Neely & Chloe wallet + new handbag

7 July 2020

Calling all personal shoppers – I need your help!

A month ago, my purse and John’s wallet were stolen. They were taken out of our car which was parked, unlocked (our mistake – marital miscommunication), a short distance from our neighborhood’s tennis court while we played. It must have been an intense game, because we both noticed nothing. While our phones and sunglasses were on us, our credit cards, money, face masks, wallets, car keys, house keys, gift cards, rewards cards, and June’s camera, among other things, were gone.

After the flurry of requesting replacements and rekeying our house and cars, I was left with a handful of credit cards, new keys, and nowhere to put them. The purse that was stolen was my everyday purse – meaning, the one that I carried literally every day – so replacing it was a top priority.

Even more immediate, though, was replacing my wallet. My sister-in-law graciously sent me the sweetest card case to tide me over while I looked, but I still felt discombobulated without a home base whenever I left the house. (Which, granted, has not been as often as usual!)

The wallet that was stolen was a Kate Spade I bought in 2012. It was the prettiest pale blue leather, and I loved the button closure and generous number of card slots. I would have gladly bought the same thing again (it was still in great shape!), but there’s nothing similar on their site right now.

My seersucker face mask – so soft and ships fast!

Instead, I chose the Neely & Chloe zip wallet in Steel Blue with a gold foil “EM” embossing. The color is absolutely perfect in person, and I love that the purchase supports a small business. While I still don’t feel completely at home in it (we get used to what we’re used to!), I’m happy have a spot to keep everything together once again.

Now – let’s talk about a purse replacement. This will not surprise many of you, but I have carried essentially the same bag since college (going on 12 years!). It’s the smallest Longchamp Le Pliage in black, and I actually did replace it a few years ago, when we were in Paris – but with exactly the same thing :)

Unless I was going to a fancy occasion, that was the purse I carried, day in and day out – with every outfit, to every occasion. Honestly, I’d be happy to buy it again, but I feel like I should at least consider other options after more than a decade. But, when I think about ALL the options out there, I get overwhelmed quickly. So that’s where I’d love your help!

Here’s my criteria:
— I don’t want any crazy patterns or colors, and I prefer a classic, feminine look.
— I don’t care for black leather. Although my Le Pliage was black, I would choose a camel or navy over black in most instances.
— I am looking for a small to medium handbag or tote – nothing too large. I’m open to a handbag or something I carry over my shoulder, but am not looking for a crossbody. I need it to fit my wallet, glasses case, a few little pouches, face mask, pen, hand sanitizer, a snack, etc.
— I am willing to spend up to about $300, given that I expect to carry this bag every day for many years, but of course, I’d love to spend less. The Le Pliage is just over $100 right now online (but — fun fact — sells for about $75 in Paris!).

So, friends, help a girl out! What bag would you point me toward? Do you carry a bag you love? I’d love to hear – it will help me narrow down the insane number of options…

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Kelly Strawberry
July 7, 2020 7:46 am

What a pain to have your stuff stolen. I am sorry you and John had to deal with that.
I have a Brahmin tote that’s black and brown leather, and the perfect size. I also use it every day and have carried it for probably 8+ years now, and will probably still get more years out of it. I can’t find it online anywhere when I just looked. It actually looks a lot like your old Le Pliage one, which I love!!! Mine was probably $350-400 new, so I’d choose the cheaper option and just get what you already had for the 3rd time lol. I might have to buy that one next time I need a bag. I love the black/brown combo too. :)

July 7, 2020 8:38 am

Ugh, I know this pain. I had my absolute favorite Kate Spade handbag and matching wallet stolen several years ago. I have the same black Le Pliage I bought in Italy 3 years ago and love it. I recently purchased a pink and white buffalo checked Barrington tote and while I love it, I kind of want something smaller. I’ve got my eyes on a Cuyana bag, but have yet to pull the trigger seeing as I just bought the Barrington tote. Can’t wait to see what you land on! Best of luck!

August 4, 2020 10:26 am
Reply to  Em

Oh good to know it’s floppy. I love a good structured bag that stands on its own :) Thanks for sharing!

July 7, 2020 8:56 am

Hands down the Madewell Transport line! I had a medium crossbody version that I absolutely loved and was gifted a larger zip top version as a diaper bag for my second kiddo. I love them both so much! Would definitely recommend checking out the medium crossbody as an everyday bag. Quality is great! I expect many, many years out of them both.

July 7, 2020 8:57 am
Reply to  Katelin

Oops. Skimmed over the crossbody criteria :) I still think one of their variations are worth checking out!

Bethany Howe
July 10, 2020 12:49 pm
Reply to  Katelin

I agree, I have a Madewell tote and I love it! It has a pocket on the front where I throw my keys, phone, etc., which is really nice. You can also get it monogrammed!

Meghan H.
July 7, 2020 9:26 am

I would recommended checking out Mark & Graham. I’ve been using the Everyday Italian Leather Zipper Tote in Camel for a couple of years:

At first it took me a little while to adjust to the length of the arm strap – it felt a little short, but it doesn’t bother me now.

July 7, 2020 10:28 am

Bummer about losing your bag and wallet! My sister recently bought a bag from R. Riveter and loves it. Components for the bags are “crafted by independent military spouses in their homes around the nation and shipped to R.Riveter’s FabShop in North Carolina to be assembled into a one-of-a-kind product.” I think it’s a really cool NC-based business. This bag kind of reminds me of your previous one:

July 7, 2020 11:09 am

Sorry to hear of the theft, that’s a pain! Able makes excellent bags! Plus it is a great ethical company. Check them out!

July 7, 2020 12:35 pm

Girl, just buy the Longchamp again! It sounds perfect for you!! And will always be incredibly stylish! I’m personally of the crossbody gang, and have actually been using a Kate Spade backpack (that I got on clearance) and it’s perfect for everyday! But am not up to date with other good tote options. (Dooney & Bourke usually has nice ones at their outlets though!)

July 7, 2020 2:27 pm

Cuyana bags are great. Great quality and a few different options. I have a larger tote but they have some smaller ones. They are beautiful leather & hold up well!

July 7, 2020 3:04 pm

Look at Gigi New York!!!! Love their pieces!

July 8, 2020 1:19 pm

I have a leather tote bag from WP Standard and LOVE it! I have the Vintage Tote Bag, but I think that may be a little big for what you want. The Zipper Tote Bag or Market Tote look like they may be a better fit size-wise. I got mine as a Christmas present in 2017 and it still looks beautiful!

August 21, 2020 5:42 am

This might sound random, but I bought the Bella Tunno Boss Bag (5 in 1) in cognac and man alive, that bag has served me well! It’s technically a diaper bag, but I’ve never had babies ha ha ha. I just loves it’s simple but stylish look and the fact that it had all the little easy storage places. Mines lasted me a good 5 years and LOVE the fact that it comes with a clutch that you turn into a cross body. Cannot praise it enough!