I’m Ditching the Tote Bag – One Bag is Better Than Two | Fashion
EEveryone has a bit (OK, at least a bit) of the old normal that they never want to return to. Three-day girls’ weekends, perhaps, or sweat-filmed gym equipment from strangers. For me, oddly enough, it’s a fashion thing. What I never, ever want to go back to is carrying an extra bag.
For years I have been a woman committed to overflowing bags. You know the type – wallet, phone and lip balm in her smart purse or crossbody bag, but with a bumpy tote bag slung over her shoulder. This bag could hold, say, my gym trainers and a garden trowel I needed to return to a friend, or a book I was determined to finish before book club and a plastic pot of risotto from last night eating at my desk while finishing said book in a 15-minute micro-lunch break.
When I only worked from home, I didn’t need a splash bag. I barely needed a handbag. Now that I’m back in the office once in a while, I don’t want to go back to going through every commute looking like I’ve broken my bags after returning from a weekend mini-break. I want to at least aim for balance – and saying goodbye to a cheap, uncomfortable bag that gives me back pain is a start.
In the age of hybrid working, what is the perfect hybrid handbag? I support a structured tote. Something spacious, but soft and light. This is where you think: OK, okay, I have a bunch of stuffed fabric tote bags in the kitchen drawer…
I’m sorry to tell you that’s not what I’m talking about. Those soft fabric things? Nope. It’s a catch-all, but it’s not the answer to your hybrid prayers. Your hybrid handbag needs some seriousness. This should help you feel like your day is manageable and your schedule is in control. Leather or what young people call “vegan leather” (faux leather for old people) is fine.
The Telfar Tote, otherwise known as the Brooklyn Birkin, is getting a lot of reactions from those who think it’s too cool for school, but in its lightweight construction, comfortable handles and well-designed pockets. thoughts, it’s damn close to perfect. Kurt Geiger’s recycled square tote, made of quilted recycled black nylon, has a pleasantly Prada-like vibe for a fraction of the price.
You don’t want a lot of bells and whistles, but a few punctuation details – a bit of hardware, maybe where the straps join the bag, like on All Saints’ Edbury shoulder bag – are good. Boden and Jigsaw are good labels to try. Rather than shelling out for a logo, consider investing in your own initials. There are some great monogrammed leather bags on Etsy.
I don’t have any etiquette snob bones in my body, but a snapping shoulder strap can derail a whole day and a well-thought-out bag – comfortable straps, secure interior pockets – is essential. Preloved is a no-brainer. That gorgeous porrid leather that Mulberry uses looks more refined the older it gets – the Dorset tote, with the postman’s lock for added security, is well worth tracking down on Vestiaire Collective or wherever you get your favorite fashion.
The right bag is simple, really. It should feel as natural to pick up the days when you leave the kitchen table to go out for a pint of milk as it does in the meeting room when you drop into the office. This should help you feel well-dressed in a restaurant and comfortable enough to walk home, shoes permitting. He must do everything, without trying to do everything at once. Can we make this the new normal please?