Pre-vegan, I carried a medium-sized black leather handbag from Cole Haan as my everyday work handbag. Cole Haan doesn't make anything exactly like it anymore, but it looks a bit like this crossed with this. It is big enough to hold an 8x11 folder, a couple books, and my pumps if necessary.
I've wanted to replace it since I became a vegan because, put simply, it is a huge hunk of leather. A very nice hunk of leather, but nevertheless, lots and lots of leather. But, every comparable handbag I considered contained at least some leather. As far as I can tell, Cole Haan doesn't make a single acceptable handbag that doesn't incorporate leather; neither does Coach, Tumi, Furla, kate spade, Burberry, Tory Burch . . . even Longchamp's signature Le Pilage collection has leather handles and a leather flap. I browsed Nordstrom, Saks, and Bloomingdale's stores and websites. The only vaguely acceptable alternatives I found were a few Le Sportsacs and Vera Bradleys, none of which I was willing to part with my Cole Haan for.
I thought my search was in vain until I wandered into Kohl's with friends this weekend. Last September, Kohl's launched Vera Wang's new collection, "Simply Vera." I love Vera Wang--especially the dresses, of course--but I was skeptical when my friends reminded me that Kohl's carries "Simply Vera."
Yet, I found the perfect handbag, which is part of the "Simply Vera" collection . . . and bought it. I chose the chocolate faux patent leather, which looks very nice and has a cranberry tint to it. With its cranberry tint, the bag goes well with black, brown, navy, and gray suits, while adding a touch of fall color. Similar to my Cole Haan, it is large enough to hold an 8x11 folder, a couple books, and my pumps. There is an inner zipper compartment and two large inner pockets. The zipper closure is smooth, and the bag maintains its shape even when unzipped. And it is not made from leather or any other animal-based products. Even better, it was 45% off . . . only $48.95.
In fact, I was tempted by this slightly larger bag too, but resisted.
So, now I own my first replacement item, and now a woman at Dress For Success will have a lovely leather handbag to bring to interviews.