Alexander Wang Trudy Lambskin Tote, $875 via Bergdorf Goodman

Somehow, the two photos above are of the same bag, the Alexander Wang Trudy Lambskin Tote. They’re also from the same website, And yet, they’re completely different. One is an insightful peek at what a bag might look and feel like in person, and the other can best be described as an impediment to making those decisions. Unfortunately, the latter is what most websites provide when we’re trying to decide if we want to spend hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on a handbag. So what gives? Why can’t stock photos be better?

Unquestionably, the king of stock photos among the big online retailers is Net-a-Porter. The site provides clear, large, accurate shots of multiple angles for every product, including the all-important closure mechanisms on its handbag pages. The images are so well done, in fact, that I always check Net-a-Porter first when I want to write about a piece; good photos are essential to a fashion post. It seems as though other websites often do the same thing, which leads to lots of free publicity for Net-a-Porter. You’d think that other websites would be champing at the bit to get in on that game.

Apparently not, though. Would it kill Saks, Neiman Marcus and Bergdorfs to give us a few more angles and some well-lit shots in exchange for our hard-earned dollars? They all have beautiful feature photography on their sites and are almost certainly employing professional photographers to take their regular stock photos, and the extra effort would be much appreciated by those of us sitting on the other side of the computer. A precision zoom tool doesn’t do much good if the texture and feel of the bag aren’t evident from the way that the photo was shot, and not even the largest photo can show you how a bag closes or what it looks like inside if the only picture provided is from the front.

I’d much rather have the bag in the first photo than the bag in the second, wouldn’t you? Buy through Bergdorf Goodman for $875.

P.S. Please consider supporting our small, bag-loving team by clicking our links before shopping or checking out at your favorite online retailers like Amazon, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, or any of the listed partners on our shop page. We truly appreciate your support!

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