chic ~~ what is vintage, french and chic all at once?

Besides moi, of course (haha!  couldn’t resist that one).  A vintage alligator/crocodile handbag–bien sur!

Found: not one but two vintage alligator handbags at Goodwill this past week.

The elegant, glossy brown Bellestone:



the timeless black, flap-style bag by Casa Lopez (high-end maker from Argentina):


These bags are true beauties and  absolute essentials in a vintage /chic wardrobe.  This is not just my opinion.  Others agree.  Brooks Brothers, for instance, has been offering vintage styled alligator bags for a few years now.  Take a look:



Gorgeous but out of my price range (currently $4125.00).

Hermes alligator bags are sought after the world over.  I see the vintage ones on Ebay going for, at times,  tens of thousands of dollars.  Again, pass my price point.

(Hermes via)

But vintage ones can be had for a minimal investment.

Gabriala at StyleHigher knows the value of such an elegant staple:

And the gals that have written the new book, “Paris Street Style (a guide to effortless chic)” agree by stating, “The real thing: a vintage crocodile bag”, when making a case for the importance of carrying a quality handbag (note: quality does not necessarily mean an “It” bag either).

Finding these two bags at Goodwill was a rare score indeed.  I can’t even tell you the price I paid because I plan on listing them in my Etsy store for much, much more–but they will still be way  (WAY!) less than what one would pay new (well, I plan on listing the brown one; the black I may keep for now.)

Quality accessories, in this case handbags, are essential to jazzing up your wardrobe.  Buy the best you can afford…sometimes you can buy “better” if you are willing to thrift shop.  But if you are someone who has been rather indifferent to her accessories and the important role they play in your wardrobe, let me share this quote from the book “Paris Street Style”:

(In answer to the question: What are the absolutely indispensable items for any woman’s wardrobe?)

“… as many accessories as you can get, because accessories have the chic to reinvigorate your wardrobe, remodernize it, and retell its story…Without them, any wardrobe is so much the poorer.”

~~Dauphine De Jerphanion, accessories stylist, Le Bon Marche, Paris (pp 148-9).

So be it.


a BIG PS:  Many thanks to Francesca at for nominating my blog for the “Versatile Blogger” award.  So very kind!!  Go check her out.


32 thoughts on “chic ~~ what is vintage, french and chic all at once?

  1. Your bags are beautiful, Heather! I have two very similar bags that I inherited from both my grandmothers 🙂 They are clean and in good order, but I still haven’t used them…maybe now I will 🙂 Good luck with your sales! 🙂


  2. I wish you good luck with your sales … and crocodile will never go out of fashion. All four bags here is beautiful …
    I don’t think if we are less stylish if we don’t have one …


    • I can’t imagine you ever not being stylish…alligator bag or not! There are many, many stylish handbags out there. I just wish more women would give vintage a try. The quality is simply amazing on some the vintage bags…regardless of name brand.


      • Heather, I’m not stylish very often – I was when I worked .. not is jeans and a sweater – still I have more handbags .. than any other normal woman.
        There is some great models out there in vintage – but not everything.
        After reading your post I went hunting on ebay after a similar bags and didn’t they cost. So good luck with your sale.


    • Honestly, I go to our Goodwill maybe 1-2x a month. That is really all I have been doing. Once in a blue moon I will get together with a friend and we will go hit as many Goodwills and thrift stores as possible but I don’t always enjoy a full day of shopping. I just recommend finding a thrift store you like and try stopping in maybe once a week or every other just to see what is going on. You just never know…


  3. I love this look and at Good will- thats awesome. we have a Thrift Store here that is associated with a hospital and they have tremendous “finds” on occasion. It’s all about the hunt- you look wonderful !


    • Yes, it is all about the hunt. And patience for the hunt. Thank you for the compliment but that’s not me! That is Gabriala who always looks chic and magnificent. You should check out her blog to see how well she puts together all her vintage finds.


    • I love a good frame bag. Many of those types of bags were made smaller than what we see today. These two bags are actually nice sized for vintage. I can get my Filofax and Nook in the black one…and a compact. Life is good.


    • Only because I have so many already. I used to have the one in on out rule for my bags but I don’t want to part with any that I currently have. I know if I keep the brown one, as much as I love it, it won’t get used (I have another, lighter brown faux alligator that I adore). The black, however, can work for me now.


  4. I remember my Mom had some peep toe slingbacks in crocodile, with a slight platform. She wore them in the 40s when she was 20 something. They even fit me (we wore the same shoe size), but sadly they are long gone. Don’t remember her having a croc bag to match, though she was big on matching back then.


    • They are totally Jackie O style….or Grace Kelly. Bags like this were made to last with a little care and love. Investment pieces back in their day–now just thrown in donation bins for vintage scavengers like myself to find.


  5. Heather, thanks for the plug! I am sitting here giggling and typing at the same time. 🙂 Those bags are to live for!!! I love mine so much and wear it more than any other. I think it is sturdier than any bag made today. If you decided to put that first bag on Etsy, please let me know ASAP first. xoxoxo


    • I am totally enjoying the black one right now. So elegant and pretty to carry. I think you are right…they were made sturdier back then. The workmanship on these older bags boggles the mind. The leather interiors, stitching, etc…amazing. Yes, I will let you know when the brown one is listed, you crazy gal.


  6. Omg, Heather, amazing finds! It is SO hard to find those bags, even used! How much did you pay? (I have to ask!). I saw a gorg one in an Annecy vintage shop (the only Annecy vintage shop) for 49 Euros, but left it there. It was so gorg and such an amazing shape, like yours. Maybe I’ll go back and get it. 🙂 xo


    • 49 Euros was probably worth it…especially if the skin was still healthy looking and the straps weren’t cracked. Maybe you should go back and see if it is marked down yet? French made bags of this type and era are gems!


    • That was a good deal. Vintage Etienne Aigner are gorgeous bags. I love many of his signature oxblood leather ones. There is a great one on Ebay that I am watching but the price is too high. You know how it is…after paying thrift prices it can be hard to pay more than $10 for a bag. : )


    • I know it may seem that way but I really don’t shop that much. The physical going out and shopping endlessly for whatever (even groceries) wears me to a frazzle. When I do hit a store, I just try to keep my eye open for the hidden gems. Lately, there have been a lot of gems.


  7. Pingback: chic~~when to wear an alligator handbag? | vintage french chic

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