I am equal parts "giddy with anticipation" and "anticipating post-Birkin proximity depression" as I contemplate my trip(s) -- let's face it, I'll go more than once -- to Festival des Métiers at Hermès this weekend. This is certainly as close as I'll ever get to a Birkin bag, and if one goes missing during the event, in no way should anyone suspect me of the theft.
Maybe coveting a ten-thousand-dollar bag makes me a bad person. I think it certainly disqualifies me from sainthood, but on the list of horrible people, I still rank far higher than a lot of people who actually own Birkin bags -- I'm at least nicer than Lindsay Lohan and Naomi Campbell. And although I have nothing against Victoria Beckham -- she seems really cute and nice, and I love her clothes -- the Internet has reported that she may own as many as 100 Birkin bags, including one bedazzled with a three-carat diamond. That seems...excessive, in kind of the worst way possible. (Check out Posh carrying several bags from her Birkin collection.) On the other hand, you can't take money with you, and when you have more than you could ever, ever, ever possibly spend--why not? [Insert photo of hungry orphans here.]
For those of us who answer the question "Why not" with "'Cause I'm broke, fool," I have compiled a list of three not-Birkin-but-covetable-nonetheless handbag designers. Nary a diamond-encrusted bag in the bunch.
Choosing just one handbag from the new J.Crew online Handbag & Shoe shop is damn near impossible. J.Crew's aesthetic is at once contemporary and classic, and these might truly be as close to getting a Birkin -- at least in terms of style -- as we plebes ever get. No, they aren't handmade and no, they don't have any fancy French accents above the vowels, but the designs are sleek and come in more than just "brown" and "black." It's a tie here between the Edie Attaché Bag in Two-Tone ($298, carmel/black or merlot/black) and the Biennieal Satchel (camel, black, sea blue or red).
Note: I was wrong about the fancy French accents -- attaché FTW!
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My mom introduced me to this line of bags, and I love them. The quality is good and the prices are moderate. The lining ripped out of my first one, but I'm super hard on handbags -- plus, a quick trip to the Houston Shoe Hospital and all is right with the world. The Two-Tone Glove Leather East/West by Tignanello is a steal at $99. It reminds me a bit of the Celine Two-Tone that I love so much. (Reese Witherspoon carries one, as does once-local, now Dallas-based blogger Merritt Beck of the Style Scribe.)
Kate Spade built her brand from the handbag up, so it's not surprising that her line is replete with gorgeous options. In fact, it's practically impossible to pick just a few when perusing the Nordstrom Kate Spade store. I could easily take five or six, and that's just tote bags. • Brightspot Avenue Grace tote ($298): Comes in several colors, but the black with white strap is clean and classic. If you're looking for something edgier, the bright yellow is eye-catching. • Abstract Signature Bow Shawna Satchel ($288): A fun print, but the graphic is nice and clean in an easy-to-pair blend of neutrals.