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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Would-Be Bag Lady

See, this is why we can't have nice things.

I realized early last week that the little grey fringe purse I bought in January was finally giving up the ghost -- it was ripping at the strap and if I wasn't quick to retire it, there could have been an upset. To say the least. Plus, honestly, as much as I liked it, it had its issues where the indigo from my jeans was rubbing off onto it (bogus!) within a week of buying it, the "leather" was wearing away, etc. etc.

Then, when you take into consideration that lead has been found in non-leather bags from places like H&M, Macys, Forever 21, Target, etc... Yeah, I've been saying for months that I need to buy a "grown-up lady bag".

But here's the other issue: I am not very gentle with my things. And so while I'll coo and pet a soft real-leather bag, the price tag will make me stop because a. yikes price tag and b. yikes price tag for something I will likely beat to hell. I can't do suede anything due to the fact that I am often out in the weather, patent isn't so hot either, it can't be too small (can't fit anything) or too big (if I can fit everything, I will TAKE and CARRY everything), and so forth.

So, here are the requirements for a bag that I'd like to have:

- Preferably an across-the-body strap, so it doesn't fall off my shoulder. A shoulder bag will sometimes slip.
- Basic enough that I can wear it anywhere (granted, I am currently toting around a bright turquoise bag, and also have a cobalt blue and a black-and-red striped bag, so it doesn't need to be *subtle*, necessarily)
- can hold an iPhone, my giant sunglasses case, my wallet, my keys, my transit pass holder, ten bajillion lip balms, innumerable wadded up receipts, pens, a pocket mirror, my camera/Flip, and a Moleskine. It should not be able to fit my skates as I will certainly attempt to stuff them in there if there's even a possibility they will fit.
- does not contain a black hole wherein my keys/transit pass holder/wallet/iPhone disappear into whenever I open up my bag in search of said item
- quality enough that it lasts throughout my abuse, but not uber-expensive
- not covered in visible logos -- I'd be willing to consider name brand stuff, but I'm not big on letters and monograms all over my person.

I met up with L. over the weekend, and she was toting around the very cute Andes Day Bag by Hideo Wakamatsu. It would definitely suit my purposes and fill many of my requirements, but it seems almost too... something. I want to say "casual", because it's kind of like a messenger bag. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but that's not 100% what I'm looking for.

Karen and I have been sighing over the Proenza Schouler PS1 bags since j'adore couture's love letter in November, but I absolutely cannot make it happen financially. So it's something I just keep somewhere in the hazy back of my mind as a "oh, if only". (That said, if I did get it, I would NEVER BUY ANOTHER PURSE AGAIN.)

I am considering Longchamp, but more the leather type versus the nylon Le Pliage, as there are no interior pockets in the Le Pliage and thus everything would be in one jumble and I couldn't ever find anything in there. I think the whole Longchamp 4x4 line is very much along the lines of what I like, but it's something I'd probably need to see in person. And still, ouch on the price tag, but investment piece and so on and so forth.

Naturally, I could just dive into Etsy, but I just don't know where to start there, and, well, I know I can find adorable bags a-go-go, but just not the sort I'm looking for right now. It's something to think about too. Obviously I'm not making any decisions today (or tomorrow, or this week), but it's, again, somewhere in the hazy back of my mind. I'm not looking for an It Bag, I'm looking for *my* bag.

What are the qualifications for a great bag for you? Have you found it? Do you have any recommendations for places I should be looking or brands I should be checking out?

images from hideowakamatsu.com, barneys.com, longchamp.com


Bridget said...

I really like Chrome:


They are REALLY sturdy...I bought one over two years ago, and it still looks new even though I stuff farmer's market food in it every week, as well as my laptop case and binders and all sorts of other things.

Anonymous said...

I think you should check out harvey's seatbelt bags. Not leather but super cool and durable. I have two and absolutely love them.

Sushu Xia said...

My requirements:
- has outside access to keys and pens
- doesn't look like a pocket bazaar on the outside
- preferably not across-the-body because then there's the "between or over?" boob issue
- machine washable
- can hold all my stuff, which currently includes:

- swiss army knife
- dental floss
- tissue pack
- small unlined notebook
- wallet
- camera
- cell phone
- emergency medical/feminine supplies
- keys
- pens, receipts, random notes
- folded grocery bag
- umbrella in the winter

Currently using random bag I bought for $14.

Darci said...

If you're interested in something that would be organized AND stylish, look at Butler Bags. I heart mine.


Jeanne said...

Wow, lots of bag fans!

I do like Chrome bags, Bridget! The Chrome store is local (Karen and I walked by it this past weekend), and I definitely need to go check their stuff out. They're all over San Francisco, and I've been thinking about one for a while. My traveling backpack is nearly eight years old now (!!), so I totally need an upgrade.

Anonymous, very cute! I love the plain black "Carriage" ones. I'm definitely willing to consider non-leather. Five internal pockets? That's awesome!

Sush, I don't mind the boob issue so much as the shoulder strap falling off my arm all of the time. But machine washable, totally true and important.

Oh man, Darci, that is way more organized than I could ever be, but that is awesome! I will definitely keep the Butler bags in mind -- no black holes there!

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