Despite the fact that yesterday was the hottest day of 2014 so far in New York City, we are now post-Labor Day, which means it’s our duty, as fashion writers, to push both you and ourselves as quickly into fall dressing as humanly possible. What better way to do that than with fur? Specifically, we’re going to examine these two fur bucket bags in our latest edition of The Look for Less. (more…)

I’ve always loved the Chloe Lucy Bag; it’s luxurious-looking, cleanly designed and classic without being boring. You can wear it on the weekends, you can wear it to work, you can wear it for years to come! The only downside, of course, is the price. At $3,150, it’s far more expensive than Chloe’s other leather bags (the much larger Baylee costs over a thousand dollars less), and the bag’s petite size makes the number feel like even more of a ripoff than it might otherwise.

That’s where the brand new Opening Ceremony Sumi Bag comes in. With its easy, rectangular shape, double top zippers and chain strap, the bag clearly drew some inspiration from the Chloe stunner, but its more contemporary styling and $545 price tag ensure that the difference is clear. If your heart loves the Chloe version more than your financial adviser does, the Opening Ceremony doppelgänger is just about the most compelling alternative you’re likely to find.

Chloe Lucy Bag
$3,150 via Barneys

Chloe Lucy Bag

Opening Ceremony Sumi Shoulder Bag
$545 via ShopBop

Opening Ceremony Sumi Bag

Intellectually, I’m aware that all designer handbags are overpriced, but I have the hardest time grappling with the prices of small, sparkly bags. At least with a big leather or exotic tote, you can see your money in the physical size and materials of the thing. With a shiny little clutch, the workmanship and expensive materials are a little harder to discern; I can tell cheap from expensive leather, but I couldn’t tell you how to decipher the differences between a glass crystal and a plastic one. I just don’t have room in my head for that information, but I do have room for a look for less.

Not only that, but the vast majority of women, even wealthy women, just don’t have occasion to regularly use a very blingy evening bag, which increases the cost-per-wear of such a clutch dramatically. I’ve been eyeing the Prada Jeweled Satin Clutch for literally years, but at over two grand, it’s just not a priority. When I saw the Alice & Olivia Be Jeweled Clutch, I knew it’d be the perfect option – similarly over-the-top and shiny, with multicolored jewels haphazardly affixed to the front flap. I prefer the candy-colored Prada option, but for less than a quarter of the price, I’m certainly not mad at the Alice + Olivia alternative.

Alice + Olivia Jeweled Clutch Bag
$465 via Neiman Marcus

Alice + Olivia Be Jeweled Clutch Bag

Prada Jeweled Satin Clutch
$2,100 via Neiman Marcus

Prada Jeweled Satin Clutch

With the furious din of bold trends that have swept through fashion in the past few seasons – brights! neons! pastels! exotics! colorblocking! fur! embellishments of all kinds! – it feels positively refreshing to see the clean-lined neutrals that are coming forth for Pre-Fall and Fall 2013. I’m not sure about any of you, but I need a palate cleanser something fierce, and a black-and-white bag seems like just the way to get it. In our latest edition of Look for Less, both Prada and 3.1 Phillip Lim provide sharp-looking options.

Both these bags feature the same boxy shape and spare, center-stripe pattern, but the less-expensive Lim bag provides a bit of slouch and a more modernist feel with its soft leather and black hardware. The higher-priced Prada option gives you what will likely be a more long-term durable bag, what with the stiff, rugged saffiano leather and black leather covering the wear-prone corners. With gold hardware, the look is also a bit more classic and will likely appeal to a wider swath of consumers. Which do you prefer?

3.1 Phillip Lim 31 Hour Bicolor Bag
$795 via Neiman Marcus

3.1 Phillip Lim 31 Hour Bicolor Bag

Prada Bicolor Saffiano Zip Tote
$1,960 via Neiman Marcus

Prada Saffiano Bicolor Zip Tote

It was only a matter of time. At first, the Celine Trio Bag flew under the radar – with its small proportion and ultra-minimal look, the bag wasn’t the kind of blockbuster that the Luggage Tote and Trapeze were, but it also wasn’t meant to be. Instead, the Trio is a little bag for in-the-know fashion hounds to signal to each other that they are, in fact, in-the-know. (It also has its functional purposes, but let’s be real: that’s not why anyone buys a Celine bag.) Several seasons after its debut, celebs have started to embrace the bag, which meant that “inspired” designs couldn’t be far away. That day has come.

Celine Trio Bag

The Annabel Ingall Jojo Bag and the Liebeskind Celia Crossbody Bag arrived simultaneously at ShopBop yesterday, and they both feature the simple, three-pouch construction that makes the trio so distinctive. The bags are virtually identical in size to each other (and to one of the Trio sizes), but it seems as though only the Annabel Ingall version performs one of the Trio’s neatest tricks: unsnapping to form three separate pouches that can be used independently of each other. Alternately, both of these less-expensive options feature something that the original Trio, pictured above, doesn’t: a detachable shoulder strap. (The Trio can either be purchased as a clutch or a shoulder bag, but the original Trio bag is not convertible between the two.)

For the money, it’s hard to argue with these alternatives. The Celine Trio will run you over a thousand dollars, depending on size and material, but both of these bags are below $300.

Liebeskind Celia Crossbody
$145 via ShopBop in two colors

Liebeskind Celia Crossbody Bag

Annabel Ingall Jojo Crossbody Bag
$299 via ShopBop in six colors

Annabel Ingall Jojo Cross Body Bag

Admittedly, the fact that that The Row Classic Leather Shoulder Bag and this version of the Vince Camuto Julia Shoulder Bag aren’t even remotely similar colors weakens my case here a little bit. If you can look past that, though, I think you’ll find these two bags are a pretty convincing look for less. Use your imaginations. It’s supposed to good for our brains as we age.

I’ve been kind of obsessed with tailored little shoulder bags lately; they look modern and clean, plus they’re super easy to carry. That becomes particularly important when it gets hot outside and you don’t feel like carrying anything at all, and these two bags are both perfect for this spring without being sloppy, as some mini crossbodies tend to be. Although the designs come at wildly disparate price points, both feature a petite rectangular shape, top flap and bar closure as their primary design features. If you’ve got the extra money to spend, the option from The Row will look chic forever. If not, the Vince Camuto version is a great option for the season.

The Row Classic Leather Shoulder Bag
$2,800 via Neiman Marcus

The Row Classic Leather Shoulder Bag

Vince Camuto Julia Shoulder Bag
$158 via Nordstrom

Vince Camuto Julia Crossbody

With the ting accessories of the Golden Globes fresh in my mind, I couldn’t help spending a little bit of extra time in the evening bag sections of my favorite shopping websites last week. Here’s one thing I learned (and trust me, it’s groundbreaking): clutches cost a lot. It often seems as though the less they’ll hold, the more they cost, and still I want all of them. You heard me, every single one. Who can get enough tiny, shiny things?

If I were to attend an event that required a ball gown, I’d want to go super modern with my accessories; my personal style is just not particularly girlish, and modernity often acts as an effective balance to things that are pretty in a traditional or obvious way. My first impulse would be to go for a Charlotte Olympia Pandora Spider Clutch; brightly pigmented lucite with a spider on top is about as modern as an evening bag gets, but the simple, traditional shape means that it’s still formal enough to be worn to a seriously formal event.

Now don’t get my wrong, I love basically everything that Charlotte Olympia does, but the Pandora has always struck me as too expensive for what you get, even when you consider addition of the small insert that shields your belongings from prying eyes, if you so choose. With that in mind, I went looking for a less-expensive alternative – I knew that a less-expensive plastic box had to be out there somewhere. Sure enough, the CC Skye Bright Love Lucite Clutch provides a similarly sleek shape and poppy color for a little over a quarter of the price. The CC Skye option also offers a dual-color approach – one side is tinted orange, the other yellow, and it also comes in a pink-and-orange combination. For the difference in price, I’ll take it.

Charlotte Olympia Pandora Spider Box Clutch
$975 via Neiman Marcus

CC Skye Bright Love Lucite Clutch
$255 via ShopBop

Sometimes when we feature a Look for Less, the less expensive bag was clearly designed in the image of the more expensive bag. That’s one of the duties of mid-priced brands, after all; taking a look that’s out of reach for most consumers, reinterpreting it in the brand’s aesthetic and making it more accessible. That’s not what happened with the Coach Willis Bag and Louis Vuitton Eden Colorblock Crossbody, though – the Willis is a style that was first introduced years ago, and re-introduced several seasons back. These are simply two bags at very different price points that share a number of aesthetic similarities.

The overall styles of the two bags are a bit different – the Louis Vuitton is much more structured, and Epi leather is semi-matte, while the Coach option is a bit more malleable and a whole lot shinier. They’re both functionally sized crossbodies, though, with top-flap closures affixed with the respective brands’ signature locks. They both also feature burgundy, the biggest color of the moment, which will serve you well through winter and into spring.

Personally, I prefer the Vuitton option because of the solid structure and silver hardware, but the Willis is one of my absolute favorite Coach bags (and it comes in some good colorblock variations as well). Which is your favorite?

Louis Vuitton Eden Crossbody Bag
$2,050 via Louis Vuitton

Coach Willis Bag
$298 via Coach

I have a hard time finding really good look-for-less handbag matches lately. I guess that goes for all of fashion, really; so many times, it seems like the “look for less” is really just an awful copy of something that was done much better by someone else. But in this case, I’ve found two beautiful clutches that carry a distinctly similar aesthetic while still being great pieces on their own. Today’s high-low pairing features Bottega Veneta and BCBGMAXAZRIA in a battle of gold and black box clutches. (more…)

The line between inspiration and imitation is wafer thin in the fashion industry. Any time we post something about a bag that looks like another bag, no matter whether the post is positive or negative, a whole host of people chime in to both agree and disagree in seemingly equal measures (and with plenty of enthusiasm for their points of view). Naturally, you guys were the first people I thought of when I laid eyes on the Kooba Grove Lambskin Messenger – is it an homage to Pierre Hardy’s signature trim and closure, as you can see on the Pierre Hardy Colorblock Leather Shoulder Bag, or is it a ripoff? Let’s examine the evidence after the jump. (more…)

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