By: Revanche

Holy Grail of Bags

April 30, 2008

After confessing to carrying around a bright pink mini-messenger bag, I’ve shamed myself into admitting that it’s time to find a grown up bag. The problem is that I want to find The Perfect Bag that will suit every need and circumstance, and thereby prevent me from having to buy another bag for at least five or ten years. Not too big, not too soft, but juuuust right.

This could take a while. I spent an hour looking at bags at to get an idea of the shapes and sizes I like. While I knew there were a few features that I liked, I haven’t ever committed to an actual list of requirements, and keep ending up with a variety of low-end, good-enough-for-now bags.

1. A flap, or zip top to ensure the safety of the contents, from thieves and the rain. I hate it when my planner gets soaked because I’ve got an “open face” bag.
2. An outside zipper pocket for keys, iPod, lip balm or phone. Whatever I happen to want easy access to at the moment. Preferably not completely flat against the side so that the item doesn’t have to be forcibly stuffed into the pocket, nor will it create an unsightly bulge.
3. A wide bottom. Preferably at least 5″, if not a little more.
4. Lightweight. I’m already going to be lugging a bunch of stuff around IN the bag, I don’t need to start off tipping the scales with the bag alone.
5. Of course, this is contradicting the previous item, but I’d like the material to be leather, or something that looks very much like it. I know leather’s not the only quality material, but a nice leather will wear well through the years.
6. Between 13-16″ in length, and at least 8″ in height. I should to be able to fit a folder in there to keep my paperwork from getting beat up.
7. Sleek lines.
8. Longer straps so the bag can go on my shoulder.

1. A ton of buckles, chains, trendy little clip ons, prints, or any other faddish sort of thing. I want this to be a classy timeless bag.
2. Hard straps with an inflexible material inside. I had a really nice leather bag a few years ago, but the materials used inside the straps were hard which made them look nice, but they cut into my shoulders horribly, until they gave into the constant use and just broke. Then the straps looked awful because the leather bent and creased around the broken bits. It looked like chunks of pipe inside a sock.
3. Easily damaged material, inside or out. I’m hard on my things, and expect them to stand up under heavy use and travel. It also drives me nuts when they use a really cheap poly/nylon fabric inside, either as lining or for the pockets, and it frays or spontaneously develops holes.
4. Center divider pocket. Can’t stand ’em.

So what might this most awesome of bags look like? I really like the Diane Von Furstenberg shape and size, from the Runway Luggage Collection, but can’t see spending $100 on a nylon tote bag. On the other hand, is it unlikely that I’ll find a bag that’s light enough for my taste (no more than a pound), in the size I want, in leather?

These models from Talene Reilly are very close to what I’m looking for, but I think they all have that center protective pocket that I don’t like. Oh, and they’re 4x as much as I’m willing to spend.

The first one is Sydney. She’s 15″ x 14″ x 4.5″ with a 9.5″ handle drop. The second one is Reese. She’s 16″ x 13″ x 5″ with a 10.5″ handle drop. Actually, I think Reese may not qualify because I can’t tell if the top closes securely.

And this is what their interiors look like.

Edit: Since I wrote this post, the Diane von Furstenberg bag has been reduced to $45. I think it’s still a bit pricey. I’d use a gift card, am I setting my standards too high and price point too low?

4 Responses to “Holy Grail of Bags”

  1. Sense says:

    TJ maxx, marshalls, Ross…they all usually have a few high-end bags for cheap. and you’d get to touch.

  2. ~sense~ You’re right, of course. Our local Ross and Marshalls are pretty lackluster, though, so what I should try is salting away a little money, and hitting one of the premium outlets the next time I drive up to see BF.

  3. I like the Sydney one.. but you’re right – all those points make sense to me.. except my bags need to be able to hold a fat laptop LOL + accessories.. so I tend to go backpack or laptop bag..

  4. ~FB~ I’ve already got a laptop-safe backpack, but because I don’t have to lug the lappy around much anymore, I finally have the option of a bag just for my stuff ‘n’ me 🙂

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