Anyone who’s opened a high-end fashion magazine in the recent past knows, those types of publications are focused on aesthetics to the near-complete exclusion of practical concerns. Style.com may be known as a website first and a magazine second (check out the print edition, though, it’s pretty fun), but it still follows that same fashion mag edict – form first, function second, if at all. Depending on the application, that ethos can either be fantastical or head-scratchingly odd.

The site recently released its top 10 lists for the season’s accessories, and its choice for The Best Bag of Fall 2012 struck me as the latter. This Fendi Crocodile Clutch maybe be a beautiful evening bag, but a great piece of functional design it is not. Box clutches never are, no matter how pretty they may be. Not only that, but this little evening bag isn’t even indicative of the season’s overall accessories trends. So what gives?

Making “best” lists is somewhat subjective, naturally, but I always try to follow a set of personal guidelines when I write mine for PurseBlog. Not only does a bag have to have that special spark of brilliance that can’t quite be described, but if it’s going on a seasonal list, it should somehow relate to where the handbag category is going in the months to come. Not only that, but it should be a piece that can somehow be relevant to the lives of bag lovers; even if it’s not a potential hysteria-creating It Bag, a purse needs to appeal to a significant consumer audience to be “best.”

Bags differ from ready-to-wear and maybe even shoes in that way; they form the financial engine of many of your favorite companies, and as a result, function plays into their design much more heavily than it does with, say, an evening gown. Naturally, a bag’s design merits have to be evaluated differently. This clutch, with its glossy green crocodile and picayune proportion, is beautiful but not particularly interesting, not to mention a bit irrelevant to the average high-end handbag consumer. In my mind, it would definitely make a list of best clutches but come nowhere close to winning the season. I’d reserve that honor for a piece from the Chloe or Chanel collections, or maybe even for something else from the same Fendi line. Agree? Disagree? Tell us what makes a “best bag” in your mind.

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