Author Archives: Amanda Mull

Scandal Season 4, Episode 10: “I’m Going to Save Us. I’m Olivia Pope.”

If you’re a longtime reader of PurseBlog, you know that we’ve recapped lots of different shows over the past five years. Starting today, I’m trying my hand at one of my personal favorites–Scandal. We originally picked it because Olivia Pope has such a stellar handbag collection, but unfortunately, our girl Liv spent most of last night’s mid-season premiere in a cell without proper access to Prada.

Since we’re hopping on to this midseason, I suppose it’s important that we figure out where we’ve been before we can really figure out where we’re supposed to go. (Also, real talk: a little review seems in order for a show so complex that it makes daytime soap writers dizzy.) (I mean that in the best way possible.)

When we last saw our hero Olivia Pope, she was being kidnapped silently out of her own apartment just before banging the newly free and perpetually shirtless Jake Ballard. That’s both cruel to her and to those of us who were all het up to watch one of Scandal’s signature Beautiful Men Worshipping Olivia Pope Sex Scenes (TM), this one potentially ON A PIANO. Shonda Rhimes builds us up only to knock us down.

Olivia was snatched so suddenly that she actually spilled her wine instead of pouring it straight down her gullet, as she surely would have if she had had even a split second to think before she was dragged out of her apartment. It was the same fancy stuff she had shipped to the island, after all. You don’t just waste a glass of that stuff. There’s a finite amount of it, first of all, and second of all, it’s going to be a bitch to get out of the sofa.

After briefly flashing to Liv running wild-eyed, wild-haired and gun-toting through some sort of bunker and directly at what appeared to be a very secure door, we flashed back to the scene in her apartment and saw her kidnapper, such as he was. The dude was smart and experienced enough to successfully kidnap Olivia Pope, so he didn’t exactly show up in a silk bomber jacket with his name embroidered on the back.

The process of getting Olivia out of the building past a mostly naked Jake, who was running wild through the streets in his underwear in an apparent attempt to stop her captors with the sheer power of his semi-nude body, involved killing a kindly old neighbor lady and shoving Olivia in a body bag. First, though, Liv’s captors ominously intimated they might torture her, as if someone’s not tortured literally every week on this show and she might not have considered it’d be a potential tactic.

Then they pulled a Dexter and shot a syringe full of stuff into her neck, and when Liv woke up, she was in a cell in some as-yet-unidentified Muslim country with an American dude who had clearly been there for a hot minute. Despite the deplorable conditions, our heroine still had the self-respect to line the toilet with paper before she relieved herself. If she can’t have her dove grey cashmere around-the-house sweater, she can at least have her two-ply.

In addition to the somewhat surprising presence of toilet paper in the very dive bar-looking bunker bathroom, the food Liv and her cellmate were given didn’t look terrible. I’ve definitely eaten more questionable stuff from crappy midtown Manhattan delis, and I paid $12 for the privilege. And when the camera pulled out for the wide shot of Olivia embracing her cellmate and telling him she would eventually save the day, it sort of looked like the whole tableau was taking place inside an Anthropologie catalog. It didn’t look like that when she arrived, though; Olivia elevates the interior decor of a room simply by existing in it for a little while.

The next time we see Liv, we are supposed to understand that time had passed because of the deteriorated state of her blowout and because she no longer bothered putting toilet paper down before she pees. On one of her many trips to the bathroom, she made an ill-fated escape attempt through a window that likely would have been too small to get through, using her underwire to pick the lock. She got caught, of course, and because her captors couldn’t hurt her, they killed her cellmate instead. Down one roommate and with only one supported boob, things looked grim indeed. If I were her, though, I would have abandoned my bra long ago. To me, that she was still wearing it was a sign of good morale.

After that, I ceased knowing what in the hell was going on for several minutes. At first I thought Olivia was dreaming, because sexy Jake Ballard busted in with Seal Team Six and that seemed like it might not be a real thing that happened, but then Olivia woke up in a sunny bedroom in Vermont and showered with Fitz, and it seemed like perhaps her entire kidnapping and imprisonment might have been the fabrication. And then she was walking a golden retriever, which I really hoped was not a dream, and instead that we had introduced a dog character to the show who we would get to see for a scene or two in every episode. A fixer service dog of some sort.

Alas, Olivia was dreaming within her dream, which I think was once the plot of a Leonardo DiCaprio movie. Soon she was back to eating her not-so-bad food out of one of those super 80s wooden salad sets inside her cell, just as she had been before. Her giant, inconvenient spoon made her angry, though, and she decided it was time to try her luck with her second (and last) underwire.

She requested another bathroom break, but her too-tiny-to-escape-anyway window had been bricked up. After sobbing on the floor briefly and remembering something Ghost Abby told her in her dream, though, she dismantled part of the sink, left the bathroom and bludgeoned her potty time escort with a pipe.

Liv then stole his gun and keys, which is when we revisited the scene that opened the episode–she ran toward the door with everything she had. Her other guard stopped her, though, and after some dithering, Liv shot him in the head, mostly because he told her the gun was a man’s weapon. When she pulled the trigger, I actually hollered in glee and triumph. You can kidnap Olivia Pope and stick her in a cell like an animal if you want, and that might not get you shot, but implying that she can’t do something because she’s a woman definitely will.

That feeling was short-lived, though, because once Olivia found the right key and busted through the door, it was clear that she was on a soundstage of some sort, set up to make her think she had been whisked away to a stereotypically lawless foreign country. Her cellmate hadn’t been a fellow captive at all, but instead, he was the man who was directing the rest of her captors. He had posed as a prisoner to get Liv to confide in him, which she did before her hair was even messed up. For all the trouble her captors went to, she didn’t exactly make this dude stick it out for the long con.

Apparently the nugget of information that her fake cellmate was looking for was that the president loves Olivia. I’m not exactly sure why he had to imprison her on the set of Homeland in order to get that information, particularly since the Fitz-Olivia love affair has to be one of the worst-kept secrets in Washington and he didn’t extract any concrete proof of an affair that can be used at a later date. After all, simply knowing something to be true doesn’t have a lot of currency in the Scandal universe.

So far, we don’t know exactly who it was who ordered Olivia’s kidnapping; although Ian the Fake Prisoner was the head kidnapper, there’s surely someone further up the food chain who sent him in to snatch Liv. My money’s on the Vice President, but this episode has left me so disoriented that I cannot explain why I believe that. It just feels right.

Tune in next week to see which premium cable prestige drama Olivia will be imprisoned in next; my guess is True Detective.

The Best Bag Deals for the Weekend of January 30

As you may have noticed, online sales are shutting down left and right. Net-a-Porter’s semi-annual sale ended earlier this week, SSENSE’s ended not long ago and the Barney’s sale is in its last days. That means it’s more important than ever to search hard when looking for the best bag deals for our weekly roundup, but, as we do every Friday, we rose to the occasion. Below, check out the finest spoils that the Internet’s remaining bag sales have to offer. If you need even more, head over to our Deals Page–it’s a continually updated compendium of fashion sales happening all over the Internet.

Show a Little Love With Heritage Auctions’ First-Ever Valentine’s Accessories Auction

We’re always in favor of rewarding yourself or someone you love with a fabulous handbag no matter the occasion, and the first-ever Heritage Auctions Valentine’s Day Luxury Handbag & Accessories Auction is your latest opportunity to pick up something rare, exotic or sold out from the world’s best brands.

The Valentine’s Day sale is now the fourth live accessories auction that Heritage hosts annually, and this year’s lineup features a particularly notable selection of Hermès bags, including lots of exotics and limited edition pieces that are no longer available in stores, even to the brand’s biggest-spending VIPs. Heritage has them, though, and so can you.

The auction, which happens just in time for Valentine’s gifts, will be in preview at Heritage’s New York City office from February 4-8, with the live auction set for 1 p.m. on February 9.

Check out some of our favorite pieces from the auction below or browse the full selection of pieces via Heritage.

Hermès Birkin in Blue Roi Crocodile, 35cm
Available via Heritage Auctions

Hermes-Birkin-Blue-Roi-Crocodile-35cm

Hermès Jige PM Clutch in Orange H Veau Doblis Suede
Available via Heritage Auctions

Hermes-Jige-PM-Clutch-Orange-H-Veau-Doblis-Suede

Louis Vuitton Magestueux PM Tote
Available via Heritage Auctions

Louis-Vuitton-Majestueux-PM-Tote-Brown-Ostrich,-Blue-Python-&-Classic-Monogram-Canvas

Hermès Birkin in Shiny Violet Crocodile, 35cm
Available via Heritage Auctions

Hermes-Birkin-Shiny-Violet-Crocodile

Hermès Special Order Kelly Bag in Shiny Braise, Orange H and Bordeaux Alligator, 28cm
Available via Heritage Auctions

Hermes-Kelly-Special-Order-Shiny-Braise,-Orange-H-&-Bordeaux-Alligator-28cm

Chanel Boy Brick Clutch
Available via Heritage Auctions

Chanel-Boy-Brick-Clutch-Pink-Plexiglass

Hermès Kelly Cut Clutch in Amethyst Crocodile
Available via Heritage Auctions

Hermes-Kelly-Cut-Clutch-Amethyst-Crocodile

Hermès Limited Edition Candy Birkin in Rose Tyrien and Rouge H Epsom Leather
Available via Heritage Auctions

Hermes-Limited-Edition-Candy-Birkin-Rose-Tyrien-&-Rouge-H-Epsom-Leather

Hermès Jige Clutch in Vert Fonce Lizard
Available via Heritage Auctions

Hermes-Jige-Clutch-Vert-Fonce-Lizard

Hermès Birkin in Natural Sable Ostrich, 40cm
Available via Heritage Auctions

Hermes-Birkin-Natural-Sable-Ostrich-40cm

Hermès Birkin in Matte Poussiere Alligator, 35cm
Available via Heritage Auctions

Hermes-Birkin-Matte-Poussiere-Alligator-35cm

Hermès Special Order Horseshoe Birkin in Shiny Blue Electric and Alezan Crocodile, 35cm
Available via Heritage Auctions

Hermes-Birkin-Special-Order-Horseshoe-Shiny-Blue-Electric-&-Alezan-35cm

Hermès Birkin in Matte Beton Alligator, 35cm
Available via Heritage Auctions

Hermes-Birkin-Matte-Beton-Alligator-35cm

Hermès Birkin in Blue Paradis Togo Leather, 30cm
Available via Heritage Auctions

Hermes-Birkin-Blue-Paradis-Togo-Leather-30cm-

34-15

Want It Wednesday: Our Snow Day Survival Picks

As you might imagine, the New York-based section of the PurseBlog team spent the day at home with our laptops yesterday, despite the fact that the snow storm wasn’t quite as apocalyptic as we had anticipated (and for that, we are thankful). It did give us some time to think about our ideal snow day activities, though, and we’ve listed our essentials for surviving a minor blizzard below.

Coach’s Adorable Spring 2015 Bags are Now Available

I’ve been excited for Coach’s Spring 2015 handbags to arrive ever since I saw them at the brand’s runway show back in September; the collection felt modern and light-hearted, like it could bridge the gap between the brand’s longtime fans and the fashion-forward audience that Coach hopes to attract. The collection also includes the brand’s latest artist collaboration, Coach x Baseman.

The Baseman bags, which feature adorable little monsters, are the fashion bait of the collection, meant to appeal to a consumer group that watches runway trends and wants to buy things that are weird, distinctive and limited-edition. There has already been a notable response to these bags and the rest of the Coach x Baseman line, so it seems like cute beasties are a bet that will pay off.

For a more mainstream customer, the collection also debuts a new marquee bag style for the brand, the Swagger. It’s an East-West tote that currently comes in three sizes, and although it’s not innovating any new territory or starting any new trends, the execution and options are solid. In particular, the mini metallics are a lot of fun.

“Fun” is probably the best word to describe everything that’s going on with this collection, actually. The colors are pastel without being too sweet, and the details and embellishments elevate the bags without making the designs seem self-serious. For Stuart Vevers’ second full collection with the brand, there’s been a lot of growth.

Check out a selection of the bags below or shop the full collection, including shoes and clothing, via Coach.

Monogram Makes a Major Comeback at Louis Vuitton’s Fall 2015 Menswear Show

While we all sit under a blizzard in New York, a lot has been happening in Paris. Couture shows just started, and immediately before them, the world’s biggest menswear brands opened the Fall 2015 show season. One of the last shows on the schedule was Louis Vuitton, and under the guidance of men’s creative director Kim Jones, the brand’s iconic monogram canvas has made a comeback.

Jones has overseen the design on several impressive men’s accessories collections over the past few seasons, but in the past, the emphasis has generally been on leather or Damier, Vuitton’s less flashy signature print. This collection does feature a new take on Damier Graphite, one with graphic rope detailing that pays tribute to late designer and artist Christopher Nemeth.

The unexpected star of the handbag show is monogram, though, and it makes its appearance in fairly straightforward ways: simply shaped bags and accessories that, on first glance, appear quite similar to bags Vuitton has made for decades. Many have contrasting trim or edge paint, though, and some come with collection-specific zipper pulls. Check out all the accessory photos below; you can expect these bags to hit stores in about six months.

[Photos via Vogue UK]

Bag of the Week: Gap Python-Embossed Leather Tote

Bag: Gap Python-Embossed Leather Tote

Price: $120 via Gap

Why It’s the Bag of the Week: Sometimes we come across great bags in unexpected places, and in this case, it’s also at a great price. Gap has been slowing expanding its leather offerings, and this versatile shape in greyscaled python is hard to pass up, especially for well under $200.

Céline’s Summer 2015 Handbag Lookbook and Prices are Here

While we wait for designers to begin unveiling their Fall 2015 collections next month, Spring 2015–or, as Céline calls it, Summer 2015–collections have started arriving in stores. Today, we have Céline’s full handbag lookbook, including those weird, curved runway bags.

Although Céline’s bags still sell pretty briskly, paging through this lookbook is a reminder that the brand is still looking for its next huge hit, after the blockbuster success of the Luggage and Trapeze bags. Although the Belt Bag is back for another season and quite attractive, it lacks the look-at-me presence that’s usually necessary for a bag to reach the realm of the hyper-successful.

Céline has once again provided prices for the bags included in its lookbook, which we’ve compiled with the photos and style names below.

Yoox Sale Code January 2015

Yoox-January-Sale-CodeIf you’re looking to get your weekend started with a little bit of shopping, we’ve got just the thing to tempt you. YOOX is the fashion industry’s favorite piece to look for designer pieces from previous seasons at a discount, and this weekend, YOOX has marked down its sale selection yet again, with some discounts of over 70%. On top of all that, you can take 10% off your order with code WEEKEND10 through January 25.

Shop Over 70% off at YOOX Now!

Check Out Dior’s Pre-Fall 2015 Handbags, Straight Off the Runway

Somehow, it’s almost February, and that means it’s almost time for New York Fashion Week and the debut of the first Fall 2015 collections. Pre-Fall 2015 presentations have barely wrapped up, and when we went back to survey the pre-season in advance of the NY shows, we noticed one that we skipped in all of late December’s holiday tumult–Christian Dior Pre-Fall 2015, which was shown in Tokyo.

The standard runway images of the show aren’t too revealing, handbag-wise, but luckily for us, the team at Dior let The Coveteur’s ace photographer backstage to document some of the collection’s details. We’ve got some of the photo series’ more handbag-centric photos below, plus a few detail shots from the brand itself.

If played correctly, Dior stands to have a very big year in accessories. I get the sense that high-end consumers are hungering for the next big thing, and Dior’s bags are just under-exposed enough to attract the attention of top-tier buyers who want something that everyone else doesn’t already have in their closets. These bags might be just the thing.

The 15 Best Bag Deals for the Weekend of January 23

For today’s edition of our weekly Bag Deals roundup, we ventured into a couple of sale section in which we hadn’t checked recently to see if they had anything interesting to offer. Our extra efforts were met with bags from Fendi, Gucci, Givenchy, Valentino and more, and we think you’re going to want to check out the full spectrum of sale bags below.

If you want even more, make sure to check our Deals Page often–it’s continually updated with the best in online shopping, well beyond just bags.

30 Great Work Bags – No Obvious Logos, No Crazy Colors

Getting dressed for work is something that women’s fashion magazines and websites tackle regularly, and with varying results. (Who thinks that putting a blazer over a crop top is going to fly as a good day-to-night option in most workplaces?) Because we spend most of our time thinking about a particular part of the fashion industry, though, we’d like to think that we can scope out good workwear with slightly more accurate results.

A lot of you sent in questions about selecting a solid work bag when we asked to hear about your fashion problems for Ask PurseBlog, so we thought it might be most expedient to tackle this issue en masse. Below, we’ve selected over two dozen bags that we think will fit in a lot of different work environments, beyond just your standard Prada Saffiano Totes and Louis Vuitton Neverfulls. Some are on the slightly more casual end, while others will pass muster in even the strictest of corporate headquarters, and we found good-looking options starting from just $240.

All of the bags will fit a small laptop (and if your laptop is bigger, many of the bags come in a larger size), and almost all can either be carried on your shoulder or include an optional shoulder strap. When it comes to a work bag, fashion means very little without the function to go with it.

30 Great Work Bags – No Obvious Logos, No Crazy Colors

Getting dressed for work is something that women’s fashion magazines and websites tackle regularly, and with varying results. (Who thinks that putting a blazer over a crop top is going to fly as a good day-to-night option in most workplaces?) Because we spend most of our time thinking about a particular part of the fashion industry, though, we’d like to think that we can scope out good workwear with slightly more accurate results.

A lot of you sent in questions about selecting a solid work bag when we asked to hear about your fashion problems for Ask PurseBlog, so we thought it might be most expedient to tackle this issue en masse. Below, we’ve selected over two dozen bags that we think will fit in a lot of different work environments, beyond just your standard Prada Saffiano Totes and Louis Vuitton Neverfulls. Some are on the slightly more casual end, while others will pass muster in even the strictest of corporate headquarters, and we found good-looking options starting from just $240.

All of the bags will fit a small laptop (and if your laptop is bigger, many of the bags come in a larger size), and almost all can either be carried on your shoulder or include an optional shoulder strap. When it comes to a work bag, fashion means very little without the function to go with it.

Moschino’s Bags Aren’t Getting Any Less Aggressive for Pre-Fall 2015

If you thought that perhaps Jeremy Scott and Moschino had found some chill in the time since we last checked in, I have some bad news for you. Moschino recently released its Pre-Fall 2015 lookbook, and the bags (and clothes) are as fiercely literal as ever. This time, much of the collection is dedicated to the processes of creating clothing and deciding what to wear.

Yes, that is an oversized tape measure clutch you see above; tape measures figure prominently in the collection, as does pattern-making, which has been turned into bags that feature their own measurements as embellishment. The line also includes new versions of some favorites from Scott’s short tenure at Moschino, like the Moto Jacket Bag (which now also comes in clutch form) and the micro-mini bags that appear to be too small to hold an iPhone (but are plenty big to hold the brand’s logo in shiny gold letters out front).

Take a look at all the bags from the lookbook below.

Ask PurseBlog: Am I Fancy Enough for My Fancy Handbags?

Last Friday, we asked you to submit your burning questions about handbags, accessories and personal style, and you responded with lots of interesting queries and conundrums. We’ve picked one of our favorites of the bunch to kick off our new advice column, and it hits on a nagging insecurity that a lot of fashion lovers have–what happens when your wardrobe feels a little bit fancier than you are? Check out the question and answer below, and don’t forget to submit your questions to ask@purseblog.com for a chance to be featured.

I am a woman of a certain age (soon to be approaching retirement age) and I have a pretty nice handbag and accessory collection. I almost never discard a good leather handbag because every time I have I’ve regretted it. However, I often don’t feel like I dress well enough to justify my nice handbags and I tend to save them for special occasions. Do you have any advice for an average woman who loves handbags and how to dress accordingly without looking out of place at work and everyday activities?

If working in fashion has taught me anything, it’s that what we’re really doing when we buy clothes and accessories is manipulating perceptions, both others’ and our own. We want to look capable, elegant, successful or special, either to telegraph those traits to others or to reinforce our own self-perceptions. It’s understandable, then, that finding yourself in possession of an accessories wardrobe with which you don’t feel you entirely match creates something of a disconnect.

There are two ways to bridge the gap. First, you can work on shifting your perceptions of your bags and yourself. Second, you can upgrade some little things about your everyday clothing that might make carrying an expensive handbag feel a little bit more appropriate.

Brands spend a lot of time and money ensuring that we perceive their goods (and especially their accessories, which are the financial engine of most fashion companies) as aspirational and luxurious. That marketing works on most people, even those who think that they aren’t affected by it; it usually even works on me and Megs, who should well know better at this point in our fashion careers. A biproduct of that marketing success, though, is the quiet anxiety that can set in when you stand back, look at the things on which you’ve spent your money and feel like you’ve stocked the costume department for a movie based on a slightly better version of your own life.

Although, at 29, I am not yet of a certain age, we all deal with the occasional insecure feeling that we may not be able to pull off something that we’d love to wear, or do, or create. In those situations, the thing that works for me is to remind myself that I am, by the very virtue of owning something, better than it. It is not fancier than me, it is not too good for me and I can do with it whatever I damn well please. I’m the one who got up in the morning, went to work and earned the money that put it in my possession, and with that comes the liberty of choice. It is, after all, just a handbag. My handbag. And if anyone should quarrel with my decisions, then they can put their money where their judgmental mouths are, buy their own bag and wear it differently.

Sometimes you don’t need a different wardrobe. Sometimes you just need a pep talk.

If, on the other hand, you feel like taking your beautiful bag collection as inspiration to refine other parts of your wardrobe that you don’t really love, then there are some simple ways to do that. Get rid of knits that have pilling or anything that’s been through the spin cycle one too many times and has lost some of its original shape. Be brutally honest about what is worn out and what doesn’t make you feel your best and sharpest, and get it out of your life. Replace it with stuff that makes you feel like your best self, whatever that is. Maybe it’s a couple sharply tailored new blazers for work or a some cashmere sweaters that feel like wearing an especially soft cloud–the what doesn’t so much matter in this equation. This is an out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new process that we all know how to undertake, and dispossessing yourself of things you don’t need or want can certainly lighten more than just your literal load.

For most of the women I know, though, this isn’t an issue of what does or does not actually reside in her closet, but rather, of the space she’s given up in her head to all the doubting voices that she’s heard in her life. It’s about time those voices got a hobby and let us live, though, and that means you no longer need to have more regard for your possessions than you have for yourself. You’re just as fancy as you need to be, and you always have been.

-Amanda

[For a chance to have your question featured, email us at ask@purseblog.com]

Bag of the Week: VBH Trevi Demi Python Bag

Bag: VBH Trevi Demi Python Bag

Price: $4,200 via Neiman Marcus

Why It’s the Bag of the Week:Winter is a great time of year for rich textures and colors, and rarely gets richer than deep burgundy snakeskin. The Trevi is a great bag if you want to carry something elegant but not immediately recognizable.

Extra 25% Off ShopBop Designer Sale January 2015

ShopBop-25-Percent-Off-Designer-Sale-January-2015This is not-so-secretly my favorite part of sale season; the selection isn’t as huge as the very beginning, of course, but the discounts are enormous, and there are still plenty of awesome things to choose from. Today, the best deals are at ShopBop; the site is offering an extra 25% off its designer sale with code DESIGNER25, and that leaves many of the pieces with final prices well over 70% off. As in all things sale-related, though, time is of the essence–this discount code only lasts through January 22.

Shop 25% Off Designer Sale at ShopBop Now!

Get Your First Look at Valentino’s Pre-Fall 2015 Handbags

On the strength of its Rockstud bags, Valentino has become a major player in the accessories industry in a relatively short amount of time. Now that the Rockstud has transitioned from trend darling to a potential classic, though, the brand has taken on the task of slowly moving customers on to the next things. You’ll find some of those in the Valentino Pre-Fall 2015 collection, and we have all the bags for your browsing pleasure.

The most notable addition to Valentino’s stable of bags is a structured shoulder bag with a custom lock that’s reminiscent of Hermès’ signature Collier de Chien closure. Of course, that means that it has a couple of studs; the brand has done an uncommonly good job at extending its Rockstuds in subtle ways that give the brand’s collections a sense of continuity with each other without boring its customers.

There are a few things in this collection that don’t make sense, though, and chiefly among them is the monogram print that Valentino has used here and there in the past, but not consistently. There isn’t much love for logo bags in fashion lately, and trying to monogram canvas happen right now seems like a poor use of resources. To each their own, though; check out the full slate of accessories from the lookbook below.

Heritage Auctions Chanel Handbag Giveaway

Heritage-Auctions-Chanel-Handbag-GiveawayWe’ve got some exciting news to share with you that will surely get your weekend off to the right start. Our friends at Heritage Auctions are giving away a Chanel bag in advance of their upcoming Chanel Online Auction, and you could be the lucky winner. All you have to do is head over to their Facebook page and enter your name and email before January 20! Simple, right?

Enter to win a Chanel Bag with Heritage Luxury Auctions!

Have Questions? Need Advice? Ask PurseBlog!

Megs and I love chatting with you guys in the comments of our posts, so we’ve discussed things and would like to take our relationship with you to the next level. Often, you guys ask us questions that require lengthier answers than we’re able to give in a spur-of-the-moment comment, and those questions seem like the kind that other readers might be wondering about, too. Wonder no longer: go ahead and ask us, and we might pick your question to answer in its own post.

If you have a burning query on which you’d like some feedback, all you have to do is email us with the pertinent details at ask@purseblog.com. If we pick your question, one of us (or, in special situations, perhaps both of us) will devote a post to it. It can be anything from help picking out a new work bag to advice on how to hone your personal style–if we feel like we can help, we will!

Send us a question now at ask@purseblog.com.

The 15 Best Bags Deals of the Weekend of January 16

As we mentioned last week, sale season is drawing to a shut, and that makes compiling our weekly listings of bag deals a little bit tricker. We’re undaunted, though, and we have 15 beautiful bags, all at discount prices, to prove it. Check out our picks below.

For continually updated sale listings from around the Internet, make sure you also check in with our Deals Page.

The Ultimate Visual Guide to Hermès Bag Styles

Finding information on Hermès bags is not easy, and that’s by design; keeping its bags mostly shrouded in mystery helps the brand maintain the sense of exclusivity and scarcity that makes them the most coveted–and most expensive–accessories in the world. The Hermès website features only a tiny fraction of the brand’s full lineup available for purchase, and if you want more information than what it provides, you better get very familiar with our PurseForum or spend a lot of time trying to sift through conflicting information on the Internet at large. That’s where we come in.

It’s in the brand’s best interest for customers to think that they need to form a relationship with a sales associate in order to get the whole story, but we’re big fans of having information at our fingertips. Below, you’ll find the first step in our ongoing quest to catalog Hermès handbag offerings. We’ll also be compiling guides to Hermès colors, leathers, sizes and pricing, but first: a simple, visual guide to which names correspond to which bags, and how similar models differ from each other, with photos sourced from trusted auction houses, resale sites and our own Forum members.

We tried to include all the bags that we knew of which are currently being manufactured or were in the somewhat recent past. Because of the brand’s cloak-and-dagger approach to luxury accessories, it’s highly likely that we’ve missed a couple of bags along the way; if you know of something that should join this group, please let us know in the comments. (If you have a link to a photo, even better.)

Want It Wednesday: Red Carpet-Worthy Evening Bags

Last Sunday’s Golden Globes were just the beginning of Hollywood’s awards season, and they left us feeling inspired to take a second look at the world of tiny, sparkly evening bags that online retailers have to offer. The market for clutches has expanded by leaps and bounds over the past few years, with indie brands like Edie Parker, Rauwolf and Lee Savage shaking up the tried-and-true lineup of Roger Vivier and Judith Leiber bags that usually show up at awards shows.

We have yet to get our invite in the mail to the Oscars (or even to the Screen Actors Guild Awards, to be honest), but for this edition of Want It Wednesay, we went ahead with a little thought experiment anyway. Below, check out the bags that we’d love to carry, were we invited.

Barneys Final Markdowns January 2015

Barneys-Final-Markdowns-January-2015If you’ve been strategically waiting to make your sale season purchases, now’s the time to strike. Barneys has moved its sale selection to final markdowns, which means that everything that’s left is up to 75% off and won’t get any lower. There are still lots of super-fashionable things left (may we suggest visiting the show section first?), but as always, the most coveted items will move quickly, especially at these low prices.

Shop Final Markdowns at Barneys Now!

Check Out Louis Vuitton’s Fun Cruise 2015 Bags, Now Available in Stores and Online

Nicolas Ghesquiere wasted no time in putting his own stamp on the iconic codes of Louis Vuitton, and the Louis Vuitton Cruise 2015 collection is the latest continuation in his reimagining of the monograms and materials that we all know and (maybe) love. The collection just hit stores and Vuitton’s online boutique, and if you’re not a logo lover, there’s plenty for you here.

Relatively few of these seasonal bags are made with monogram canvas, and many of them lack external branding at all. Instead, Ghesquiere’s accessories team has let Vuitton’s ultra-recognizable materials and shapes speak for themselves. With a brand that has such great recognition among consumers, there’s no need to belabor the point, and these bags largely avoid doing that. Perhaps more importantly, they mostly seem like the kinds of pieces that would be a lot of fun to buy and use. Check out the collection below, complete with prices. The only thing missing is the Pinch bag; it’s slated to be released soon, but there’s no information available on the brand’s website yet.

Is Chanel Discontinuing the Grand Shopping Tote?

It’s somewhat rare that brands discontinue popular bags from their popular collections, but we’ve been hearing a lot of buzz lately about the potential end of the Chanel Grand Shopping Tote–it might be a thing of the past in the near future. Or maybe it’s just getting a huge price increase. Or perhaps it’s simply being yanked from the American market because of its relatively low price point and market over-saturation? No one seems to know.

I first read of the GST’s looming demise yesterday on Mizhattan, which posits the story as fact rather than a rumor and reports on low stock level at several NYC-area stores. We then looked to our Chanel subforum over at PurseForum, which has a discussion on the GST’s theoretical disconinuation that dates back to December. In it, members from all over the world report on what they’ve been told by Chanel sales associates; many in the US have heard that the bag will soon be gone, while European readers are more likely to report that their SAs were baffled when they asked about the GST’s pending disappearance. One tPFer even contacted a Chanel boutique in Paris, where the associate told her that the GST is in the permanent collection and isn’t going anywhere.

Among the European Chanel lovers, the talk is instead of a future price increase; the GST is among the brand’s most attainably price bags for its size, and Chanel may be concerned that it’s diverting customers away from its other, more expensive bags of a similar size and type. Rumors about the GST also went around last year around this time, so who knows if this might just be another game of telephone gone awry.

We’ve reached out to our sources at Chanel; if we hear anything definitive back from them, we’ll update this post. In the meantime, have any of you heard any news from your regular SAs?

The Best Bag Moments of the 2015 Golden Globes and After-Parties

The 2015 Golden Globes took place last night, and that means that awards season has officially begun. As we do every year, we’ll be scoping out all the best handbags from the industry’s fanciest red carpets. Although our photo service was inexplicably light on pictures from last night’s main red carpet, we scoured both those photos and those from the after-parties to bring you over a dozen celebrity bag choices from Sunday’s festivities. Let us know which look is your favorite in the comments.

The Best Bag Moments of the 2015 Golden Globes and After-Parties

The 2015 Golden Globes took place last night, and that means that awards season has officially begun. As we do every year, we’ll be scoping out all the best handbags from the industry’s fanciest red carpets. Although our photo service was inexplicably light on pictures from last night’s main red carpet, we scoured both those photos and those from the after-parties to bring you over a dozen celebrity bag choices from Sunday’s festivities. Let us know which look is your favorite in the comments.

Has Prada Backed Itself into a Saffiano-Covered Corner?

Last week, I spoke with Chavie Lieber of Racked about Prada’s current profit woes, much of which are tied to the recent underperformance of the leather goods that make up roughly 40% of Prada’s business. Lieber also talked to PB contributor Pattie Rechtman, luxury shoppers and industry analysts, and we all more or less agreed: Prada needs to do something about its handbag offerings. In my mind, that means looking beyond its saffiano totes and finding new ways to entice accessories buyers.

Prada’s saffiano bags aren’t bad. In fact, there’s a good chance that they’ll eventually take a spot in handbag history, and they’re a perfect at-work option for women who need a conservative bag that looks tailored and professional. Instead, Prada’s saffiano bags are a problem because there are simply too many of them; the Saffiano Luxe, Executive and Gardener totes look virtually identical, and all three come in multiple sizes and a rainbow of solid colors. The designs have remained virtually unchanged in the years since they debuted.

In the past year, Prada has introduced several lines of beautiful, open-top, soft-sided saffiano totes, but the problem is the same: there’s relatively little differentiation between the lines except for small differences in handle attachment and interior organization. Unless you have strong feelings about sewn-on handles versus buckles, there’s not much in the way of meaningful variety or novelty beyond color, and variety and novelty are the name of the game in handbags right now. Prada simply doesn’t have any answer for Fendi’s forward-thinking fun or Chanel’s zeitgeist-y themes.

For all of saffiano’s functionality and durability, it doesn’t feel like a luxury material when you touch it. Prada is in the position to use any materials and dazzling construction methods it wants because of its vast resources and brand recognition, and it would likely find success with expanded offerings in both exotics and high-end soft leathers. “Variety” needs to be something more than dozens of colors of saffiano leather in order to motivate luxury customers, whose options are plentiful and always changing.

Even when Prada does hit on something that feels full of modernity and urgency, like the wonderful Spring 2014 painted face bags, the brand does little to capitalize on the momentum. Once the initial offerings of those few designs had sold through, they were not replenished, and the line wasn’t continued into the next season in any meaningful way. Other brands are better at taking something that strikes a nerve and building it out into a full-fledged success that can last multiple seasons (which is, not coincidentally, usually how long it takes a successful brand to hit on another big thing). Prada generally chooses to go in an entirely new direction. Often, the momentum is lost.

As Lieber mentions in her article, Prada would also do well to reign in its availability. Like it or not, most luxury customers are motivated by scarcity, and Prada’s bags are everywhere. That’s in sharp contrast to the brand’s clothes, which are, by all indications, as successful as ever. They’re only available in Prada boutiques, and although ending wholesale in its entirety would be a severe move, pruning the department store availability back and offering an improved, more luxurious, more forward-thinking line of bags is the most likely road to success for Prada in the future.

The saffiano bags won’t be going anywhere, and they shouldn’t. But Prada has the ability to do so much more, and here’s hoping that Miuccia flexes her considerable creative muscles soon.

Bag of the Week: Bottega Veneta Nappa Leather and Intrecciato Tote

Bag: Bottega Veneta Nappa and Leather Intrecciato Tote

Price: $4,400 via LUISAVIAROMA

Why It’s the Bag of the Week: Bottega Veneta usually sticks with the classics, but the irregular stripes and gentle shading at the edges of the flat blush panels give this functional tote a ton of texture and visual depth.

The Best Bag Deals for the Weekend of January 9

Sale season is winding to a close, but that simply means we’re redoubling our efforts to bring you the Internet’s best bag deals on a weekly basis. Today, we’ve found great pieces from brands like Valentino, Givenchy and Fendi, which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that there are still great deals to be had for those willing to put in the work.

If what you see below is now enough, check out our Deals Page–it’s continually updated with new listings of the latest and greatest in online fashion sales.

The New Classics: Which of These Bags Will Make the Leap to Icon Status?

The number of handbags that I’d call true classics is relatively limited. The Hermès Birkin and Kelly fit the bill, of course, as do the Chanel Classic Flap and Gucci Bamboo Bags and staples like the Louis Vuitton Speedy and Noé. All of those bags have been around for decades, though; what’s next?

We don’t have any firm answers to that question, of course, but we’re in a pretty good period for potentially classic bags right now–designs that have been around for a few seasons and have proved popular with consumers, but that aren’t so aggressively 2015-looking that they will soon feel dated. We talked it over in the office, and the results are the bags below, alongside our rationale for why they might make it for the long haul. Let us know which one you believe will last forever, as well as which bags we missed, in the comments.

Want It Wednesday: Brand New Bags

We came back from our winter vacation to websites full of new bags after which to lust. Now that we’ve had a few days to look them over, here are our picks for the newly arrived bags that we’d each love to own.

Now’s the Time to Buy; Hermès to Raise US Prices By End of January

If your new year’s resolution included buying more Hermès handbags or accessories, then you might want to move some money between your accounts and make some power moves, because time is of the essence. Both users on our Forum and shopping site Mizhattan have confirmed that Hermès will make a significant price increase in US boutiques before the end of the mont, affecting almost all of the brand’s product categories.

Reports indicate that price increases will be between 5% and 10%, depending on category, and that bags in particular will increase on January 28. If you’re a silk lover, you have a little bit longer–we’re hearing that scarves will get their increase in February. Smaller categories are also affected; gloves and hats will increase on January 20, and some homewares will follow on January 30. Ready-to-wear will also get a price hike early next week.

Hermès’ last price increase was almost exactly a year ago, with prices going up a similar six to ten percent. A year before that, Hermès’ January price increase was seven to ten percent. It will likely not shock you to find out that the same thing happened in January 2012. Hermès shoppers should know to get their shopping done before New Year’s for the foreseeable future. Worldwide demand for Hermès continues to grow, and higher prices only help to preserve the air of exclusivity that the brand so meticulously cultivates.

If you’re a European customer, I have some bad news (of which you are likely already aware): your price increase has already happened.

Valentino’s Spring 2015 Bags Have Arrived for Pre-Order at Neiman Marcus

Valentino’s heavily printed Spring 2015 were among the best of the entire runway season, and now the bags, in addition to some of their solid leather runway counterparts, are available for purchase for the first time. At Neiman Marcus, a selection of the bags (plus some new, off-the-runway colors of Valentino Rockstud favorites) are now available for pre-order, with actual delivery coming before May 7.

Valentino’s seasonal bags and colors tend to sell through long before sale time comes around, and these particularly beautiful prints will probably be among the first to go. If you know now that you’d like to own one, going in for the pre-order wouldn’t be a bad idea. Check out what’s available from the runway below or shop the full run at Neiman Marcus.

21 Vegan Bags for the Leather-Averse Bag Lovers Among Us

21 Vegan Bags for the Leather-Averse Bag Lovers Among Us

If you love accessories and fashion but don’t love buying or wearing animal products, you have my sympathies. Several of you have asked me to do a leather-free bag roundup over the past couple of months, and when I set out to do just that, the irritation and frustration of trying to find a designer bag that fits that description became clear.

Most online retailers won’t let you filter their products by material, and most in-site search functions don’t crawl the fabrication information to return results; that means that searching for “faux leather” or “PVC” is only helpful if the retailer’s copy team has included those keywords in the product’s name or general description, which isn’t always (or even usually) the case. Also, totes from designer brands that are made of primarily non-leather materials often have little bits of leather trim, and how retailers notate that fact varies widely and can be difficult to figure out for sure.

That being said, I feel as though my search was reasonable successful; ultimately, it yielded nearly two dozen bags from big-name designers like Givenchy and Bottega Veneta, as well as more affordable options from all-vegan lines like Deux Lux and Street Level. There’s even a faux leather Antigona, in case you’re looking for an ethical It Bag. Check out our finds below.

21 Vegan Bags for the Leather-Averse Bag Lovers Among Us

21 Vegan Bags for the Leather-Averse Bag Lovers Among Us

If you love accessories and fashion but don’t love buying or wearing animal products, you have my sympathies. Several of you have asked me to do a leather-free bag roundup over the past couple of months, and when I set out to do just that, the irritation and frustration of trying to find a designer bag that fits that description became clear.

Most online retailers won’t let you filter their products by material, and most in-site search functions don’t crawl the fabrication information to return results; that means that searching for “faux leather” or “PVC” is only helpful if the retailer’s copy team has included those keywords in the product’s name or general description, which isn’t always (or even usually) the case. Also, totes from designer brands that are made of primarily non-leather materials often have little bits of leather trim, and how retailers notate that fact varies widely and can be difficult to figure out for sure.

That being said, I feel as though my search was reasonably successful; ultimately, it yielded nearly two dozen bags from big-name designers like Givenchy and Bottega Veneta, as well as more affordable options from all-vegan lines like Deux Lux and Street Level. There’s even a faux leather Antigona, in case you’re looking for an ethical It Bag. Check out our finds below.

Find Your Next Favorite Bag in Vince’s New Handbag Collection

We’re always excited to hear about a new handbag line, but especially when it’s coming from one of our very favorite apparel brands. When Vince launched a pitch-perfect selection of shoes a couple of seasons ago, we were hopeful that bags were the next thing on the agenda. Our intuition was correct; Vince has launched a tightly edited selection of handbags for this season, and they’re just what we wanted.

Vince is known for luxurious, modern takes on knits and other wardrobe staples, and this group of handbags fits the brand’s aesthetic to a T. The collection includes totes, shoulder bags and clutches, all streamlined and finished with minimalist touches. The line feels like it’s intended to take care of a woman’s needs in every major aspect of her daily life, from roomy work bags to evening clutches.

Check out some of our favorite bags below, or shop the entire collection via Vince.

Jennifer Connelly Stars in Louis Vuitton Spring 2015 Ad Campaign

Jennifer Connelly Stars in Louis Vuitton Spring 2015 Ad Campaign

Nicolas Ghesquiere is onto his second major season of agenda-setting at the new Louis Vuitton, and his dreamy-mod vision of 70s nostalgia has returned for the Louis Vuitton Spring 2015 ad campaign. Ghesquiere started revealing the photos, lensed by Annie Leibovitz, Bruce Weber and Juergen Teller (just like last season) on his personal Instagram account at the end of last year, and now the brand itself has added a few more official ads to the lineup.

The ads feature a couple of the same models from Fall 2014, including Freja Beha Erichsen, plus the addition of actress Jennifer Connelly. Connelly has been a fixture at Vuitton events and in the brand’s clothes since Ghesquiere took the brand’s helm, so her spot in the ads feels natural.

Check out what Ghesquiere and Vuitton have released so far below; these photos should start popping up in fashion magazines soon.

Bag of the Week: Loeffler Randall Floral Mini Rider Bag

Bag of the Week: Loeffler Randall Floral Mini Rider Bag

Bag: Loeffler Randall Floral Mini Rider Bag

Price: $425 via Bloomingdale’s

Why It’s the Bag of the Week: A bouquet of flowers will only last you a week, but a floral bag will last you seasons on end. The blue-based print of this Loeffler Randall mini is perfect; feminine and painterly but not too sweet.

Check Out the Bags from Fendi Pre-Fall 2015

Check Out the Bags from Fendi Pre-Fall 2015

Fendi is, without question, one of the brands whose collections we look forward to seeing, season after season, year after year. Under the leadership of Karl Lagerfeld, Fendi has found a way to embrace pop culture and have fun with its designs without compromising the fundamentals of making a beautiful luxury handbag, and that impressive tightrope walk continues straight in to Fendi Pre-Fall 2015.

We zoomed in on the photos from the brand’s lookbooks to take a close look at the bags, and you can check out every single one below.

5 Handbag Brands to Watch in 2015

5 Handbag Brands to Watch in 2015

The designer accessories market is, in certain ways, like the stock market. At any given time, brands and bags are moving up and down the rungs of popularity and profitability, and the key to being stylish is figuring out what’s about to blow up what’s about to fall off a metaphorical cliff. Below, I’ve made some predictions for brands to track in 2015; I can virtually guarantee that they’ll all be trending up. Which brand do you think will have a big year?

The 10 Most Popular PurseBlog Posts of 2014

The 10 Most Popular PurseBlog Posts of 2014

This is it, this is the end–of 2014, at least. Now that we’re on the year’s 365th day, we can take an official look back at what transpired in the past 12 months in the PurseBlog world. We dug into our analytics to figure out which of our posts were your favorites in 2014, and the list includes everything from fashion week celebrity favorites to new collections from brands like Chanel and Céline.

Take an Extra 25% Off Sale at ShopBop!

Take an Extra 25% Off Sale at ShopBop!

If you’ve got some Christmas cash to spend or you’re just looking to treat yourself after a busy holiday season, we have some good news for you today. Through January 1, you can take 25% off any sale purchase at ShopBop, which means that some discounts will exceed 70%. That’s a pretty good deal, if you ask us. Code to use at checkout: CHEERS2015

Take an Extra 25% Off Sale at ShopBop Now!

A Look Back at the Most Important Bags of 2014

A Look Back at the Most Important Bags of 2014

We’re only days away from bidding 2014 a permanent farewell, so now seems like an opportune moment to look back at the year in handbags. Below, we’ve enumerated the most important pieces on the handbag market in 2014; they might not be the most beautiful or the most popular, but they all left their marks in one significant way or another. Let us know what you’d add to the list in the comments.

PurseBlog Asks: So, What’d You Get?

PurseBlog Asks: So, What’d You Get?

We’ve spent weeks upon weeks talking about what to get the people in our lives for the holidays and what we hope to receive ourselves, and now, the big day has come and gone. While you eat leftover Christmas cookies for breakfast and think about cleaning up all the spent wrapping paper in the living room, we want you to share your favorite gifts with us.

Because my birthday is Christmas Eve and my family isn’t super traditional about gift-giving, I figured I’d share something to which I treated myself in honor of my 29th: the Nike x Pedro Lourenço Blazer Low Sneakers in ombré gold, which can be yours for $110 via Nike. They’re so cool that, so far, I’m afraid to wear them.

So what’d you get? Let us know in the comments.

The 16 Best Handbags Deals Left in the Seasonal Sales

The 16 Best Handbags Deals Left in the Seasonal Sales

Holiday shopping season is over (once you get home from the mall today, anyway), and with it, sale season is drawing to a close. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t great handbag deals to be found, though, and we took the liberty of scouring our favorite online shopping haunts to find well over a dozen of the best discounted bags still floating around the Internet. Including finds from Givenchy, Valentino and Saint Laurent, check out which designer bags you get still get for a great deal below.

What Your Holiday Party Bag Says About You

What Your Holiday Party Bag Says About You

We’ve had Christmas on the brain for at least six weeks, plus all of the parties, events, get-togethers and family dinners that come with it. We’ve made gift guides, we’ve made party accessory suggestions and we’ve enumerated the items on our wish lists. Now, it’s just time to have some fun. Once again, I’ve consulted my handbag tea leaves to tell you what your holiday party bag choices might indicate about you.

Bag of the Week: Vince Signature Collection Stamped Croc Crossbody Bag

Bag of the Week: Vince Signature Collection Stamped Croc Crossbody Bag

Bag: Vince Signature Collection Stamped Croc Crossbody Bag

Price: $645 via Vince

Why It’s the Bag of the Week: Vince’s new handbag line is full of sleek, functional designs at contemporary price points. This luxe-looking crossbody is big enough to be an everyday bag, but it’s compact enough not to weigh you down.

Givenchy’s Spring-Summer 2015 Lookbook Has Arrived, and We Have All the Bag Photos

Givenchy’s Spring-Summer 2015 Lookbook Has Arrived, and We Have All the Bag Photos

If you’re sick of hearing about the holidays, gift-buying, traveling and everything else, we’ve got a brief respite for you in the way of the Givenchy Spring-Summer 2015 handbag lookbook. The upcoming collection has new versions of all the hits Givenchy lovers have come to know and love, plus a couple of new designs.

The most notable knew bag is the Postino, which is true to its name–the big, soft crossbody looks like a very high-end version of a letter carrier’s bag. There’s also a new, hard-shell enamel clutch, which will put Givenchy’s bags onto the same red carpets where its couture has become a staple. There’s also a pretty new floral and some gorgeous exotics, and you can check them all out below.