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TRENDY DAY BAGS
824 W. Armitage Ave.; 773-281-5655 (plus five suburban locations)
SAVE Lori’s is a no-brainer for shoes, but it may not register with Chicagoans that the store also carries an excellent range of bags with fashion detailing at prices that won’t trigger stabbing guilt. Black patent-leather bags from Adrienne Vittadini are $218, and Tano’s soft leather bucket bag is $168. At less than $100, we were pleased to find some nice entries from Hobo and Steve Madden, as well as the fantastic faux-leather bags by Matt & Nat.
737 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-642-5900 (plus Northbrook and Oak Brook locations)
SPLURGE Hands down the best source for design-house bags, Neiman Marcus stocks the season’s hottest trends (including the pictured, padlock-encrusted Chloé Paddington handbag, for $1,850) with the same vigor it applies to the status classics. The Michigan Avenue location is also noteworthy for its trusting merchandising: tons of bags are out on shelves. Sling one over your shoulder and imagine, if only for a moment, what it’s like to lug around your stuff in a buttery $4,000 Prada leather tote.