As the Real Housewives of New York's Dorinda Medley once subtweeted
Luann, "Money speaks—wealth whispers." It's a sage maxim that means: Stop bragging about how much cash you're worth, you're not a Countess anymore, Luann! It also means: Luxury is not a look. It's a lifestyle. Is your lifestyle whispering wealth, or breathing very quietly, trying not to attract attention?
Consider the cosmetic case, because it hardly gets considered at all. The second most underappreciated of all the Small Leather Goods next to luggage tags, it ranks low on the list of things you're likely to buy with your federal tax return money—because unless you're an Insta-famous traveler, very few people are going to see it. But in a way, that's the most glamorous thing of all, right? Having nice things without flaunting them to pedestrians? Knowing inherently that the deepest, most intimate part of your home—whatever drawer your Q-tips are in—is chock full of fine leather goods? That is the essence of class.
Look at your makeup bag, the one you may have had since you were in college, and consider trading in some hard-earned cash for a new one—if only so that when your houseguests snoop through your bathroom cabinet, they see it and say, "Wow, I didn't think [your name here] was fancy, but boy, was I wrong!" This is what it'll say back:
What it says: "Superior taste permeates every membrane of my existence."
As the name suggests, Building Block is an indie leatherware brand that challenges both shape and form with its ultra-contemporary range of accessories. The Large Brick Doppler is almost a feat of architecture, from the clean, sleek silhouette, to the way the bag transforms when it's unzipped. Hands down, most un-boring black kit there is.
What it says: "$$$$$$$$$$$$$$"
Imagine traveling back in time to your 3rd grade self and showing them the evolution of their Fivestar—no longer nylon, now in supple leather with sterling hardware. Picture the stupefaction of yesteryou as current you unloads all three sizes from within each other, like nesting dolls, and then probably has to explain what an eyelash curler is. You'll learn when you're older.
What it says: "I have a vintage sensibility," or "I'm a man."
A prewar toiletry case updated with postwar magnets and removable lining. It's also yuuuge—perfect for people who like to easily justify toting around their whole beauty situation.
What it says: "Hi!"
Anya Hindmarch is a leather goods brand with a sense of humor—and her cosmetic bags are most coveted for their specific flavor of luxurious whimsy. The Kawaii is both fresh for the season and the fucking cutest. How can you say no?
Away Hardsided Mini Travel Case
What it says: "Nothing to see here, friendly TSA agent."
The miniature toiletry case from Pop and Suki's color collaboration with luggage brand Away was, unfortunately, a one-off and is not available for purchase. I'm sorry! But it's the perfect powder millenial pink and an absolute dream to travel with, shrouding your essentials in a durable clam shell. Too good not to include. And if we've learned anything from the Bibliothèque fragrance, a little inquiry goes a long way. Click here to fill their customer service inbox. :)
Photographed by Tom Newton.