Need a Bag/Purse
June 27, 2006 10:33 PM   Subscribe

Help a girl who doesn't really like purses find a bag to carry.

I've tried every bag out there. Here's what I am looking for: A lightweight bag that has at least one outside pocket. An adjustable shoulder strap (to where I can wear it across my body if I want) would be great. Nothing frilly or with buckles and such that have no purpose... but I don't want a sporty bag or a bag that's too masculine. Fanny pack is out of the question, ick. A bag that can take abuse but also look good. I'd prefer it not be made out of leather and be priced under $200. And it should be a bag that can't be found in every mall in America.

I can't make one myself. I can't even sew on a button.

I carry the basics... wallet, 2 moleskines, pens, asthma inhaler, pads/'pons. I don't want a HUGE bag but I do like a bit of stashing room for things I come across such as newspapers or a water bottle.
posted by miltoncat to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (18 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
I have an Overland purse and I love it. It's sturdy yet cute, well designed to make stuff easy to find and machine washable!
posted by fshgrl at 10:42 PM on June 27, 2006 [2 favorites]

I'm not really a big handbag girl myself, but I have a "Truckette" I bought online from Queen Bee Creations a while back and I absolutely love it. I got the one with the record in it, and I've actually had people stop me on the street to comment on it. It's made of vinyl and it stands up to abuse really well*. The strap is actually seat belt webbing and it extends nice and long so I can sling it across my body. Plenty of room for your stuff - I've even managed to cram larger stuff like wine bottles and umbrellas in there too. I don't want to gush, but I've been so happy with this bag I've seriously been considering dropping the cash for another one. (Maybe a bit more sophisticated; hot pink and a record doesn't always go with business wear.)

* The original record in mine broke, but I think that was because I left it in the sun and it warped. The record bags have a zipper inside so you can change them. I found a great 45 of Blondie's "Heart of Glass" to put in there instead and it gets so much attention...
posted by web-goddess at 10:46 PM on June 27, 2006

I would suggest that you take a look at Etsy. Anything there will definitely be unique, and many sellers are very open to doing custom work--so if you see a design that you like, you can send a quick email to the seller and see if they would re-make it in the color and fabric of your choice; some might even be willing to do modifications like add an extra pocket, shrink it by a few inches, etc.
posted by fuzzbean at 10:49 PM on June 27, 2006

I'm familiar with the QueenBee... I in fact had my eye on the Poppy Truckette. Are the bags lightweight?
posted by miltoncat at 10:49 PM on June 27, 2006

Heh. I actually happen to have mine right here, and a postal scale at the ready. My Record Truckette comes in at just over 500g, which is a bit more than a pound. I never notice it being really heavy unless I've got something heavy inside. I'd guess that most of the weight is in the vinyl and the webbing; this thing feels more "sturdy" than heavy.
posted by web-goddess at 10:55 PM on June 27, 2006

Tastes vary, so it's hard to say if this bag would fall under your idea of "a sporty bag or a bag that's too masculine." But I believe it fits most if not all of your other criteria. It comes in smaller and larger sizes. I saw it linked here a few times, one time in this man/purse thread.
posted by PY at 11:25 PM on June 27, 2006

Damnit web-goddess you beat me to it! I lovelovelove my QueenBee bags. I too have the Record Truckette. I also have a Trucker (they don't make the Star style I have anymore) for when I need a more traditional messanger-sized bag.

Seriously their bags are awesome. I have carried both of mine (generally on separate occasions, but sometimes together) all over San Francisco and New Orleans. Brought my Trucker multiple times to the pool. Super durable, really comfortable. I use the Trucker as a regular purse or whatever, it's the perfect size for throwing in a notebook, bottle of water, etc.

Also wanted to note that the people at QueenBee are super nice, as far as my email contact with them. If you have any special requests color-wise or what have you, they will do their best to accomodate you (they did black with pink on my Truckette).
posted by radioamy at 11:32 PM on June 27, 2006

This tote from La Redoute might be a good choice, and is pretty cheap -- this links to the UK version of the site, the US one seems to be temporarily down.

If you get no joy, you may try asking the editor over at The Bag Lady.
posted by ukdanae at 12:38 AM on June 28, 2006

I ended my bag search with a Wrangler Bag from Yak Pak. Some of my criteria was very close to yours, except I was looking for somethng that could double as an overnight bag on occasion. Wrangler bags come in sturdy fabrics like denim, canvas, and corduroy, so they are lightweight. And comparatively cheap. I've had Gasconade for 6 months, and it's the best bag I've ever carried.
posted by kimdog at 4:51 AM on June 28, 2006

Try Gravis bags. -- they're cute, study, and not too "pursy".
posted by k8t at 5:26 AM on June 28, 2006

You've probably found this ask mefi, but if not, check it out. I had it saved in my favorites.

As someone who used to hate bags and now loves them, I say, embrace the bag! Fun accessory, tons of variability, and can be so practical.
posted by Amizu at 5:27 AM on June 28, 2006

I second the Tom Bihn cafe bag! I have it in small (olive and wasabi)... It's awesome.
posted by stefnet at 5:49 AM on June 28, 2006

I second Overland. I have a great one that I got from and I love it and get lots of compliments. It's well built, they have several different styles and colors and they're lightweight.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 6:17 AM on June 28, 2006

I have seen some great bags at REI and I got my bag at the container store. It was important to me to have a bag that had one strap to sling across my body, for it to have an area with pockets for my iPod and such. It can get a bit heavy if you stuff it full.
posted by nimsey lou at 6:41 AM on June 28, 2006

I have a canvas military style bag that I bought in Iceland that I love - I bought my husband a similar bag for his birthday and he swears by it.

Timbuk2 has attractive messenger bags that many of my friends use in lieu of a purse. Dickies also has some nice utilitarian bags that are a little more feminine.

[On Preview: Those QueenBee bags look really awesome. I have a bit of a bag addiction and it looks like I've just found my next fix!]
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:37 AM on June 28, 2006

I use this medkit bag I got from the army surplus store near me. Maybe you can find one near you.

Pros of the bag: Sturdy, easily washed, and it looks better with age since the exposed canvas fades to a more brown/yellow color.

Cons: Only one huge pocket to put things in, so things like cell phones get lost in it.

If you decide to get the bag and have a problem with keys falling all the way to the bottom of the bag, I found that attaching the key to a carbiner and then clipping that to the side-flaps of the bag is a perfect solution.
posted by nakedsushi at 3:51 PM on June 28, 2006

I have this kate spade bag in red. I think it fits all of your criteria ... under $200, no frills or buckles, it's basic, not sporty or masculine. There is an outside pocket along the whole back side of the bag and has an adjustable strap. I've carried it for almost 5 years and it still looks great.

Disclaimer: I am a tiny bit obsessed with kate spade bags. :)
posted by mileena at 2:51 AM on July 30, 2006

The marimekko bags are adorable and also affordable. Check 'em out!
posted by zoomletta at 6:36 AM on July 31, 2006

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