My hands are sweating just looking at the Stella McCartney Zebra-Print Wool Clutch. Wool, really? Whenever I have to hold a wool coat or sweater in my hand for more than a few minutes, my palms get so warm and moist that I have to put it down. I know Stella doesn’t use animal materials, and I know wool is a material appropriate for the Fall/Winter collection from which this comes, but it just doesn’t seem like that inspired of a choice to me.

Stella McCartney Zebra-Print Wool Clutch

And then there’s the size issue. A lot of designers make these wallet-sized clutches, and I’m not really sure who they’re selling them too – people without cell phones, maybe? Certainly people without Blackberries. I could never wedge mine into it. Whoever they are, it seems like an extremely niche market. What I do like, however, is how subtle the zebra print is. It doesn’t yell zebra, it merely whispers it, and subtlety and animal print are two hard concepts to combine. She does it rather well here, but it’s not enough to rescue the bag as a whole. Buy through Net-a-Porter for $515.

Eco Friendly Handbags

Happy Earth Day everyone! Today we want to feature an array of eco friendly handbags. From cotton canvas to vegan, these designs are eco friendly and sure to put a smile on Mother Nature’s face. We are bringing you bags from the well-known Marc Jacobs as well as PurseBlog favorite Hayden Harnett. We also are highlighting newcomer Matt & Nat, known for their design-centric, eco friendly and vegan accessories. Make sure to get rid of your plastic bags and sport reusable totes not just for Earth Day, but as much as you can! If you run into Vlad and I today, we will be sporting our Rebecca Minkoff Bread and Wine Tote, which compliments this gorgeous weather perfectly. Happy Earth Day!!

Top row, left to right:
1. Hayden Harnett Friends of Al Eco-Tote; $27.50 via Hayden Harnett
2. Felix Rey Toys & Trinkets Eco Diaper Bag; $360 via ShopBop
3. Marc by Marc Jacobs Print Locket Pocket Big Tote; $168 via ShopBop

Bottom row, left to right:
1. Matt & Nat Oversized Pleated Satchel; $350 via Nordstrom
2. Hayden Harnett Green Is Good Tote; $20.25 via Hayden Harnett
3. Nordstrom Reusable Tote; $21.95 via Nordstrom

English RetreadsSince Earth Day is upon us, let’s take a few minutes to think about what the future of eco-friendly fashion might be. Low-chemical tanning and hand-woven materials are all well and good, but there are a lot of smaller companies out there with new ideas and fresh takes on what exactly constitutes suitable handbag-making materials.

A company called English Retreads is pioneering the idea of taking used and recycled “vintage” rubber to make handbags with a tough, industrial edge. My favorite is the English Retreads Cruiser, a black hobo made out of reclaimed rubber from old inner tubes. It’s got a minimalist but edgy vibe to it, and the material makes it stand out from other bags. It’s certainly a far cry from the designer bags that you and I are familiar with, but it doesn’t lack style. Techniques and sourcing strategies like the ones used in this bag have yet to make their way into high-end bags, but things like these usually flow from a niche market to a more mainstream fascination, and you never know what may be around the corner from your favorite designer.
Buy through eBags for $49.99.

Salvatore Ferragamo Risvolti Eco Metal Free ToteIt’s probably time for me to sell my SUV, because the Green movement just keeps spreading to more and more areas of our lives. And it appears that it has finally come, in a serious way, to designer handbags. Salvatore Ferragamo recently released a line of five environmentally friendly handbags, aptly tited Eco Ferragamo. My personal favorite is the Salvatore Ferragamo Risvolti Eco Tote, pictured left.

These bags are still made of the super-luxe leather that we expect from designer purses, but the leather was tanned using natural tannins instead of the harmful chemicals that are used in the manufacture of most leather on the consumer marketplace. The interiors are made of a hand-woven hemp lining, which involves little, if any, chemical processing that would damage the environment. The one thing that confuses me is this: the bags claim to be metal-free, but there’s no alternative explanation of what the hardware is made out of. It looks metal to me, but could it be plastic? And if it was…isn’t that just as bad? Buy through Neiman Marcus for $1890.

juicy couture go green bag
Juicy Couture California Go Green Canvas Bag

Somehow it seems to be an oxymoron that a trend is saving the planet. Don’t we always want to save the planet? Breathe clean air? Eat hormone free food? Or maybe we don’t, hence we are in the position we are now. I love to see designers who offer eco-friendly bags. I just picked up a new favorite green bag which I will be sharing later. Today I ran into a great organic canvas bag, the Juicy Couture California Go Green Canvas Bag, which will work for a small grocery trip, the beach, or everyday carrier. I see many women who use their handbags as a triple threat, a do-it-all. The bag is made with organic canvas and sports a cute heart-shaped green logo on one side and double shoulder straps. There are two open pockets and dimensions are 20½”W X 17½”H X 1″D. Nothing to write home about, but with the green trend, the slow economy, and summer around the corner, this is an option. Buy through Saks for $75.

leftover bags
Leftover Bags Thankyoulady Tote and Leftover Bags Flowerpower Tote

If you have not already done so, you must get rid yourself of using paper and plastic bags at the grocery store. It is really not necessary, hurts the environment, and furthermore it is so entirely unfashionable right now. It is like a huge fashion faux pas now. So stop doing it and start reusing! I keep about six Whole Food’s canvas bags in the trunk of my car so that Vlad and I can use them each time we go grocery shopping. The only real concern is remembering to take the bag out of the trunk and into the store. Typically we forget until checkout and inevitably I shout to Vlad to make a run for the bags before the cashier finishes ringing up our food. Not only is this friendly to the environment, but it gives Vlad a mini-work out a few times a week.

For Earth day, if there is nothing else you can think of doing to help the environment, at least buy some canvas shoppers and put an end to using plastic bags. Leftover Bags are designed with organic-cotton and feature a graphic that can define your style. Choose from the time tote, flowerpower tote, thankyoulady tote, and the realfashion tote. The back of each tote features a logo graphic. There are double handles with a 9″ strap drop, which is perfect for carrying over the shoulder. Dimensions are 16″H x 17″L x6″D. Each of these environmentally friendly totes are carried exclusively at ShopBop for $38.

leftover bags
Leftover Bags Realfashion Tote and Leftover Bags Time Tote

Beau Soleil Beau Bag
The eco friendly Beau Soleil Beau Bag

The eco friendly rage is still going strong, but now many people are trying to buy eco friendly because they know it actually does in fact help the environment (ok and if you do not, just quite reading from here down). Some designers are coming out with eco friendly leather bags, but I also like the idea of cotton canvas totes. The Beau Soleil Beau Bag reads ‘reduce recycle renew’ on the front and sports cargo style snap-patch pockets on the front, back, and sides. The bag is designed with organic, raw cotton canvas, which of course is environmentally friendly and the knot detailed handles are designed with recycled, double rope. This bag is ready to help the environment while being usable and practical, sporing many outside and inside compartments. Dimensions are 13″H x 16″L x 4″D with a 7″ strap drop. Buy through Shop Bop for $44.

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