I have a theory: Elie Tahari’s bags are the bags that a Valentino lover’s younger sister would buy. They two brands are textured and rich in the same way, but the finishes are a little edgier and the prices are a lot lower with Tahari’s bags. For someone like me, that makes them nearly perfect.

The Elie Tahari Amaya Drawstring Tote is a perfect illustration of my hypothesis. Heavily ruffled bags in simple shapes are a Valentino staple, and yet I wouldn’t mistake this bag for one of theirs. This one has an edge and a little bit of grit that makes it different, and depending on who you are, that might even make it better.

The relatively small scale of the ruffles certainly makes this bag a tad busy, but I think I like it that way. The two textures and colors of leather are a beautiful combination, and their dark shades keep the bag from feeling too frilly or girly. Although the bag is teeming with personality, it would fit into your wardrobe as a neutral and come in handy because of its shape and size. With every bag that I see, my appreciation for Elie Tahari grows. Buy through Neiman Marcus for $648.

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