Forget the “It” bag. We all know that trends come and go faster than it takes for us to tear open our Christmas presents. So when it comes to making a big purchase in the spirit of the season or because your loved ones are being especially generous this year make sure you don’t blow all of the cash on an item that you’ll have stashed away in your closet by this time next year. Every girl needs a classic handbag, and here are some of our choices for the perfect investment purchase for the holidays. Plus, these are all available for purchase online, so you can get your hands on some high fashion no matter where you live! Now get to dropping hints to friends, family and significant others these babies are going to require a whole mess of gift cards.
Proenza Schouler PS1 in patent leather, $1,595, proenzaschouler.com
The newest member of the PS1 family, the black patent leather version is not only practical (you wouldn’t believe how much stuff fits in this thing!), but it’s the perfect bag to transition from day to night. A transparent lacquer is painted onto the leather to make it appear ultra shiny, but it still retains its soft, supple quality. The patent version is just as lightweight as the original, but extra durable, and will wear well in any type of weather. If you’re not into the high-gloss look, then there’s always the non-patent version. Every PS1 uses all-natural vegetable dyes, which help the bags age beautifully and they’re composed of only the highest quality materials. That’s not all it can be carried as a top handle, or as a shoulder bag with an adjustable strap.
Reece Hudson No. 1 bag, $940, at Kirna Zabete
If you’re not familiar with the Reece Hudson line of handbags yet, consider this your primer. The label’s “No. 1″ over-sized clutch is one of the young designer’s most popular styles, and for good reason. Even though you might not think of a clutch as a go-to day bag, it’s large enough to fit all of your essentials, while at the same time injecting that street style-inspired cool that Reece Hudson is known for. The No. 1 is a classic and is available every season in a number of different color combinations and materials, including exotic python and crocodile if you’re into that sort of thing. One of the most impressive aspects of the brand is its commitment to staying local each bag and all hardware is custom made in New York City. The No. 1 (shown above) is hand crafted from European lambskin with 100 percent organic cotton lining.
Reed Krakoff Boxer II bag, $1,490, at Reed Krakoff
You might not know the name Reed Krakoff right away, but you’re certainly familiar with his brand. Krakoff has served as the President and Executive Creative Director of Coach for over ten years, and he launched his first eponymous collection of luxury American ready-to-wear and accessories for the Fall 2010 season. The Boxer II bag (shown above) is a bit large the Boxer I style is more manageable but if you’re looking for an everyday carryall for a laptop, books and bulkier items, then you won’t find one more gorgeous than this. The caviar grain leather is sourced from Europe, and while the bag might look stiff and structured, it gradually softens with wear. Another major plus: It has the look of a classic Herms Birkin bag, but at a fraction of the price.
Mulberry Alexa bag, $1,250, at Mulberry
The first indication that this bag is amazingly cool it’s named for It-Brit girl and style icon Alexa Chung. Often compared to the PS1, this style is of similar size and schoolbag-esque construction, and can be carried as a satchel, a shoulder bag or across the body (my personal favorite). Made from Italian Buffalo leather in Mulberry’s private factories in Turkey, the Alexa is at the same time relaxed and structured and gradually gets softer and more supple with wear. The over-sized style is the perfect size for an everyday carryall, but smaller Alexas are also available. And both sizes come in an impressive array of colors.
Stella McCartney Falabella bag, $1,095, at Kirna Zabete
This is the perfect option for all of you animal lovers out there. Stella McCartney‘s wares are all 100 percent cruelty-free, and instead of leather, she uses a super soft lightweight fabric to create her handbags. Yes, $1,000 is a steep price to pay for something that isn’t genuine leather, but the designer does all she can to make it worth the scratch. They’ve concocted a special coating that gives each bag a sheen or texture (depending on which color and style you choose) and great protection from all of the elements. The Falabellas are made in Italy, but once you feel how incredibly soft and substantial they are, the quality will speak for itself.
Balenciaga City Bag, $1,445, at Balenciaga
I would feel remiss if I didn’t include this motorcycle style by Balenciaga. This bag has far surpassed the “It” bag status it held in the early 2000s when it was spotted on nearly every arm in Hollywood including Sienna Miller, Nicole Richie and the Olsen girls. Variations on the the City are released every season, and the demand for this Italian lambskin bag shows no sign of stopping. Use it as a top-handle or as a shoulder bag the strap is removable. The City comes in a number of sizes and in every color of the rainbow, and if you’re into heavy hardware, you can opt for giant studs.