Q. Hi Jordan,
I have been searching for a do-it-all, fairly good-looking bag for day-to-day work and gym stuff. I have been looking for what seems like forever, but can’t seem to find anything. I have even started looking into diaper bags, which is totally absurd, given my baby status is next to zero.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
A. The perfect tote can be hard to find, but a little searching is worth it…because once you make that purchase, you use the thing every day. Forever.
I get it: you want it to be classic enough to go with everything, stylish enough for work (but casual enough to throw all your day-to-day junk into), and lightweight enough when empty that you can actually carry the thing around when it’s full.
I think I have the perfect bag for you: the Ellington Mia Tote (which you can see on me here) is kind of amazing. It has a great shape and cute brushed gold details…and is nylon twill, so it’s both easy-to-clean and really lightweight – you can barely feel the thing on when it’s not filled. One more plus: you can carry it as shown, or use the strap that comes with the bag to transform it into a crossbody.
If you’d prefer a leather bag, my honest advice is to go for quality: a great leather bag will hold its shape even when subjected to a bit of abuse, and will not only look fine as the months (and years) pass…but will actually look better. Cooler, in any case.
What I use for my all-around-town needs: Foley and Corinna’s Jet Set Tote in black (I also love it in red). At $450 it’s most certainly an investment, but this is exactly what I’m talking about when I say that a really good bag can be worth the price: this one is never going to go out of style, wears really nicely (the leather is stiff at first, but softens up over time), and is roomy without being bulky. It’s not enormous inside - I always end up overstuffing it on long flights – but it is expandable, and I like that a couple of clicks make it look more streamlined on days when I don’t have too much stuff to tote around.
One note: this bag does not come with a long strap, so if you’re looking for a style that can convert to a crossbody, this isn’t it.
Another idea for you: Kate Spade’s Nylon Harmony Baby Bag (great shape; lightweight; love the stripe). I know: diaper bag, but you’re right to consider them, because a) there are very few things that separate great diaper bags from great totes, and b) diaper bags often have handy extra compartments and come in washable fabrics.
Hope that helps! Happy shopping .