The search for a good bag & what I carry in mine

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I know three separate people who are searching for their perfect bag. They are in agony. An agony of so close yet so far that I’ve spent the last year in the midst of.

It may surprise you to know that I am decidedly picky about certain things. I know, I know, it’s a shock. But bear with me.
A handbag is one of those things that has to be just right. The freaking goldilocks of the accessory world. I use one every single day, and I really really don’t like switching from bag to bag as the day or outfit requires.
So I really SHOULD love it. Shouldn’t I? This DESERVES picky.

Admittedly, I only have two prerequisites for a bag.
It has to be leather (sorry vegetarians) because I like my bags to last without cracking, and to age like wine (I hear it gets better, but I’ve never made any last). And! It has to hold my darling DSLR comfortably. I still carry my camera every where I go, and have downsized the amount I carry on a day to day basis to accommodate this. I love it. My camera.

The Goldilocks requirements are as follows:
Interesting, but classic. NOT BLACK but a colour equally versatile. Silver hardware. A comfortable strap. An interesting interior.
Oh and it seems that it has to be Marc by Marc Jacobs. But that’s just a coincidence.

And so, because this is the kind of thing that I’m interested in reading, here are the bags with which I carried my life while I waited on my goldilocks bag.

For the last year-and-a-bit I’ve been carrying on and off a Guess bag which changed my life (err … kind of) because it was the first bag that would hold my DSLR and my essentials without being the size of a small universe.

Thursday: Leaving Work

But the strap is beginning to crack, and the silver hardware beginning to tarnish, and, frankly, the Guess brand is beginning to bug me.

For my 26th birthday Craig bought me my first (grown up) Marc by Marc Jacobs bag.
I love it. The colour is amazing but it is kind of hard to wear everyday. And the beautiful patent on the leather has started to crack. Sigh.

Tuesday: OPI Dim Sum Plum matches my Marc Bag

I took it to a cobbler and asked if they could remove the patent, or protect it. Their answer was a big fat NO. So I am embracing the cracked-patent look, but I find that hard to do on a day to day basis.

I bought my next Marc by Marc Jacobs bag. Trawled ebay and bought it second hand.
I love the busy busy pattern and the monochrome colour scheme makes it much easier to wear. Unfortunately it’s very slouchy which seemed to hurt my camera. NOT worth it. I love my camera too much.

MbyMJ Bag (Letters ahoy!)

As a rash purchase on a horrible horrible day bought this bag by United Colours of Benetton. At the time I thought it was adorable, and that the stiff leather would soften with use, and the price was just right.
It turned out to be made out of fake leather, not real, which meant there was no chance of it softening up. Stupid stiff plastic bag.

Accidental Baggage

I’m tired. It is tiring running through all these failed bags. And depressing. I was SO HOPEFUL, and then so disappointed with each one.

Next was a bag by Diesel which was made out of the softest lambskin. It was amazing.
But complicated. Three strange overly large pockts and annoying straps so the configuration of the bag could be changed around. And it was slouchy. Too slouchy. Damn.

Tuesday: lovely lambskin bag

Then, in a fit of christ I don’t know where else to look I tried and came across the Marc by Marc Jacobs Classic Q in Pewter.

Pewter and Lavender

Real leather? check.
DSLR-friendly? check.
Interesting, but classic? check.
NOT BLACK but a colour equally versatile? check*.
Silver hardware. A comfortable strap. An interesting interior? check check and check!


Marc by Marc Jacobs? err … check.

The only thing. The ONLY thing is that the strap is very long. It’s a messenger style bag. Which I have never had much luck with.
But I seem to love this one!


And if I do get sick of it, I suppose I can always have the strap shortened. I guess, for some people, the search is never really over. But for me, for now, it is.

What’s in my bag …

What I carry from day to day

x Apple iPhone 3GS.
x Blackberry Curve – my work phone.
x Black Guess Wallet with a Hello Kitty ‘phone’ charm from Hiroshima
x Keys on a Harrods key chain – the heart opens to reveal a mirror on one side, and a picture of Sir C & Me on the other.
x 1 lipstick. At the moment it’s Girl About Town by MAC
x A cigarette case which is the perfect size to hold some of my photography cards, a hair tie and some bobby pins, miscellaneous jewellery (this time it’s my KW skull necklace), and a pack of chewing gum.

* I also love that in some lights the Pewter shade looks very silver, in others very grey, and in others a strange green colour!



  1. Kat · August 9, 2010

    I love this post, it's so you. It does look grey in one and green in the other! When I first saw your pictures I thought, "But what if she wants to wear brown?" and then remembered that's really not very likely for you, anyway.Very cute. I am in love with my brown leather satchel from Dorothy Perkins, which is also messenger style. I don't, however, carry my camera with me everywhere, which I really want to start doing.

  2. saturdayjane · August 9, 2010

    LOVE the new bag. I've had the same issue trying to find a bag for year and years. I recently found a little grey one that I'm still in love with (a month after buying! That never happens!) but it is a struggle!Good luck! I'll be rooting for the newest addition.

  3. Miss Matryoshka · August 9, 2010

    This is a great post! I dream of one day having an MBMJ bag.

  4. Sarah-Rose · August 9, 2010

    Kat – thank you! No, I don't think I own any brown. Oh wait, two pairs of shoes. But yea, warm tones like that aren't very ME. I love satchel style bags but I already have the smallest lens on my DSLR and I don't want to downsize or stop carrying it.Jane – Thank you! It's ridiculous how difficult it can be – there are stores and stores of bags and yet – SO hard to find the perfect one.Miss – Thanks, I don't much like doing ones which are all "woo, look at all this stuff I own" but I hope I made it clear that this was over 18 months, and I did go for sales/eBay etc etc.

  5. missedita · August 11, 2010

    Haha – well this post got me off on a solid hour long purse-search tangent! So much for getting work done this afternoon. 😀

  6. Corrine/Frock And Roll · August 15, 2010

    Finding a good bag is a surprisingly difficult task, but the one that you ended up with looks like it fulfills that task!

  7. Mel · April 28, 2012

    I’m interested in a MBMJ bag and was just wondering if the metal hardware started to tarnish/change colour after a while.


    • Sarah-Rose · April 28, 2012

      There’s been a minimal level of wear on the metal – in a few places the golden brass underneath is showing through but it is barely noticeable. Also, the bag has been used a LOT since purchase so I think it’s holding up pretty well.

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