The advent of the Coach Borough Bag has left us (and a lot of other bag lovers) curious to see what will come next in the massive American brand’s handbag evolution. Today, we have one of the first answers to that question: the Coach Bleecker Mini Pocket Carryall, which costs less than $300, features zero permanent exterior branding and comes in a whopping seven colors, from basic black to acid green (with a couple gorgeous pastels in between). We’re into it.

This bag is the mini version of a new, larger everyday bag from Coach called the Bleecker Riley Carryall, but this little version, with its crossbody strap and petite price tag, is the one that really caught our eyes. Spring and summer are a perfect time for little bags (who wants to lug a giant tote in warm weather?), and this bag will surely grace a lot of bare shoulders come tank top season. Like the Borough, the bag’s leather texture is the main design feature, with the Mini Pocket Carryall featuring both smooth and large-grain pebbled leather in contrasting structural panels. The resulting bag has a neatness to it that has often been lacking in Coach’s efforts in recent years, and the feeling is modern without being unfeminine. In short, the Mini Pocket Carryall is very much in keeping with the plan that the Borough Bag set last season.

You can pick up this bag for $258 via Coach in all the lovely colors in the gallery below.

I mainlined two and a half seasons of Scandal over my extended Christmas break (more on that when the third season returns in February), and as anyone who watches the show can imagine, I’ve had pale handbags on the brain. Olivia Pope is a tote girl (woman, really) through and through, but I prefer a shoulder bag. Specifically, I prefer the Rachael Ruddick Le Trop Shoulder Bag, which is thoroughly modern but will set you back less than $400.

Like most people, white bags make me extremely nervous. (Not everyone is as careful with their red wine as Ms. Pope, after all.) That’s why a reasonably priced alternative makes so much sense – even if you only make it through a single season before it’s totally trashed, at least you didn’t spend premiere-designer money on it. With its black edging and white hardware, this version from Australian-born designer Rachael Ruddick is sophisticated enough for use at work, but the petite size and long shoulder strap mean that it could work in more casual atmospheres as well. Not that Olivia Pope has ever been known to throw on jeans and a tank top, of course. Buy through ShopBop for $370.

Let’s say, hypothetically, that you’re sick of the well-known Cambridge Satchel bags. They have an extremely accessible price point and started out with a little bit of fashion cred, so it’s perhaps not surprising that they became so omnipresent that I’d be fine if I never saw one on another wannabe street style star again. The premise of the bag is great, though, which is why the Cambridge Satchel Company Music Satchel is a welcome sight. (more…)

We’ve looked at budget-friendly gift ideas under $500 and under $250, and now we’re down the budget-friendliest of them all: gifts under $100. Whether your wallet is feeling a little tight this season or you simply have too many friends and loved ones to lavish something extravagant on all of them, these gifts pack a lot of value into their relatively small price tags. And this time, we’ve gone beyond just fashion gifts – there’s actually something called a Chocolate Bar Library available, and who doesn’t want that?

As much fantasy gifts are fun to look at and think about, the reality for most people, even most luxury customers, is that we’ve all got a budget to stick to. In keeping with that idea, we’ve constructed a series of price-tiered gift guides to make shopping with your checkbook in mind just a bit easier. Last week, we searched the Internet for gifts under $500, and today, we’ve doubled down to the best gifts under $250.

Not only did we go looking for small gifts like sunglasses, scarves and fashion jewelry, but we tried to find as many solid handbag options as possible with that budget cap in mind. There were more than you’d think; we found great clutches, crossbodies and totes in that price range, plus all the extras any gift-recipient would need to finish their look perfectly. ($250 still too much? We’ve got an under-$100 guide coming later this week, and you can check out all of our gift recommendations right this way.)

Spring 2014 deliveries will be in stores before you know it (seriously, they’ll be starting by the end of the holidays, which means we have only weeks to wait), and that means it’s time to start planning how our seasonal purchases are going to go once the sale-season craziness ends. We’re lucky enough to be able to check in on the upcoming collections from our favorite designers in person, and today we’re excited to bring you an exclusive preview of all the bags you can expect to see from Rebecca Minkoff Spring 2014. (more…)

When I first laid eyes on the RED Valentino Embroidered Quilted Shoulder Bag, I felt confused. Surely the brand was marked incorrectly; this design has every bit as much detailing as you’d expect from a full-fledged Valentino bag, and it has the same refined, utterly ladylike look. I felt even more confused when I saw the price. Less than $500? How could that be? Then I figured it out – the bag isn’t real leather. But maybe it doesn’t matter, considering all the other stuff we already discussed.

I am a leather person. I don’t spend money on fancy bags and shoes that aren’t real leather. I will never darken the door of the Stella McCartney accessories department. But at the right (reduced) price point, and when a considerable amount of design work has obviously gone into a bag, the case can be made for non-leather, even to me. This bag is beautiful and expensive-looking, much more so than the McCartney bags that sell like hotcakes. If you’re someone who avoids leather for ethical reasons, I doubt there’s a more refined, luxurious handbag choice for you anywhere else on the market right now. Even if you’re not, this bag’s the best argument I’ve seen for paying anything more than Target prices for PVC. Buy through Luisa Via Roma for $476.

When it came time to design Mackage x PurseBlog Nomad Bag, my idea was to make a bag that is ideal for the lady on the move, which I constantly am. When I’m home in NYC, I change my bags out often, but Vlad and I travel a ton and I’m not someone who takes along a bunch of bags when I’m on the road; they’re cumbersome to pack, they could get lost, there’s just too much hassle. I told the designers behind Mackage, Elisa and Eran, that the Nomad needed to be made with a hectic lifestyle in mind. I wanted to make something both compact and spacious, which is not an easy feat. On top of that, I wanted the bag to be convertible.

After a very long design day, many emails back and forth and months in the making, we ended up with a bag that actually gives you three bags in one. From a two-compartment shoulder bag, to a stand-alone clutch that can be zipped off of the rest of the bag and carried alone, to a pouch with an optional shoulder strap, this bag is the ideal travel companion. And for everything you get, the price can’t be beat – $395 via Mackage.

I’ve been traveling with my Mackage x PurseBlog Nomad Bag the past few months and wanted to show you the journey of my Nomad bag, from the pink sand beaches of Bermuda to the Toronto Needle (CN Tower) to the bag’s launch parties in both Toronto and NYC.

Bermuda

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The journey with my Nomad started in beautiful Bermuda
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We started the day with walks on the pink sand beaches and ended with dinners overlooking the sunset
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“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ― Lao Tzu

Toronto

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A warm welcome from the Mackage team when we arrived in Toronto
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Wherever you go, always remember to look up…
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“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss
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The Mackage x PurseBlog Nomad, enough said – $395 via Mackage

New York

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A wall of Nomad bags in the Mackage store
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DJ Brendan Fallis and Mackage designer Eran Elfassy
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Two of my favorite people, Theophilus London and Adrienne Bailon, who loved her Nomad
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The center of attention, the Nomad, $395 via Mackage
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Eran Elfassy and Elisa Dahan of Mackage, Megs and Vlad and DJ Brendan Fallis
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“The journey starts beneath the stars…” – Theophilus London
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The design trio of the Mackage x PurseBlog Nomad Bag, Elisa, Eran and myself

Usually, there are two things guaranteed to make a bag enormously expensive: exotic materials and a significant amount of detailing, like beading or embroidery. Somehow, the Rafe Celia Satin Clutch manages to combine both of those elements, plus a generous proportion, and still slide in right under $300. (more…)

I’m a little embarrassed to say that my iPhone has seen much, much better days because I don’t have a bag like the MICHAEL Michael Kors Phone Compartment Crossbody. Not only do I have a year-and-a-half old 4S (not even a 5!), but its screen is significantly cracked in one corner because of a post-brunch texting incident a couple of months ago in which it met an untimely end against a Third Avenue sidewalk. If those two things weren’t enough, I’ve noticed recently that my screen protector (which I’ve kept in place to keep the glass shards away from my delicate finger meat) has several gouges in it. After some thoughtful deduction, I’ve realized that those gouges are probably because the bag I’m carrying right now doesn’t have any interior pockets and my keys are attacking my phone willy-nilly.

As much as I love bag trends heading toward minimalism, it does present a few problems. My bag came with a separate pouch for all the things you don’t want crashing around in your purse, but I use my phone too much to zip it away completely in a pouch that I would need to fish in and out all the time. Even if a bag has a compartment that’s nominally intended to house a phone, it’s usually tucked away in the unreachable depths of the interior, which is also a dealbreaker for me.

This little MICHAEL Michael Kors bag gets it exactly right – your phone is easily reachable, but it’s also completely protected from everything going on around it. With out-of-pocket iPhones costing in the vicinity of $700, they’re often the most costly thing we carry on a daily basis, other than our bags themselves. It’s always nice when the bag pitches in to keep them safe, especially when the bag is as cute and well-priced as this little leopard number. Buy through Bloomingdale’s for $148.

MICHAEL Michael Kors Phone Compartment Crossbody Exterior

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