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Time continues to fly by, and today we welcome May to our calendars.

The saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers,” and with the start of May, we wanted to kick things off with a fun video. Starting today, we will be welcoming each new month with a fun video celebrating one of our favorite bags of the moment.

Our May video features the Tory Burch Robinson Floral Printed Triangle Tote, a bag we already featured as our bag of the week. You can shop this bag for $375 via Bloomingdale’s.

Jessica Alba was recently seen leaving dinner at Craig’s in West Hollywood with her hubs Cash Warren and a bright red Tory Burch Robinson Double Zip Tote. This coral red hue is pretty striking, and you can get the latest version of Jessica’s bag at Nordstrom for $575. If you love the look of the Robinson, but are on the hunt for something much, much more luxe, check out the new Tory Burch Robinson Alligator Tote, which retails for a whopping $15K.

All alligator skin bags aside, Tory Burch bags represent some of the more affordable handbag options in Jessica Alba’s extensive designer handbag collection. Jessica is a pretty avid fan of preppier, mall-friendly brands like Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors, and seems to acquire new bags at a dizzying speed. You can check out her many bags in “The Many Bags of Jessica Alba”, natch, and don’t miss our follow-up post, “The Many Bags of Jessica Alba, Part Two”.

It seems like everyone wants a little piece of the exotic bag market these days. Not only has Louis Vuitton recently introduced a full line of crocodile and alligator bags in the past few days, but a Twitter tipster pointed us in the direction of the Tory Burch Robinson Alligator Tote, which we believe to be the most expensive bag Burch has ever produced by a long shot. By about 14,000 long shots, in fact – the next most expensive Burch bag that we know of was right under $1,000. (more…)

I doubt Tory Burch would be irritated to hear me say that hers is not a “heritage” brand by any stretch of the imagination. It hasn’t outfitted anyone for wars or saddled up any horses in its time, and that’s fine; not even billionaire Burch can go back in time and move back the birth of her brand by 100 years. Heritage is big business, though – high-end customers place tons of value on a brand’s history, and that’s probably why the brand new Tory Burch Saddalrina Large Saddle looks like it could be based on an archival bag from the brand’s imagined past.

Or, perhaps, from a brand like Coach’s actual past. The shape and finish of the leather remind me a lot of both the Coach bags my mom carried when I was a kid and the highly-prized classic Coach finds you can occasionally uncover in a vintage store. The long shoulder strap, the medium-tone gold hardware, the glossy-but-not-shiny finish of the leather – it’s all exactly right. Tory even did herself a favor and omitted her signature logo hardware, opting instead for a block T built into the bag’s turnlock closure. (Turnlock! Another classic Coach-esque thing.)

Coach doesn’t capitalize on interest in vintage-looking bags like this quite as ardently as it could, so, to be perfectly frank, I’m glad someone is. At Burch’s price point, this is what heritage looks like, and this bag does a great job pretending that it has a carefully cataloged predecessor from decades past sitting in an archive somewhere. Buy through Neiman Marcus for $495.

Also available in tan via Bloomingdale’s for $495.

Coach Saddalrina Large Saddle Bag

We’re already visited one elaborate, fashionable, ladylike garden party this New York Fashion Week, and that was between Kate Spade’s expertly trimmed hedges. Today, we’re off to see what’s going on in Tory Burch’s backyard, and it’s pretty gorgeous. Withe Tory Burch Spring 2014, the designer has found her stride, or at least a stride; the collection is neatly clustered around a clear theme, and the variations that it takes as the collection progresses are nothing short of lovely.

It’s with not-so-mild surprise that I admit that Burch managed to take something that can be accurately described as a “floral fanny pack” and make it something that a woman might actually want to wear, but she did just that. Vogue‘s Hamish Bowles described the collection as “tightly controlled,” and that’s probably the best phrase to use when talking about how Burch approached her use of florals and garden motifs. Where Kate Spade went quirky, Burch elegant. Both approaches are interesting in their own ways, but the clothes and bags in this collection look a lot more expensive than they likely will be, which is always a nice thing for consumers. Although maybe the prices are just going up.

Shop Tory Burch’s current collection via Bloomingdale’s or check out the images of her newest line below.

[Images via Vogue.com]

It’s hard for contemporary designers to step outside of a contemporary price point without arousing ire from its customers. It stands to reason that a huge portion of the fans of a brand like Tory Burch appreciate the designer’s work because they feel like it provides a good value for their dollar or inhabits a price range with which they’re reasonably comfortable. When those brands attempt to push upward, not only do those fans sometimes not follow, but they often become vocally angry – how dare a brand get too big for its price-britches!

As you might have guessed from the title of this post, the Tory Burch Attersee Chevron Satchel, above, costs $995. The bag is rendered in suede and wool, replete with numerous tiny beads and a few larger stones to cap off the bag’s closure. It’s detailed, lush and on trend in a lot of ways for fall. It’s jewelry, a sweater and a handbag all rolled into one, and considered all the disparate elements, it pulls off the look fairly well. (I’m not so sure about the stones at the top, but other than that, it’s a beautifully intricate bag.) Fine materials don’t necessarily impress fans of contemporary brands, though, if the price is similarly fine. That’s not what they signed up for, after all, and snakeskin and fur ventures by brands like Coach prove that pretty well, at least in consumer reaction. One needs only peek inside our PurseForum to pick up on that vibe.

Despite the fact that I know this bag isn’t any more overpriced for what it is than any other bag on the market from a similar brand, I still couldn’t put my money down for it, even if I loved it. In my head, the perceived value of a Tory Burch bag tops out at about $600, and it would probably take a slow, steady climb for the brand to exceed that figure for me. What about you? Can you envision a Tory Burch bag that would make you part with a grand? Is this one it?

If so, pick up this bag for $995 via Saks.

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