I always, always try to keep things as simple as possible, however, the process of choosing the right bags was anything but. Over the years, I made all the classic mistakes and it’s taken me this long, in my 5th decade to finally understand the factors that make a bag work for me and my life. The factors are Function, Size, Leather, Weight, Maintenance and Colour.
Function – and frequency of use are the guides for style and form of the bag. My needs have changed over the years and stabilised to 3 categories: smart (mostly day and much less evening), everyday casual and travel (infrequently). I still have lots of small mainly vintage bags left over from the days when I had more evening outings but I still treasure them.
Size - does matter but not in the obvious way – it’s the depth that counts! Some people simply don’t worry about the size of a bag in proportion to their height and size and I would love to be one of them but the fact is I feel uncomfortable carrying a bag that looks big enough for me to fit inside. Even though I’m petite, unfortunately I can’t shrink my bag essentials to match The solution is making sure my bags have enough depth. I suppose this may be why flat hobo type bags and envelope clutches don’t look so good on me – they’re too flat and wide.
I have small, medium and large sizes. Above is an example of a small shoulder bag (about 10″ width) and contents. The standard depth is about 3″ wide and fits the above easily. I don’t carry much.
Medium size such as my Kelly 32cm (just over 12″ width). I can fit my 80′s filofax as well like in the Chanel Jumbo (12″ width) below.Although the Chanel Jumbo is not as tall as the Kelly 32, it has a little more give because of the softer leather (washed caviar).The Dalvy appears to be larger on the outside (same width and even taller than the Chanel Jumbo), but inside capacity is less, about the same as my small bags. This is due to the rigid construction and firm leather (Vache Naturel).My Plume 32cm is the same width as the Kelly 32 but is deeper and the ‘suitcase’ shape gives it a lot more capacity. I use it for travel and as a tote at home.The Rugby bag is small, however, due to its slightly wider depth, can fit in more. I use this mainly on holiday or at home whenever I can get away with carrying the minimum.
For the first time this year I tried the bag within a bag using my leather Longchamp tote and Kelly 28cm size bag (inside which I keep my bag of jewels so they are not checked in). The tote is about 14″ width and about 5″ deep so there’s ample space plus a little left for small souvenirs, notebook and snacks. The Longchamp tote is a great style to have. It has an inner pocket on the wall which means you can keep your wallet securely and the leather is light and durable – can’t ask for more! Continue reading