The Fashionista is in – Solving your tote bag dilemmas

Also, American Eagle brings their “A” game to spring

Oh, welcome back to campus my little darlings – I hope you all had a wonderful time catching rays on the beach (or at the tanning booth) and that youâÄôre stepping up your style for spring. (I can only hope; I still see parkas on the street when itâÄôs 65 degrees.) Of course, I do know that March is the snowiest month, so IâÄôm not getting too excited about donning my wardrobe of swingy skirts this month, but I did leave my Ugg boots at home. Grand Forks, ND shopping surprises me Speaking of North Dakota, I spent my spring break in that frozen tundra and since thereâÄôs not a ton of shopping options in Grand Forks (thereâÄôs basically a bad MacyâÄôs, a Gap, and a Wet Seal in the good ole Columbia Mall), I stopped into the 13-year-old version of meâÄôs favorite mall standby: American Eagle. I was anticipating an affront of logo t-shirts and puka shells, but what I actually found was surprising. Their spring stuff is totally adorable. I had my arms full of things I intended to purchase, like a watercolor floral tank top in greys and yellows and a summer necessity, the white sundress (this one has a lovely little lace panel in the back), and a buttercup-yellow lightweight spring scarf, but I left empty-handed due to my mounting Banana Republic bill. (Whoops!) I love it when teenybop chain stores surprise me! Plus, the prices at AE are a little lower than Banana, so I donâÄôt feel so guilty grabbing a sundress for $39.50. AEâÄôs perfectly on point for spring, from Mail time! Remember how I was begging for letters, desperately checking my inbox for any sign from the general populace that they do indeed need my (possibly useful) advice? Well, look whatâÄôs landed in my mail! Hey Kara, My beloved school bag is approaching its last days. I truly love it âÄì versatile, roomy enough to fit all I need for class, easy to carry, seasonless, and casual enough for school! What’s more, it is very representative of my sense of style. So it might be safe to say that I have high standards for its replacement. I’ve been looking at some leather totes and contemplating a classic Longchamp, but these all feel too prim and proper for everyday use. For example, I would feel goofy wearing those bags on the days I rocked my Frye harness boots. I might be ready to let go of my beloved bag in the flesh, but not in the spirit. Can you help me find a reincarnation (in the $150 or less range) that passes scrutiny? Thanks, Backpacks suck Luckily for you, Backpacks, I just checked out the new Felix Rey line of bags at Target and theyâÄôve got this super-cute tote that would definitely fit your needs. ItâÄôs canvas, so itâÄôs sturdy, and the detailing is gold, with a bit of studding for some flair you can definitely pair Fryes with. And the best part? ItâÄôs $39.99. The Longchamp bag is a legit idea, but IâÄôve noticed theyâÄôre almost as popular among the sorority set as Vera Bradley grandma bags were in 2006. American Apparel also has a valid option with their âÄúStag Bag,âÄù priced at $95. ItâÄôs big enough to take along for a weekend away and itâÄôs water repellent, so if it randomly starts pouring one day on the West Bank, your bag is safe. Another thing IâÄôd consider is eBay. You should check out the auctions for a leather Marc by Marc Jacobs tote. You might be able to find one for around $150, if youâÄôre the lucky bidder. And if that doesnâÄôt work, Nordstrom has some Marc by Marc tote bags with cute designs, like this light blue one for $98. Hope I helped! That was so much fun that I could do it all day. Oh, wait. I havenâÄôt gotten any other letters! Now how on earth can we solve this conundrum? LetâÄôs use our higher educations and think: WRITE TO THE FASHIONISTA! IâÄôm just like Dear Abby, only with a better hairdo and a taste for Chanel.