I think it goes without saying that you can’t have one bag. At least, that holds true for most of us that enjoy employing our creative sense of style in our everyday getups for every occasion and need. Every time I think I finally have enough, I have another that somehow fills a niche in my wardrobe that I just must have. However, as much fun as I like to have with finding the most unique, eye-catching statement bags, I really always find myself gravitating back to the basic (but not so basic) bags that go with everything, keep everything secure, hold up well, and seem to fit whatever destination I’m heading to. I usually like going with leather bags for durability, smell (yes, smell), and the fact that it just gets better with age. I’ve been eyeing Madewell’s bags for awhile now, which is no surprise. This brand is best known for quality and timeless goods, and I have written about their eco friendly swimwear, jeans that fit nearly all bodies, and bags several times. Now, the carrot is being dangled in front of my nose once again with new leather bags from their Abroad collection.
When most of us think of Summertime in the fashion sense, we probably think of bright shades, fun whimsical prints and frilly details. While there is plenty of that out there, those thoughts come primarily from our wild and free childhoods—for me, at least. These kinds of motifs aren’t hard to find for those who enjoy them as adults (Lilly Pulitzer, anyone?), but if you’re like me, you might prefer more modern, minimal, toned down earthy shades for warm weather vacations, beach parties or trips to the pool. I like darker shades, but every now and then I might bust out of my rut and go for something at least slightly more playful. While writing this, I’m thinking a lot about swimwear, but for this post I’m going to focus on another Summer addiction…bags! The excessive enjoyment I get from fashionable containment isn’t limited to any season in particular, but my taste buds just re-activated when I saw a collection of new stylish Summer bags from Madewell! I already have plenty of pieces to carry my essentials to whatever these brighter months may bring, but I guess maybe I do like some whimsy after all…in the form of styling flexibility!
I think by now we’re all aware of the problem that is our global dependence on single-use plastic, and how our efforts to recycle aren’t quite going as well as expected. Most ends up in landfills, and our oceans, creating more problems than we know how to fix with our rapidly growing population. I’ve been stoked to see several companies stepping up to help fix the problem, like G-Star RAW with RAW For The Oceans (which is a line of apparel made from plastic taken right out of our precious waters), Threads 4 Thought and Teeki (both manufacture active apparel made from recycled plastic bottles) and Free Bella (swimwear made from…you guessed it, recycled plastic bottles). Now much-loved, size-inclusive brand Madewell has jumped into the mix with their own line of swimwear made from recycled plastic bottles, called Second Wave.
One perk of being a style blogger is getting the chance to try (and collect) a wide range of denim. You kind of have to be a little obsessed, and because of that, there are very few brands I have not tried (or don’t yet have a pair from). It’s definitely fun to see how your body shape works with different brands, so when you do choose to purchase a pair later, it’s such a convenience to know which brand and size to go for. One brand I actually can’t believe I have not gotten my hands on yet is Madewell, especially considering all the crazy accolades I’ve heard come from their devoted fans. Many of these premium denim brands promise the perfect fit, and many of those are correct…but since bodies come in so many different shapes, this can still be tricky. Madewell is a brand that I’ve heard amazingly positive things about in the fitting department, and I can’t wait to try them (FINALLY…it’s been what, just about 5 years since I started reviewing denim)!
It took me awhile, but I think I’ve finally been bitten by the vintage denim bug. I’m hugely loyal to the super stretchy skinny jean—or skinny jeans in general—as I feel I work too freaking hard at the gym to cover it all up with baggy styles, darn it. Even when the boyfriend jean became popular way back in 2007 or 2008, I wasn’t partial to it at all, until I tried a pair from Rich & Skinny and fell in love. After reviewing several amazing skinny styles with Denimology years later, I put them aside once again in favor of form-fitting jeans. I didn’t only get the chance to review slim fits though, as there were several boyfriend fits mixed in here and there, and my tastes started to move in that direction once again soon enough. Later, when I was introduced to the love that is quality selvedge denim, I finally began appreciating 100% cotton, vintage jeans and the “they don’t make them like they used to” idea (although I don’t agree with that completely nowadays). I realized though, that they are super hard to shop for! Most denim fans prefer to visit antique and second hand shops to see in person and try on these jeans that really did come from denim’s early days, because the fits can be difficult for different shapes. This is because these pieces came out way before stretchy denim did and thus have barely any give (and usually have already been formed to their past wearer’s bodies). I don’t even have many great thrift shops around me, so I was stuck browsing them online.
It’s already that time of the year…where the heck did Halloween go? Screw that, where the hell did 2016 go?! Either way, it’s once again turkey day, and time for some of the best sales of the year. I’m always subscribed to my favorite brands’ and retailers’ newsletters in anticipation for such things, and just like I do every time, I figured I would share my favorites with you. There’s definitely far too many out there to include all here, but these are the first that I have seen, and I will be adding any new ones that pop up to this list as the week goes on! So whether you plan to party, to shop, or just relax and eat to your heart’s content this turkey day, here are some choice sales just in case you catch a bit of the shopping bug over the holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!
Basic and Functional Leather Bags
I don’t know about you, but when I get in my mind a simple idea for a bag (or anything for that matter)…something that will function the way I need it to, last awhile, and maybe look at least a little visually appealing in a basic way, it takes me FOREVER to find it. I cannot believe sometimes how long it takes to find such basic items nowadays, in such a drastically over-saturated market where everyone is constantly trying to outdo each other with the most extravagant eye-popping show-off styles—oh yeah. I guess I can believe it. But still. Sometimes, I just…can’t…even. If only I had the resources at the tips of my fingers to start my own store and just magically produce everything I have ever spent more than an hour or more than $5 in gas just trying to locate. I think it would be quite profitable. It’s a common complaint I’ve heard from both style conscious and not so style conscious people. Fortunately, it seems there are a handful of companies that already have the power of popularity who decided to actually get back to basics and ditch the superficial side of things. The bags above are from a huge fashion industry favorite, Madewell, who actually branched off of basics brand J. Crew in 2006. Madewell has a huge selection of basic leather bags and wallets that might be pricy, but for a good reason: they will fit any outfit, last you for a long time (seriously, would you rather buy 34534 cheap bags that fall apart and only work with one or two outfits or pay about the same price as you would on those for one versatile, durable bag? I’ll take the latter) and get your toting jobs done.
Kate Spade Saturday is another great brand, which probably doesn’t need much of an introduction. We all know Kate Spade, and Kate Spade Saturday was created to bring “weekend spirit to every day of the week with good, easygoing style and a sense of spontaneity.” They also have a beautiful collection of basic bags (some that look very Coach-ish to me). Shown above are two great examples, the Inside Out Pocket Tote in Vachetta and Black. Now this one is a first to me…I am more of a fan of simple exteriors, but I found this pretty neat…pockets for any small essentials on the outside, without looking bulky! I do love convertible bags (bags with a strap to hold as a handbag and a longer one for shoulder or crossbody), so this one caught my eye immediately. It features everything on the outside, with just one little side pocket on the inside.
Above is another variation of the Inside Out Pocket Tote, but smaller, in satchel form! This one also comes in a Peacock color, or a dark turquoise.
I’ve been subscribed to Need Supply Co. newsletters for awhile, and I’m always kind of drawn into the minimalist designs they carry, both in apparel and accessories. Need Supply is a brick & mortar store in Richmond, Virginia. They started off carrying vintage Levis in 1996 but branched out to a general men’s and women’s accessories and clothing store, and in 2008 they went online! They mix both popular brands and up-and-coming ones to keep the mix fresh. These Lizzy Disney Envelope Clutch bags are just one selection out of their huge bag collection…seriously I could have posted more but I need to keep this brief! How cute are these? They are a bit pricier at about $500, but they are handcrafted in England with brass hardware, a cute stud closure and suede lining. With an 8″ height, 11″ width, 1″ depth and a 19.5″ shoulder drop, it’s a perfect bag to carry your essentials out on the town while running errands or just getting the heck out of the house for a few hours.
Another find from Need Supply Co., BAGGU® has been on the market for quite some time and is available through several major retailers. The brand is just about as basic as you can get. Even their self-proclaimed biography is simple: “BAGGU® makes simple, high quality bags in many bright colors. They’re durable and fill many uses so you can own less stuff.” I only knew about their canvas totes and backpacks, but apparently they have a lot of leather goods as well! This cute, simple little leather drawstring purse looks like something straight out of a Renaissance faire. It might not be as functional as some of the above Kate Spade Saturday bags, but if you are a fan of minimalism, this one is a great bet…basically the photo illustrates the entire product.
There are obviously a ton of great bags out there…my two favorites Coach and Foley & Corinna always have some simple, well-made basics and even Louis Vuitton has branched out a bit and ditched the often-tacky logo patterns for some of their new, more classic collections (as has Coach). It’s nice to see some of the higher brands answering the call, but not everyone is interested in name-brand items or showing off in any sense, so it’s good to know there are other options out there. Oh yeah, I almost forgot Fossil…check them out too, they are also a great bet 🙂 Happy shopping!