When you’re a major bag fan, you start to pic up on the subtle idiosyncrasies of major designers – the way that they attach handles, the types and colors of hardware that they tend to use, the shape of their corners and finish of their leathers. All of those things form subtle trademarks for a brand over time, and the more bags you look at, the more you instinctually search for those markers in every design.

And that’s what strikes me as strange about the Marc Jacobs Luisa Shoulder Bag. When I saw it without any name attached, I thought that perhaps it was Oscar de la Renta or maybe even one of Lanvin’s more streamlined pieces, but it’s not. Instead, the bag is from Marc Jacobs, the reality of which still surprises me. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

I’ve sensed a bit of consumer fatigue with many of Marc Jacobs’ bags over the past few seasons; the runway bags are too weird and the non-runway bags are too expected. While there surely exist customers who prefer the bags on both ends of that spectrum, it seems as though most high-end bag lovers want something that occupies the middle space – unique, but not so eccentric that the design self-prohibits regular use.

In the context of Marc Jacobs accessories, this design hits exactly that middle ground. I would have made a few adjustments for my own sanity, one of them being the addition of a leather strip at the top of the chain (or alternately, a double chain handle) to aid in ease of use, and another being the substitution of real python for the embossed leather, particularly at this price point. Those issues are minor when considered from an aesthetic standpoint, though, and this bag makes me interested to see where Jacobs’ accessories are headed for fall. Buy through Neiman Marcus for $1995.

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