For the longest time, I didn’t pay much attention to Shopbop.com. I assumed they were geared toward a younger demographic and to some degree they are. But in the past couple of years, I’ve found some really fabulous items there that I haven’t seen anywhere else, and am always surprised at the wide range of brands they carry.
Right now they’re having a “tiered” sale (spend more/save more) on all full priced AND sale items.
I’ve always been a handbag junkie. I love the flourish that the right bag brings to an outfit, and usually have 2-3 bags in regular rotation to suit my needs and moods. For many years I liked to keep my bags current, and would buy and sell with some regularity. But in the last few seasons I’ve become MUCH pickier, and am not easily swayed by whatever new designer “It” bag is making a splash. Lately I’ve found so many bags to be either over-designed (too much hardware or other superfluous and non-functional add-ons), not functional enough (too large or small, no interior pockets, or pockets too small to hold anything thicker/larger than a comb), too bloody heavy, overpriced for the quality, or a combination of all of these.
But many of the bags I’ve seen recently have piqued my interest again. There’s less frippery, more functionality, and especially among mid-priced lines, better design without excessive details that cheapen the look (especially if you remove those dangling logo tags!!). I’ve seen both “copycat” bags and unique designs that I’d carry in a heartbeat. In fact, the bags that have really tempted me recently are all from the mid-priced lines.
There are some Spring bag trends I’ve noticed on retailers’ shelves that I think will have some staying power, and all have their high- and lower-priced iterations. (Please note: I’m not suggesting that lower-priced versions will be indistinguishable in design and quality from their higher-end designer inspirations; of course there will be differences but you can find some really sharp-looking, well-made bags now in all ranges.) I’ve focused on leather bags here, as I find they hold up to the kind of day-to-day wear I subject bags to. The “lusts” my collages are four-figure Premium Designer versions, “musts” are generally three-figure mid-range brands.
Shoulder flap bags, especially with chain handles are a classic style, but have been more widely available the last few seasons, and their popularity seems to be holding steady. This style looks great with both polished and casual outfits. “Saddle” bags, and simple flap styles without much hardware are also prevalent. Some styles are single-shoulder, some are cross-body, and best have straps that can be adjusted to wear either way.
Whether you opt for bright colors or neutrals, color-blocked bags can be the focal point of a simple outfit, or be incorporated into a pattern mix. These bags are certainly eye-catching and while on-trend, when rendered in simple classic designs with neutrals or a limited number of colors will have staying power in your wardrobe.
Bucket Bags and Backpacks
I’m grouping these two styles together, as many of the backpacks I’ve seen have a bucket-style body. I’ve come to prefer a cross-body bag to a backpack for hands-free wear, but for those who ride a bike or push strollers, a backpack may be a more comfortable option. Best of Breed: I’d like to throw out a special mention to the Elizabeth and James “Cynnie” style bucket bags. This smaller size is perfect if you don’t need to carry tablets or laptops, but holds plenty of personal belongings. They have both interior and exterior pockets, so no need to dig around for keys or phone. They’re available in multiple colors, textures and materials, and have the option of hand, shoulder or cross-body carry.
If bag weight is a big issue for you, you’re in luck, as these perforated leather bags are often far lighter than solid bags. Of course if you live in a rainy climate, these may not always be workable. Some of these bags I’ve seen are lined; others are not. In the latter case, a pouch for small items might be advisable.
What do you look for in a bag? Do you switch between bags or carry a single bag per season? Affiliate links in this post may generate commissions for unefemme.net. See complete disclosure policy here.
As a post-script to Wednesday’s ruminations, here’s how I recently added some softness and movement to an otherwise structured outfit. This sheer tunic has turned out to be such a fabulous Third Piece to jazz up solid basics. It’s from last year’s Eileen Fisher collection and no longer available but I’ve linked to some similar options below. You can’t see here, but I’ve layered it over a 3/4 sleeve black tee (check out the ones from Adea, very nice and great travel companions), so I can take off the jacket and still have some coverage.
The jacket is one of the new Spring pieces from Eileen Fisher, here. It’s cut beautifully (nips in nicely at the waist), and looks great over longer layers. I love the shape and fit. The jeans are NYDJ “Clarissa” ankle jeans. These are available in a several colors/washes.
The shoes are also from last year, but here’s a very similar pair that will be great for Spring/Summer wear (available in both black and tan suede).
Do you like to mix soft and structured pieces in an outfit?
If you grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1960’s, chances are your family had this for dinner at some point. For a time, it was the signature dish at a restaurant called Original Joe’s, though I only ever enjoyed it at home. This was one of my Dad’s favorite dinners, and at our house we had this at least a couple of times per month.
A few weeks ago I had a hankering for this tasty scramble and tracked down the recipe online. Here’s a very basic version; you can add any number of seasonings including but not limited to Worcestershire sauce, chili and cumin, soy sauce, cilantro, whatever.
“Original Joe’s” Recipe (serves 4)
2 TBSP olive oil
3-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
8 oz. ground chuck (you can also use ground turkey)
1 10-oz. package frozen spinach, thawed, drained and with excess liquid squeezed out in paper towels
8 eggs, lightly beaten
salt and pepper to taste (freshly ground on both if you have available)
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan (I use a Parmesan/Reggiano blend)
Heat oil in skillet, cook garlic and onion until soft. Add meat, stirring until browned. Add spinach, stir and cook until heated through. Add eggs, stir and cook until eggs are dry. Add Parmesan, stir until melted.
You can serve with garlic bread, baguette or rice for an easy, tasty dinner.