What’s In My Bag

Earlier this afternoon, I decided to take a trip out into the world to break up a day full of virtual meetings.

I told Roy I was headed to Target.

Once he hears Target, he knows I could be lost to him for hours, bewitched by every cozy throw and seasonal candle gracing the endcaps of the homeware aisles. But these days, I try to get in and out.

I don’t notice others very much as I am often too focused on keeping my distance and avoiding awkward semi-anonymous pandemic-era eye contact.

I do however still notice errand bags.

An errand bag is a nice purse that is both utilitarian and casual while also making a statement. In the suburbs, sometimes that statement is, “Yes, I’m a mom of three who can afford to be at Target shopping in the middle of a Wednesday afternoon with a $2,000 purse and sippy cup in hand.”

Seeing errand bags in the wild is my favorite thing ever. What can I say? I like familiarizing myself with the trends influencing your average purveyor of Target dollar aisle decorations.

I’m also conscious of the statement I’m making with my own errand bag. I like to think it’s, “I’ve prepared for this trip like it is a Girl Scout excursion and yes, vintage Louis Vuitton is timeless. Next question.”

Over the last two years, I’ve been using a Louis Vuitton Cabas Piano tote (left) as my everyday bag. My mom recently bought me a convertible backpack from Target (right).

I am obsessed with both of them and I’ll tell you why. Let’s start with the Louis Vuitton Cabas Piano tote.

My love for this bag is somewhat nostalgic. It has the signature Louis Vuitton canvas lining with an interior zipper pocket and a cell-phone pouch that was most probably designed for a Motorola Razr because it’s definitely not fitting an iPhone. At 12×10 inches, it’s the smallest Cabas tote style but roomy enough to carry an umbrella and snacks. The Cabas Piano tote (once also favored by Angelina Jolie) was discontinued in 2008 as the brand prioritized marketing for newer tote bags like the now ubiquitous Neverfull tote.

At the same time, I understand the subject of luxury handbags might carry some loaded assumptions.

When it comes to material possessions, I advise making the investment and remaining as understated as possible while doing so.

In other words, you will never see me wearing a Gucci sweatshirt and I found a 2006 edition of this bag for a quarter of its original retail price on the popular resale app Poshmark.

Once my order arrived, it was clear it had been in storage for a while — maybe even the last decade. I rehabilitated with a ton of leather conditioner, love, and TLC. Ultimately, I decided I wanted the vachetta leather (the base and trim) to look less worn, so I sold the one I’d renewed and bought another one from 2008. That’s the one I carry these days.

I briefly considered doing luxury handbag restoration and resale in a professional capacity but once style becomes work, it’s no longer fun.

This year, I’d been on the lookout for a miniature backpack for a few months after I fell in love with a Marc Jacobs bag I never committed to purchasing. My mama recently bought me this yellow one from Target and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since.

While the Cabas Piano tote is leather, the Target bag is polyester. The former requires being mindful about where you’re setting it down or whether it’s raining while the latter is carefree enough to take to a music festival.

While I do believe in the value luxury handbags add to one’s wardrobe, errand bags are not about luxury. They’re about utility.

The backpack I’m using now has a convenient front-zippered pocket for phone, lip balm, or sanitizer. It’s roomy, compact, and on-trend without feeling loud. I guess what I am saying is it just lets you to blend in. Which is a very 2020 mood. I’m keeping Louis but he might just go into storage until we find a reason to pour champagne again.

Here’s what I am carrying in my bag until then:

– Marc Jacobs keychain featuring a keychain from Groningen where Roy and I were engaged (my BFF’s hometown!), a car key and a house key (with a sunflower print on it just because)

– Neutrogena Hydro Boost water gel lotion sunscreen in SPF 30

– Ray Ban sunglasses case with prescription sunglasses inside

– Grove hand sanitizer in blood orange scent (I prefer Purell, this one’s kinda weird)

– AirPods and pom-pom guy AirPods case

– Pouch featuring an impressionist ballet scene with a mix of lip shades, floss, and hair accessories

– Daisy print mask my brother bought me because he’s rad

– Isabel Marant Smile lipstick shade in La Seine Shadow

– Too Faced Lip Injection Plumping Lip Gloss

– & of course, my phone which is being used to take photos and is thus not featured.

A woman’s bag is an intimate look into their priorities. I’ve tried to make my own practical while also capturing the things that make me thankful (daisies! 19th-century art! non-greasy sun protection!)

The details tell a story. What’s your errand bag saying?

Author photo

Author: RJ Bohyn

My name is RJ, I'm a writer and consultant based in the South. If you're reading this, you've arrived at the corner of the internet I've cultivated to share life, reflections on faith, style, and just about everything in between with those generous enough to read.

Leave a Reply