It can’t be helped: After weeks of top designer runway previews of spring styles at marathon fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris, the eye started to wander and it caught the newest trends for handbags and shoes. For some shoppers, accessories are at the forefront of the catwalk news they’re waiting for.
Accessories tend to be more widely available and affordable – although that’s a relative term – and, more often than not, they fit.
And there’s probably a handbag with a structured shape or a snakeskin shoe on the market already, so early adopters can look way ahead of the curve if they’re paying attention.
“Accessories aren’t as big of a commitment as apparel,” said Tracey Lomrantz Lester, women’s editorial director at Gilt. “You invest less from both a financial perspective and a sartorial one. The idea of trying a new style of boot or a different handbag is less intimidating than readjusting your eye to an entirely new silhouette. You can always just take if off if you feel silly.”
Whitney Kessler, accessories editor of trend analysis firm Stylesight, says there are plenty of choices during this particular season, but few will serve as the all-purpose bag, shoe or piece of statement jewelry.
“There aren’t a lot of everyday bags and items, which is exciting for people who are really into fashion,” she said, “but if you are shopping designer collections, you'll need to buy more to satisfy your needs.”
She adds: “But they’ll all look really good.”
Erica Russo, fashion director for women’s accessories at Bloomindale’s, said a hand-held clutch or a larger envelope will work, too.
Since she already bought silver sandals this year, she'll be looking at gold shoes next year. You really need a pair of each, she said.
Karp said snakeskin in a single-sole pointy pump is the way to go.
Kessler also noted the use of laser-cut leathers and weaving techniques to further explore artistry.
InStyle’s Karp, however, isn’t buying into them at a high price. It’s one of those items that a more mass retailer can do perfectly well, she said.
Gilt’s Lester observed a “noticeable shift” toward the street – and that might be where the sporty styles came from. “Loafers, sneakers, even Teva-esque sandals were everywhere in place of high heels. Visors and baseball caps have never been bigger, and the oversize clutch – the accessory of choice for street style stars – is the new It bag.”