In hot pursuit
May 23, 2023 4:07 PM   Subscribe

I need a new formal handbag. I have one I like, but it is a cheap knock-off and I want something good quality. Here's the one I have, with a post-it pad for scale. Ideally, I'd like the original, but I don't even know what that is.

Things I like: it isn't TOO small, it is more portrait than landscape, the handles aren't too short, it isn't just a square, there's more shape to it. Let's pretend that price is no object for now. And, ideally it would be made in a place with decent labor practices.

Can you help me in my pursuit?
posted by papergirl to Shopping (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You could look at bags by Kate Spade, Michael Kors, and Coach.
Note that you can get lots of gently used designer bags secondhand so it's worth browsing Poshmark and eBay etc.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 4:18 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]

That bag is suggestive of the Longchamp Roseau, although the Roseau's a little wider.
posted by praemunire at 4:41 PM on May 23

you may be looking for something akin to a market tote, but a bit more formal. you could also see if anyone on etsy that does leather handbags could remake what you already have in actual quality leather.
posted by koroshiya at 6:03 PM on May 23

Oooh, I haven’t seen this Eileen Fisher one personally but it looks similarly minimal and understated.
posted by mochapickle at 6:33 PM on May 23

Looks like they're going for the Gucci Marmont vibe.

I'd look for a "Coach Outlet" near you.
posted by kschang at 7:09 PM on May 23

Your bag gives me vintage Miu Miu vibes like this one from TheRealReal.

They also have their current bags, and it might be what you want.

I feel like for cleaner, formal looks YSL as well as Celine could have the bag you want.

I like to look at every single bag on Net-A-Porter to get a sense of what’s out there. The brand websites may also have unique bags on it that might not be on SSENSE, Farfetch, Matches, Luisaviaroma, or other designer goods sites.
posted by limbicdigest at 11:55 PM on May 23

Celine doesn't have any tote-adjacent shoulder bags but The Row does. The N/S tote (North/South) tote is fabulous but they never have black and it's always out of stock and it's still very expensive. Realistic options might be this French Connection bag. Charles & Keith has a great selection and probably the best value to quality ratio right now. I love the Edna tote!
posted by DarlingBri at 6:38 AM on May 24

I got really great image results when I searched for "soft leather formal trapezoid shoulder tote". The straps are long on your photos, I think for carrying over your shoulder, and it looks like the leather is soft rather than stiff. Trapezoid gets you results that aren't squares or rectangles, though you still will get some landscape rather than portrait.
posted by QuakerMel at 7:42 AM on May 24

My two best bags are from Patricia Nash - they have held up incredibly well, no plastic parts to fray, and my older crossbody bag from the company still gets frequent compliments.

You might take a look at the Luna Tote or the Poppy Tote. You can check the measurements against your bag.
posted by See you tomorrow, saguaro at 8:07 AM on May 24

I don't know why I'm so obsessed with your quest. Can you answer any more questions? Is this a 3x3 pad you're using for scale? What are the actual height and width (at the bottom)? Are there any identifying numbers or anything anywhere in the bag? Does it stand up on a flat bottom? I think I was wrong about it being a tote--I think it's just a handbag? maybe large enough to carry a trade paperback in?
posted by QuakerMel at 4:04 PM on May 26

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