Ballpark Estimate: $175 to $795
Do you change your handbag as often as you change your clothes? Or do you prefer to invest in that one perfect bag that you can use all the time? Kate Spade handbags can help you accomplish either of these goals and will give you a stylish edge that people will notice, wherever you go.
Kate Spade Bags, Classic Yet Unique
If you’re familiar with the Kate Spade brand, you know that these iconic bags are simple and classic, yet offer a modern take on retro designs that makes them look one-of-a-kind. Many of the styles come in vibrant colors, patterns, and textures that turn the signature boxy shape handbags into a true fashion statement. This means that you can easily coordinate the bolder choices with your favorite outfits to make them pop, or you can opt for a more understated look that will work perfectly with everything you own.
A Practical Splurge
While most designer purses require a substantial investment, Kate Spade handbags are more moderately priced, although they’re certainly not inexpensive. But when you consider the level of function you will get in return for the cost of the Kate Spade handbags, they are not extravagant. In fact, most Kate Spade purses have a practical side that will allow you to easily take them from a corporate meeting to your toddler’s play date and then to dinner out at the country club without needing to change.
A New Brand Is Born
If you’re not familiar with story of how the Kate Spade line came into existence, you may find the history of this brand quite interesting. It all began in the mid 1990s, when Kate Brosnahan (the “Kate” in Kate Spade) was working as an editor at Mademoiselle Magazine in New York City. Her boyfriend Andy Spade (who soon became her husband and the other half of Kate Spade) encouraged her to leave her job and start her own accessory line. With little money to turn this vision into a reality, Kate Spade designed a simple prototype for a handbag that could be made in different fabrics and textures. She introduced this idea at an industry trade show, and quickly began to get orders from high-end stores whose buyers were intrigued by the mix of understated lines and chic elegance apparent in her designs. Vogue and several other influential fashion magazines also featured the Kate Spade prototype bag.
The earliest popular Kate Spade bags include the black nylon ones with the Kate Spade labels on the front. These continue to be coveted, although the line has evolved much since then. The company now offers a wide variety of other item including Kate Spade diaper bags, small leather goods, beauty products, dishes, stationery, furniture, and clothing. There’s even a man’s line of merchandise that sells under the name of Jack Spade.
Where to Find
Most Kate Spade products can be found at high-end department stores, as well as freestanding Kate Spade boutiques, and the company’s website at KateSpade.com.
It’s worth noting that while Andy and Kate Spade had formed a business partnership with Neiman Marcus for a significant duration, the couple gave up their control in Kate Spade completely a few years ago in order to allow the brand to be taken over by Liz Claiborne Co (also the current maker of Juicy Couture), which still retains ownership in 2011.
Some stylists believe that the real appeal of Kate Spade is that this brand isn’t afraid to take risks and never takes itself too seriously. This means that most of the pieces have a fun, modern twist, while never straying too far from the average women’s comfort zone, the risk is tempered by classic accents and shapes that have been reinvented, only better than ever before. Kate Spade bags are quite durable, which makes them a practical choice for the real world. If you do experience any wear-and-tear on your bag, you can visit a Kate Spade boutique with the item or contact the company’s customer care department to find out if they will repair the item for you. You can also bring the bag to a cobbler or leather shop to handle the repair. It’s usually worth the cost, since with proper care your handbag should last for many years.
High on Design
You might be surprised to find out that in addition to handbags and the array of other retail merchandise, Kate Spade was also commissioned to design uniform’s for the stewardesses and stewards of Song, which was a low-cost airline operated by Delta Airlines (and no longer in business). At the time, the Kate Spade designs brought a modern, yet retro, sense of style to the high skies.
How to Spot a Fake
Would you be able to recognize a Kate Spade knock-off bag if you saw one? Since many of the popular Kate Spade designs have such basic lines, it seems that counterfeiters find it especially easy to reproduce these designs. As a result, it’s extremely important that when you splurge on a Kate Spade bag that you ensure its authenticity first. To avoid getting duped, most experts recommend only purchasing designer products such as these from respected department stores or boutiques or online shopping venues that you know and trust.
If you are tempted to purchase a Kate Spade handbag through an unknown source, such as Ebay.com or other online auction sites, there are some details that can help you be sure you are getting the real thing. The first, and most obvious, sign of a fake is a logo that isn’t correct. A real Kate Spade bag’s logo should say “kate spade” in lowercase letters. Underneath, it should also say, “NEW YORK” in smaller letters that are all uppercase. Another telltale sign of a fake Kate Spade handbag is a label glued onto the fabric, rather than sewn in neat, even stitches. Keep in mind that some genuine bags also have the logo printed on the fabric or etched on the leather. The best way to be sure you are getting a genuine Kate Spade is to become familiar with how the logo should look and what styles, colors, and patterns are available. This can be done easily through browsing the Kate Spade website or looking at them in person at Neiman Marcus, Barneys, or other stores that sell this brand. When in doubt, you can also call Kate Spade’s customer service line at 888-999-KATE to check on a style’s authenticity.
What It Costs
If designer handbags are your “thing,” then the price for a Kate Spade bag probably won’t scare you too much. In fact, you can find a wide array of her styles for $300 or less, which is quite affordable compared to what many high-end handbags cost. There are also more expensive luxurious Kate Spade handbag options to consider, as well, depending on your personal budget and taste. (Just be warned that once you buy one Kate Spade bag, you’ll probably be tempted to buy more!)
To give you a feel for what to expect, here is an overview of some of the designs and price points on the Kate Spade website.
At the lower end of the Kate Space price scale is at the signature boxy shape bag made from nylon, which costs around $175. This is the handbag design that made the Kate Spade name so famous.
If you want more in the way of detailing, for a cost of around $275, you can get a shopper Kate Spade bag that offers a slight variation on the shape and add some a classic bow or other retro detailing that makes these bags unique.
For a more sassy pick with a high-end vibe, there’s a charming grosgrain Kate Spade bag made completely from multiple tiers of pin tucked detailing topped with an elegant gold chain handle that costs around $335.
Small fabric Kate Spade clutches that can work for day or night can cost from $195 for a fabric design to $39 for a varnished leather clutch with an artfully placed bow on its end. Further, one of the most noteworthy styles is the “book of the month” clutch that, for the price of $325, recreates classic literature titles in silk twill and leather trim for a “book bag” that’s hard to miss.
Many of the basic leather Kate Spade bags are available in a rainbow of colors, shapes and sizes. These can cost as much as $425, while a large sequined handbag in silver and black stripes sells for the price of $495. The cream of the crop of the Kate Spade 2010 line was a slouchy hobo made from sheepskin embossed with a lizard print that has a retail cost of $692. In the 2011 line, a striking yet classic Italian calfskin lizard embossed handbag with 14K gold plated hardware tops the charts at whopping cost of $795.
Kate Spade also offers chic baby bags that can be purchased for prices between $325 and $495, depending on what styling you select.
Most Kate Spade handbags cost between $175 and $795+.
What’s in a Name?
If you spend some time browsing the Kate Spade website, you may notice that most of her handbags are named after streets, neighborhoods, and communities both in the United States and abroad. For instance, there’s the 25th Street Striped Gabi, which is named after the Kate Spade headquarters’ location at 25th Street in NYC; the Big Apple Bon Shopper; the Brooklyn Heights (NY) Core Stevie Satchel; and the Gold Coast Maryanne, named after the Gold Coast District in Chicago. In addition, there are collections named after Darien, Connecticut; Wellesley, Massachusetts; and even London. Some of the Kate Spade bags forego location. Instead their names are a charming mix of whimsical descriptions and unique names, such as Starry Night Sky E.B., Bow Art Spot Varnish Agathe, Five Point Metallic Raina and Square Encrusted Small Frame Lella.