Arm Candy

Everyone wants a new pursefor Christmas this year, or for Hanukkah, or for Kwanzaa—or just because they want a new purse and think you should buy it for them.

Purses are still the it fashion accessory, maybe always will be. They occupy a fashion niche roughly similar to the hats of the 1950s, a gray decade when the husband carried all the money and the wife couldn't leave the house without a hat—so she made damn sure he paid for it and you saw it. Purses are just that important and visible: the beraccessory, every bit as overdesigned and spendy as the hat ever was.

Which makes it vital for you to beat the triple- and quadruple-digit prices bandit designers are charging for what are often just oversized wallets. Enter, an amazing website in part because it's amazing no one thought of it before.

Bagborroworsteal offers your old lady a chance to roll like Paris Hilton: you subscribe at rates ranging from $20 to $100 per month, and she can rent/borrow as many designer purses as she wants—one at a time—for an additional $9.95 shipping charge. That's literally all you pay, which is cheap for a designer purse. The website charges the shipping to your credit card and sends her the purse, and everybody wins. She carries it until everyone sees it—12, 18 hours maybe, in the real Orange County—then ships it back, and they UPS her a new one.

What do they have? Chic little Donna Karan New York baguette purses; gaudy Dooney & Bourke bags all festooned with their logo; retro self-referential carry-alls from Lulu Guinness; jewel-encrusted Baby Phat examples that, like designer Kimora Lee Simmons, should already be ironic but somehow aren't. All the usual suspects for cheap. Did I mention that already?

Your options can get a bit more pricey, though; if she spills an appletini on her rent-a-purse or—more likely—falls in love with it, you might have to buy it outright. Fortunately, this kind of love means never having to pay full price: Bagborroworsteal flogs its designer duds at discounts.

And everybody still wins: carrying the Audi TT of handbags makes it up to her for driving a Camry—and this Christmas, you beat Neiman Marcus at its own game. Someday, you'll have to pop for another overpriced arm ornament, but not today.


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