The removable nylon strap is as thoughtfully designed as the rest of it. Nearly every purse I have, despite the style, has similar straps—thin and uncomfortable, usually made of some type of faux leather that eventually cracks. This one, though, is sewn into padded tubing. It’s functional, so it doesn’t dig painfully into your shoulder, but also adds an extra element to an otherwise simple design—it looks sporty, but also like a pretty woven element. It also seems like it can withstand a good amount of weight and pulling without snapping.
When fully expanded, it’s long enough to wear as a cross-body, but I do wish it got slightly shorter at its smallest. I was hoping for a bag to sit directly under my arm, and this one is just a little longer than that. (Reviews editor Adrienne So switches out her purse straps for guitar straps from Etsy, but that’s more of a daytime look.)
At either end of that strap, the metal clasps are attached using faux leather made from nopal cactus. The rest of the bag is made from sustainable materials, too. The exterior and strap is made from recycled nylon and the lining is recycled polyester with a jacquard hummingbird print. As a bird lover, I appreciate that little detail every time I open the bag. The zipper pulls also get the same hummingbird imprint.
The Nouvelle comes in a few colors, but I particularly like that there are three black options: one with gunmetal accents, one with silver, and one with gold that also gets a purple lining. The other colors—navy, tan, and ivory—have gold hardware.
I had never tried the brand before now, but other WIRED writers have liked and recommended Lo & Sons bags for years, including the Hanover 2 backpack and Pearl cross-body. Whatever size or style, every piece of the design is meant to work in both beauty and function. It doesn’t work if it’s pretty but unbearable to carry all day, or if it fits a weekend’s worth of items but looks like a sack.
Lo & Sons is a family brand started by, you guessed it, two sons, who partnered with their retired mom in an attempt to make her the perfect bag. She wanted something that could travel well without being frumpy, heavy, or, as they perfectly describe, a “pocketless black hole” (also known as the purse where your things go to die). Several prototypes later, the O.G. was born. We haven’t tried it or its second iteration, but it has a similar shape and design to the Nouvelle sans the unique strap, in a larger size meant for travel.
As a TJ Maxx girl, I normally shy away from accessories that cost even close to triple digits. It feels good to save money, but I end up with cheaply made bags that don’t last long. The search for the perfect bag is, perhaps, a futile one. I’m not sure a single purse works for every situation, need, and style, but for me, the Lo & Sons Nouvelle comes close.