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Are The Big Statement It Bags Dead?

Every day my email Inbox is flooded with newsletters, bulletins and reports from the fashion, beauty. hair and related industries.

Yes, it's a full time job staying current on constantly changing trends, but very necessary if you own a business or write a related blog.

(Image of Lady GaGa with her customized Birkin "it" bag - DC Media - All Rights Reserved)

Although's business is focused more on hair and beauty lines, we do tip toe through the accessories world with our massive collection of hair accessories, small fashion items and some handbags.

Even though we never got into the big ticket "it" handbags, I have always watched their rise and fall from the sidelines.  I've also had a front row seat as the recession hit and the sales of those iconic bags (and related accessories) hit the skids.

Personally I have only two handbags with any name cred and neither is truly an "it" bag.  I have a beautiful black leather Coach hobo which was a birthday gift a few years back.  The bag have been through the wars with me and is probably bullet proof, but I don't want to tempt fate.

I also have a LuLu Guiness collection bag which was a Christmas gift several years ago.  The LuLu bag is more fragile, but so beautifully quirky I love having it. I don't carry it except for special occasions, but it is definitely fun to have.

Of course I never take either bag on my regular business trips.  I usually lug a no-name hobo version I purchased for under $50 at the local JC Penny's or Kohls.  I don't care if those bags get eaten on the security conveyors belts, get stepped on in the under seat storage areas of the planes or get mashed in the rental cars.

But I digress.  It seems most bag focused accessory consumers like me have dumped the idea of the impracticality and big expense of the "it" bags for more practical and affordable bags.

Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, NPD Group said "it sure looks like the recession took a big bite out of big accessories."

Marshal noted "statement pieces have given way to more affordable, practical small leather goods like wallets and phone cases. I'd say this is a clear sign of the shift consumers are making from ‘conspicuous consumption' to ‘calculated consumption.'"

Yes, I would totally agree.  The way consumers have shifted their buying focus from "it" bags to cute, but affordable hand bags has been the rule in all areas of hair, beauty and personal care categories.

Will the "it" bags return to their pre-recession dominance?  Hard to say, but it will be interesting to see if the new Sex And The City 2 (SATC2) movie triggers any new name accessory buying sprees in the near future.  While I think the impact of the recession is lessening on consumer buying patterns, I don't think we're out of the woods yet.

What do you think?  I would love to hear your opinions.  Will the "it" bag return to the top of the handbag heap anytime soon?  Or ever?

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