Another purse question!
June 14, 2015 11:36 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for a classically styled leather satchel, maybe a tote or briefcase, that can stand up to everyday use and last until I retire. Help me narrow the field!

I love the Kelly Bag ($$$$$). I love the Birkin bag ($$$$$likewhoa). I love the Cambridge Satchel two-in-one (discontinued). I generally love the look of boxy Kate Spade and Coach bags. I'm not necessarily looking for a status symbol, but I'm not avoiding designer bags either. Here's what I want, more specifically:
- all leather. Not fabric with leather trim or panels.
- smooth, preferably not pebbled (like Louis Vuitton or Dooney).
- standard cowhide. I don't mind a fine texture or sometimes alligator but it's not my first pick.
- patent, polished, or otherwise not a distressed leather. Crisp. No stamping or embossing.
- flat-bottomed, with feet or ridges to keep the bottom off the ground.
- proportional, not an exaggerated trapezoid with a really narrow top.
- have some internal pocketing, not just a big ol' bucket.
- red, oxblood, maybe into the violets, cobalts or fuschias.
- around $500 is my price point. While I know that money does not automatically guarantee quality, this is a "Big Deal" occasion gift that I'd like to last a lifetime, and that generally costs quite a bit more.
- size is flexible.
I live in Los Angeles, so it won't be dealing with wet winters. I'm also short, fat, and apple-shaped with a very large chest, so that kind of shallow shoulder bag that hangs just under your armpit is less desirable.

Vintage is fine, assuming all the above criteria is met. Bonus: if anyone local knows good places to go put my hands on a good variety of the kind of bag I'm looking for, I'd love that!

If I love a current Coach bag, should I avoid it because they're all made in China now?
posted by ApathyGirl to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
Another user (Slap*Happy) raved about this Etsy seller over in the Anno Mo FPP, not sure if it's your style but apparently the quality is excellent.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 12:08 PM on June 14, 2015


How about the Michael Kors Hamilton bag? There are several colours on offer.
posted by seawallrunner at 12:24 PM on June 14, 2015


You might like JennyNDesign Bags on Etsy, the Archive style in particular. There are a ton of colors to choose from. I have it in "apple," which is a smooth leather, but it looks like some of the colors are more textured. The bag is incredibly well made, though one gripe I had is that a few spots were more distressed than I had expected. If you like this bag, I'd recommend talking to the seller first to get a sense for the texture of the color you want and to see if she can ensure there's no distressing on yours (I'm assuming this is possible since it is custom).
posted by dayintoday at 12:51 PM on June 14, 2015


The Prada Saffiano meets your criteria.
posted by infinite joy at 1:32 PM on June 14, 2015


I really like this cobalt purse from Reed Krakoff and it hits most of your checklist. There are better views here at the Reed Krakoff site.

Purse Blog is spendy but might be worth poking around for ideas from last season.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:37 PM on June 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Maybe something from here? though some can be $$$$ Saddleback Leather
posted by oddphantom at 6:44 AM on June 15, 2015


Response by poster: All great suggestions!
I wish I could afford that Prada Saffiano, or the Saint Laurent Sac du Jour, but I think >1000 is pushing it. The same with those Reed Krakoff bags - they're gorgeous, but also all sold out.

I'm way down the rabbit hole on Purse Blog, so many beautiful things!

I'm looking at those Etsy crafters, thanks!

Over the weekend, I wandered into the Coach store and really liked the Gramercy Satchel. I do not like the Made in China tag. I'll keep looking!
posted by ApathyGirl at 12:42 PM on June 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


OK let's take Coach out of the running.

- Check out the D&B Italia page, if you haven't already - there are several smooth-leather totes and messenger bags/briefs on that page. They're about in your 500 dollar range, maybe more. I don't know if these go on sale but D&B do have outlets and there's also the I Love Dooney website; I haven't used the latter but I understand people generally have good experiences ordering from there.

- Also take a look at Rebecca Minkoff (sale page). You might like the Amorous design. (I was going to suggest the Mini Perry satchel but you don't want trapezoids, right?)

I guess you already know about the dressier push-lock at the Cambridge Satchel Company?

- Michael Kors is a great suggestion above - that lock thing they put on the Hamilton is maybe a tad more fussy than you want, though. The Hamilton Traveler comes in a smooth leather (as well as saffiano I think).

Truth be told, I'm having a hard time figuring out what you want: a tote is very different from a briefcase in that the former is casual and less officey, the latter is more conservative and straight-up business. The Kelly bag you link to is ultra-chic and designer-y, and a different criteria, to my mind, than the first line of your request. The Birkin bag - again, super-duper designery and a different beast to, say, the Cambridge Satchel that appears to be a possibility you're leaning towards (or were, until they stopped making that style). I was going to suggest a smooth calfskin oxblood Coach Borough bag, but it seems like the bags need to be made in the USA for you?, so I dropped that idea.

I think you're on the best track with the purse blog, particularly the threads where people just do "mod shots" with no discussion and you can quickly scroll through and see if you like anything. Sorry I couldn't be of more help. The best approaches I've found are Purse Blog, YouTube unboxing and review videos, and going into a higher-end department store like Nordstroms and wandering around the purse department. The latter is very useful as I would often like something online but not as much in-person, or vice-versa.

Good luck!
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 3:08 PM on June 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Response by poster: Truth be told, I'm having a hard time figuring out what you want: a tote is very different from a briefcase in that the former is casual and less officey, the latter is more conservative and straight-up business. The Kelly bag you link to is ultra-chic and designer-y, and a different criteria, to my mind, than the first line of your request. The Birkin bag - again, super-duper designery and a different beast to, say, the Cambridge Satchel that appears to be a possibility you're leaning towards (or were, until they stopped making that style). I was going to suggest a smooth calfskin oxblood Coach Borough bag, but it seems like the bags need to be made in the USA for you?, so I dropped that idea.

You're not wrong, there. I'm not 100% certain of what I want - just that of the various profiles and sizes of purses, satchels, briefcases and totes are nearly always or the larger side and boxy. I have very little practical knowledge about handbags, to be honest so this is all kind of a learning experience for me, too.
I mentioned the Herm├ęs bags because (I understand now that) I want to switch to a more chic look than the utilitarian/unisex style I've long been sporting.
It's not that I strictly want Made in the USA so much as I have a hard time wrapping my head around paying that much money for something made in China. If I'm unable to find a bag I like better, I'll certainly buy from Coach.
posted by ApathyGirl at 7:44 PM on June 15, 2015


Radley bags are very popular on this side of the pond - I bought one on Ebay a few years ago and have been delighted with the quality and the fact that it's suitable for just about any occasion, smart or casual. For my next birthday I'll be requesting another Radley.
posted by humph at 7:15 AM on June 16, 2015


The same with those Reed Krakoff bags - they're gorgeous, but also all sold out.

They're sold out on the Reed Krakoff site but still in stock and half off from the first link to Saks.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:24 AM on June 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


« Older Mice in apartment I'm subletting   |   Ideas for great hikes near(ish) Denver? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.