Now & Later: The 5 Bags You Need on Rotation

Fun fact: I use to be a tomboy. From puberty up to high school I only wanted jeans, t-shirts, and cool sneakers, but my mom (who hated jeans) always had the upper hand and going to Catholic school didn’t leave much time for me to shine in my Baby Phat / Rocawear / Timberland’s prime.

I started getting into handbags when my father got me a Louis Vuitton Damier bucket bag for my 13th birthday (don’t ask, I don’t know what he was thinking either). It’s funny to me how I loved it and didn’t know it’s value at the same time. It wasn’t’ until high school, when those Murakami Louis Vuitton bags were all the rage that I figured out I had something special and got me curious about designer bags. Since bags were one of the few ways to infuse any sort of style into my daily life I got really into them.

After college, my love of handbags somewhat waned, but lately, I’ve been back on the train with a lower emphasis on designer names, so I decided to write a post for you all. I want to retire sooner than later, so no Louis Vuitton picks in this post, however, there is a range of picks from mid-range investment pieces to fast fashion based on what I own right now. Plus, for any bag over $100, I put in similar-looking under $100 options.

The Convertible Backpack

Last year I was on a quest to find the perfect work bag — something that held a lot, didn’t get dirty easily, and would be convenient to carry. I was initially drawn to the Henri Bendel convertible bag, but the leather one that I wanted was sold out for weeks. I ended up getting the Lo & Sons O.M.G., but weeks later, and I’m sure because of crazy ads targeting, I saw an Instagram video for a 5 in 1 convertible bag from a Swedish brand called Bukvy.

I’m usually skeptical of Instagram ads for brands I’ve never heard so I did some research and still couldn’t find much in terms of reviews. During my internet sleuthing though, I did find an Indiegogo page for the company and decided to take my chances and order the bag at a reduced price, even though I would have to wait MONTHS to see it.

It was a great decision. This bag is an investment piece (depending on the color, it retails for $579 – $696), but completely worth it for the quality and versatility.  Made in Portugal with European calf leather and goat suede, it can transform into a backpack, laptop case, tote bag, shoulder bag, or clutch. It suits so many lifestyles and transitions in life, so anticipate using this for years to come.

Under $100 options:

The Transparent Purse

The clear/transparent bag is on the trendier side, so if you’re like me, you spend less on pieces that will go out of style in a year or two. I got an orange transparent faux croc version from ASOS similar to the more expensive Staud version. I will say, I’ve already gotten my money’s worth. It’s more versatile than I was expecting and makes a statement without being overpowering. It’s also ripe for customization — change the inside purse out to whatever you’d like, whether it be another purse, a photo, or just your random assortment of favorite knickknacks. Plus, I’ve discovered that security loves it more than I do.

The Neutral Classic

I first spotted the Polène Numéro Un on the late and great Kyrzayda Rodriguez last year. I instantly loved the classic look and wanted to place an order right away, but couldn’t justify spending $400+ on a purse without seeing and touching it in person. Fast forward to a trip to Paris last month where I got to do just that and fell even more in love with the bag. If you’re looking for quality and craftsmanship in an everyday bag, this is it.

Under $100 options:

The Belt Bag

The festival favorite fanny pack is all grown up. I love being able to give oversized dresses both shape and pizazz with a double accessory. Keeping those pickpocketers away, the belt bag is perfect for concerts and traveling. My absolute favorite is from Zara, and yes, I got it in both black and red. If you’re ready to step this look the way up, the Gucci Marmont belt bags are absolutely exquisite.

The Metallic Cage Purse

I actually haven’t seen much of this around, but I get a ton of compliments whenever I use mine. Cage purses are a uniquely whimsical evening bag alternative. And even more than the clear bags, everything’s on display. Unlike the clear bags, I think these also double as jewelry. My favorite is this round one from ASOS that you can wear around your wrist like a bracelet. Amazon has a similar reasonably priced pick in different finishes, and if you’re looking for higher-end versions, both Anndra Neen has lovely ones to choose from.

Transitions: Midi Skirts

  It’s that time of year again – the days are subtly getting shorter, school buses are slowing down your commute, and you can count the amount of Summer Fridays left on one hand.

While it’s hard to see summer go (seriously, where did it go?!), there’s a different type of warmth that comes with the fall — colorful leaves and family bonding holidays are on the horizon.

The transitioning weather also means its time to transition your wardrobe. There are so many ways to do this, but the one I know I’ll be rocking the most in the next few months is midi skirts. Not only are they the perfect length for work and making sure your thighs don’t touch that subway seat (city girls know what I’m talking about), they make transforming a look from summer to fall super easy. Use them to move effortlessly with the cooling temperatures from sandal to boots, crop tops to sweaters, all while looking casually put together.

This particular skirt is from Zara, but I’ve added a few more of my picks under $100 at the end of this post.

Outfit detailsZara skirt BB Dakota top Zara bag | Nine west pumps, similar here

Make a Statement

Statement pieces are here to stay this fall and winter, and I’m loving it. The cold weather can be a drag, but unexpected textures and embellishments infuse excitement into your wardrobe and your day. With faux fur, velvet, metallic accents, embroidery, and faux pearls on everything from t-shirts to coats, there’s no shortage of fun ways to jazz up the typically drab cold-weather looks.

So how do you wear these luxe, seemingly extravagant details every day? Keep it simple. Obviously, the simplicity that I started going for got lost here since I was in an experimental mood. I wore all black with and added some color with a multi-colored faux fur jacket, red lipstick, and pinned my fro to the side, giving me an edgy 80’s look. My dress and boots are on the dressier side, but if you’re looking for a more casual feel, a black turtleneck, black jeans, and black ankle boots make a nice base for any statement jacket.

This jacket is now on sale for 30% at ASOS with code EPIC30. Take a look at other fun jackets to make the winter go faster after the outfit details.

Ivyrevel Faux Fur Coat | Calvin Klein Over the Knee Boots (similar here) | Forever21 Turtleneck Dress | Rebecca Minkoff Jumbo Love Crossbody

Me vs. the Big Blue Cock

What does this girl love more than art? Cheeky art.

This 15 foot chicken, appropriately named “Hahn/Cock” is towering at the National Musuem of Art’s East Building. I spent hours in the East Building alone, traversing rooms of modern art and eventually ending up on the roof on an overcast Spring day. I definitely need to plan my few trips back to explore everything the museum has to offer. It’s always crazy and awesome to me that D.C. has such easy and FREE access to cultural institutions, which I fear, are underutilized by locals.

Other than the art, another reason I love museums is because I feel like they’re one of the few places I’m comfortable going to alone (I wasn’t alone this time though). Art is one of the few personal, yet paradoxically universal things…how does that even work? I don’t have any answers, but I have all the love for it.

Zara Studded Jacket (similar here) | Calvin Kleinn Knee Over the Knee Boots | H&M Sweater Tunic (similar here and here) | Uniqlo Jeans | Rebecca Minkoff Bag

Holding On

Sometimes you just can’t let go of something. That can be good or bad depending on what that something is — in my case it’s the heat. I try to find any and every excuse to still wear sandals, so when the weather peaks above 65 on a sunny fall day, I’m there. Not to discount all transitional pieces, but layering can exhausting, so I’m more than happy when I don’t have to. On this day I decided to frolick on down to the coffee shop (La Colombe mocha’s are amazing FYI), feeling whimsical and classy at the same time with my gold skirt and off the shoulder top.

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Forever 21 Off-the-Shoulder Top (similar here and here) | Zara Gold Skirt (similar here and here) | Cole Haan Sandals (similar here) | Rebecca Minkoff Jumbo Love Bag