Anyone who collects anything knows what it feels like to let a particularly wonderful piece slip through his or her fingers and regret it for years afterward; no matter if the objects of your affection are coins or stamps or handbags, the thoughts of what could have been are, to put it bluntly, a major bummer. Whether you consider yourself a handbag collector or just a handbag lover, you’ve likely experienced similar pangs of regret over losing something you never really had in the first place. Friends, I know your pain.

I have plenty of bags on my list of ones that got away, and almost all of them are seasonal printed pieces that won’t ever be made again. There’s Marc Jacobs from 2008, Givenchy from last year and a Fendi bag that has yet to arrive in stores that I already know I won’t buy and will likely search for on eBay for years to come, but above them all, there’s the Prada Printed Saffiano Tote, which hit stores in Spring 2010.

Three years later, I’m still not sure why I adore this bag so much. The pattern is beautiful, yes, but it’s also not at all something I would normally consider wearing. I’m not a girly dresser, and my favorite prints tend to be of the digital, moody or industrial varieties. Prada produced this line of bags from feminine archival scarf prints, and somehow, my favorite of them all has baby blue and dove grey flowers on it. The design is certainly lighting up some sort of pleasure center in my brain, though, because I’m still thinking of and searching for the bag three years and a zillion designs later. I even remember the first time I saw it in person – at Saks in Atlanta – and I was hooked. I still am.

The most recent appearance this bag’s made on the Internet was on BlueFly, quite a while ago, and it’s long since sold out. eBay returns no results, and neither do online designer discounters. I’ll keep my eBay alert going, though, because you never know when someone’s going to clean out her closet and put my own personal white whale up for auction.

What’s your all-time One That Got Away? If you could go back in time and snatch up one piece, what would it be?

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