Finding a good bag is always an infuriating task. Sure, you can read all about the alligator bags you'll never own on Bag Snob, and browse the trend sites (there's some real dogs on those, all junked up with chains and animal prints), but there's so much more to a good bag than a high price point and trend appeal.
I'm talking good design here. Something that can hold all your stuff, but not much more, so that you don't end up looking like a sherpa. Something that might actually hold up through all the tossing around, setting on restaurant floors (yes, gross, but unavoidable), and various coffee drips. This season there's a bunch of very plain, "classic" looking bags, all of which I'm enthusiastic about, except that many of them are just too ladylike for the likes of me, or too small. So, when I found this JW Hulme Legacy bag at Barney's Co Op, I was thrilled. It looks like a cross between a saddlebag and a Coach bag, but it's more stylish than the former and less recognizable than the latter. The brand has been around since 1905, and it's an American made product (they'll even monogram it for you for free, but I thought that was too preppy for me). Plus, for such a quality bag (it boasts good compartments inside for glasses and phone), it's at a great price point: about $410.
Yes, at $410 this is way over The Toad's $200 limit. But this is probably a gift for you. And there's a mini version which is less (I couldn't fit my mega-sized wallet into it, which is the reason I got the regular size). Plus, this is a bag that simply won't go out of style, ever. Check it out at Barney's. If you know your giftee well, and love them a lot, you could even gift it to them, monogrammed and everything.