Clockwise from top left: Massimo Dutti, J. Crew, Madewell, Mulberry
My older sister's birthday is rolling around in September (she doesn't read this blog) and I've been thinking of buying her a small-to-mid sized bag for her, one on the casual side of things and can be worn crossbody, but not limited to day use. I know she's been looking for one.
Although you can't tell thanks to my inexpert resizing and laziness to correct the imperfect resizing, I think all of the fur above are about the same size, with the Madewell one being a bit larger. The top one from Massimo Dutti is a surefire hit because I know she's seen in before, tried it, and liked it. It's also well within my budget, at S$195. I think it's a teensy bit too casual to pull off for evenings out though.
For fun, I looked around, and found the J Crew one (US$198), which you can actually carry with the top bit folded over, like a flap bag. The zippers add a bit of edge to my sister's otherwise quite feminine style. But again, it's a tad casual.
I really like the Madewell one, and I can see this going from day to night (except very fancy nights) quite well, and the inky blue-black (not sure if it's really just plain black) is great. I like you can carry it like a clutch, on the shoulder, and slung across, but I'm a bit weirded out by the short fringey thing. Plus, I personally find chain straps very uncomfortable, however pretty. And what is the quality of Madewell bags like? It's not exactly cheap at US$158.
The last option is a budget busting one, a Mulberry I really liked when I saw it in the shop. The size works beautifully as a clutch and goes from day to night as well - which is awesome since my sister has also been looking out for a clutch. But it's something like S$1200+ in Singapore (US$650 online) and thought the leather feels nice and hefty, I found the interior and finishing slightly disappointing for the price. Plus my sister has a Bayswater in the same leather, and it's watermarks galore if you're not careful.
Thank goodness her birthday is still more than a month away. Buying a bag on a limited budget but still of good quality is so hard. In Europe, I liked Uterque, Comptoir des Cotonniers, Toast, and Les Petites, but here it's something else altogether.
Here are some US$500 and below places I tried:
1) Rabeanco - http://www.rabeanco.com/
Apparently their leathers are sourced in Italy but the bags are handmade in Asia (China? India?). Nice enough quality, and I love how the bags come in all colours of the rainbow (I loved the cracked metallics) but design-wise, it doesn't hit the spot.
2) Cole Haan - http://www.colehaan.com/
Quite boring, and expensive in Singapore.
3) Kate Spade - http://www.katespade.com/
Very cute, but everything is either too basic in a dull way, or too whimsical. I love their wallets though.
4) Bimba & Lola - http://www.bimbaylola.es/
Quite expensive for the quality, but they have nice designs, even if they like to stamp their name all over the place sometimes. I've been tempted so many times by a certain style, but the quality just isn't there.
5) Witchery - http://www.witchery.com.au/
Quality is a hit and miss (loose threads, obvious glueing), but when it's good, it's good, nice soft leathers. I don't like that they knock off bags (Balenciaga, Givenchy) but some of their presumably original designs are nice enough. Their shoes are really comfortable and perfect for big foot types like me.
6) Club Monaco - http://www.clubmonaco.com/
I loved a clutch I saw here, but I was a bit shocked at the price because I didn't think of Club Monaco as being expensive, it was S$650 which is about US$480. Is it this expensive elsewhere? When I bought a dress from there in Hong Kong I didn't remember it being too pricey! Not a lot to choose from, but quality is actually very good. I didn't find anything for my sister but I am still thinking about the clutch...
Okay this turned out to be a really long post, and I haven't even gone into the few vintage places we have around here (nothing much). But this isn't nearly as bad as the time we tried to find an animal-free product for a vegetarian friend.
Pictures from massimo dutti, j. crew, madewell, la garconne