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Your Stylist: Investing in your first grown-up handbag

May 3, 2010 |  8:00 am

Resident Image stylist and market editor Melissa Magsaysay soothes your sartorial woes in the weekly Your Stylist blog column.

Hi Your Stylist-

I recently turned 30 and realized it’s probably time I ditched the worn out H&M or Aldo bags and got myself   a grown-up bag with a real designer. My friend at work recently bought a used Louis Vuitton Speedy off EBay. While I like the size of her purse and that there’s a “green” factor that helps both the environment and my pocketbook, I don’t want the same thing. I also know this is weird, but I have a strong phobia of snakes, and even snake-skin bags and shoes kind of weird me out. I’m somewhat flexible on price if it means I’ll have the purse for years. Keeping these stipulations in mind, do you have any suggestions? KW, Los Angeles Ysldowntown1395

There’s nothing quite like the first grown-up bag that will hang from Chloe1895 your arm making you feel polished, put-together and confident: Your new best friend that comes with the price tag of about $1,000.

But because you’re ready to take the plunge and replace all of those disposable bags with something that you will keep and use for years to come, there are several designer styles to consider.

Your friend’s Speedy bag is a classic shape, and of course, you can’t really go wrong with the brown-and-beige LV logo leather. If you like that shape, take a look at the Bayswater bag from Mulberry. It’s a solid rectangle with a top flap and turn closure. It’s a Bayswaterbrown950 classic and truly grown-up bag, but not something all your friends already have.

The Downtown bag from YSL is another iconic style that will serve you well for years to come. I love the angular shape of this one and the zippers and hardware add some edge. For something that looks more vintage and down to earth, the Paraty bag from Chloe is another style that will transcend several seasons. The cognac-colored leather will work in both the summer and a California fall, and the long and short straps give you options to hand-carry or throw it on your shoulder.

One of my favorite new bag lines is Jerome Dreyfuss -- especially if you want a bag that not everyone is going to be toting around.  The Parisian designer makes buttery leather bags in interesting and vivid colors as well as several  Novelladreyfuss neutral shades such as this luggage leather hobo.

If the eco-friendly aspect still intrigues you, a Southern California-based label called Novella Royale makes high-end bags from recycled leather jackets. The styles here are trendier, with studs, fringe and smaller sizes, but the Clover and Van bags are on the more classic side. Plus you have the peace of mind about carrying re-purposed leather.

Whichever bag you choose, congratulations on making this important step in stocking your closet with big-girl bags. Each one is an investment, but remember that a beautiful bag can transform the simplest outfit into something really special.

Send your style queries to

-- Melissa Magsaysay


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Photos: Top left: Yves Saint Laurent Downtown bag, $1395/ Top right: Chloe Paraty bag, $1895/ Middle left: Mulberry Bayswater, $950/Mulberry. Bottom left: Novella Royale Clover bag, $644/Novella Royale. Bottom right: Jerome Dreyfuss Bob bag, $995/Jerome Dreyfuss.