Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Perfect Bag for a Scholar


white button-down (NY & Co)
black and white pencil skirt (NY & Co)
black stretch belt (NY & Co)
The Perfect Bag for a Scholar (Kate Spade New York)

I returned to graduate school around the same time many of my friends started having babies.  As stylish mothers and friends of stylish mothers know, Kate Spade makes fabulous baby bags.  I wasn't pregnant, but I decided that my graduate school endeavor deserved a fabulous bag of its own.  Prior to purchasing this Kate Spade bag, I'd never owned a designer handbag, and I'm not a fan of the heavily branded designer bags that have become popular.  I used to think all designer bags were vastly overpriced.

This Kate Spade bag has converted me.  It is so well made that after two years of lugging around my books in it, it literally shows no signs of wear.  It's even survived several exposures to pouring rain.  As I tried to capture in the photos, the place where the strap fastens to the bag is extremely sturdy and gives an otherwise plain bag an attractive detail.  The strap is thick and sturdy, too, so it doesn't hurt my shoulder even when it's weighted down with study materials.  The subtle branding of the bag also matches my personal style and tastes.  The gold details are stamped with the "ks" logo, and "Kate Spade New York" is stamped into the leather on the front, but that is so unobtrusive that I could hardly even get a good photo of it.  The leopard print lining is also sturdy and chic.

This bag is also unbelievably functional.  As you can see, I managed to fit all of the following into the bag for these photos: my laptop, a two-subject notebook stuffed with handouts, my planner, three substantial paperback books, and all the other things that stay in my purse (wallet, glasses case, toiletries/medicine pouch, etc).  There are two small pockets on the front wall, in which I place my cell phone and keys so I can find them easily.  I can take this bag to the library and load it up with even more books if I'm not worried about trying to zip it shut. 

I don't think I'll become a woman who has a whole collection of designer bags because that kind of indulgence just seems wasteful to me.  This bag has convinced me, however, that every professional woman needs one fabulous, sturdy, functional bag.  Since I happily carry this bag every day, and it has become one of my signature items, I definitely think it was worth the investment.  I don't mind supporting Kate Spade, either, because the brand so frequently lends its name to good causes.  For the past several years, they have been working to promote and raise money for Women for Women International.

  • Do you carry the same bag every day, or do you prefer to have a variety of different bags for different occasions?
  • Have you ever owned a designer bag?  How do you feel about them?
  • Have you found bags that retail in the under $200 range that are still sturdy, well-made, and stylish?  This seems like a more reasonable price point, especially for graduate students.
  • What features do you look for in a bag for work/school?


Scholar Style Guide said...

I'm a huge fan of this bag.

I have a few different bigger bags that I use to carry my school stuff and a bunch of different purses for other occasions. I get my totes from H&M, so they're inexpensive, but of course lacking in quality. I would be willing to spend more on a quality bag like this one.

I own some designer bags, but nothing insanely expensive -- Coach, Cynthia Rowley, Kate Spade (as opposed to Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Dior) -- and the ones I did not receive as gifts, I bought on sale. I used to love purses, but since I don't get as much use out of them, I've stopped swooning over Chloe bags.

Love this post :)


Sarah said...

Love this bag Liz! While I don't currently own any designer hand bags, I have enough money saved to buy a Louis Vuitton purse. I have been wanting one for more than five years and feel like I've finally come to the point where I won't feel guilty about spending all that money on an accessory.

That skirt also looks amazing on you.

Scholar Style Guide said...

This bag has been the object of my jealousy for two years. That is all.


Vickie Chambers said...

It also holds a stethoscope, sphygmo, drug book and class notes pretty well too :)

perhaps my favorite christmas/birthday present in a while.

Scholar Style Guide said...

My birthday is in June.

- Anne-Marie

Jennifer said...

I think I have gone through 4 bags since starting grad school. Meaning 4 bags that have ripped at the seams due to weight of books. They were all cute bags from Target or the like: $30 or so each, but I'm done with them. I have only a few bags that have held help incredibly well: two Nine West bags and a nice tote bag I bought from Zara (a little bit of a splurge). The Nine West bags barely pass the practical test though, as they aren't meant for books so they aren't always quite big enough.

I had no idea your Kate Spade bag was a baby bag. I should have, as a lot of my friends are having babies, but I never thought about that option. Thanks! Like I said, though I love having different bags and rotating them, I just can't waste money on the $30 ones anymore. Better to invest in a staple.

Also, last Christmas, my roommate (who thinks I have a crazy bag fetish) was kind enough to get me an organizing purse liner. Have you seen those? I saw one advertised on an infomercial and I was like, that's brilliant. It literally is designed to curl to the shape of your bag (but it's also sturdy) and holds all those things that are a pain to switch over: pens, highlighters, lip gloss, compact, change, aspirin, flash disks, keys. You name it. Saves me a lot of time. Does anyone else have one? Mine was actually kind of hard to find.

Scholar Style Guide said...

AM, I'll give your husband some hints. : )

Sarah, I don't think you'll regret splurging on your LV if you've been saving that long to buy it. That is more time than most people devote to getting a tattoo that will be on their bodies forever!

Just to clarify, Jennifer, it's not a baby bag-- though the kate spade baby bags do seem to be very versatile. I just thought that since going back to school was the major life change I had chosen, I should get a nice bag to celebrate. : )

I've heard good things about these purse organizers, and they definitely make sense if you switch bags regularly. I keep all of my pens in their pen case (for which I am regularly ridiculed) and everything else you name in a makeup pouch (which you can hardly see here, but it's that red faux-croc thing on the right). I hate having stuff in the bottom of my bag, so putting everything in the pouch, which I can move around, makes it easier for me to fill the bag with books, etc. Plus, when I get asked for a tampon (which seems to happen all the time- maybe it's because I carry a large bag), I can just hand over the pouch.

Glad you've found bags that work for you!


Anna said...

I'm starting grad school in August and thought the same thing...i want a NICE new bag. When did you buy this and what is the style name? I went to the website and searched some dept store categories but nothing looks like this one?

Scholar Style Guide said...

Hi Anna!

It's called the Belle Meade Paige. I bought it about two years ago, but you might have some luck finding one one ebay. Happy Hunting!

And good luck with grad school!