Headed Off to College? Here’s What to Carry for Under $550

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School Bags

Even though it’s been a solid decade since I went off to college, this time of year makes me nostalgic for back-to-school shopping, no matter how many grey hairs I’ve recently started producing. (Spoiler alert: a significant number of grey hairs.) As you might expect, I have somethoughts on how to pick exactly the right bag for all your college needs, as well as some suggestions of what’s out there right now that fits the bill.

Your (or your daughters’) experiences may vary, but my college career required a ton of walking on a very large, hilly campus, so the first thing to think about when picking a bag for a new or returning college student is its weight; coated canvas or lighter-weight leathers are ideal, and forgo bags with lots of extra pockets unless you really need them, because the extra material adds up quickly.

Second, the bag has to be big enough to hold the requisite college student stuff–I only chose bags that I thought would fit a notebook, a textbook and a slim laptop or tablet. If you’re going to be hauling around two giant organic chemistry books, your problems are bigger than any solutions I can provide. On, like, several levels.

I’ve also only selected bags that can serve a young woman (or man–carry what you want!) well in the event of an internship or job interview; those sometimes pop up last-minute in school, and making a solid impression on someone that early in your career can quite literally change your entire life.

Lastly, I’m not trying get all Marie Antoinette up in here. Although we are primarily an emporium of information on stupefyingly expensive handbags, I know that college is a time of tight budgets for most people, and even most fashion lovers. While most of the bags below cannot be accurately described as inexpensive, I’ve kept them all below $550, with many options far under that price.

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Well This is a Weird Bag, Alice + Olivia

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Alice and Olivia Stuffed Animal Bear Bag

“Weird” is having a big month so far. Fall deliveries have given us such a bumper crop of oddball bags that we went ahead and picked our favorite dozen last week, and then Coach put some giant animal heads in its latest in-store campaign. Now, somehow, Alice + Olivia has out-weirded them all.

Because the brand only recently started up its handbag line, you might not be familiar with the contemporary quirk of the Alice + Olivia brand. It offers girlish literalism and irreverence, often in the Charlotte Olympia vein, for reasonably accessible price point. Right now, though, it is simply trying to give me bad dreams.

I like all-black things, I like vaguely creepy things, I like weirdness for weirdness’ sake. This little lady, though, looks like she’s going to hide under my bed and then eat my face while I sleep. It’s looking into the rotten parts of my soul. The handle sticking out of its head is not helping.

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Man Bag Monday: Ted Baker Harlemm Mixed Leather Briefcase

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Ted Baker Harlemm Mixed Leather Briefcase

It’s not often that I have the urge to refer to any bag as “jaunty,” let alone a men’s briefcase, but it’d be hard to argue that the Ted Baker Harlemm Mixed Leather Briefcase is anything other than that. It’s a traditional brief shape with a little bit of kick.

Making a briefcase feel a little bit fun without making it utterly inappropriate for an office is a bit of a tough line to toe, and although this bag would probably garner a few weird looks in the most conservative work environments, it would probably fly in most. Teal leather is for a very specific man, though, and probably one who pays a lot of attention to detail in the other areas of his appearance.

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Katie Holmes Livens Up a Black Outfit with Michael Kors Pumps

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Katie Holmes Michael Kors Avra Paisley Pumps

Here’s Katie Holmes, attending the Lexus Short Films ‘Life is Amazing’ New York premiere in head-to-toe Michael Kors, including the Michael Kors Avra Paisley Pumps. Katie is practically drowning in all that volume, and I do not like this outfit one bit, least of all those pumps.

The Michael Kors brand has produced some great, comparatively affordable bags in the last few years, but I can’t say I particularly care for any of MK’s apparel or shoes. The brand frequently dresses celebs in beautiful formalwear for the red carpet, but I think its ready-to-wear line is rather cheap-looking and severely overpriced. If you’d like to see some of Katie’s far, far better fashion ensembles, you can check out “The Many Bags of Katie Holmes” on PurseBlog.

Tag: Michael Kors

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Friday Morning Pretty: Ralph Lauren Soft Ricky Alligator Bags

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Ralph Lauren Soft Ricky Alligator Blue

Fashion is a complicated topic, for sure. It sits at the intersection of art and commerce, of high and low culture, of aesthetic and functional design. Sometimes, though, when something is beautiful enough, fashion feels incredibly simple; it’s just about owning something beautiful. That’s what it felt like when I first set eyes on the Ralph Lauren Alligator Soft Ricky Bags.

Handbag lovers are all well familiar with the Birkin-reminiscent Ricky by now, as well as with all kinds of exotics, but something about these bags stands out. Perhaps its the color choices, which are all soft, powdery pastels that give the alligator an almost porcelain quality. Its an extra element of delicacy to an already fragile material, and it’s easy to get the idea of the kind of women who would potentially carry one of these. Suffice it to say that her life probably doesn’t suck.

Ralph Lauren Soft Ricky Alligator Bag

Ralph Lauren Soft Ricky Alligator Blue

Ralph Lauren Soft Ricky Alligator Bag

Ralph Lauren Soft Ricky Alligator Grey

Ralph Lauren Soft Ricky Alligator Bag

Ralph Lauren Soft Ricky Alligator Purple

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How to Wear it: The Multicolored Valentino Rockstud Sandal

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Feature Image

Add a little bit of pink, a little bit of red, a splash of green and loads of Rockstuds, and what do you get? The Valentino Multicolor Rockstud Pump, that’s what. We first got a glimpse of this multicolor design a few months ago when Emma Stone stepped out wearing a pair. As much as I love anything and everything Rockstud-related, I wondered how I would wear this shoe if it somehow magically appeared in my closet.

If someone placed these beauties in my closet, I would make them the focal point of my ensemble, because this autumnal shoe makes a statement all on its own. I chose to keep my outfit slouchy and sleek, just adding a simple necklace to jazz things up. Since the Internet is now my closet, why not throw in the matching Rockstud shopper for some extra arm candy to match whats going on at my feet? Now to get my hands on a pair of these shoes, and I’ll be all set!

Tag: Valentino

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