Help me find a leather version of the cheap handbag that got me through law school!
August 31, 2010 5:30 AM   Subscribe

Help me find a leather version of the cheap handbag that got me through law school! I'm convinced the lady lawyers at work are snickering at me behind their backs for carrying my tattered PVC bag.

I love this bag. I can wear it cross-body when I'm being a hipster after work. Even though it doesn't look it, it more than accommodates my 14" laptop. I've never stuck a textbook in it but it fits a set of high heels when I want to wear flats to work, it fits a bag of burgers when we're sneaking 'em into the movies, it fits a bunch of sweatshirts and cardigans when my friends and I get too warm. The website says the dimensions are 13"H x 12"L x 7"D but it seems much, much larger than that. Now that I'm making new lawyer bucks, I want to get a comparable leather version but it's been impossible. Please help me, metafilter.
posted by anthropomorphic to Shopping (24 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Potentially this leather bag from Roots?
posted by Hildegarde at 5:38 AM on August 31, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestion! That bag is 10"(L) x 9"(H) x 1"(D). I need one that fits the 14" laptop.
posted by anthropomorphic at 5:43 AM on August 31, 2010

Do you have a Nordstrom near you? I love their handbag collection. This one's nice. Or this one. Or maybe this one.

(Hi. I'm a purse addict.)
posted by ferociouskitty at 5:55 AM on August 31, 2010

How about checking on etsy if someone who works with leather could make one similar to the one you love?
posted by bwonder2 at 6:01 AM on August 31, 2010

Maybe one of these? 1, 2
posted by pemberkins at 6:09 AM on August 31, 2010

I recommend Fossil. There are a bunch there that seem similar, so I figured I'd just link to the full search.
posted by inmediasres at 6:22 AM on August 31, 2010

The Proenza Schouler PS1 (also in purple and black) will shut them up, if you can stomach spending $2000 on a bag. If you can't, I have this bag and it's surprisingly huge inside, though much more structured than yours (Rebecca Minkoffs are on sale all the time on and other places, so you could find one for $300 easily).
posted by oinopaponton at 6:26 AM on August 31, 2010

What bwonder2 said.

It would probably not be that hard to find someone who could dissect your current bag and recreate it almost exactly. (I might even have contacts in the Chicago area who could do this, or at least name someone in the area who could do it - assuming you're still in the Chicago area.)
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:35 AM on August 31, 2010

I love my Tano bag. You might try this one. They have many other styles that aren't listed on Piperlime, but their website doesn't list the dimensions (thanks so much) so you'll have to check it out on another site.
posted by Madamina at 7:14 AM on August 31, 2010

Fossil bags are similar in style to yours.

Since you mentioned hipsters, try Hayden-Harnett. The larger bags accommodate a 15" MBP easily and have a cross body strap. The leather they use is buttery soft so they are pretty smooshy like your bag and if you wait until closer to the holidays they are deeply discounted.

I don't think a Rebecca Minkoff MAB will easily fit a laptop but the RM Nikki will.

Check out Mulberry. Maybe the Alexa or Somerset.
posted by sacapuntas at 8:43 AM on August 31, 2010

Response by poster: sacapuntas - actually the only bag i've found that i love (enough to spend $500 on) is the hayden-harnett nico bag which a few friends used as school bags. sadly i can't find it ANYWHERE online. drives me nuts.

kid charlemagne - thanks for the suggestion. how much would something like that end up costing?

i really don't want something structured or boxy. i also don't really like it when bags have an attached hard handle plus a long strap, the short handle looks silly to me just hanging there unused. preferably i could find something with one long adjustable strap.

thanks so much for your suggestions, feel free to keep them coming (or tell me where i could find a hayden-harnett nico)
posted by anthropomorphic at 8:53 AM on August 31, 2010

You could also try contacting the International Internet Leathercrafters' Guild, who can send a message out across their members-only mailing list to see if anyone is interested in making you something similar. You can contact a lot of leatherworkers all at once that way. It's okay to specify what you're willing to pay, too. (It's also okay to ask to see examples of someone's work as a reference.)
posted by galadriel at 9:16 AM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Relax and carry your beloved bag a while longer. Spend a few idiosyncratic credits. You can indulge in a few non-conformities if you're otherwise a stand-up "lady lawyer."

Meanwhile keep your eyes open for a bag you love more. Maybe commision a craftsman to make you a "beloved bag 2.0." But don't ditch the bag just because of peer pressure.
posted by cross_impact at 10:00 AM on August 31, 2010

If you want an HH Nico, I think the only option is to stalk it on eBay or Bonanzle. The Purse Forum has a subforum for Hayden Harnett where there's a deal/sale stickied thread that you could check up on as well. The Langley Tote could sub in, although that has the double handle thing you've mentioned.

The Botkier Sasha Medium Duffle and the Linea Pelle Medium Dylan Tote (more pictures at Piperlime) might work, although they both also have the double handle thing as well.
posted by zix at 10:04 AM on August 31, 2010

I have a B. Makowsky unstructured cross body bag about that size. The bag also has shoulder straps. It definitely can fit a 14" laptop, as I've carried legal-sized redropes in it to court. I'd suggest checking out the Marshall's/T.J.Maxx (I forget what they're called in Chicago, I just know where they are), as they usually have bags by this maker for about $100-$150.

(Currently this bag is holding a rather large planner, wallet, paperback, court file, and heels. It also had a plastic container from my lunch in it earlier.)
posted by betty botter at 11:16 AM on August 31, 2010

Response by poster: betty botter, do you know what its name is? it sounds perfect.
posted by anthropomorphic at 11:26 AM on August 31, 2010

Let me do a little bit of digging around once I get home from work. I've had it for over a year, so I'm not entirely sure that this exact model is still made, but I'm sure there's something like it.
posted by betty botter at 1:14 PM on August 31, 2010

The Nico is exactly the bag I was thinking of, you can fit so much junk in it :). Maybe try contacting Hayden-Harnett or, seconding zix, check EBay/Bonanzle/ask on Purse Forum. The HH Havana is also a shorter version of the Nico that could work for you. This Foley+Corinna bag is similar but the strap isn't adjustable. Maybe this one.

Olivia Harris seems to have a lot of unstructured/crossbody bags.

I frequently see B. Makowsky on sale at Nordstrom.
posted by sacapuntas at 1:22 PM on August 31, 2010

I love that Alloy bag! I want one in leather too! In fact, I've been looking for a bag just like that (in leather) since I saw a woman with a similar one in London in March of 2009.

My search for a nice leather bag with a satchel-ish body, top flap with closure, and two front pockets with closure has been in vain, so I was excited to see your post.

And then sad, so sad, that not a single suggestion here has matched the construction of the Alloy bag in any way.

I had a friend who had a bad experience with an Etsy special order, but I'm tempted to buy one of those Alloy bags and dedicate my life to finding a leather-worker to make me an exact copy.
posted by Squeak Attack at 10:36 AM on September 2, 2010

Oh, there is this Fossil cross-body bag, but it's too structured and blah.
posted by Squeak Attack at 10:44 AM on September 2, 2010

Response by poster: squeak attack, it's funny, that fossil bag is the closest actual thing i've found, but it's 13" and i'm afraid by 14" laptop won't fit. sigh.

good to hear someone else shares my devotion to this bag though. in the meantime, i've ordered a replacement from alloy.
posted by anthropomorphic at 7:29 PM on September 4, 2010

Response by poster: ok, am buying this and this. will probably only keep one.
posted by anthropomorphic at 2:59 PM on September 6, 2010

anthropomorphic, the UO satchel is really nice looking. If those don't work out - I almost bought the Chelsea two-pocket hobo this past weekend at Banana Republic. They have plenty in stock at the stores, so you could take your laptop along to try before you buy.
posted by Squeak Attack at 9:32 PM on September 8, 2010

Response by poster: i ended up returning the backpack style sabina leather satchel from urban outfitters because it was HUGE and, for some ridiculously shortsighted reason, the zipper still wasn't wide enough for me to put my laptop in it. absurd.
posted by anthropomorphic at 7:08 PM on October 3, 2010

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