Sure, we all know what basics professional women are expected to have in their closets, but if you’re purchasing one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the best incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman ought to have.
I love a tote bag as much as the next person — but for some reason, I associate smaller bags with spring and summer. here in nyc it implies longer days, dining and drinking with friends outside, and long walks to and from work. It also implies lighter commuting shoes (ahem, flip flops usually), and less need for shoving stuff in your bag (scarves, hats, etc). I think a black satchel or take on bag is something every woman ought to have — some of the classics that we’ve rounded up in previous Hunts are still available, such as the Kate Spade Cobble Hill, or the Rebecca Minkoff Cupid, or the LV Pont-Neuf (rounded up in 2013)… or the Marc by Marc Jacobs classic Q Lil Ukita (rounded up in 2012; there are a ton of the “Classic Q” bags that one ought to consider here). Readers, what is your must-have basic color for a bag? have you purchased any great take on bags or satchels lately (or, do you wear any classics that are still available)?
I poked around for a long time searching for a good bag to recommend under $100 — my theory is that these are best found in brick and mortar discount stores like TJ Maxx. That said, there were a few, including this leather bag from Elliott Lucca — I like the magnetic flat top open, the tassel details throughout, and the general shape; the sale is also great. It was $208, marked today to $98 at Last Call. (Also in this price range: the Vera Bradley Eloise handbag, with a fun dome shape and made of a fairly lux-looking cotton, for $89 at Zappos.) Pictured: Elliott Lucca Messina Satchel
I like the look of this Annabele satchel (pictured here in red, but available in black, cognac, and ivory/snake). Amazingly there is no sale at BR today, but the bag is marked from $198 down to $168. (IMHO, I’d still wait for another 30% off sale, but that’s me.) Banana Republic Annabele Satchel
If I were searching for a deal, this would be my pick of the group. In my experience, Cole Haan bags last/wear extraordinarily well, are intelligently designed, and typically comfortable to carry — I have at least 5 CH bags in my collection. this one is available in black (pictured at top of post), gunmetal smoke (pictured here), and red, and is 50% off, marked from $348 down to $175. (Also in this price range: the Kensington satchel at Madewell ($198).)) Pictured: Cole Haan Nora Weave Hobo
Botkier is another brand that’s one of my favorites — they last and wear well, are intelligently designed, and typically look great. This bag (which has a fun pink lining) is on a good sale at Last call – was $495, marked to $294 today. (Last call also has it in a brandy and a cobalt blue.) Botkier Valentina Pebble leather Hobo Bag
There are a ton of good bags in the $350+ price range — Coach, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Dooney & Bourke, etc. I like this Kate Spade new York tote — the 8″ strap drop seems long enough to sling over your shoulder, and the pebbled leather and multiple openings seem like it would be a good bag to carry. It’s $428 at Nordstrom. Kate Spade Lainey Tote
C’mon, I had to include at least one splurge-worthy/drool bag. This Bottega Veneta is a classic, and I love the lack of identifying marks. It’s available in black, two dark browns, pale pink, orange, and a medium blue for $2,350 at Net-a-Porter. Bottega Veneta Maxi Veneta
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