Ralph Lauren Collection Fringe Embellished Shoulder Bag, $3995 via Net-a-Porter. Ralph Lauren Collection Bull Head Embellished Leather Shoulder Bag, $995 via Net-a-Porter.

When I think of Ralph Lauren, there are some automatic associations I have that the brand has spent decades making sure I think of: Polo shirts, horses, women with carefully tousled blonde hair, people who have more money than Oprah. The reality of the brand’s average customer may be a little less glamorous, but based on the women who I normally encounter inside of Ralph Lauren Collection boutiques, those brand images do come from somewhere. What I can’t figure out is how that ties in with the Ralph Lauren Collection Fringe Embellished Shoulder Bag and the Ralph Lauren Collection Bull Head Embellished Leather Shoulder Bag.

Lauren’s Spring 2011 runway collection had a clear 1970s Western bent, and that’s clear in both of these bags. The metallic fringe bag looks like it’s covered in miniaturized belt buckles, and I guess you can’t get a whole lot more stereotypically Western than a bull skull rendered in silver, stuck to a weathered tan bag. That’s the problem, though – the references on these two pieces are too heavy-handed, the theme too obvious.

Perhaps my feelings would be more circumspect if the theme were one that appealed to me as a whole, so if you like Americana, these may be the sort of bags that appeal to a soft spot in your personal style. For me, though, they’re both a definite pass. I’d rather save my money for one of Lauren’s gorgeous Ricky bags.

Buy through Net-a-Porter for $3995.

Buy through Net-a-Porter for $995.

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