Face it: that prissy handbag trend calling for a purse barely larger than a wallet is terribly chic, but not when you're lugging the rest of your life around in a huge tote. This fall, the most covetable handbags are boxy and unisex -- with plenty of space for your workday needs (yes, even a Filofax!). Choose hip two-tone styles or faux versions of this season's most luxurious hides (ostrich and crocodile -- and, yes, even python's still going strong). Here, five that'll leave you with some cash to carry.
We love a trendy purple mock-croc style from Kenneth Cole New York ($175 at Kenneth Cole stores) and Only @ Bloomingdale's olive calfskin version with tone-on-tone ostrich-esque trim ($140 at Bloomingdale's). For serious splash, pack a day-to-evening load in an oversize, crocodile-embossed leather doctor's bag from Maxx, New York ($200 as shown, $155 for a smaller version; both at Lord & Taylor).
For a more feminine look, pick less bulky adaptations of the same general shape. We love Express's compact suede shoulder bag with chic python-print accents ($48 at Express stores) and a sweet, small, sky-blue faux-ostrich bowling bag from Guess ($62 at Macy's).
Picks of the Week
The Bridal Garden is clearing deeply discounted designer wedding gowns from makers like Ulla Maija, One of a Kind Bride, and Vera Wang. The dresses are samples or company overstock, and all proceeds benefit the Sheltering Arms Childrens Service, a charity for needy kids. Sheltering Arms Childrens Service; 122 E. 29th St. (212-213-6071); A.E., M.C., V.; Tues.-Sat. by appointment only; 10/3-10/31.
Maria Turgeon's trendy, colorful makeup pouches, handbags, and luggage (sold at stores like Scoop and Bergdorf Goodman) are less than half price at her sample sale. You'll find everything from groovy faux-python clutches to classic leather totes and gold-chain-strap shoulder bags, all for $20 to $200. 153 W. 27th St., Suite 400 (212-229-0077); cash only; Tues.-Thurs. 10-7; 10/3-10/5.
Oroblu hosiery, lingerie, knits, and swimsuits (sold at stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale's) are up to 40 percent off at the sale (and 70 percent for hosiery!). Tights (including this season's must-have fishnets) are $3-$15; lacy underwear is $20-$45; knits and gym clothes are $20-$65. Sizes 2-12. 37 W. 39th St., Suite 1002 (212-768-7424); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Fri. 10-5; 10/2-10/6.
Additional reporting by Brooke Showell.
Check out New York Shops, our guide to the city's best stores, including a five-month roundup of "Sales & Bargains." On sale at newsstands now. To order a copy, call 800-496-7833 ($4.99 plus $2 shipping and handling).