When it comes to shopping, I’m not a brand snob. I believe that true style has nothing to do with a name on a label and that with the right eye, you can find amazing pieces practically anywhere. But even my open-minded approach to fashion has its limits, and it was certainly not inclusive of Vera Bradley—at least not until recently.
I first learned about the preppy handbag line as an undergrad at Boston College—home to pastel critter pants and popped collars—while discussing summer plans with a classmate. When she announced she had landed an internship with Vera Bradley, she declared it with an air so haughty, I thought she was referring to some high-end designer akin to Dior. So when I stumbled upon the paisley-print, quilted-cotton bags in a boutique months later, I couldn’t help but smirk over the goods that had made this chick act so supercilious.
Fast forward to last month, when I came across this chic, cheetah-print bag and had to do a double take when I noticed that its raised gold letters spelled out Vera Bradley. The structured, leather-and-calf-hair purse is a far cry from the brand’s usual offerings that are beloved by grandmothers everywhere—in fact, it wouldn’t look out of place at Henri Bendel. But what really sold me on this satchel is its whimsical interior lining, which features illustrated cats and makes me smile every time I unzip my purse.
Somewhere in New England, a woman I went to college with is clutching her pearls and having the last laugh.
Vera Bradley Natalie Satchel in Cheetah, $288; at Vera Bradley