Invest In A Designer Bag Without Going Broke — Here's How

Web01Photographed by Heather Talbert.
I am really picky when it comes to handbags. I hate cheap-looking leather; I don’t like obvious stitching; I’m not into gaudy hardware; and I am not willing to spend a million dollars on a trend. High maintenance? Yes. But I know what I like and what I'll spend to get it. So, when I'm looking for a bag that will meet all my crazy reasonable demands, I head to T.J.Maxx.
Looking for the perfect handbag can be daunting, so it's important to know what you're looking for before going in. I know that I need a bag that can do double-duty for days at the office, but that can easily take me to dinner with the fiancé after work. I feel comfortable with this purchase, knowing that a good black bag with some gold hardware will be in style for seasons to come.
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Web02Photographed by Heather Talbert.
Lucky for me, there are a million options when it comes to black handbags, so I take my time going through the racks and weeding out the ones that don’t work for me. A tote bag feels too big, a cross-body style won’t hold my camera, and I’m not big into contrast stitching so the trendy bags I’ve been wanting forever is going to stay put for another lucky shopper.
It came down to a black satchel made by my favorite Project Runway judge/designer that was marked down by 60% the original price, or a trendier duffle bag that was originally $475, but now was marked for a much happier $199. As you can see, I went with the medium-sized duffel, because the leather is buttery soft and the gold hardware is a fun-but-simple accent.
You can see how it looks great with both formal attire office-wear, or with an edgier leather-jacket for my friend's birthday party. Who says you have to break the bank to find the handbag of your dreams?
P.S. If you want to show off your own style, tag your T.J.Maxx find with #Maxxinista on Twitter or Instagram for a chance to win a $1,000 gift card. Find out more here.
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Handbag courtesy of T.J.Maxx.
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