During college, I logged a few years working at the local Best Buy, so you could say that I’m intimately familiar with the ins and outs of the holiday shopping season. We all know about the first two phases – Black Friday, followed by regular gift shopping – but the third is less talked-about. During my time in the retail trenches, we called it the Gift Card Apocalypse.

3.1 Phillip Lim Pre-Fall 2013, currently available for pre-order via Moda Operandi, doesn’t hold many surprises for those who are already familiar with Lim’s brand of clean, functional minimalism. What the collection does have, though, is plenty of bags over which Lim’s ardent fans will surely go gaga. The early winner is the white-and-black colorblocked 31 Hour Bag, above, which also comes in clutch and wallet form.

Remember back when colorblocking sounded new and interesting? It’s been a little while, but the trend is still going strong through Fall 2012 and well into Resort 2013. When done carefully, and often with the help of a little added texture, the look can still feel fresh and modern, but it’s not the sure-win gimmick that it was a year ago.

Most of the talk surrounding the Chanel Spring 2013 accessories revolves around the infamous Hula Hoop Bag. When you design a bag so insanely out-of-the-box, the press will flood in and chatter about it for days. Yesterday, Vlad and I were invited to see the Chanel Spring 2013 accessories up close and personal. As the elevator door opened, the Hula Hook bag greeted us.

My love for Loewe is nothing new; in fact I’ve shared it with you all recently. In the intervening months, that adoration has only grown inside of my handbag-loving heart. I’m always looking for the next bag to add to my collection, and over the years I’ve noticed my style has changed slightly. I now lean toward simpler, more timeless designs instead of young, hip alternatives.

First, a note on semantics. Most brands term their four big collections of the year Resort, Spring, Pre-Fall and Fall, in order of debut. Celine, ever marching to the beat of its own drummer, prefers to go with Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, in order of debut. Logically, not only does that fit with Celine’s penchant for well-considered minimalism, but it just makes sense.

As consumers, we see just one side of the design process: the finished product. Even in the democratized world of the Internet, the creativity and hard work that go into making fashion inspiration come alive are still relatively shrouded in secrecy. Where do ideas come from? How do designers decide if a trend is right for their work? Which pieces does a designer look back on most fondly?

Now that aggressive colorblocking (and to a certain extent, pattern-mixing) has run its course, designers have moved on to mixing textures. One wonders exactly where the fashion industry will go once piling beads, fur, studs and jingle bells onto the same outfit becomes tiresome (all the way back around to stark minimalism, probably), but for the moment, your style pursuit for fall is to load up on all the wonderful textures you can.

There’s just something so classy about Salvatore Ferragamo Pre-Spring 2013, and about Ferragamo in general. These bags take on some of the industry’s biggest trends – colorblocking, texture-mixing, brights, mint green – in a way that feels fresh and light, even when most bags with such elements are starting to feel a bit heavy-handed and obvious. That’s no small feat, which is why we thought we’d let you know that the collection can be pre-ordered through June 13 on Moda Operandi.

It has been a while since I answered a question for Ask Megs, and it is time to bring it back. Whether it is a gift idea, helping narrowing down a bag choice, or anything else related to our coveted arm candy, I’d love to help out. This week, a reader wrote to ask for help to find the perfect bag for her 40th birthday gift from her husband.

Follow Closely