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Runway/Real Way: How to pull off printed bags

Bags designed for function often fall into the boring black-briefcase category or, worse, its frumpier cousin: the laptop satchel proportioned to pack a two-inch-thick Thinkpad from 1995. This season, though, the market is rife with totes that can carry all your work gear while still looking sharp. Spring's best versions come in graphic blackand- white prints and are pretty and practical enough for either the office or the beach.

Runway

Matching a boldly printed bag to your dress makes a strong statement – maybe one that’s better left on the runway. The handle on the version shown at the Ralph Lauren spring 2014 show is quite short. 


Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Real way

A colourful dress and updated trench are far more practical. A longer strap allows you to carry an overloaded bag on your shoulder.While tonal purists will want to stick to a strictly black-and-white scheme, there’s no reason why the print can’t be offset by leather in another neutral hue.

Trench coat, $275 at Banana Republic 

(www.bananarepublic.gapcanada.ca).

Alice + Olivia dress, $385, Dooney & Bourke tote bag, $198 at Hudson’s Bay (www.thebay.com).

Styling by Odessa Paloma Parker. Hair and makeup by Cody Alain for

TRESemmé Hair Care/M.A.C Cosmetics/P1M.ca.

Photographed on location at Bensimon Byrne (www.bensimonbyrne.com).

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