Sometimes it takes a handbag outsider to remind us how it’s done. All of us bag people can get a little caught up in logos, leather types, and the traditional bag powerhouses at times, but sometimes it’s nice to peer outside that, to people that make clothes first, and then bags, and see what they come up with.

Jil Sander Oversized Leather Bag

Jil Sander is one of those designers. She’s known more for her overall minimalist aesthetic than her accessories collections, so we don’t cover her often, but her Oversized Leather Bag is nothing short of impressive. In her trademark simplistic color scheme – if you can really call “Black and More Black” a color scheme – Sander has created a functional, grown-up bag for a woman with a self-assured sense of style. An interesting visual point – there is no exposed hardware on this bag (a similar feature of the Fringe Satin Clutch). Even the small buckles attaching the handles are wrapped in black leather, reinforcing the monochromatic, minimalistic look for which Sander is known. Buy through Net-a-Porter for $1490.

Shoe designers cross over and become bag designers with varying amounts of success. The recent example that most of us know best is Jimmy Choo: the long-time shoe brand added a bag line a few years ago and hasn’t looked back. They have a dedicated following and have used bags as a way to introduce a new group of women to the brand that may not have previously thought they needed $800 stilettos in their lives.

Christian Louboutin Schoolita Framed Bag

Some shoes brand don’t perform quite as well as Choo does in the bag arena, however. Namely Christian Louboutin. I’ve written previously about how I love his shoes and am deeply unsatisfied by his purse offering, but I saw the Schoolita Framed Bag today and actually kind of liked it, so I thought I’d share it with you. The one thing I really DON’T like about it: it reminds me greatly of many recent bags by a different Christian – Christian Dior. It looks like the leather is soft, though, and it’s in this season’s biggest color. Plus, I’m one of those people that can be easily won over with a lining, and this bag’s is in the signature red of a Louboutin sole. I’m not a huge fan by any means, but it’s a lot better than a lot of what the brand puts out, handbag-wise. Buy through Saks for $1495.

As much as we love the established designers with their signature handbags, we get giddy for new designers offering handbags that we must have. It does not happen often that there is a bag that I see that I absolutely MUST HAVE. I can rave about specific bags and even profess my love, but if I am not out buying them up, they are not on the same level. Recently, I had to have the latest DvF Bag, and I went out and bought it. Of course there are pricing restrictions, but once you catch me raving incessantly, that is most likely a bag that will be added to my collection.

Proenza Schouler PS1 Crocodile Satchel
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A lot of you liked the Proenza Schouler PS1 Leather Pouchette I wrote about last week, but expressed some concern at being able to coordinate the color and finding enough uses for a clutch. Well, since I like to be service-y, I thought I’d show you guys something that would satisfy both of those concerns: the Proenza Schouler Medium Suede PS1 Bag. I’m normally not much for off-white, but I think the color (which is referred to as “sand” on the website) is perfectly suited in this bag. It enhances the vintage feel, but the relatively clean lines of the bag’s structure give it a modern edge that keeps it from being too sloppy.

Proenza Schouler Medium Suede PS1 Bag in Sand

The suede looks thin enough that it would slouch like a champ once broken in, and although suede is a color that can attract dirt, I almost feel like this bag would look even better once it looked a bit used. The design isn’t at all gimmicky, and nothing about this bag will look dated in a few years – in fact, I’d really love to have one, since I don’t think I’d ever get tired of it. The size also looks just about perfect for everyday use. Buy through Barney’s for $1595.

I full admit that my taste level can be, at times, a little loose. I like shiny things. I like brightly colored things. And I really, really like animal-print things. As a result, I also really like the Roberta di Camerino Zebra Bag. It’s ittby bitty, but I can’t help but think that that means it’s just the right dose of a sometimes-tacky fabric to spice up an outfit that would otherwise be kind of average. What I’m trying to decide, though, is if the shape of the bag and its handle structure make it more suited for an older woman than a younger girl.

Roberta di Camerino Zebra Bag

I could see a woman in a black boucle Chanel suit wearing this and some pearls – after all, when you’re that rich, you don’t need to haul around everything you own in a giant handbag. You can afford to leave home with just the essentials, because there’s someone else coordinating everything non-essential on your behalf. That must be nice…anyway, I digress. I’m not sure that just any young girl could pull this bag off, but with the right amount of edge, it could potentially be great with a cute black dress and some other chunky accessories when going out at night. And it’s zebra print…oh, how I love zebra print. Buy through Barney’s for $1795.

Mulberry Shimmy Tote in Purple
After Mulberry rep Jackie contacted us a few days ago and asked us to take a look at their bags on their own website instead of other retailer’s, not only did I update my opinion of the Mulberry Creased Patent Mitzy Hobo, but I spent some time looking around their website at the huge number of bags that they have in their line. I had simply never realized before, and I think that it might be a brand that a lot of Americans overlook. Well, I’ve been set straight now, and any of you guys out there that are big fans of simple bags with thick leather might want to peruse their website as well. Don’t believe me? Well, take a look at the Mulberry Shimmy Tote. When I saw it, it left me (as the Brits say) gobsmacked. This thing is gorgeous. And it’s gorgeous in a totally simple, understated way. It doesn’t scream at anyone about how expensive it is, it just looks really well-made and chic. It is exactly my style, and a perfect color for the navy (although Mulberry calls it ‘purple’) trend for spring. The bag is also made of sheep leather…I’m not quite sure what that feels like, do any of you know? I’m familiar with calf, lamb, goat…but I don’t know if I’ve encountered sheep. It LOOKS very soft, though. Mulberry has sold out of it on their site, but ShopBop still has it available for $995 (although their pictures don’t do it justice). Buy through ShopBop for $995.

Dolce and Gabbana Miss Sicily Snakesin BagMy first reaction when I looked at the Dolce & Gabanna Miss Sicily Snakeskin Handbag was that it didn’t look anything like a Dolce & Gabbana handbag. At least not the ones that have come out most recently – they’ve all looked like ruffly garbage bags or been in various color of lamé. I won’t say that’s a bad thing – I kind of like the ruffly garbage bags – but it’s certainly different than what we see here. The Dolce & Gabbana Miss Sicily Snakeskin Handbag Miss Sicily is the exact opposite of a ruffly anything. Its lines are so rigid, just looking at it makes my back hurt, and I’m pretty sure that I could fend off an attacker with it quite quickly. That’s not to say I don’t like it, because I do; it would dress up jeans and a white button-down quite nicely, and snakeskin is my favorite neutral material of all time. Go ahead, try and think of something snakeskin, in one form or another, wouldn’t match. And this skin in particular is gorgeous – it’s textured with tons of tiny scales that really deserve some time spent with Nordstrom’s zoom feature. Seeing this makes me really wish that Hermes would consider expanding their snakeskin offerings in the future. Pre-order through Nordstrom for $2475.

This bag is not playing around.

The Salvatore Ferragamo Top Handle Satchel means business, and it’s not going to put up with any of your flack. It’s an office bag if I’ve ever seen one, and although it evokes thoughts of the Hermes Kelly, it’s not iconic in a way that would tell all of your coworkers exactly how much you spend on your accessories. This kind of discretion is recommended by some in the current economic climate, but I’m just recommending it because I think it’s an interesting bag. The design isn’t totally buttoned – up; its structure is sleekly post-modern on the side gussets, and the hardware that holds it together is something I’d like to see in person. What we have here is a reimagining of a classic shape that’s office-appropriate without being obvious and interesting without being odd. Buy through Saks for $1890.

When I think of Ferragamo I think of the absolutely drool-worthy Salvatore Ferragamo Oversized Carlotta Alligator Tote. I dream about that bag. I yearn for that bag. I feel as if I absolutely need that bag. But there is a tiny thing called reality, that sets in and tells me, YOU ARE NUTS! The $35,000 price tag really is out of my league and if I thought buying a Birkin was nerve-wrecking, this would most likely end with my passing out.

What I realized about Salvatore Ferragamo bags after reviewing the Carlotta is their beauty. We all know their shoes, and many women swear by them. And now I can imagine many women swearing by their bags. The leather is supple, the craftsmanship is impeccable, the look manifests understated elegance perfectly. Take the Salvatore Ferragamo Sartoria Pebble Calfskin Clutch for example, which is dressed up with a handwoven accent down the center of the purple leather framed clutch. There is a black lucite closure, which is an unexpected addition. The clutch is a good size, 12¼”W X 6¾”H X 2½”D, and I adore the overall feel. And with a sale price of $714 (marked down from $1,190) the price tag is much more friendly to my wallet and the amount of money I am willing to spend. Buy through Saks for $714.

Just this morning I was talking to my grandma and she mentioned how she noticed some dresses Megs and I used to play dress up in as kids are now back in style. As kids, Megs and I would put on dresses our mom and aunts wore to homecoming or prom. We loved the dresses back then because although they didn’t fit, we felt like we were more grown up and pretty. As I talked to my grandma she started rattling off a bunch of trends that have come back into popularity… several times. Ya, I know, our grandma is rather hip. I would have to say this is definitely the case for the Charles David Zahra Large Pleated Satchel; animal prints are always cycling themselves into the “what’s hot” list.

With this bag, he leopard print was the first thing that caught my eye. I do love animal print as much as the next person, but I am wondering if this is a little too much. And although I am not a huge fan of the shape of the satchel, I can’t get passed the amount of the leopard print. The calf hair bag is topped with croc-embossed leather and leather trim. Clearly, there is plenty of room in this bag which is kept closed with hidden magnetic closures. I am all for animal print being in style, but what do you think, is this too much? Buy through Nordstrom for $350.

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