What makes an everyday bag good?
This is a public post from The Breakdown, a usually subscriber-only franchise that explores what makes wardrobe basics good. To read the last of its kind, click here.
Per the titular question:
Durability — can you use it for all kinds of inclement weather? Throw it around, beat it up if you must?
Size — can it carry all the shit you need on a given weekday?
Style — do you like how it looks? Is it comfortable and easy to use?
Price — doy!
Here I am, dressed in a version of the outfit I always default to when it’s warm enough to free-leg and cool enough to wear a sweater or jacket but not really both.
Here is another for the same kind of weather: warm enough for bare legs or sandals, cool enough to require a jacket.
And here is still another.
..To demonstrate the range of occasions for which an everyday bag really is for, you know, every day.
The bag itself is bigger than it seems in the photos, which is part of what I like about it: flimsy enough to collapse into something smaller-than-huge when filled with nothing but a phone and two books (above with the green skirt). Still big enough, though, to fit a laptop (13-inch) with the phone and two books (directly above, in half lunge) — or separately, too, all the shit you could possibly need in a day with twin toddlers on your tats (below).
Here’s the deconstruction of that description:
As another added bonus, the teeny-tiny back zipper can adequately handle all of my belongings
The ratios are a metaphor, really, for being a parent — you giving up all your space so your kids can learn about their own “taking up space” — but maybe this specific kind of unpacking is too divergent for one e-mail.
Here is a numerical explanation of what makes the bag good, informed by four separate scales from 1-10.
On durability: 6/10. Because I’m thinking about popular opinion and it is a suede bag. I actually prefer the suede. The rain marks are never as bad as they warn they will be and the scuffs actually age it nicely. But if you prefer not suede, that version exists (here) too.
On size: 10/10. For the reasons mentioned above re: collapsing in a nice way when not full and also the part about laptop and toddler tits. I mean tats. I’m routinely surprised still when my laptop just like, fits in it. Also, flat shoulder strap for maximum comfort and doesn’t slip off overcoat.
On style: 9/10. Reminds me a bit of the Proenza Schoulder PS1, which was one of my favorite bags, but is more discreet — no hardware or branding save for a minor imprint.
Also good: the personality straps that dangle from under the top flap and down the shoulder but do think I’d have preferred slightly more structure, like maybe the faintest layer of bonding fabric between the blocks of suede.
On price: 10/10. But this is subjective — bags can cost a lot, so maybe I am jaded in my thinking that one such contender for an everyday non-tote clocking in at under $400 is competitive.
Do you ever think about how you quantify what is worth the spend and what is not? It's usually about what the thing I’m buying comes to represent for me — and how that makes me feel. By which answer, I just learned I measure value emotionally. A double-edged tool to be sure! What’s your process like?
+1 because the bag’s not branded and like I’ve said, ~*~not knowing is a new kind of luxury.~*~
Here are some other ideas if this particular bag is not for you but still you need a carryall to carry all.
And this one ($145 - $235) from NST Studio comes in plenty of fabric options.
If you don’t wear leather but need to fit a laptop: I like this flannel one — $285 — from Rue de Verneuil.
If you prefer a tote: Here is a more structured approach from Staud.
It reminds me of the tulip tote from Gabriel for Sach, which comes in a range of sizes.
My least price-efficient suggestion is this nylon crossbody from The Row. Seems like it would be easy/comfortable to wear, fit a lot, and not be impossible to fish a stray key from the bottom.
Ok! That concludes this thing. Questions? Comments? Thoughts? Hit reply! Signing off now,