160 Fifth Ave., at 21st St. (plus six other locations) 212-352-0936
Sometimes a chain store hits one category so well that it’s worth calling out (the Gap has excellent underwear, for example). Club Monaco’s clothes can be up and down in quality and styling, but it’s been doing a good job of scratching the big-bag itch for the past couple of years and at prices (generally around $300) that aren’t choke-inducing. A clear vinyl tote for spring is $199, which is about what you want to pay for a whim you’ll carry every day (including weekends) until October; a very large black doctor’s bag in a rich ostrich print is more substantial for $595, and well made enough to take daily abuse for a few years.
Best Big Bags
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).