Though the Hermès Birkin is the crown jewel of purses, it seems few remember that the bag Jane Birkin usually carried was far more humble. Birkin actually spent much of the sixties and seventies with a wicker basket slung over her arm (and Serge Gainsbourg on the other). The basket-as-bag defined Birkin’s insouciant style — never try-hard, always chic —and I think of it as one of the best accessories in sartorial history.
But in the muddle of the past few decades, the basket has played second fiddle to the now-iconic Birkin bag — and it’s a shame. The wicker bag is unassuming, a perfect accompaniment to breezy summer looks. (Or you can take a cue from Birkin, who carried hers in all seasons, pairing it with floor-skimming dresses or a fur coat and flared jeans). Pinnacle of luxury it’s not, but what it does telegraph is certainly more important: an easy sense of style, one that doesn’t pin itself to labels and price tags.
It’s rather difficult to track one down; your best bet is to look on Etsy, or in fair-trade shops like Ten Thousand Villages. (I’ve found nine options for you; buy them below!) Once you’ve settled on one, don’t be afraid to pair it with outfits both high and low. It adds a bohemian flair to casual looks, but also takes fancier frocks down to earth.
Dare I say the basket is the new status bag?
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Few things make me gasp out loud at my desk. They are, in no particular order:
- discovering that a pair of wildly expensive shoes on sale for 75 percent off are still magically available in my size
- news of a store closing (or a store opening)
- news of a man purposely being eaten alive by an anaconda
- truly beautiful things, like a couture dress made only for the runway, or, well, this bag.
Price and where to buy, here.
Good news for Vince fans: Everyone’s favorite luxe-classic brand is launching a handbag collection in November. This is doubly great news for us, as the company recently opened an outpost on Walnut (it’s at 1701 Walnut Street). This location will be carrying the bag line; look for it there “sometime in November,” according to the store manager.
My thoughts on the collection: It fits in perfectly with the unassuming luxury of the brand (think: minimal hardware, classic shapes), but a sprinkling of thoughtful design touches, including a signature cut-out ‘V’ detail and subtle color-blocking (you’ll find this on the undersides of some straps), sets the collection apart and keeps it from feeling too safe. I’m a fan, especially of the graphic cut-out collection.
See all of the bags here.
In a way that mimics J.Crew’s steady ascension from middle-of-the-road mall store to luxury brand, Club Monaco has slowly distanced itself from its other mid-level, trendy-but-accessible peers (think BCBG) with increasingly sophisticated designs and a handful of smart collaborations. To wit: Its collab with Canadian brand ela, which finally, finally brings the laidback-luxe handbags to Philly.
See them all here.
The new handbag that’s quickly climbed to the top of our winter wish list? The mini purse. No, we don’t mean a clutch or a slim cross-body (though some do have cross-body straps), but honest-to-God, teeny-tiny purses (seriously, most top out at six inches tall) that are scaled-down versions of larger bags. The smaller-is-better trend is catching: Diane von Furstenberg, Tory Burch, and Rebecca Minkoff have added tabs in their drop-down menus to include minis. The consensus: miniature perfection with none of the much-loved hardware from their larger counterparts spared. Itt might be just the incentive we need to finally clean out our purses. (Maybe.)
Click here to find one that fits your budget.
Now that the holidays are officially upon us, we here at Shoppist are in full gifting mode. Each day this month, we’ll unveil our 25 top gifts to buy in Philly this season. (Trust us: We’ve shopped everywhere to bring you the best of the best.)
Holographic accessories are trending right now … which means they’ll most likely be on their way out soon. What we’ll never tire of, though, is Hammitt’s gorgeous bag, which reminds us of the most posh oil slick ever. And it’s practical, too: There’s a pocket to stash your cell phone on the exterior back of the bag. No more rooting through cavernous carryalls to find your phone! Now that’s a true gift.
The Details: Hammitt metallic bag, $195 at Joan Shepp, Center City.
Give To: Your best friend.
MISSED PREVIOUS GIFTS? SEE WHAT YOU MISSED HERE.
Day 1: A weekender for him.
Day 2: A geometric ring for her.
Day 3: A posh nail polish set for your teenager.
Day 4: A tabletop speaker for dad.
Day 5: A made-in-Philly skateboard for your little brother.
Day 6: A set of Narberth-made essential oils for mom.
Day 7: A bag of made-in-Philly gifts for out-of-town pals.
Day 8: A cool pair of diamond studs for your girlfriend.