The rule of matching your shoes and handbag is no longer relevant. But every time I’m getting anew pair of heels, I start searching for a new leather handbag. The same thing happened this fall: after my major closet clean-up, I upgraded my collection with a few versatile handbags that I believe will last me for years. Let’s review each and every of those leather handbags!
The Row Small Lunch Bag in Suede
I’ve been eyeing The Row bags for quite some time now, but couldn’t justify the price. While I understand that minimalistic and timeless styles from the popular brand will always remain in style, I felt that I could always find alternatives to the designer duo’s creations. For instance, brands like By Far and Mansur Gavriel are also known for their minimalistic leather handbags that are way more affordable than The Row.
But a few weeks back I accidentally went to The Row sample sale in New York and I found this beauty at 75% off. The style was perfect and the price was right – now, I’m a lucky owner of my first The Row handbag!
Generally speaking, I’m a big fan of suede accessories. When it comes to shoes, suede options rarely give me blisters, and I don’t worry too much about wearing them in bad weather as I have a spray that protects my suede shoes. When it comes to handbags, I love the sensory feeling of a high-quality suede handbag.
The only con is that it’s close to impossible to find a structured suede bag. This small lunch bag by The Row is not an exception. You can’t just put it on the table, even if it’s full to the trim – it just doesn’t keep the shape. But surprisingly, I don’t mind it with this bag at all. It’s lightweight enough to just carry it on my wrist at all times. I just need to make sure that I don’t overpack it too much so the sides are not bulking up.
Quality: No complaints at all about the quality of suede. But the chain straps this handbag comes with are extremely fragile. I’m being extra careful, but I won’t be surprised if in a few years I’d be cutting my necklaces trying to replace the broken straps.
Accessories: There are no extra accessories that come with this bag, even though backup chain straps would be handy.
Versatility: I see this bag as suitable for relaxed everyday looks, especially in the fall season. The straps are pretty tiny so I only able to wear it as a tote when wearing a tight-fitting top. If you are planning of wearing it with a coat, you won’t be able to pass it through over your wrist.
Overall: 6 out of 10. Very cute but not that versatile or spacious.
Shop: sold out everywhere…
Bulgari Serpenti Forever Crossbody Bag in White
I’ve been dreaming of this bag since pre-pandemic. For me, there’s nothing more luxurious and chic than a Bulgari bag. Yes, even though I have much more expensive designer handbags in my collection!
Correct me if I’m wrong, but you have to be a fashion insider to know about and appreciate a Bulgari bag. Usually, when thinking of a first designer bag, people are picking Chanel, Louis Vuitton, or Prada bag. There is nothing wrong with those brands! But Bulgari bag is a bit less wide-known and definitely more of an evening bag. Which makes it especially valuable to me.
You can watch a full unboxing of this bag on Reels. All I can say now, after wearing it for a few weeks, is that bag is definitely the attention-getter. It’s so elegant and so well done; definitely one of a kind. I wore it multiple times for blogger events and special occasions and always received tons of compliments.
If you remember from Stories, I’ve been picking between the light pink and white version, and I’m happy that I picked the latest! A classy white bag is truly versatile and it matches most of my evening looks. I’m obsessed!
Quality: The best I’ve ever experienced! The stitching and leather quality are just perfect. The chain strap is sturdy and doesn’t leave marks on my skin.
Accessories: Love that the bag comes with a mirror that perfectly fits in a single inside pocket. By the way, each Bulgari bag comes with a “raincoat” for your bag – a plastic cover you can use in case of a rapid weather change.
Versatility: 10 out of 10 for the evening, 5 out of 10 for the day – it’s more of a nighttime bag.
Overall: 10 out of 10.
Shop: available at Selfridges + free shipping to the U.S.
Mansur Gavriel Candy Bag in Black
This bag entered my collection as I needed something in between a tote and a camera bag. I often have occasions when I need to bring my professional camera and get dressed up at the same time (aka almost every blogger event). A large tote bag doesn’t always work out style-wise so I invested in this chic polished leather handbag from Mansur Gavriel’s latest collection.
To be honest, I found a few similar options at other designers. What made me go with this particular style is that this bag is made out of leather inside and out. Most importantly, it’s red on the inside and black on the outside – how cute!
Let me know in the comments if you agree, but handbags that feature leather on the inside are the longest-lasting ones in my collection. If you spill something in your bag or if your favorite pressed powder opens up and covers the entire inside of your bag, you can easily clean it.
I have a DVF handbag in my collection that’s leather on the inside and out, and it’s been in perfect condition for the last 10 years. So when I find a bag like that, I always know it’s a great investment.
Quality: Superb! 10 out of 10 for the leather and stitching.
Accessories: Just a dust bag.
Versatility: It’s black, it’s medium size, it’s made out of smooth leather. As versatile as it gets – 10 out of 10.
Overall: 10 out of 10 again; I truly love it.
Cult Gaia Nadia Suede Leather Shoulder Bag
I didn’t know I need a half-moon bag until I got one. To be honest, I found this suede and leather handbag by accident. I was killing time at Bloomingdales in between my meetings and then I saw HER. A perfect combination of a leather strap, structure-keeping suede sides, and adjustable chain strap.
Ever since Gult Gaia popped up in the fashion world, I enjoyed their unique approach to accessories and especially their bags. But until this beautiful find, I never had a Cult Gaia bag in my collection.
Don’t be fooled by the size of this shoulder bag: even though it’s quite small, it actually fits a lot. Makeup, wallet, face mask, hand sanitizer, hand lotion, and sunglasses – at least that. My iPhone 11 Pro Max won’t fit it in though if anything else is in there.
The bag sits comfortably on the shoulder. I love that you could wear it in two ways by adjusting the chain strap. I wear the short version in the photo above, but you can let the chain go for an elongated look. Overall, I really enjoy this bag and believe that it was a designer handbag quality for a much more affordable price.
Quality: Fabulous! While the bag is not made out of leather on the inside, the exterior quality is great.
Accessories: None, except the dust bag.
Versatility: It’s quite versatile for the daytime bag. I’d not wear it with a cocktail dress or a gown, but it works well for more relaxed evening occasions like a dinner out.
Overall: 9 out of 10 because of the color. I love browns but I know that it’s not for everyone.
Mansur Gavriel Pencil Bag in Leaf Green
I keep saying it over and over again: if you want to play with trends, the easiest way is to pick trendy accessories. Think about it this way. You might wear a top in a trendy green color a couple of times before it gets too much. While a handbag or a pair of shoes in a trendy color would spice up many of the clothes that you already have in your collection.
I used the same logic when shopping for this adorable mini bag by Mansur Gavriel. Similar to another Mansur Gavriel bag mentioned below, this cutie is made out of leather inside and out which makes it super easy to clean. It comes with a tiny outside pocket that only fits a metro card and a sturdy short strap that actually stays on your shoulder.
I’ve been mostly wearing this green bag in combination with preppy style looks that are so trendy this season. This handbag also works perfectly with casual looks that involve denim and relaxed tops.
Size-wise you can actually fit quite a lot in this mini purse because of its shape. It’s an elongated handbag so you can fit things like a pair of sunglasses in a soft case, a mini-wallet with keys, and some longer lip glosses.
Quality: As with every Mansur Gavriel bag I have in my collection, the quality is outstanding!
Accessories: Just a dust bag.
Versatility: If you get this bag in another, more neutral color, it’s very versatile. The size makes it suitable for both daytime and evening occasions.
Overall: 8 out of 10 because of the trendy color; 10 out of 10 if you pick a more neutral hue.
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Have you upgraded your handbag collection lately? What style of handbags do you prefer to wear on a daily and which ones for special occasions?
Photos by Natalie Szczechowski.