Book on Your Bag

It’s like wearing your heart on your sleeve.


Olympia Le Tan clutches available at Luisa Via Roma and Net-a-Porter.

Man Repeller officially feels like an extensive catalog of product reviews choc full of inconsequential stories about cats biting through flesh and, this just in: book bags, literally. My birthday was last week and as such, I received a box tied with a fancy satin ribbon from a fancy (per)man (friend.) Contents included the book bag in question. I wasn’t particularly surprised (and will admit there were blatant ulterior motives behind my crafting a very timely “holiday gift guide” strategically published just eight days before I would turn 24.) That wouldn’t deduct from my enthusiasm over the prospect of cost-free ownership though. As a long time lurker, first time proprietor, how could it?

Our first meeting was very brief. I was walking through my friend’s shiny new store when I saw a collection of needlepoint books propped up on a shelf amid a flurry of golden baubles. How ironically timeless and novel, I thought–a needlepoint book cover! On a separate occasion weeks later, when the friend in question pulled out from her needlepoint book cover a lipstick, I learned it was actually a functional clutch, by Olympia Le Tan, and that’s when I got excited.

“Excitement” is underwhelming by the standards of our vernaculars, and the maniacal pace at which we defile the word considering the vast, whole and eager enthusiasm that its meant to suggest, is a shame. Sure, there’s elation, there’s ecstasy–I have a bank of alternate words, too–but isn’t there something to be said on the pillar-esque nature of excitement? Can you recall the last time you felt it? Really I-can’t-think-about-anything-but-this-excitement excited? How about the last time it was pertaining to fashion? Unpack that.

For me, it’s been months. Maybe I’m jaded. Or maybe the over-saturation in conjunction with reblogging, reposting, repinning, retweeting has exploited my interests so comprehensively, I can’t help shrug. I’m not sure–what I do know is that these clutches have instigated a new brand of I’m-going-to-do-whatever-I-can-to-get-my-hands-on-this-baby excitement. And not because this is a game of Who Can Conquer The Novelty Quickest. No, this about the suggestive undertone of a high-fashion, uber-literate statement. The key to success seems to be inducing that why didn’t I think of that! feeling. But really, it’s so simple–why didn’t I think of illustrating my favorite book covers and turning them into a bevy of sizable minaudieres?

I  appreciate Le Tan’s nod to something a bit more cerebral. Though photographed are simply some of the most kitschy of her designs, there is some real projection waiting to be had in the roster of covers she’s already tackled. It’s a pity that fashion is sometimes marginalized and reduced to full-functioning idiocy when in effect what manifests are some really fucking smart broads using hemlines and the fundamental differences between a wedge and stiletto as fair vehicles to express pretty profound intellect. Maybe wearing our favorite books on our sleeves will plant us more firmly on a road to somewhere great.

Now, where’s the Notes From Undergound cover?

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  • Madame Ostrich

    Amazing! Have a very Merry Christmas, Leandra!

    XxMadame Ostrich

  • Style-Squared by Z&M

    This is some cool stuff!!

  • Maria Medik
  • Love them!

    Merry Christmas!

    Take part in our Christmas GIVEAWAY! Details on

  • Hersheykiss

    Wow, you just always manage to find the weirdest, most unique, amazing things! Thank you for introducing me to new products every single day have a happy christmas!

  • Sophie Lewis

    I have been seeing these everywhere and I think they are pretty much the coolest clutches I have ever seen. Congrats on getting one as a gift! I would love the Cather In the Rye. xx

  • =^..^=

    Yo, Sis: Your Man gave you the best one of them all : “Paris” fits you to a tee !

    Ho HO HO to you & all fellow Repellers out there ! 😀

  • Bonnie, Clyde + Marni
  • Ghazal

    The whole idea is just bizarre to me! For someone who has read ‘the catcher is the rye’ many many times it seems a bit ‘phony’ to be carrying these clutches which cost around $1500. I find it hard to believe J.D. Salinger would have approved of using the name and cover of his book to sell this idea of ‘coolness’! it’s just bizarre.

  • Agnieszka

    Although I love the idea, the Net-a-Porter prices of these babies are just crazy. That’s why few weeks ago I made my own Olympia Le-Tan inspired diy book-clutch-bag and it actually does the job. Check this out

  • Dahlia Jacob
  • Dahlia Jacob

    Love your posts, brilliant and comedic-everyday. love from a fellow fashion blogger…

  • High-fashion and uber-literate. I’ve got to say, that’s a winning combination if I’ve ever seen one.

    Cheers, Elizabeth of The Corner Apartment

  • Denisa

    I really like books. Great inspiration. Have a nice day.

  • rhodawong
  • Sharon Clause

    Haha I think this is so fun. And creative!

  • Dahlia jacob
  • haha i love these!! i just saw a couple on asos (just plain books tho) and was debating if i should get it! couldn’t decide on a color…but now that i’ve seen THESE awesome books…hrmmm….. =]

  • s
  • Tia

    I love the last line of your article…very prolific. I do wonder, though, if these “book bags” are bought based on books that the purchaser has actually read and loved or just would like to make it appear as so, for obvious reasons. Who wouldn’t like to look intellectual AND fashionable?


  • ‎”It’s a pity that fashion is sometimes marginalized and reduced to full-functioning idiocy when in effect what manifests are some really fucking smart broads using hemlines and the fundamental differences between a wedge and stiletto as fair vehicles to express pretty profound intellect.” BEST QUOTE EVER.

  • Courtney Straney

    Killing two birds with one stone, I suppose! Although, it adds a little something that’s never been visited before! Personally, I love it!

  • Bird

    i’m overly excited that an uber-literate stills exists in fashion (you, stephanie lacava, and olympia are some of the people who i look up to the most) and i certainly i agree with you that fashion is reduced to idiocy sometimes, but these clutches prove that it is as genius as any other art or industry.

  • Fabita Punk

    iIt took me a while to realize that those were bags =O Awesome idea…

  • thecaroshow

    love this …. and btw Kate Spade makes awesome, more affordable versions of this same concept. True story!

  • Nixpickz on Etsy

    I make book clutches that are just as adorable for far more affordable prices. Check them out:

  • Oooh, I love that Rouge in Love clutch! That being said, carrying classic lit seems a bit douchey. However, I do love fairy tale book clutches. I’m actually dying to buy the Alice in Wonderland clutch shown here:

    I figure if these ever start to look totally ridic (given that the trend is now 4 years old) I could always use it as a jewelry box since it’s quite structured.