Springtime flowers on fashion pieces are common enough to garner their own Devil Wears Prada reference, but there’s little use in arguing that a good floral can’t bring a smile to the face of most shoppers looking to thaw out from a long winter. As spring deliveries start to arrive at online retailers, it looks like floral bags are set to be even more popular than usual, from delicate embroidered clutches to large everyday totes. Check out over a dozen of our favorites below. (more…)

Anyone who’s an active pop culture consumer in 2013 knows that the things that are popular are not necessarily the same as the things that are the best. The two categories are related and often similar, but they’re not the same, and they’re both interesting for different reasons. We’ll be exploring the year’s best bags more thoroughly in January, but right now, we want to talk about The Biggest Bags of 2013.

Some of these designs (which are listed in no particular order) are new for this year and some have been around for a while, but they were all instrumental in shaping the way that consumers viewed accessories in the past calendar year. They’re trend-setters, they’re wait-list-makers, they’re the bags that have driven thousands of women crazy until they got their hands on them. Here’s to another year of bag lust.

Every year around this time, the color experts (which I would think were a weird title, if my own title were not “handbag blogger”) at Pantone get together and inform the world of the color we’ll be wearing in the next 12 months, as the result of some trend forecasting and also Pantone’s desire to remind people who are not graphic designers that it exists. The 2014 Pantone Color of the Year shall be a pink-purple known as Radiant Orchid, and it looks like a bunch of handbag designers figured it out before last week’s announcement. (more…)

Luxury accessories have an exclusivity problem. Because handbags are generally among a company’s most profitable and marketable product categories, most brands want (and need) to sell them hand over first in order to stay on the seasonal fashion treadmill. That’s a bit tricky, though, because one of the things luxury customers look for most in a new purchase is a sense of exclusivity; how do you sell lots of bags while still making every bag-buyer feel like she’s the only person in the world who has a particular piece? Lately, the answer is to turn a retail product into a one-of-a-kind handbag with the addition of the owner’s name or initials. (more…)

We’re all well familiar with animal print by now; it’s been a general fashion trend for years and manifests itself on bags season after season. I suppose that the current trend for printing actual animal images on bags is a somewhat extreme extension of the classic animal print idea, but the finishing ends up being quite different. One’s luxurious and often a little sexy, the other swings cartoonish and irreverent. You can probably guess which is which without much assistance on my part.

In execution, this trend skews similar to the odd trend of putting eyes on bags (and, notably, involves several of the same brands); simple totes or pouches emblazoned with a print that’s intended to be the bag’s defining feature. In some instances, though, the bags take the shape of the animals themselves, which means that they fit both the animal trend and the eye trend. I’d say you’re killing two birds with one stone, but that might be a tad on the nose.

When you consider the minimal, modern direction that fashion has been heading in for several seasons, plus the overwhelming success of the holographic leather trend, the emergence of mirrored metallic leather as a bonafide trend isn’t particularly shocking. Stiff and futuristic, high-shine mirrored finishes can only really exist in a fashion climate that encourages us all to dress like space ladies from Planet Street Style. They’re perfect for structured bags with limited details, such as the minimalistic zippered pouch-clutches that have become ubiquitous.

Indeed, mirrored leather does mostly manifest itself in clutches and evening bags, but for the adventurous, we found a few larger shoulder bags that will allow you to reflect enough sunlight that you can properly work on your tan through the frigid winter months. Remember, it’s not just about fashion, it’s also about function.

Fall is for jumping in leaves, pumpkin spice lattes and layering tons of textures. As I much as I love my cashmere sweaters, when it comes to accessories, this season is all about calf hair for me. For months, I’ve been lusting over more calf hair bags than you can possibly imagine; in fact, I’m starting to believe my heart may even be covered in the stuff.

Calf hair adds such an element of sophistication to every outfit and instantly makes you look a little more luxious. These 20 calf hair bags are so elegant and so soft that you may even find yourself snuggled up with one by the end of the night.

If brevity is the soul of wit, minimalism might be the soul of elegance. After season upon season of rococo embellishment, studs, beading, embroidery, print, fur and exotics, fashion feels like it’s ready for something a little simpler and a little less look-at-me. The street style ship as we know it has, to a certain extent, sailed. Because handbags are such a distinctive and enduring part of any outfit, the best way to get in the spirit of this sartorial shift is with one of the many minimalist handbags that are currently ripe for the picking. (more…)

As slow as some Olsen-skeptics are to admit it, The Row is straight-up influential. Not only was it the first brand to convince us that backpacks can be a totally chic, high-end trend (and in rather spectacular fashion), but The Row has helped to usher all of fashion toward a minimal sort of luxury that is now catching on across the industry. Whether the brand can bring the same sort of cache to hobo bags has yet to be seen, but The Row intends to try it for Spring 2014.

The hobo-style bag has taken a backseat to almost every other style of purse over the past few years; I haven’t seriously considered buying one since I got my Balenciaga Day Bag back in 2008, and most brands don’t make featured bags in hobo styles. Instead, the sack-like shoulder bags are relegated to less popular styles. The Row’s Spring 2014 shoe was full of luxe, oversized hobos in both leathers and knits, though, and that’s worth paying attention to. The brand has definitely found a way to make the style look new and modern, and the lines of these bags fit well with the emerging trends in accessories. Celine has tried its hand at a hobo once or twice, but these bags may be the push that the style needs in order to get it back into the spotlight.

It seems worth mentioning that backpacks are probably a much harder sell to high-end shoppers than hobo bags are, and yet The Row helped ignite something of a fervor for them. With the right design, the brand could probably do the same for practically anything; that’s how much fashion insiders and industry folks love it. Check out some of The Row’s Spring 2014 hobos below or shop the brand’s current-season bags via farfetch.com.

If you followed along with your Spring 2014 runway roundups, you already know what I’m about to say. Pale bags, ranging from ivory to blush, are the biggest trend going for spring by far. After what feels like season upon season of prints, neons, rococo embellishments and exotics, a simple swath of dove grey leather actually does feel pretty fresh, if perhaps a little tricky to keep clean under non-ideal circumstances. (Put away your denim, lest you turn the back side of your new bag entirely blue.)

Because fashion is slowly kicking and screaming its way into the instant-gratification machine we all wish it were, the bags that rode the runway aren’t going to be available for months, but we’ve found plenty of current options to keep you looking ladylike through the winter months. Speaking of which, the more traditional among you might feel like this isn’t a cold-weather trend, but au contraire – shades like ivory and blush are all over this season’s most covetable outwear, and as long as the tone of the color and the material are sufficiently autumnal, you should feel free to wear colors like pink and white year-round. White linen? No. White leather? Pile it on.

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