The Ultimate Fall Bag Guide

November 2, 2011

A handbag is a very personal purchase.

It needs to have both superior functionality and, of course, top notch great looks. One woman’s handheld satchel bag is another woman’s physically uncomfortable nightmare. Or, a flap closure is ideal for your co-worker, but it is completely impractical for you to get stuff in and out of your bag fast enough. An animal print speaks volumes for your architecture friend, but it doesn’t view well on the job for you.

I know you really rely on your bag to help you get through the day or navigate a special event. It’s like another appendage. So it is vital to find one (or two or three or…) that individually supports you and your lifestyle. If you’re not looking for a new handbag now, you’ll most likely be adding one to your holiday wish list!

There are thousands upon thousands of handbags currently in the marketplace and available in a multitude of designs and price points to choose from, so you should certainly be able to find a gem.

Find a true winner and ask yourself, “What works best for me…one strap, two straps, or the über popular 3-straps? Do I prefer gold or silver hardware? I know it’s cute, but will it be functional for me? Would exterior pockets be easier for me to maneuver? Or does a flap, zip, snap, or drawstring closure work best? Do I want a visible brand logo on my handbag?”…decide and narrow the selection down even further. Establish what you actually need to put into your new handbag to figure out the best size and shape.

To reduce feeling overwhelmed by the vast selection available (it really is crazy!) and to keep you focused on getting your real life needs met and still look contemporary, here is CF’s Ultimate Fall Handbag Guide 2011 Edition for you. It’s a breakdown of the top trends in handbags for this fall/winter season. I’ve categorized the hottest handbag trends by styles, materials and colors. Within these trends, you can choose your preferences and come up with your ideal, modern, fully-functional handbag.

STYLES

CLUTCH

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Minaudière: House of Harlow 1960 Orlina Box Clutch $225, available at Nordstrom.
Envelope: ASOS Pyramid Lock Envelope Clutch $26.95, available at ASOS.
Foldover: Marc Jacobs Delancey Large Eugenie Leather Clutch $495, available at Barneys.
Wristlet: Linea Pelle Willow Clutch $265, available at Bloomingdales.

ONE-STRAP

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Mini Shoulder: Diane von Furstenberg Mini Harper Bag $295, available at Bloomingdales.
Small Crossbody: Coach Kristin Leather Cross-body $158, available at Nordstrom.
Small Classic: Cole Haan Vintage Valise Jenna $298, available at Bloomingdales.
Saddlebag: Lauren by Ralph Lauren Harbridge Saddlebag $228, available at Bloomingdales.
Large Classic: Tory Burch Robinson Large Shoulder Bag $375, available at Nordstrom.
Front-Pocket Hobo: Marc by Marc Jacobs House of MBMJ Hobo $478, available at Bloomingdales.
Drawstring: Marc by Marc Jacobs Too Hot to Handle Leather Drawstring Bag $468, available at Nordstrom.
Bucket: Isabella Fiore West Broadway Bella Bucket $395, available at Bloomingdales.
Tall Hobo: Linea Pelle Dylan Shoulder Bag $415, available at Bloomingdales.
Stirrup Strap: Gucci Greenwich Shoulder Bag $1400, available at Neiman Marcus.

TWO-STRAPS

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Small Shoulder: Rebecca Minkoff Kiss and Tell Shoulder Bag $250, available at Nordstrom.
Foldable: Anya Hindmarch Maxi Zip Crossbody Bag $795, available at Bloomingdales.
Small Satchel: Badgley Mischka Petra Satchel $495, available at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Classic Satchel: Tory Burch Edye Satchel $575, available at Nordstrom.
Large Satchel: Rebecca Minkoff Covet Satchel $425, available at Bloomingdales.
Duffle: Alexander Wang Rocco Leather Satchel $875, available at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Edgy Hobo: Botkier Sebastian Hobo $695, available at Bloomingdales.
Round Hobo: Tory Burch Louisa Round Hobo $495, available at Bloomingdales.
Bucket: Z Spoke Zac Posen Large Bucket Bag $525, available at Bloomingdales.
Tall Tote: Coach Poppy Leather Pushlock Tote $398, available at Bloomingdales.
Front-Pocket Tote: Marc by Marc Jacobs Bianca Harley Tote $498, available at Bloomingdales.

THREE-STRAPS

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Classic Satchel: Rebecca Minkoff Cupid Satchel $495, available at Bloomingdales.
Front-Pocket Satchel: Cole Haan Ludlow Street Addison Satchel $368, available at Bloomingdales.
Convertible Satchel: Forley + Corinna Mid City $395, available at Bloomingdales.
Duffle: Diane von Furstenberg Drew East West Leather Satchel $495, available at Bloomingdales.
Bucket: Diane von Furstenberg Drew Bucket Tote $545, available at Bloomingdales.
Tote: MICHAEL Michael Kors Hamilton Chain Leather Tote $348, available at Bloomingdales.

MATERIALS

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Animal Prints: Tory Burch Audra Top Handle Bag $525, available at Bloomingdales.
Suede: Kate Spade New York Grace Court Campbell Satchel $595, available at Bloomingdales.
Faux Fur: MICHAEL Michael Kors Flurry Messenger Bag $198, available at Bloomingdales.
Quilted: Rebecca Minkoff The Confession Slouch Shoulder Bag $595, available at Bloomingdales.
Tweed: Coach Chelsea Boucle Flap $398, available at Coach.
Velvet: Marc by Marc Jacobs Chevron Velvet and Twill Clutch $280, available at Net-A-Porter.
Plaid: Tory Burch Plaid Rain Tote $350, available at Nordstrom.
Patent Leather: Marc by Marc Jacobs Turnlock Shine Lil’ Shifty Satchel $378, available at Bloomingdales.
Metallic: Marc by Marc Jacobs Classic Q Baby Aiden Satchel $488, available at Bloomingdales.
Crystal: Sondra Roberts Beaded Minaudière $240, available at Bloomingdales.
Sequin: MICHAEL Michael Kors Grayson Sequin Satchel $368, available at Bloomingdales.
Glitter: Kate Spade New York Sparkler Missy Crossbody $155, available at Zappos.
Studded: Be&D Luisa Luxe Tote $1398, available at Bloomingdales.
Houndstooth: Kate Spade New York Henley Park Nadine Top Handle Satchel $345, available at Bloomingdales.
Polka Dot: Marc by Marc Jacobs Dotty Snake Lil Ukita Satchel $298, available at Bloomingdales.

COLORS

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Green: 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashili Satchel $895, available at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Electric Blue: Ralph Lauren Collection Bohemian Suede Hobo $1250, available at Bloomingdales.
Brown: Cole Haan Ludlow Street Avery Hobo $328, available at Bloomingdales.
Black: Marc Jacobs Rio Satchel $1095, available at Bloomingdales.
Taupe: Olivia Harris Flap Hobo $455, available at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Vibrant Purple: Marc by Marc Jacobs Bianca Jane On A Chain Shoulder Bag $248, available at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Bordeaux: Marc by Marc Jacobs Regine Suede Drawstring Shoulder Bag $428, available at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Bronze: Reed Krakoff RDK Hobo $1290, available at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Red: Tory Burch Edye Small Hobo $525, available at Bloomingdales.
Glacial Gray: Oryany Reese Calfskin Satchel $458, available at Bloomingdales.
Cognac: Badgley Mischka Keyra Satchel $395, available at Bloomingdales.

*Note Material and Color similarities showcased in The Ultimate Fall 2011 Shoe Guide and CF’s Color Compatibility Charts Fall Edition.

How much do you consider style over function for your new handbag purchase? Does it depend on the occasion?

Top Image Credit: Coach Pinnacle Leather Allie $798, available at Bloomingdales.

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