Lady Mary would carry an embroidered clutch. Edith? A sensible rucksack. And Lady Sybil? A lace reticule. Me? I’ve been known to resort to reuseable tote bags rather than commit to a day bag purchase.
It didn’t used to be so hard. In college we all carried JanSport backpacks. Everything you needed fit inside: calculus text-book, roller blades, a six-pack. My current work tote is a flannel number from Acme Made. It’s sleek and huge. My sister gave it to me. She’s routinely embarrassed by my handbag choices and gives me her cast-offs.
For years I’ve tried to find the perfect day bag. One that will take up no space in my luggage, but expand upon arrival to carry my crap while I explore. For years I carried a Baggallini, but the one I had was way too small. I also carried a Sherpani for a while, but it was a bit too granola. I’m not asking for much; just something that doesn’t look too much like a diaper bag.
On my recent trip to the Downton costume exhibit at Winterthur, I gave the Piazza Day Bag from eBags a try. It comes in a 7-color palette, including brights; I chose the neutral Espresso, with contrasting indigo interior lining. It’s nylon with a slightly sheeny finish. I’m tall and have often been garroted by cross body bags. Not the case with the Piazza. The strap is wide and adjusted to a comfortable length so the bag hit me at the hip. Despite its compact overall dimensions – 9″ x 9″ x 3.5″ – it held my essentials (Moleskin, pen, wallet, iPhone 6 Plus, and Panasonic Lumix) without ballooning to an unwieldy size. I lost track of the number of zippered compartments. Let’s just say there’s a million, including one on the side that can accommodate a small water bottle.
Fully loaded, the bag never became burdensome. I pretty much forgot it was there instead of futzing with it throughout the day. And my daughter didn’t say “Eww! What’s with the bag?” while making a face that indicates something nasty. Is the Piazza a fashion-forward accessory? No. But it’s the right price ($35.99) and extraordinarily practical. Isobel Crawley would definitely approve.