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More Food Faves in Manhattan - Autumn in New York 2013

The Perfect Bags and Totes - Simplified in a Bag-Crazy World

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 The explosion of options for women in a bag-crazy world seriously outdated this Womantraveler popular post of 2006.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, Img_0837_2_1 briefcase, and handbag selection for the professional womantraveler reminds me of the Three Bears Lodis_red_bagstory -- 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
  • Versatility
  • 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
    Baggallini toteof 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 Img_0182_2 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. 
  • Levenger_toteBusiness 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.