere.
Back in day when I was gainfully employed, I was obsessed with luxury handbags. I knew the names of every Louis Vuitton style, could forge a debate between the merits of 30cm and 35cm Birkins, confidently authenticate that gorgeous Chanel lambskin reissue on Ebay- and then tell you what decade it was made in based on the serial number. Thankfully I also acquired a few classic pieces back then, as their value has been inversely proportional to the stock market slump.
When I became a true BAG lady (Broke Ass Grad student), I had to re-evaluate my expensive tastes. Its not that I am opposed to frugal arm candy. Quite the contrary. The problem resides in the fact that most handbags in a low price range look…cheap. And worse yet- tacky. So you wait patiently for epic sales, obsessively stalk Ebay, troll through endless webpages (did you know that Zappos has 8145 listings under handbags?), and visit every outlet mall in a 100 mile radius. However, if you are glued to your chair and the thought of entering a mall gives you panic attacks, it’s your lucky day, I’ve done the work for you!
1. Melie Bianco Miley: This roomy bag currently comes in 12 different colors, and the faux leather looks and feels real. I would recommend this bag for taller people (5’4 and above), as it looked great on my friend but almost swallowed me alive.
2. Melie Bianco Nadine: If you aren’t a fan of the chain weaving on the Miley, this Nadine bag is a great alternative for under $90 on Amazon.
3. Deux Lux Bowery: This woven hobo is an excellent option for all the Bottega Veneta fans out there. It comes in four great neutral colors and has the perfect dimensions- 15x12x3.
4. Deux Lux Sam: This lightly croc embossed bag can be worn over the shoulder or as a messenger bag. The putty color pictured looks more expensive than it is- only $64!
5. Ecco Nuuk Shopper: Love the simplicity of this bag! $85 on Zappos.
6. J.Crew Factory Bronwyn: I have a soft spot in my heart for New England prep. I can just see this bag on Cape Cod with a striped tee, cropped pants, and some Sperry top sliders. Its currently on sale at J.Crew Factory online for $48. Although the factory website is available online on the weekends, the stores always have better promotions and specials.
7. Urban Expressions Avalon: This vegan brand makes some amazing bags that truly look and feel like real leather. The tan Avalon bag presents a great summer option for $68. Note: Baghaus.com is the cheapest place to purchase Urban Expressions bags. They often have coupon codes ranging from 10-20%, and always free shipping over $50.
8. Urban Expressions Ballet: This one I bought! Review coming soon