Bag O’ My Dreams

Downton Abbey PBS

The ladies of Downton know how to accessorize. Hats. Parasols. Jewelry. If only I had a lady’s maid…

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.

eBags Piazza Day Bag 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.

Marchesa Beaded Clutch

This Marchesa clutch retails for about $2,000. Dreamy, eh? Next life.


4 thoughts on “Bag O’ My Dreams

  1. I suffer from ‘bag envy’ every time I see someone with the splashed-out, fabulous accessory. Seems to be something that I could cure with a little help from the above sites (and some extra cash) but for the fact that then I have to transfer the contents of the bag from one to the other. One too many steps; seems I am doomed.

  2. I’d like to put in a pitch for LeSportsac – my old stand-by. The bags themselves are very light, come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and are pretty affordable – especially if you visit the outlet at Woodbury. There are myriad compartments for all of your sundries and many of the bags have a handy additional “expander” for when you need to carry the extra bits or your purchases get out of hand. They have nice wide straps and, when all is said and done, you can just chuck them in the washing machine. They also collapse to almost nothing and so are a great “extra bag” option in case you are anticipating said purchases getting out of hand.

    • I’m a fan too, particularly if you can find a print that fits your mood. I borrowed one from a co-worker when heading to Dublin years ago and was quite astounded by its ability to grow to meet its contents. Like my elastic waist pants…sigh!

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