Jimmy Choo Metallic Mandah HoboJimmy Choo may have just accomplished the impossible – they may have designed a beige bag that doesn’t make me feel totally blah. I guess the secret to doing that is not actually making the bag beige.

For some reason, they want us to believe that this bag is gold. Maybe the lighting is bad, but Nordstrom‘s pictures are usually among the most accurate on the Internet, and on their website, the bag looks beige. Metallic beige, maybe, but beige nonetheless. In my household, the color is much reviled and derided, but on the Jimmy Choo Metallic Mandah Hobo, it works pretty well. The shimmery finish goes a long way towards banishing my boredom, and I could see this working really well as a metallic winter white. How cute would it be next to a fuzzy grey sweater? Buy through Nordstrom for $1595.

Sometimes, you look at a bag and it just screams luxury. There’s no question that it’s made out of amazing materials that will last a lifetime, and it’ll be stylish for just as long as it’s wearable. You can buy it without worry that it won’t fit into your wardrobe or that you won’t find a use for it. Sometimes, a bag is just that straightforward and just that good. The Yves Saint Laurent Roady Hobo is exactly one of those bags.

Yves Saint Laurent Roady Hobo

The first thing to stop me in my tracks was the color – red with earthy brown undertones. It’s incredibly rich-looking without being ostentatious or showy in the least. Instead of screaming at you about how wonderful it is, it puts its hand on your shoulder and whispers in your ear. From there, I then noticed the subtle but important texture of the leather. Instead of being boring and smooth, it’s somewhere between a stamped exotic and a conventional pebbled leather. Like the color, it’s interesting and luxe without being unnecessarily attention-grabbing. It talks softly and carries a big stick. The refined, sleek shape is the perfect compliment – the structured handle provides a nice counterpoint to the soft, slouchy shape. The metallic hooks on the ends of the strap are the perfect finishing touch. Buy through Saks for $1395.

Bally Multi Zip HoboBally isn’t a brand that we often mention here. Sure, they make nice handbags. But so do a lot of people, and in the past, I’ve had a hard time finding Bally handbags that I have something to say about either way. Sometimes ugliness isn’t the worst sin; sometimes, it’s worse to be utterly unremarkable.

What isn’t ugly or unremarkable, though, is the Bally Multi Zip Hobo. In fact, this bag is quite well-done and executed nicely. We’ve seen plenty of bags over the past few months that use zippers as a decorative feature instead of just a functional attribute of necessity. The idea is particularly brilliant – not only is it visually stimulating, but it’s a fun play on the expected structure and construction of a handbag and the role that all the parts play. This Bally hobo pulls it off in a particularly sophisticated way – smooth, rich-looking strips of black leather separated by industrial silver zippers. Perfect. Buy through Luisa Via Roma for $1774.

Jimmy Choo Bardia Shoulder BagIf this bag was made to appeal to anyone in particular, it was made to appeal to someone like me. I like buckles, I like industrial stuff, and I like copious amounts of black leather in whatever texture it may come. And just in case anyone was wondering – no, this does not extrapolate out to my personal life.

But the Jimmy Choo Bardia Shoulder Bag just isn’t doing it for me, and it’s mostly because the whole idea for the bag seems a little bit half-baked. Instead of really playing with the idea of a bag inspired by industrial style, it looks like the folks at Jimmy Choo merely took a really boring black hobo and but some nonfunctional buckles and straps on the sides. At best, it looks like a bit of an afterthought and at worst, it looks totally contrived. With so many outstanding bags of a similar style on the market for fall, Choo is going to have to try harder next time. Buy through Saks for $1750.

I’m kind of shocked, really – a Prada leather bag for less than a thousand dollars? At first I wondered if the price was correct, but it hasn’t changed in the couple of weeks that the bag has been on the Saks website, so it must be correct. I doubt this is the brand’s response to the recession – Prada doesn’t seem like the type of brand that intends to acknowledge it at all – but for whatever reason they chose to produce the reasonably priced Prada Vitello Shine Hobo, and I’m pretty pleased with it.

Prada Vitello Shine Hobo

Odds are that the gorgeous purple color is making me more enthusiastic than I would be otherwise (it reminds me of my favorite Balenciaga color of all time, 2007 violet), but color is such an important part of a bag’s personality that I’m completely okay with that. Prada always uses excellent leathers and high-quality construction, so I don’t doubt that the bag will last for quite a long time indeed. The only thing left to consider is the structure: it’s boring, I’ll admit, but it’s also highly functional, and the beautiful shade of purple makes up for the simple shape. Considering the price of this bag relative to others in Miuccia’s arsenal, I’m pretty pleased. Buy through Saks for $995.

One of my favorite parts of every new handbag season is waiting for the new Balenciaga colors to start hitting stores and websites. They’re my favorite brand and consistently product some of the most vibrant leather colors of any high-end designer. Since their bag shapes are simple and iconic, it lets the ever-changing leather shades take center stage, where some become highly sought-after and collectible.

Balenciaga Day in Pommier

My favorite from Fall 2009 is Pommier, a beautiful bright green that this photo doesn’t do justice. From what I’ve seen, it’s more of a Kelly shade in real life, and I couldn’t think of anything more beautiful to wear with the blacks and greys of fall. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a green like this from Balenciaga, which is refreshing – they’ve taken to repeating some of their most recent hits in the past few seasons. I’d prefer it with giant silver hardware (since I prefer everything with giant silver hardware), but I’d settle for the regular hardware pictured here if I had to. Maybe if I can save my pennies, I’ll have one of these lovely bags to show you ladies in the future. Buy through Barney’s for $1095.

Maison Martin Margiela Leather Shoulder BagUnder normal circumstances, I hate a gimmicky bag. With a normal designer, the need to make jokes in order to make a bag interesting always makes me think that whoever is behind that brand’s handbags is out of good ideas. The thing with Maison Martin Margiela, though, is that he’s not your average designer. Not by a long shot.

The man has reportedly not been photographed since the 90s, yet he continues to churn out increasingly popular collections of edgy, current clothing and accessories. Some reports are that he’s no longer involved with the day-to-day operations of his label, but the company that now owns it disputes that claim. Either way, part of his shtick has always been adding in a sly joke here and there, and the Maison Martin Margiela Leather Shoulder Bag fits into that category nicely. It looks as though the bottom of the bag has been folded forward, but really the outside zippered pocket has been stitched and fitted with tiny silver feet in order to give the appearance of the bag’s bottom while still being a functioning element of the bag’s design. And that’s why I’ll let this gimmick go – it doesn’t take away from the bag’s functional purpose, and the joke fits is incorporate in such a way that it enhances the bag instead of detracting from it. The man may be a hermit, but his humor still translates.

Buy through Saks for $1445.

Gucci New Jackie Guccissima Shoulder BagLogo bags are kind of five minutes ago, right? They’ve been kind of five minutes ago for a couple of years now. But despite the fact that I’ve never been a big fan of bags with branding all over them, I’ve always had a soft spot for Gucci. I like the pattern that their traditional logo fabric creates, and I like how it looks when it’s embossed into their Guccissima leather. I think it works because even if it didn’t serve as a logo, it would still be a fairly simple and attractive pattern.

And that’s why I like the Gucci New Jackie Guccissima Shoulder Bag. Last season when the New Jackie came out, I wrote about how much I like the functional and comfortable shape of the bag, and that hasn’t changed a bit. When you combine super soft, matte leather with the Guccissima embossed logo, it provides great texture without having to mess with the bag’s structure or premise. The color of this bag seals the deal for me – grey is an enormous, important color for Fall 2009, and this grey is a perfect, blue-undertoned, medium grey that will go with almost anything in the average woman’s wardrobe. It’s mighty expensive for regular leather, thought, which is a major deterrent for me adding it to my wardrobe. Buy through Saks for $3250.

Well, isn’t this just the ray of sunshine I’ve been looking for! Here in South Florida, we are in the midst of our rainy season. While I have become accustom to afternoon storms, the past week has been full of doom and gloom. Rain in the morning, thunder in the afternoon and a nice combination of the two in the evening. So, I’ve definitely been on the hunt for a handbag to brighten my day.

Devi Kroell Degrade Wide Hobo

The Devi Kroell Degrade Wide Hobo uses bright colors in all the right ways! Python leather adorns this wide hobo (11″ x 17″ x 6″) perfectly. For me, exotic skins almost always look good on clutches or small handbags, but the same skin on larger bags can sometimes look a bit sloppy. If the sunflower inspired python wasn’t enough, open the bag and you’ll see a silk lined interior. Sure, I might worry that my keys or perhaps a pen (I never leave home without a pen and lip gloss in my bag) could snag the silk, but this is a risk I’d be willing to take. This bag is a complete hit, I love it! Buy through Barney’s for $3490.

Diane von Furstenberg Stephanie Hobo

Just a heads up to all of you who loved the Diane von Furstenberg Stephanie Hobo, it is back! Shop Bop is carrying it in both the large and medium size. I have the large and absolutely positively love it. It can be a tad heavy at times, but this handbag looks entirely different from every other in my closet. Buy the medium through Shop Bop for $875 and the large through Shop Bop for $995 before they sell out again.

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