When you're giving your wardrobe a Fall makeover, don't forget your handbags. Lighter fabrics don't hold up well during Winter — and nothing helps change up your look faster than a new purse on your arm. Right now, we're gravitating toward structured trapeze shapes, chic clutches by day, and a few furry, textural finds that feel particularly seasonal. With an eye on the runways and the accessories we've seen from the street style crowd, we've handpicked the best bags to hit the shelves for Fall 2013 and shopped them out for every budget. Click through for the full report, or jump below to the trend you want!
The piece: Clare Vivier Gold Flat Pouch
The price: $195 at Piperlime.com
Why we want it: You know how celebrities always seem to have just the perfect bag for every occasion? Well, we think we've found the perfect piece to give you that effect without having to hire a stylist. This Clare Vivier pouch has it all: room for your phone, wallet, and keys; a holiday sparkle without being too much; a sweet bow to add more detail; price tag under $200. And we love that you could toss it into your tote in the morning and just pull it out for a day-to-night party. What more could you ask for? (OK, having that stylist dress us every day sounds awesome, too).
We thought amazing, lust-inspiring designer bags were as good as it gets . . . until we spotted their pint-size counterparts. Some of the hottest statement pieces are available to shop tiny too, should you want a lighter version for nights out, vacation days, or marathon shopping expeditions.
The piece: Kenzo Kalifornia Bag
The price: $1,190
Why we want it: Kenzo already cornered the street style scene with its now-iconic eye print, thanks to creative directors Humberto Leon and Carol Lim. And now they have their eye on being the makers of the newest must-have bag around, launching their biker-inspired Kalifornia bag with a star-studded bash in LA. We love it for its unexpected pop of baby blue, its roomy shape, its twist on colorblocking . . . OK, fine. We just want to get a head start on next season's Fashion Week Street Style bracket.
And you thought your purse was expensive — a recent survey by retailer John Lewis concluded that the average British woman stores $1,930 worth of goodies in her handbag. That's $1,532 more than the priciest tote in Lewis's high-street store and landing right around the cost of a Marc Jacobs statement carryall (above).
Worst of all, that number doesn't factor in a cell phone (which, if we're being honest, spends more time in our hands than in our bags). So what was inside? According to John Lewis, the essentials included iPad Minis, Alice Temperley scarves, Bobbi Brown lipstick, Benefit mascara, Ray-Ban sunglasses, and Fulton umbrellas (this is London, after all). When you factor in everything from beauty essentials to pricy designer accessories, the tally can really add up. So we had to ask about your tote totals.
If you're hoping to catch sight of the next It bag before it blows up, you've come to the right spot. In honor of the particular type of joy and lust that comes from a gorgeous purse, we've rounded up a single bag from each of the biggest designers and brought them together in one place for your viewing pleasure.
The piece: Coach Borough Bag
The price: $548
Why we want it: When a bag is spotted on the arms of both Sarah Jessica Parker and Lea Michele, you know it's going to be big. Let us introduce you to The Borough, the It bag of the Fall from Coach. But this satchel is a lot more than a sophisticated silhouette. Thanks to its interior, which is subdivided into three zip-top sections, you'll never be left scrambling for your keys at the bottom of your bag again. And its leather shoulder strap means that when you pack it full of your daily essentials, you can give your arm a break and sling it over your shoulder. A bag that's just as practical as it is attractive? We'd like one in every size, please.
All aboard! Gucci takes to the high seas with the debut of its new Cruise collection of handbags. Featuring antique gold hardware, handwoven handles, and braided leather piping in supple brown, black, and orange leather, the clutches and shoulder bags are perfect transitional pieces.
The piece: Coach Legacy Mini Tanner Crossbody
The price: $258
Why we want it: As we get farther into Fall, and the temps start to drop, I end up swapping my handbags for crossbodies so my not-yet-gloved hands can stay warm in my pockets. This season, I'm choosing this leather Coach bag — more lightweight and compact in size than its namesake tote but still able to fit all my day-to-day essentials — to carry me through. The burgundy is perfect for the season, but it comes in enough colors to make this a year-round accessory.
And, I don't think I'm the only one opting for the brand: this week, a new study revealed a rise in luxury sales was due to an increase in shoppers making purchases at "affordable luxury" brands like Coach. In fact, 69 percent of you told us you'd rather buy a bag like this now than save for an ultraluxe version later. So, what are you waiting for?
Accessorize yourself. Donald J Pliner has just kicked off a generous Fall sale, offering up to 60% off shoes and handbags for ladies and gents. Snake-print booties, studded leather pumps, beaded slip-on loafers, a metallic leather clutch, and a gray crossbody bag have our attention.