The Mom Bag & My Existential Angst

Mom Bag

It’s time for a new mom bag.  My current one was a little worn when I bought it second-hand two years ago, and it’s positively sad now.

I’ve been saving my pennies.  I want to buy something nice.  Something a cow gave up a whole lotta skin for.  I’ve waited and waited for this day to arrive.  Yet now that I’m ready, I don’t know what to get.  I don’t need a diaper bag right now.  But I need something bigger than a purse.  Something versatile, durable, stylish.

It needs to be a neutral color that I can wear with everything.  But not black, because I wear a lot of navy.  I like a nice, light brown leather.  But I tend to grocery shop with a pen in hand, uncapped.  I always get ink all over my purse.  So my bag needs to be darker.

And of course it needs to be big.  But not too big.

This is too big.

I had my eye on a Longchamp “Le Pliage” in navy blue.  Ink stains wouldn’t show!

But is that yesterday’s “It Bag”?  Or the day before yesterday?  Honestly, I wouldn’t recognize today’s It Bag if you smacked me upside the head with it.  But if I recognize something as trendy, it’s probably on its way out.  (Also, for that much $$–even secondhand–I’d like a little more cow and a bit less nylon.)

Maybe a satchel?  My sister has the cutest satchel that is absolutely to die for (it’s called a hobo, but I think it looks like a satchel).  But they’re hard to find at a reasonable price, even on eBay.  So I’m guessing they’re still a Thing.

I really need a zipper top.  I’d never be able to put a snap-top bag down for a second with my two-year-old around.

Madewell Transport tote: No go.

And let’s talk about brand names.  I dislike displaying flashy logos.  I guess I’m a bit of a reverse snob.

No no no no no no no no no no no.

If I were to get a higher-end, brand-name bag (second-hand, most likely), I probably wouldn’t display the little logo tag. . . . Buuuuut, it wouldn’t bother me too much if someone were to happen to see a very subtle brand name imprinted in small letters on the side.   You know, if it just happened to happen.  It wouldn’t kill me.

I started looking at bags that are super simple.  But where is the line between super simple and super boring?

Simple? Boring? Both?

I’ve also looked at styles that are classic, timeless.

But where is the line between “timeless” and “old lady”?  I trust myself less and less on this point.

What it comes down to is that I’m looking for a bag that will perfectly represent me.  I need a bag that is me.  

But who am I?

I don't really know what kind of girl I am

I’m someone who thinks way too much about a purse.  That’s who I am.

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42 thoughts on “The Mom Bag & My Existential Angst

  1. Do you know anyone who sells Thirty-One? They have some super cute/nice/sturdy/fun/fashionable bags. They tend to have lots if pockets too, which is important to me, so I can find my wallet or whatever quickly without digging through everything.

  2. ThredUp is starting a bag shop (inside their regular website); you might check there. I’m pretty sure they are steering toward the higher end bags as they are collecting now. Just a thought. Personally, I got my hobo at Target and it is synthetic but quite a workhorse. Neutral beige not-leather, snap pockets at the sides and a zip in the middle. I can get a bottle and two sippie cups plus three diapers and wipes and my own stuff into it and not feel like it is overstuffed. It has some nice zipper compartments on the inside of the main area too. Actually, I just found the link here: http://www.target.com/p/merona-large-hobo-handbag/-/A-15131878?ref=tgt_adv_XSG10001&AFID=Google_PLA_df&LNM=%7C14594201&CPNG=Accessories&kpid=14594201&LID=PA&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=14594201&gclid=CI76speTxLwCFWUOOgodCD0Abw

    But as I said, not real leather. My bag takes a beating though, since I baby wear a lot, and it has held up pretty well. Another friend has the navy version which also looks nice.

  3. I totally get this anxiety; I’m exactly the same way! I like Le Pliage, its really a classic that is chic. I have found that the simpler a bag is, the better the quality needs to be, in both leather or canvas, trimmings, and hardware, in order for it to really add to an ensemble. And a luxe name doesn’t hurt, but I agree, it has to be in an understated way. Gap has some really beautiful canvas and leather, and leather tote bags now. I love that they have shorter handles and a cross body strop. the only downside is that they only snap closed. : (

    http://www.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=34740&vid=1&pid=942359032

    http://www.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=34740&vid=1&pid=942181022

  4. I feel the same! I just bought a Big Buddha bag on zulily.com and I love it! Not real leather though, but that day will come for me soon…

  5. Kate Spade is having a surprise sale today — up to 75 percent off. I’ll forward you the e-mail. Do you use ebates? I can sympathize with the looking for the one right thing. I’m very picky about accessories. I get a picture in my head and then I have to find just what I’m envisioning. Structured bags are in right now, so personally I would go for something like that rather than something slouchy.

  6. I totally feel your pain – I hate how all bags seem to have a trillion buckles or logos all over the place or are way too expensive and not worth the price… I mentioned ONCE before Christmas to my husband that I really just needed to bite the bullet and pay a lot for a nice leather bag that would last for years and years and SURPRISE he got me the. perfect. Coach purse for Christmas (outlet shopping + sales ftw)! Tiny little logo so I don’t feel like “I AM CARRYING AN EXPENSIVE PURSE” and a really nice deep blue that isn’t quite navy so I can carry it with black and feel totally fine. I love it and I don’t even understand how he got me the perfect bag! So the moral of my story is… Can you outsource and convince your husband to get you a purse (with gift receipt)?

  7. I have a serious obsession with good purses/handbags/”stealth” diaper bags. I’ve been drooling over this one for awhile now (in brown!, plus bonus laptop compartment), but it’s pricey: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001DIZGAM/ref=as_li_ss_ti?ie=UTF*&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIJN=B001DIZGAM&linkCode=as2&tag=buttafly-20. In the meantime, I’ve found that Nine West has quite a few bags in the “more reasonable” price range (especially when they are on sale at Macy’s with coupons) that are very durable, zip completely closed, and double as purses/”stealth” diaper bags. I love bags. I could get lost in the purse aisle forever, and I would starve to death as a happy woman. 🙂

    • Yeah, that’s about the size and strap type I’m looking for. It’s currently unavailable. 😦 I’ll have to check out Nine West. . . . Funny thing is, I’ve never really been a purse person. I’ve mainly thought of them as functional, but now that I’ve started to realize the style implications I’m getting all anxious about the decision! Must! Stop! Overthinking! Everything!

      • Oh no! Unavailable! Boooooooooooooooooooooooo! That’s what I get for putting it on my “wish list” and then never pulling the trigger. Oh, well. I will say that I love Nine West. I tend to be pretty hard on my purses/bags because they go everywhere with me (and, as my hubby will attest, I am a “bag lady” — always lots of bags with me, always —- example: This morning, i left the house with my purse, my breast pump bag, my cooler/tote for breast milk, my laptop bag, all of which was still at least 1 bag less than normal — normally I also add my lunch bag to that mess and sometimes a spare bag for hauling work/files and/or a spare clothing bag . . . so yeah. But I digress.) No matter what other brand I buy, the straps always seem to rip off (in addition to being a “bag lady”, I also tend to overfill all my bags). But that’s never happened with a single Nine West bag I’ve owned. Hooray for durability!. Good luck choosing! And don’t overthink too much! In my book, 75% of the battles is ensuring the bag can properly hold the things you plan to carry in it. The other 25% is style, color, etc. Where I get all dreamy-eyed is when I open a bag to explore all of its cool nooks and crannies and start imagining all of the possible uses for it and wonderful things I could carry in it . . . okay, yeah, I’m a nerd!!!!

  8. Ok, so don’t hate on me for this. But what’s wrong with trendy? I think if you don’t want to shell out a couple hundred bucks trendy is fun! I’ve had great luck at Marshall’s, that’s a fun place to go and just look at all the bags all jumbled together and just go with your gut: hate it, hate it, hate it, oh hey I like that! Ya know? And you can find decent designer ones that aren’t too logo-y. Cause I get that. But I also hella love a nice designer bag-you’ll never regret shelling out for one you love. K, sorry if this just grab you at all.

      • I might go with the Marshall’s approach bc the over thinking and careful research approach is driving me crazy. … And no I don’t hate you Christy. 😉 partly trendy isn’t “me” but mostly I’m scared of trendy … I feel like I’ll get it wrong and end up looking dumb. But I often veer too far the other way and look very dull and frumpy…. Gah!!! Must stop over thinking the Mom bag!!

  9. Well, don’t DIE over my purse/mombag because it currently is touting some hot pink Amoxicillan streaks from when Sebastian spit it all back up during our car ride back to TX. Anyway, I don’t know if I would have been able to pick out a bag for myself either, so luckily mine was a surprise gift from Jacob (remember my “push present”?). There are basically two compartments. The largest section just has the twist clasp to keep it shut (but there is an inside zippered pocket as well as a few other pockets in side it), however the second big compartment is zippered and is very generously sized. I’ll be honest, I haven’t used a diaper bag and we’ve even been doing cloth diapers. Sometimes it’s pretty full, but I’ve been able to get a lot in there and keep it in there. Also I can keep all the things I want away from little hands in the zippered portion. Anyway, it was a pretty penny that’s for sure, so I don’t know what to tell you. It’s working as my “mom bag” for now and it’s one heck of a lot of cow …

    • Oh, and PS. Regarding “timeless” vs. “old ladyish” I think of Meme’s purse collection and her purses had very few outside pockets, frills, bows, doodads, etc. I nagged an over the shoulder, navy blue, LEATHER bag from her before I went to Rome and I love it. It’s not big enough for a Mom purse but it’s a good bag. Anyway, it had no outside additions. I think you should aim for that — simple and sleek … or what you’re calling “boring” because I think boring is better than “dated.”

  10. Longchamp. All the way. Andddd…..if the corners get a bit worn or it’s gets a little rough looking Longchamp will repair or replace your bag for free. True story. (I’ve had two of my Longchamp bags replaced once the corners got a little ratty. So for $125-$150 you seriously get a lifetime bag.) Also, it’s only yesterday’s bag here in the states – it’s a Frenchie rad trad staple. Oh, and in my opinion: black + navy forevah! Black against navy pops and is always sophisticated. (I randomly have an opinion on bag choices for moms – including helping a few moms along the way get into the Longchamp situation. Sorry!)

  11. you’re not the only one overthinking about THE purse…. I am leaning more and more towards the epi leather. Because like you, I don’t really like showing off the canvas LV haha… and I already have one, that’s more than enough 🙂

    Find a Madewell leather bag with zipper ~~ I wonder if it’s available.
    Kate Spade maybe?

  12. Hi! I LOVED this post, and completely relate to the inability to decide bc my list of qualifications is so long . so I give up, after months, and settle for cheapy and whatever then when i decide it wont do the quest begins all over again. Argh. 🙂
    I’m visiting through Liz’s blog and your guest post, btw! I’ll be back. 🙂

  13. May want to consider getting professional help in cleaning up and reinforcing your old bag. That would be the cheapest and most “sustainable” option. Or get on etsy and have a leather artist make you the perfect bag. I like looking at byelke.bigcartel.com . I’d love The color and shape of the Madewell tote. Any one with leather experience could put a zipper on for you (I’m thinking cobblers, tailors, or western tack and saddle people). Simple will showcase the beauty of the leather, can easily be dressed up or down, and if you bore of them, tie a scarf or wrap some hardware around the handle. Whatever you do, say no to even close to “borderline old-lady.”

  14. Glad I found this post again. I’ve been looking around for a new purse. What did you decide on after this post? Are you going with the Le Pliage? I think they are still super cute, classic purses, so I would recommend. I have a lime green one but it’s very old and worn now. Maybe I will try to send it in for a new one. Definitely would get a darker color one this time though. The only things I don’t like about it are how unstructured it is and that there is only one small pocket. I do like the zipper though. Also, I love your orange/brown bag though and your sisters bag. Can you repair your bag? Where did you get yours and where did your sister get hers? Great post with great comments!!

  15. Pingback: Top Posts of 2014 | This Felicitous Life

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