A taste of fall handbags



By Missy Smith

By Missy Smith

Staff Writer

I have an obsession.

Whether they are big or small, black or white, and everything in between, when I see one I like, I zone in until I have to have it. The key is to not lose focus; in order to get exactly what you want, you must weed out the defects.

I’m not talking about men here, but let’s face it, I could be.

But seriously, it’s fall, and what goes better with fall than new fashion and new purses?

Personally, I would die without my trusty $35 knockoff Chanel purse. It is the right size to carry everything I need, from books to makeup, and can easily transition from a functional school bag to a bar bag – complete with water and beer-resistant pleather.

But what about the rest of you women out there that are not lucky enough to have a bag they live and die by? What options are out there for the rest of you?

One popular brand on campus is the Vera Bradley bags and accessories. They come in all different shapes, sizes and patterns, from little clip-on wallets to luggage. Most students carry the Large Tic Tac Tote bag, the Tote bag, the Vera, or the Messenger bag.

Brittany Boatman, junior in LAS, had never seen or heard of Vera Bradley until she came to campus, but once she saw these cute and very functional bags, she was hooked.

“I have two bags and a wallet,” Boatman said. “I bought them for class because they are bigger bags, and I bought it for style. They are reasonably priced, and you definitely get for what you pay for.”

Boatman carries around a Chelsea Green bag, a color that is no longer available, which can be another advantage of carrying these bags. After a certain amount of time, the colors “retire” and new colors are introduced. This ensures that your color is a limited edition and making it slightly more desirable.

The Messenger bag puts less strain on your arms lugging all those books around all over the Champaign-Urbana area. Instead, it is a long over-the-shoulder strap that is a little bit more convenient and a little more collegiate. This bag comes in the same colors as the others and all the same rules apply.

It is the perfect size to carry books and a laptop without weighing you down. You will be sure to see me carrying my Piccadilly Plum Messenger bag around campus on the off chance my trusty Chanel lets me down.

The only downfall to these bags is that they can be pricey, ranging from $44 to $80. But who can put a price on fashion?

Luckily, if that is slightly out of your price range, but you want the cute patterns, you can run over to the Illini Union Bookstore, 809 S. Wright St., and pick up a $10 Clip ID case. It still has the pattern, but is smaller and affordable. The bookstore carries a selection of Vera Bradley bags, but for a complete collection check out the Web site.

For the students that are on a slightly smaller budget but don’t want to compromise fashion, there are still more options.

Ask Nichole Johnson, sophomore in FAA.

Johnson prefers to use a traditional backpack to carry her books, but she finds cute, functional bags are a more affordable price at American Eagle or Express.

“I like the Vera Bradley bags,” Johnson said. “But I just don’t like to spend a lot of money on purses. I like purses to be big enough to carry books in, so smaller purses are not an option.”

Rachel Beckett, junior in LAS, feels the same as Johnson.

“I usually just buy a bag from American Eagle or Hollister that I can bring to class,” Beckett said. “I usually buy bags for practicality reasons. I like the Vera Bradley bags, I just prefer others.”

The American Eagle bags start at $20, while the Hollister bags start at $30.

A new up-and-coming brand is called the LeSportSac, and can be purchased from their Web site, www.lesportsac.com. These bags are similar to the Vera Bradley bags, but they come in both patterns and solid colors.

Ashli Hamilton, a representative for Coburn Communications, said that these bags speak to college students in many different ways because they are eco-friendly, versatile and fashion forward.

“They are great for college kids,” Hamilton said. “Whether you are traveling, bringing laundry home, or out for the day shopping, there is a bag for you.”

Hamilton also said their laptop cases are airport security safe, which can be a great convenience for both time and product safety sake.

LeSportSac bags may also run on the pricier side, starting at $25 for the small laptop sleeve to $98 for Technofile laptop bag. The bags run anywhere between $46 and $68, and may be more or less depending on the size of the bag.

These are not the only options out there.

There is a whole world of fashion out there to explore. Check out thrift stores, department stores, shoe stores or anywhere that might sell bags. You might be able to find the perfect fashionable bag at a reasonable price, like I have.

As for me, I don’t know what I’d do without my knockoff Chanel purse. After all, it is my obsession.