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The $20 Purse to End All $20 Purses

It’s French-ish, of course.

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A woman holding a black patent leather bag
Uniqlo Ines De La Fressange Enamel Shoulder Bag ($19.90)

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The setting is a chic collection preview party: I’m making conversation with a friend over cocktails, feeling composed-ish and capable. Until, of course, my eyes alight on her purse.

Said friend’s purse is black and boxy and, maybe most importantly, patent leather. I, in the grips of a purse mania incited by the universe handing me mid-’90s Furla for $20 and a boxy straw-esque Anne Klein top handle bag for a similarly marginal sum, cut her off mid-sentence to tell her that I am dead now because of this purse — what’s going on? Where did it come from? And does she know that Ines de la Fressange just released a boxy black patent leather bag for her new collection with Uniqlo?

She doesn’t, but she doesn’t need to because her bag is literally from Paris.

Okay, that’s fair. For the rest of us jealous corpses, there’s the Ines de la Fressange Enamel Shoulder Bag: an imitation leather “pouch size” bag with “the distinctive shiny look of enamel.” (But pouches come in many sizes, don’t they? Yes, they do. This one is large enough to hold my iPhone 6s in its gargantuan OtterBox case, plus my wallet and glasses case). Also, it’s only $19.90.

The bag is perfect for day because, unless you are very daring, it’s never going to clash with your outfit. It’s also perfect for night because 1) black, and 2) shiny. It’s cute, but also the tiniest bit dangerous, a new neutral that smacks ever so slightly of sex. French women do it better, indeed.