Updating this popular post for 2013...(And Happy Mother's Day, all Womantraveler moms.) The explosion of options for women in a bag-crazy world seriously outdated this Womantraveler popular post of 2006.
Top-of-mind tips: (1) go for something lightweight, foldable and versatile and (2) for laptop-lovers like me, the lightest weight possible computer case that slips over the handle of a carry on suitcase. It's all about options.
Apart from the Longchamp "Le Pliage" fashion bag collection, the search for the perfect computer tote, briefcase, and handbag selection for the professional womantraveler reminds me of the Three Bears story -- not to heavy, not too ugly, and, in fact, just right. But what is "just right" in this context? I could hold a profitable yard sale with my closet full of wrong choices. Thankfully women have finally become a focal point of the accessories trade and certainly there is no dearth of choices in colors and fabrics this season. Keep in mind these perennial criteria:
- Necks, shoulders, and backs
- Portability with other carry-on bags
- Style and colors (galore)
After much digging through options, here are my hot picks:
- Baggallini -- my Baggallini tote goes with me everywhere, often as a laptop carrier that has plenty
of room for personal items (wallet, glasses, phone and cosmetics). I fold it up inside my carry-on luggage for expanded options once through security. Inside, I tuck in smaller Baggallini travel organizers, including one designed for my passport. The flexibility is amazing.
- Longchamp's"Le Pliage" bags -- in multicolors, multisizes. I put this ingenious discovery in competition for the Eighth Wonder of the World. As you can see above, they fold small and open large. I carry at least two on all trips -- an extra large tote in a color and a small discreet version (in black) for day-to-evening. To get through airport check-in, I put the small as a pocket book inside the large one as a tote, plus everything else I want to carry on. Purchased in Paris but available in fine handbag stores anywhere or online.
- Computer bags -- for style and weight, I stick with Briggs and Riley or Tumi, both functional and professionally fashionable. Packing smartly, I can carry the computer bag on one shoulder and a microfiber tote from Bagallini or Magellans on the other shoulder as my handbag.
- Business totes -- the leathers in Levenger's colorful collection coordinate with the smartest range of organizer materials -- this year in peacock blue, citrus yellow, coral red, black and more. What fun and at impeccable business chic.
- Handbags -- with all of the above options, I pack small evening or accessory handbags in my luggage to match my outfits for dinners or casual activity after hours. One can only schlepp so much at once.