15 quality everyday bags

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Most of these bags have minimal hardware, because I am not a fan: nothing dates a bag as fast as hardware does. I prefer clean lines and minimal ornamentation, and am a huge fan of this red quilted APC bag.

More quilty goodness, this time in a chic chevron pattern.

I just like the shape of this one from Baggu.

 

This bag has always attracted me: it’s got the utility of a tote but the looks of a handbag.

Another red bag, this one delightfully slouchy.

I like the lines of this tote, and it’s big enough to double as a travel bag.

A perfect saddle bag, to my mind, is one that is totally and completely clean-lined, and this one gets it exactly right.

Such a rich wine color, with ample space for your whatnots.

I have expounded on the Virtues of the Clare V Gosee bag in the past: it is not large, but somehow manages to fit a ton, and it looks great.

The lines here are admirably clean, and it looks pricier than it is.

Another well-priced—and very ladylike—option.

This looks like an old-school messenger bag, but streamlined.

 

If I could spend anything on a new bag, I’d get this beauty: it’s just so elegant and really understated.

Madewell’s classic Transport Tote looks fresh in green.

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23 Thoughts on 15 quality everyday bags
    Betsy
    4 Oct 2018
    9:07am

    Love the red hobo but am also intrigued with it in grey. Great options the last few days.
    Kim, would you consider doing a post on the various on-line concierge shopping options? I have been hearing a lot about MM LaFleur lately and of course Stitch Fix and others keep popping up on Facebook but I don’t actually know anyone using any of them regularly. It owould be a great option for those of us in the retail hinterlands but how to choose? I’d love your thoughts.

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    Stakra
    4 Oct 2018
    10:39am

    I think that’s a fantastic suggestion and would love to learn about more on-line concierge options. I think it’s such a fun concept and who doesn’t like get a surprise box of clothes in the mail? Personally I’ve tried both. StitchFix was a repeated fail for me. I didn’t think the quality of the clothing was worth the cost and the styling seemed very canned. Very middle of the road IMO. MM LaFluer is more specific to professional work. Good quality and while at a higher price point I have been happy with the purchases and service I received.

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      MaryAlice
      4 Oct 2018
      12:06pm

      Ditto on Stitch Fix. I have tried it several times and almost always been disappointed. Once they sent me a cute pair of Frye boots for which they wanted to charge me $298; a 30 second Google search found me the identical boots on the Frye site at $125.The final straw was when I let them know I was looking for a dress to wear to my daughter’s college graduation. They sent me a polyester halter maxi dress with a huge keyhole opening in the front. I am 59 years old and wear a 36G bra.

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      Mamavalveeta03
      5 Oct 2018
      1:19am

      I tried Stitch Fix for a couple of months, but I agree – quality just wasn’t there! Too many cheap fabrics. Surprisingly good fit on jeans, tho. I just decided that I know my own style better than anyone else, and I’m PICKY.

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      Francine
      4 Oct 2018
      2:59pm

      I tried StitchFix a few times (a friend gave me a gift card…I would NEVER have purchased it for myself). Epic disappointment. Even my 3 kids chuckled at the items. Quality in line with Marshall’s but at Nordstrom prices. And they never, ever got my style right. In any case, I love clothes and I love shopping and would never delegate it to someone else.

      Heck – Stakra & Betsy – I’ll shop for ‘ya!

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        Mary
        4 Oct 2018
        9:46pm

        I’m with you. A vapid pursuit to many, but I adore shopping and clothes.

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          y.k.
          4 Oct 2018
          10:43pm

          that’s a good idea for a post – why fashion is viewed as vapid, why women feel defensive about spending time on shopping. Clothing is more important now than before in some ways (see e.g. couture diplomacy by First Ladies), but it’s still viewed as a nonserious pursuit. Vanessa Friedman wrote a great article i remember a while back for FT on this topic. Kim, I bet you have had many conversations about this when you were at Lucky. and now too!

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      Betsy
      7 Oct 2018
      10:54pm

      Thanks for the info. I have been wanting to try MM LaFleur but I’d really like to try %the clothes in person before committing.

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    kirstjen
    4 Oct 2018
    11:04am

    I love most of these bags. I also don’t like a lot of hardware on bags. I don’t even like the quilting, as that’s too busy for me. I really like the Gosee in Army.

    I’d really like to see a list of non-leather bags. I’m not vegan – I just want a really lightweight bag because I seem to schlep around with a ton of stuff. My dream: lightweight but structured, crossbody, several pockets. I feel like I’m stuck with Tumi & MZ Wallace…

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    Joannawnyc
    4 Oct 2018
    11:14am

    I love this selection, but where is Kara?

    For people interested in the various “online stylist” options, there are many blog reviews if you google, though I agree it would be interesting to get Kim’s take.

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      Kim France
      4 Oct 2018
      4:33pm

      I thought I’d overdone it on Kara lately, Joanna, but clearly not.

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    Katrina
    4 Oct 2018
    9:56am

    The 2nd bag, the Rebecca Minkoff one, is a shameless and blatant knockoff of the Chanel Le Boy, and I’m a bit disappointed to see it being recommended here, frankly.

    As for the other bags, I’ve always been intrigued by the Mansur Gavriel Lady Bag. I think it’s unique but somehow still understated and chic. I worry about how practical it is for everyday, though, if it’s easy to carry and get in and out of.

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      Bkmam
      4 Oct 2018
      2:16pm

      I find the closure on the Mansur Gavriel Lady Bag to be annoying (hard to explain, but involves threading the drawstring). I live in NYC, so I like for my bag to be fully closed and easy to access.

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        Patsy
        4 Oct 2018
        3:41pm

        I second this, though I still think it’s the most beautiful shape. But it’s a giant ass-ache.

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      Mimi
      5 Oct 2018
      10:35am

      I bought a copy of the Mansur Gavriel Lady Bag (on Yoox) without realizing what it was. I was just drawn to the medium size, the simplicity of the design and the color – the body of the bag is red but the flap and straps are more of an orange. Sadly, I find it awkward to use. The flap and drawstring closing are cumbersome and it doesn’t hold as much as I’d hoped. When I use the long strap the shorter one just hangs kind of in the way and vice versa. Maybe the real thing is more supple than my wannabe. I only paid $70 for it and I use it occasionally, so it wasn’t a major mistake.

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    Kathi
    4 Oct 2018
    1:24pm

    Loving the white blouse in the APC pic!!

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    Mimi
    5 Oct 2018
    10:44am

    The black Finley hobo from Nordstrom satisfies three of my everyday bag requirements: it doesn’t close with a zipper, has an outside pocket and a strap for wearing crossbody. Btw, The Row’s handbags, which cost the earth, are all very simple and logo-free. This one reminds me of their style.

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      Debra
      5 Oct 2018
      11:30am

      Mimi: What is this Finley crossbody of which you speak? I see a Hobo Finley tote at Nordstrom but can’t see to find a crossbody.

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        Mimi
        6 Oct 2018
        9:02am

        That’s the one! If you read the description it says it has a long strap and can be worn crossbody.

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    Mamavalveeta03
    5 Oct 2018
    1:16am

    My loves, in descending order:
    1. Oliveve dark green tote (!!!)
    2. Clare V. Transport (I’m still in love with my beaten-up Messenger by Clare V.)
    3. APC quilted in red ❤️

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    Francine
    4 Oct 2018
    3:06pm

    Kim, I know you’re not a fan of ‘designer’ bags, but I’m at a point where spending $300-$400 on a so-so bag each season just seems wasteful. Last year, I treated myself to a beautiful Mulberry Bayswater in a bright blue. It was on sale (thought still $900) and it’s dreamy. Durable but dreamy! I loved it so much, I got another (same, but in rust) from Fashionphile for about $500 (listed as ‘excellent’ condition – and it was new!) and I’m beyond thrilled. I go out more just to wear the bag. I also put a YSL Sac du Jour on layaway (I feel like I’m 16….layaway!!).

    That being said, I do like your choices. I think All Saints makes really amazing bags for the cost.

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      Mary
      4 Oct 2018
      9:55pm

      Bags aren’t my thing and I rarely spend a lot of money on them. Jeans, however, are a different story and I seem to have no problem forking over the money for them. But I will remember your words, Francine! Interesting to hear another perspective.

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      Kim France
      4 Oct 2018
      4:32pm

      Your bags sound lovely, Francine. My main problem with “designer” bags is that they mostly are all logo-ed up, and I just can’t get with a logo. And then my other problem is that they are so crazy expensive, but you seem to have gotten yourself around that issue impressively.

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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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