If you’re like me, you have only one thought when you hear the word “Alaïa” – Alicia Silverstone as Cher Horowitz, trying to explain to a mugger why she can’t lay down on the ground in the greatest movie of all time, Clueless.

I’m no great fan of paying high prices for non-leather bags, but after seeing the Yves Saint Laurent Large Shopping Tote, I’m unsure how long I’ll be able to continue my resistance to the concept.

When you’re a fan of designer handbags, it’s best to come up with some personal price boundaries to avoid getting carried away.

Ok, so, that’s probably a false promise. But these are five beach bags that we really like for five different budgets and personal styles.

Now that we’ve seen one example today of metallic gone egregiously wrong, I though it might be nice to give some props to a brand that has managed to get it oh so right – Lanvin.

I’ve been trying to figure out for some time now exactly what it is that makes me love Valentino bags oh so much, particularly since Shannon called me out on it last week. It’s not like no other designer has ever done ribbon and flower motifs – that, in and of itself, is not what sets the brand apart.

Just the other day, Megs and I were having kind of an odd discussion. I don’t know how we ultimately landed on the topic, but somehow, the subject of pig leather came about. We both figured that it existed, since the nickname of “pigskin” for old-fashioned footballs certainly came from their porcine origins (although they were made from a pig’s bladder, not its skin, but that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish.) She and I spend exponentially more time than the average purse-lover studying the details of the world’s finest handbags, and neither of us could ever remember coming across a bag made primarily of pigskin.

We all know how lovely the Bottega Veneta intrecciato woven bags are, but a lot of people feel like the brand’s simple good looks don’t fit their personal style. I can’t blame anyone for wanting something more, and while Bottega has been doing a fine job of mixing up their aesthetic recently, I’ve got a woven alternative for people that like something a little funkier.

Is there ever such a thing as too many sequins? That’s probably a fashion question for the ages, and it’s not one to which I can give you a definitive answer right now. Sequins are like chocolate – in some contexts, a little goes a long way; in others, too much is never enough.

To quote the title of one of my all-time favorite episodes of Sex and the City, I love a charade. Well, a fashion charade, that is. It almost never fails to impress me when designers are able to take a material that has a certain set of expected characteristics and make it look like something completely different.

I’ll be the first to admit that fashion bloggers are often working with a somewhat limited medium. The industry’s recently increased presence on the internet, both in retail and editorial sectors, has given people like me a great deal of material to work with when writing criticism and making sartorial recommendations, but there’s just nothing like the real thing.

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