Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pumps & Pleats: The best work tote

Story and photo by Michèle De Meglio

There’s a trick to finding the perfect purse for work.

You can’t tote anything too flashy (think bedazzled Kathy Van Zeeland satchels) or anything too dull (basic briefcases are so outdated). Instead, you want to carry something elegantly chic yet still fun and hip. Now that’s a tall order. Fortunately, Pumps & Pleats is here to help!

My search started at the boutiques and chain stores in Downtown Brooklyn, where many of the borough’s working gals slave away in cubicles.

Macy’s in the Fulton Mall seemed like the obvious first choice since it stocks hundreds of purses. But a trip around the famed department store’s accessories section brought Franco Sarto’s overly bright totes, Nine West’s metallic shoppers and Lucky Brand’s hippie hobos. None of the purses were office ready or large enough to store file folders and a laptop.

Ann Taylor Loft on Montague Street off Henry Street has a reputation as a “working woman’s shop” so it had to have an awesome purse, right? Wrong. The bags were all way too small and a bit flimsy. (Side note — the white foldover clutch with gold studs is quite cute!)

I headed across the street to Banana Republic. The shop is ridiculously overpriced but it’s known for stylish suits so a proper office handbag had to be there. The Scala tote in muted gray can fit important documents and has an array of functional yet stylish exterior pockets. But there’s one very big catch — it’s $260!

My next stop was the Diane T. boutique on Court Street between Congress and Amity streets in search of something affordable. This sure wasn’t the right place! The store carries super expensive high-end items, none of which were office appropriate anyway.

Feeling dejected, I ditched the expensive shops and hit the Atlantic Center Target where I recently fell in love with a casually cool faded gray Converse purse. This trip was another success!

Nestled in the overflowing racks was a Merona microfiber tote for just $29.99! The black bag is super roomy and loaded with interior and exterior pockets so you can separate all your stuff — and even have a section to store your turkey sandwich for lunch.

What’s the best thing about this bag? It has a hot pink lining. Professional on the outside, party on the inside!

Target [139 Flatbush Avenue between Atlantic Avenue and Fourth Avenue in Prospect Heights, (718) 290-1109].

Michèle De Meglio is a native Brooklynite addicted to all things chic. Check out Pumps & Pleats each week for more adventures as she scours the borough for fab duds and accessories.


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