Sunday, February 09, 2014

Call for fashion advice

Photo: Fashion equivalent of tape around the glasses.

You guys, I need your help. I read your blogs (when I know about them - if you have a blog and you don't think I have visited, please tell me about it in the comments) and many of you are style bloggers with great taste.

I want to know the really nice purse brands. Not the blingy brands, not the brands everyone might recognize, not the super logo-d brands. The nice brands with exquisite workmanship where the handle is not going to pull out of the body every time I catch the purse in the door as I am trying to get inside from the cold and I am twice as big as normal because of my down coat and I have my purse and my gym bag slung over my shoulder and I can't put either of them down because the ground is covered in snow and ice and salt.

I have already taken this purse to the leather lady once for repair. Then the next strap pulled out. I didn't feel like traipsing down to the Village on Saturday morning, trying to find parking, tiptoeing delicately on the ice-covered sidewalks, and waiting again for another repair. So I used superglue, and now, three weeks later, it is still holding.

But much to my disappointment, the rest of the purse, which is Cole Haan, is not doing well. They cheaped out and used very thin leather on the piping and now that leather has worn out on the corners. For shame, Cole Haan. I even got this purse because I really liked my orange Cole Haan purse, but now the bloom is off the rose and this brand is dead to me.

Some of you may know my purse history. SH and my sister bid against each other on eBay to get me a purse I really wanted. Jenny was mad at SH because he ran the price up $35. They were both mad at me because they were both trying to get me the purse and I had told each of them I had wanted the purse. My defense was I had no idea no any expectation that either of them would spend $200 on a Christmas present for me.

I used to buy nice purses before I met SH and I had a nice job with nice money. (I miss nice money.)(But I feel very fortunate to have a job at all.) I would spend $500 on a purse, but then I would use it for years and years. The same purse, every day. Some women change purses with each outfit, but I am way too lazy for that.

I don't mind spending money if I will get value from it. I have never seen the point of spending more than $20 on a white t-shirt. It doesn't matter who you are, that t-shirt is going to be stained and then you will throw it in the rag bag. I don't want expensive rags.

But spend the money on a nice purse or a nice trash can and it will make your everyday life much better. Good shoes, too. Spend the money for good shoes or you will rue the day.

So. I have been on eBay and looked at purses there, but I don't know the high-end brands and the ones I do know are not on eBay. I might be willing to spend the money on the Right Purse (creek don't rise and I get this job I interviewed for last week), but I need to know what that is.

Here are my specs:

1. Not made in China (which is hard to know, I know)
2. Leather
3. Something of this level of quality: Libby Lane or Lotuff or Mulberry.

What other brands do you recommend? And no, even though the Mulberry bags are gorgeous, I am not going to spend more on a purse than I paid for my first car. But I will look for a gently used one on eBay.

18 comments:

LPC said...

I wish I could help. But I stalk the uber-high price bags. The only mid-range brand I know is Coach, who have improved their designs a lot recently. I gave one to my daughter - and I think it has held up well.

Class factotum said...

LPC, I want to know what the high-end bags are - I will look on eBay. I don't want Coach or Dooney and Burke. They used to be elegant but it seems they have gone blingy.

Anonymous said...

Bottega Veneta for sure!!! Even the 20 year old ones are still great. No logos and lovingly made in Italy by hand.

LPC said...

I love BV, but the intrecciata leather can occasionally fray. The sturdiest high-end bags I know are Louis Vuitton. You can avoid much of the logo garbage by finding a piece in epi leather.

JeanMarie said...

I have 3 Mulberry and love their timeless style.

Anonymous said...

Longchamps, swear by them

Anonymous said...

Love, love, love my purse from Great Bags by the Maple Leather Company.

http://www.greatbags.com/

I chose a fabric one and it's going strong after 2 and a half years. The insides are a delight for organization - the best pockets and dividers ever!
Kris

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite brands (have only bought used--not sure whether they're still in business) is Belen Echandia. They were/are made in Italy and you can find nice used ones on Bonanza & ebay. When I needed handbag info, I discovered the purse forum http://forum.purseblog.com/ which has *loads* of great info about all sorts of handbags--including which expensive brands are likely to fall apart, etc.

Anonymous said...

One more thing--Some Mulberry are made in China, some in UK & some in Turkey. See purse forum for more info on specific models, etc.

Anonymous said...

I had a bad experience with Coach and won't buy them any more. I love Brahmin and Furla. I have several Brahmins. They last forever if you take care of them. I buy them on sale and got the Furla at an outlet mall.

elke said...

The first Coach bag I bought was my everyday bag for 12 years. (tan Fulton, made in USA). At about the 8-year point, the bindings had worn right through on the edges. I sent it back to them and they replaced the bindings, *and* a snap that had come off. The only charge was $8.00 for shipping. I still use it occasionally. So, I am biased towards the older, all-leather Coach. About 8 of the ones I have were thrifted, at prices ranging between C$2.00 and 15.00. I second LPC's LV recommendation, too. My thrifted epi LV is from the 80's, I think, and looks just fine.

Anonymous said...

Cole Haan is also good quality - I have one I've been using for five years and it looks new. My Coach experience was bad - I bought a new purse and the handle came off in the first few months. I took it back and they wanted $75 to repair it. I talked them out of the repair fee, they sent it off and then sent it back and said they couldn't fix it. They offered me a discount on another purchase. No way! I also had the handle come off a glasses case - again they said they couldn't fix it. My husband glued it back on and I still use it. But I will not shop at Coach.

Joy said...

I know you said leather, but I'm going to suggest Crystalyn Kae anyway, because I LOVE her purses and honestly, they feel like super buttery leather even though they are not (and I don't give a rat's patoot about using animal products, and I love leather and even sometimes fur, but her purses are gorgeous enough to have made me buy them even though they're not leather). They are beautifully designed, made in the U.S., and the workmanship is guaranteed. I have a black metier tote for work and a dark red medium hobo for fun, and I love them both.

Anonymous said...

Mulberry bags on Gilt tomorrow! :)

Erika said...

Pretty much all of mine are eBay buys. I look for leather, no labels on the outside (as much as possible. Discreet is acceptable) and longevity, and prefer something with capacity. Notables have been Cynthia Rowley, La Furla, Ferragamo (score!) and BCBGMaxAzria, although I just checked the label on that one and it is made in China. However it is a lovely shade of burgundy.

Class factotum said...

Thanks, you guys. I will get to eBay and start looking!

Pam said...

If you could find vintage, made-in-the-USA Coach, I would suggest it. You know how they looked--just leather and brass, timeless. Ebay should be full of them.

Second the Longchamps vote by Anonymous. Made in France, not China, so you know their workers are taken care of. Logos are embossed in the leather, subtle. There's always Hermes....

LKK, Lake Elmo said...

Try j.w.hulme. Their pieces are made in St.Paul, Minnesota. I have a gorgeous Dr.'s bag as well as a tote for work.