Eye Candy: Vintage Bags for $75 & Under

I have a clutch obsession. It started so long ago (way before they were a trend) that I’ve probably amassed at least 50. If you think about it, they are oh-so impractical. Most barely hold my lipstick, a very small wallet, and my BlackBerry, yet I covet them like no other accessory. My favorites are of course from my grandmother’s closet … the perfect caramel-colored snakeskin, the beyond-chic black lizard frame bag with gold hardware and the white Gucci, lapis-embellished masterpiece … OK, that one is in mom’s closet, but I get to borrow. That said, I also have quite a collection of fab finds that cost me about $50 each. So here goes — I am about to give away one of my favorite little secrets.

A few years ago, I happened upon the best vintage and vintage-inspired accessory store in the city, Eye Candy. In Noho, on Lafayette, right about Houston, the space totals about 100 square feet (no joke). It is a recessionista’s clutch heaven. I have yet to buy a bag that cost me more then $75, and the ones I own rival the best of the $300-and-up set. I get compliment after compliment. The biggest crowd pleaser is probably my cherry-red, plastic-tiled, 1960s clutch; it is beyond unique and can actually hold a full-size wallet comfortably. I also proudly rock a slightly tough, faux snakeskin number — the perfect compliment to any outfit. On a recent visit, I found a super-hot fuchsia clutch (a huge spring trend) for $45, a couple of sleek black patent envelope styles for about $65, and some great pale-toned skin bags for $75. The bag selection is vast, and they have several great top-handle and frame bags as well. They are mounted on the walls and on every shelf, so be sure to dig so you don’t miss a thing.

For me it is all about the bags, but if you truly love throwback style, they also have a chic vintage shoe collection. They stock authentic versions from the 30s to the 50s that are truly for the super-cool downtown girl. And it doesn’t end there. They also have the best antique glove selection in the city, and the vitrines are packed with hundreds of glitzy, glam jewels … the cocktail rings are standouts. Finally, Eye Candy is fedora heaven, so if you need the perfect hipster topper, this is your place. Now if you are thinking that the store must be a total mess, I promise you that they display everything in a way that’s more a feast for the eyes, than a flea-market headache … truly eye candy!

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