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Monday, March 16, 2009

Craving: a gorgeous laptop bag!

Having a laptop is great for many reasons. You don't need to kick out anyone from the pc, you can just grab your laptop. You can blog and surf for hours without getting "chair butt", because you can sit comfortable on the sofa – put your feet up, even. And if you suffer from insomnia, you can browse in the middle of the night from whatever room is the farthest from everyone's bedrooms, so you don't wake anyone up. Last but not least, laptops are portable. Which give you an excuse to buy a new accessory: a laptop bag!

Unfortunately, despite much (much, much) browsing and searching, I don't seem to find a laptop bag I like. Not one under $100 at least. Sure, I found the Kate Spade Calista, Hayden Harnett's Catalina, the Nika by Francesco Biasia (my favorite!) and the J'Tote laptop bags (thank you, GeekSugar!) but honestly, if I'm going to spend $200 or more on a bag, it's most definitely not going to be a laptop bag! It would have to be a handbag, something I can use with or without my laptop.

I have been looking, on and off, but haven't settled on anything yet – my laptop still doesn't have a lovely bag to call home, so it has never left the house.

But now that I'm planning to go to Blogher, I'm thinking I should probably get a laptop bag. But since I don't want to be schlepping several bags in the July heat, I'm thinking a lovely tote, large enough to accomodate my laptop as well as my handbag essentials (phone, wallet, necessaire, sunglasses, iPod) is probably the best way to go. Which is when the search for a laptop bag became a small obsession, because it became a handbag search. And that, my friend, is a whole other ball (bag?) game. So I spent several hours on the web, as I often do when I set out on these virtual expeditions, to find the perfect handbag/laptop bag. The requirements:
- must not cost more than $300 (it's a handbag, so it gets a bit more string)
- must be large enough to accomodate my laptop (when it's inside a sleeve)
- must also leave space for my handbag essentials
- must have straps long enough to be worn on my shoulder
- and of course, must look lovely.

My favorite findings:

1. L.A.M.B. Signature Williamsfield Tote, (pictured in Marigold print): coated canvas, with leather trim/accents and gold tone hardware. This tote is the perfect size. It's not huge and cumbersome, but it's large enough for your everyday essentials plus a couple of books and a bottle of water... or a laptop! The Marigold print is great for spring and summer, but I also like the Masala print, which is more versatile year-round. The tote retails for $295 and it's available (in three prints) at many online retailer as well as Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks, and so on – but it's now on sale (Masala print only) at Luna Boston for $235.

2. Lucky Brand Starbust Runaway shoulder bag: canvas, with cotton lining and suede detailing. It's such a cute bag for spring and summer! And a perfect bag for traveling, because it's spacious and has a wide shoulder strap. You can find it at Piperlime, for $138.

3. Steven by Steve Madden Summer Vertical Tote: leather, with cotton lining. Lots of pockets and the silver-tone hardware give it a bit of an edge, like most pieces by Steve Madden. It retails for $298, but right now it's on sale for $187 at Macy's, where it's available in Yellow, Mauve and Black.

4. Antonio Melani Michael Clutch: fabric with orange leather accents. This one is really cute, it can be carried as a double-handle tote or folded, the handles held by a leather strap with a cute goldtone hardware accent, and carried as a clutch. (This would make a nice gift for for my mom, who has a short attention span with handbags.) It's sold at Dillard's for $159.

5. Foley+Corinna Summer Fun Tote (pictured in black): canvas and patent leather. I almost didn't include this one, because it retails for $395, which is out of the price range I had set. But it's a really great summer tote, so I decided to google it and I was able to find it on sale for $276.50 at Pink Mascara, where it's available in white/black and grey/silver. I also found it on sale at Luna Boston for $135! And I love that they also have it with red patent leather accents.

6. Nine West Justine Convertible Tote: synthetic leather, with contrast fabric accents. This is a more affordable option. I found it on Piperlime, where it's sold for $89, but after a quick search I found it on eBags for just over $71 – and there are more colors available too: Geo Mandarin (above), Powder Lemon (yellow), Garden Ice (white), Garden Denim (a sort of aviator blue) and Black.

I realize that you, like me, probably don't dish out $100+ for a summer bag very often, however these bags are very versatile, and you have to admit these are pretty good deals, considering they are all quality brands. If you want to save even more, don't forget to go through eBates every time you shop, and you will get a percentage back. 3% seems like nothing, but if you shop online a lot, it adds up. Also check websites like RetailMeNot and CouponCabin before you shop at a specific store, you might find a discount coupon, or one for free shipping or a a gift-with-purchase.

For my part, I promise I'll try to find some discount coupons for the stores where these bags are sold and include them in this month's Insider Shopping, so you can get your favorite one and save as much as possible!


Ilina said...

I have been on the hunt for the perfect laptop bag for years. I finally settled on one by Holly Aiken that's perfect for my needs. I even used it as a diaper bag. I got one similar to this http://www.hollyaiken.com/product.php?category=35

kiki said...

number 2 & number 6! definitely!
I just got a laptop bag too from my sister! (I have yet to see it though -she is mailing it to me pronto)..I'm in love with Sequoia bags at the moment -casual and practical. I just bought a cool dark bronze one and huge silver loops. Loving it! ( I think I may go back and buy one in black too...).. man, I am bad!

Robin said...

Great idea.....to purchase a shoulder bag and use it for carting your laptop around. I have been looking for a CUTE! laptop bag for over 2 years now. I have been hauling mine around in a plain black soft-case. I want something cute / feminine. I shall start looking at large shoulder bags. Thanks for the idea. :-)
Hope your day has been beautiful.

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