A reader wrote to me last week the most wonderful email asking for guidance on bags:
My objective is better health, simpler living and good clothing choices that are interchangeable and comfortable. May I ask what you would suggest for 3 (three) basic multi-functional purses that can be used for daytime?
Her objective resonates with me deeply, and I kept that in mind as I thought of her question. I approached it, of course, from my style perspective (she also prefers black though!), and with the ultimate goal of finding bags that are very high quality workmanship, beautiful, and effortless to use/wear.
If I were building a bag wardrobe from scratch, I would indeed choose one small(er) crossbody bag, one shoulder bag, and one tote that would be appropriate for work (lugging a laptop) AND travel as a multifunctional carry-on.
The smaller, crossbody bag could be for quick trips where nothing much is needed, but should still be practical (have pockets). It could also be used for vacation when you don’t want to carry everything but the kitchen sink, and still want to stay organized.
1 Marsell mini Punta shoulder/crossbody bag | $638
2 Proenza Schouler PS11 (pre-loved) | $316
3 Issey Miyake Bao Bao small prism crossbody | $350
4 Marni Bandolier (pre-loved) | $500
5 Tumi Capri crossbody bag | $195
6 Alexander Wang Crossbody bag | $495
7 Stella McCartney small tote/foldover crossbody | $995
I have been looking for a smaller bag that I can wear crossbody for ages, so I got really excited about rounding up my favorites here; I would really love to carry less on some occasions, and a smaller bag I can wear across my body, but haven’t found the right one yet. I actually will be getting the Tumi bag, as a vacation/travel bag (I have resisted Tumi generally because of the brass/shiny hardware, so I appreciate that this one has subdued hardware). And if money was no object, I would get the Stella McCartney bag for sure.
Everyone has such different needs when it comes to bags, but I think there’s one for everyone here 🙂 The Alexander Wang for a little edge, and lots of zippered pockets, The Issey Miyake for Japanese simplicity, Marsell or Marni for effortless chic, Italian Style LOL. And Proenza Schouler for beautiful hardware.
Tote – for work/computer/travel, somewhat structured, with pockets. My heart loves the Feit and the Agnes Badoo bags the best here, but for practicality’s sake, nothing beats Lo & Sons. I wouldn’t carry this tote as a backpack necessarily, but I love that it’s convertible should I want that option, and that it has an insert to keep your computer padded and pockets for other things. Bonus that it’s made from recycled polyester and that it slips on suitcase handles. (I love my Lo & Sons backpack for travel).
Shoulder bag for day : I am very very very very particular about what I carry everyday. I generally prefer a shoulder bag with one strap, an outside pocket, but I also like the bag to have shorter handles to use the bag by hand. I do LOVE a good hobo bag that has a little structure at the bottom. My Transience bag suits me very nicely for a hobo bag, and as you may be aware, I mostly carry a Marsell Dritta 4 bag everyday; it is my holy grail bag.
These are a mix of slouchy and structured, depending on your preference. I love the Are bag and think that would be a wonderful daily bag if you like a little slouch. The Crescioni bag is just beautiful, and could also be worn crossbody. Of course, I love James Perse’s canvas…it holds up nicely to wear, although it’s not as easy to clean as it should be.
Do you have a “bag wardrobe” of several bags you interchange depending on your needs? What are your favorite bags?
Any other suggestions??