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 shopbop.com 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!

Interior

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!

Messenger

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!

In which I am an Idiot

So. Two of the secret, just-for-me resolutions I made for 2009 were to:
1. Carry a much smaller bag
2. Carry my DSLR with my as much as possible.
Counter intuitive no? to carry a camera muchmuch larger than I was used to and a much smaller bag? Well, yes. It was impossible to do both and carry on as I was. The bag I was used to carrying every single day was ridiculously full and I had no room for my DSLR.
It forced me to scale back immensely. To streamline & re-evaluate my day-to-day needs.

Here is how it changed

2008

Cluttered

purse + novel + magazine + A4 folder + pocket camera + perfume + 7 keys on 2 key rings (all connected together) + little MJ purse with loyalty cards + headphones + moleskine diary + moleskine notebook + pens + hand lotion + makeup case containing 2 foundations, blusher, extraneous brush, 3 lipsticks, 2 mascara, touche eclat, travel eyelash curler, mirror + gum
(not all pictured)

And then of course the receipts, wrappers, extraneous bits & pieces (bobby pins galore!) that cluttered the bottom of my bag.
Oh! and there was usually a travel sized hand lotion (fun fact! I abhor dry hands) hiding amongst the detritus.

Then, in a fit of I-don’t-know-what, I purchased a bag that I promptly decided I hated (I HATE when I do that) until of course, in early January, I realised that not only was it approximately 1/250th the size of my previous bag

Bag Comparison

(or maybe 1/3)

it would also carry my DSLR. It’s like a miniature Mary Poppins bag. Only much cuter, despite the socialite-esque brand (though Guess do design some less Paris Hilton esque bags as well. Like mine. ENOUGH JUSTIFYING. Good Lord).

So now? I carry …

2009
Streamlined

DSLR + purse + headphones + moleskine diary & notebook + 1 lip balm + 1 lip stick + travel sized hand lotion + 2 keys on 1 ring (a mirror) + 1 pen + my work ID + gum
(not all pictured)
(obviously. The DSLR (which takes up 1/2 the bag) is taking the photo)

If I need to take my script or feel the need for a novel or magazine, I simply carry it. Not exactly rocket science but it took me years to work it out.

Not only can I now find things in my bag a lot easier (hence the travel lotion) but my shoulder no longer aches!