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You Don't Have To Be Full Time Fancy For These Guys...

Styling Luxury Handbags with Trendlee

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Despite being prone to more affordable things in life, I have been known to splurge when I really want something (mostly shoes, jeans and art), but fancy handbags typically haven’t been on that list. When asking myself why, I realized it’s mostly because they feel too fancy for my actual life (also because some of them are so expensive I find it hilarious). So Trendlee (your best online source for pre-owned and more affordable luxury handbags) gave me the challenge of styling their bags for my own life. I like a styling challenge (hell, I went on national TV 6 years ago to prove that) so I said, “no problem”. I borrowed four different handbags that I would love to own and styled them with my current wardrobe to show how you can indeed mix in luxury handbags even if you aren’t a full time fancy person.

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This is my ‘client lunch’ outfit. I have to say that of all of these bags, this Mansur Gavriel Lady Bag is the one that I would splurge on. Why this works – Well, simple black works with everything. Chambray dresses down a typically more up-tight pencil skirt, the simplicity of the bag works so well with the busy pattern, the simple nude leather shoes complement the bag, without competing, the black balances the femininity of the pencil skirt, the hat creates quirk and accents the bag.

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I haven’t been as big a part of the small purse movement as I’d like to be. My need for ‘stuff’ and my obsession with my laptop (what would happen if I had 10 minutes with nothing to do when I could be writing!!!) prevented this involvement. But this little Chloe Drew Crossbody is so cute and pretty and petite and makes me feel like a woman.

This is my ‘work event’ outfit. Something I’d wear to either a brunch or happy hour. It would photograph well (one must always be ready for that perfect grammable moment) and has pattern and color but is easy to wear.

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The crossbody is actually really flattering because on a boxy top it reigns me in. The blue is a perfect more muted accent color to the bright red. The color warms up the black, without creating too much contrast. And the delicate little chain doesn’t cut me in half. No need for necklace with a crossbody and the gold on the bag becomes your jewelry.

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The bold statement bag: A bright red and pink statement bag does seem like it might be harder to pull off, I realize, but man this Céline Trapeze is so pretty. I destroy my bags, I do, so for a day to day bag I have to have something more affordable but this bag would be such a pretty splurge, and really makes an outfit (yes, that is pony hair … also is pony hair actually PONY HAIR???)

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Bold color amps up a neutral color palette. The color blocking works well to calm down simpler patterns. The high contrast black and white becomes the accent to the purse (rather than just all solids). Adding denim helps round out the outfit (all black with a big bright purse feels dated to me). The color palette has both strong cool tones (black, white and blue) and warm tones (heavy dose of red and pink). The trapeze shape is a big graphic statement and it can be worn by handle or over the shoulder so it is pretty versatile.

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This pre-loved Hermes Herbag, below, is one that I could definitely own and see myself wearing often.

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This is my ‘shopping with client’ outfit. It’s something I could definitely wear anytime Monday – Friday and feel pulled together, but it’s easy to wear and comfortable.

Neutral canvas and leather material works with any casual outfit. Skinny cords balance out oversized coat. Wool menswear coat in an unexpected color palette.

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And because there are so many great options and so many possible outfits, I have added a few more picks featured in a collection on Trendlee!! Be sure to head on over and check it out and use the code EMILYHN for 5% off your order. 

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  1. I love your style posts! I recognize some of the (non-bag) pieces, like the Rachel Comey boots, but where is that beautiful buffalo check skirt from?

  2. I find it hilarious that $500+ is a “more affordable” luxury handbag. And Emily, I love you and love your blog, but it’s complement (with an ‘e’) when you’re using it to describe

    1. how two things relate to each other. Sorry, my basset hound nudged my arm as I was typing and I hit ‘send’ too soon. 🙂

    2. Emily’s disregard for conventional spelling and punctuation (when it is so easy to check these things on-line) really distracts from a post meant to sell high-end merchandise.

      However, there seem to be fewer and fewer people who notice and care.

      So there’s that.

      I buy my expensive classic bags at shopgoodwill.com.

      1. You’re right. Hardly no one cares. In fact, I can’t imagine anthing I’d care less about than the spelling of compliment in this post.

        1. I care! I’ve commented before and continue to notice in nearly every post spelling and grammar errors.
          Emily, I love you but sort it out!

  3. I love bags! And. Love your styling. I didn’t dare click through as didn’t want the temptation to purchase. Yet. I don’t blink when spending that money on art or furniture! Hmmm… maybe I will click through. Mommy could use a Christmas gift….

  4. LOVE Trendlee, have been a big fan of their site for a while now and have a few pieces from them. I love how you styled each of them so differently and how it all seems to look so effortless and work so well!

  5. This kind of sponsored post is a complete turnoff. Maybe it’s time you poll your readers again, pretty sure most of us are here for design, not overpriced, trendy purses

    1. It’s the sponsored posts that allow the design posts to carry on existing. In the main it feels like the sponsored posts are a ‘good fit’ with what Emily normally does, so it doesn’t jar too much. That aside, what’s wrong with just scrolling past? We can’t love everything all of the time and you can’t possibly know what ‘most of us’ want. Even I don’t always know what I want – until I see it!

      1. Agree. I come here because I’m inspired by Emily, period. Even if these bags are out of my price range, it’s fun to see how she styles.

    2. I disagree. I think Emily has received plenty of feedback back from her readers that they like (and enjoy) her personal style. Hence, the style/fashion posts. I don’t think I would ever spend that much money on a handbag, but I enjoy these kinds of posts for the inspiration they provide. Plus, I think there are many correlations between a person’s design choices at home and how they choose to dress themselves.

    3. I personally enjoy her style/fashion posts, even if it’s a sponsored post for a service I will never ever use. The design she does is definitely the main event on her blog, and what’s the harm in a few fashion posts on occasion for those of us who enjoy both?

  6. Um, I MUST know where you got those flare jeans! They have to be mine. I have small feet and love when my jeans cover them like they did for you!

  7. Any chance we can know what brand those flare jeans are? I don’t think that they are the same as your style post a while back and I really like these! That and the black and white stripped shirt and the heart shirt, so cute!

  8. They truly are expensive. I thought I buy expensive bags when I spend 250 to 500. A good and timeless bag will last and last. It’s totally worth it. However, bags that are over 1000 are not typically better than the ones that cost 500-800. The price is dictated by people who can spend on things that most other people can’t. Quality-wise the bags that are 200-800 (lower price for smaller bags, higher price for larger bags) totally compare to the ones that are 1000 and up. I also don’t spend money on things that have visible logos/advertisement. That’s just not elegant.

  9. I would love to hear the brands of purses you do use for everyday.

    I’m on a serious mission to find and love quality handbags that are stylish, have quality construction and are reasonably priced. I feel like there is a huge gap in the market for this!!

  10. Love this post! And the timing couldn’t be more perfect – I was going to take advantage of Black Friday to indulge in some pieces but may take advantage of the EH discount at Trendlee instead! (PS: you can’t please all of the people but you sure pleased me. Thank you!)

  11. I think the overlap between people who decorate with accessories from Target and people who buy thousand dollar bags is very tiny. Figure out which audience you’re writing for.

    1. Well, I’m one. I’d definitely accessorise from Target with fun things that are too ‘on-trend in 2016’ to invest real money into, in among more expensive classics. And I love fancy handbags! I’d splurge several hundred dollars on one for a milestone birthday for example. I LOVE that pink and red Celine trapeze!
      I liked this post, it had quite useful how-to information, and I like how the rules of fashion and interiors intertwine.

    2. You raise a good point. There are always folks who decry anything expensive being sponsored by this site, but I suspect most of Em’s blog audience is, like me, somewhere in the middle.

      Generally, I’ll read or review anything Emily chooses to write about or promote because I like her style and overall aesthetic. That said, while I would maybe consider buying an item or two from Target, that would be it. I’m not rich, but nor do I want to buy cheap, disposable household furnishings.

      I’m also unlikely to spend more than $500 on a bag; however I appreciate that Emily can, and does, and she should. Personally, I’d rather read about potential stylish purse purchases than Target anything; these aren’t your standard Michael Kors or Coach bags she’s modeling for us. These are beautiful, quality bags.

      All to say, it probably is a small number of people who buy both, but I don’t particularly mind the contrast. Variety is the spice of life! 😉

    3. I disagree! I love inexpensive knick-knacks from Target *and* really nice, well-made handbags. It’s all about that high-low mix, yo!

      Also, Emily, don’t worry: pony hair is just a fancy name for calf hair. 😉 I think brands think it sounds more fashion-y or something.

      xx Hannah // http://www.HomemadeBanana.com

    4. Well that is me! I love designer handbags and shoes and buy cute decor items from Target. I am a true high-low look person from my clothes, accessories, makeup, home decor, furniture, etc…
      Isn’t that the whole point? Buy what you like and can afford.

  12. Ok but the tops! The heart one and the chambray … I’m sure they’re out of my price range, but my dream is a pocket free chambray shirt (because boobs), so I’m willing to roll a stranger for the $$.

  13. Where is that adorable heart blouse from?!?! For the record, I like the style posts. I like the mix of expensive handbags, Target decor and everything in between on your blog.

  14. Cute, but can we all please acknowledge that those prices are ABSURD! Like people in most parts of the world could live off the price of one of those for a year. I have a classic coach crossbody that I picked up looking never used for $6 at Goodwill. I’ve been carrying it everyday since 2012. It has way more quality and character and class than any of those every will.

    All that said, your blog is a highlight of my day everyday and I still ove seeing the cute outfits you put together.

    1. OK, that is a steal! I am ALWAYS at thrift stores and I’ve never found anything Coach for that cheap.

      That said… you have been using it since 2012? I think that’s the point of splurging on one or two bags instead of having six or seven cheap ones (or replacing them every year). I have bought purses for a couple hundred dollars or more because of that reason! They just hold up so much better. Though, I’ll agree that after a certain price point, you’re paying for the designer, not the quality.

      I loved this post! Such great styling tips. I love a peek into your process–for clothing or homes!

    2. Hello all 😉

      I think it’s absurd to complain about expensives handbags on a blog dedicated to decor! Most people in the world don’t have time/money/or desire to decorate. This is all fun. Cheap wasteful decor from Target (that gets sponsored) is generally terrible for the world and it’s poorest citizens is fun to look at. Expensive bags that those of us with limited income covet are also fun to look at. Let’s enjoy it all and not pretend that one luxury (decor) is any more practical than fancy handbags.

    3. a lot of the furnishings in the room reveals also have absurd prices. then emily frequently has posts on how to get the look for cheaper. with posts like these it’s certainly possible to get the same look without having to sell the car to do so.

      emily – i’m having a meltdown, no posts for 2 days!! i never knew how needy i was or how much i looked forward to your blog until the withdrawal kicked in…

      1. oh, it’s thanksgiving in america isn’t it. well now i’m just being selfish. we had ours in canada in october and i completely forgot! happy thanksgiving 🙂

  15. Emily- the bags are cute & You look FANTASTIC!!! Very fit & lean…….
    I have 2 toddlers (at age 46) and i can appreciate the time and energy it takes to get fit and feel great in jeans again.
    Especially in southern Ca. Congrats!

  16. I love your style posts! Please don’t let the naysayers detract from these fun fashion posts. This has actually been one of my favorite sponsored posts.
    If I weren’t saving up for a dining room set, I’d get the Hermes one. It would look great forever.

  17. I cannot disagree more with the people complaining about this sponsored post.

    While I may not be currently buying expensive handbags, this post has already inspired me with some lovely outfit ideas and fashion tips…In just the same way that some design posts may feature a super expensive vintage chair or gorgeous coffee table well out of my price range, but also gives me styling ideas and beautiful looks I can try out on my home.

    In fact, Emily constantly features “looks for less” stories and budget ideas for curtains, art etc.

    I totally understand that this blog would not be possible without these sponsored posts and will happily continue reading them in exchange for all the other amazing posts I read FOR FREE.

  18. I would like to understand the reasoning behind using GIFs at the start of the posts? Roughly 5 of the last 15 posts have started with a GIF. Are there people who like this? I find them too fast and with all the advertising that shows up on my device very unappealing. Please help me understand ?

  19. Emily, you are always cute and stylish. I know this type of post will go both ways – appealing/not – but if it’s a way to keep your content coming, I guess that’s a good enough reason to have it. 🙂

    Having said that, I have to join with the group that says,
    Please get a good copy editor!
    (I recommend Grammarly. Or something.)

    (Lavender, structured and comfortable are misspelled too.)
    You are so professional about the other aspects of your blog and pick up on so many other types of visual nuances. Think of it that way. It’s a visual thing that takes away from your overall styling…

    I know you said you hit send too quickly but this is an ongoing thing and it *does* detract for a lot of your fans and it *does* matter in general – professionally – even if it seems some people don’t care.
    I remain a loyal reader. 🙂

  20. Unsolicited, but friendly, advice: please stick to designing rooms/houses/venues. Leave the #ootd and fashion posts to the style bloggers, which, IMO, you are not. Stick to what you’re good at, which is styling rooms, not clothes.

    And yes, please stop those GIFs. Hurt my eyes!

    🙂