The Perfect Travel Bag

by Natalie Heather

I have been in the biggest dilemma. I mean, it’s been pretty bad.

You know when, before traveling, you just can’t help imaging your outfits and thinking, “oh, I should really buy that, it would look so good with this.” Yeah, we’ve all been there.

What usually happens to me is that I do some really bad last minute shopping and pack all of my new clothes. The problem with that is that they haven’t been in my closet long enough for me to really know how to wear them, or what to wear them with. It makes getting dressed every morning pretty tricky. Also, it’s no fun to wear a dress for the first time on a trip (where you’ll be spending long hours out and about) and you only then realize that the dress is really scratchy, or the skirt rides up as you walk. Definitely no fun.

I’m trying to be more strategic about my packing this year – I’ve already been imaging my outfits, but out of clothing I already own. It’s so much easier on myself. I don’t feel the need to go out and by a new wardrobe – how awesome is that?!

There are a few things I would like to pick up before the trip (Sephora, here I come!) like the perfect blouse for under sweaters – I’m kind of feeling a little preppy! Something else I’ve had my eyes open for is the perfect travel bag.

I’m the type of girl that would rather pack my suitcase full of shoes than bags, so when I travel, I have my carry on bag (which was previously an awesome studded Matt & Nat bag, but sadly the zipper broke) and I’ll throw in a clutch for “evening-wear”. There’s nothing wrong with only bringing a carry-on bag and that’s it, except that I have no self control when it comes to packing day bags. I mean, I will throw my whole life into my handbag if I could. It means I’m walking around with a slumped shoulder because my bag is so heavy. I can handle it for school, but on vacation? No thank you – I would much rather a structured little bag. Well, here came the dilemma.

I have been searching for the perfect bag for about two weeks now. At first I wasn’t finding any that fit the bill, and I was getting pretty antsy. I finally fell in love with two (yep, two) from Ruche, only to discover that they were sold out. Darned!

Not to worry – my quest continued. I fell in love with another bag, this one from Modcloth. It was perfect! I loved the slate blue color, and it seemed like the perfect size. The bummer? This:

WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.

I don’t know about you, but that threw me off a bit.

I continued my search and came across the gorgeous avocado bag from StyleMint. I mean, come on. How perfect is that color! I also fell in love a different bag to replace as my carry-on travel bag. What made me uncomfortable about StyleMint is that you need to sign up to the store… and get credited each month $79.95. Don’t worry – you can opt out each month. But only between the first and the fifth. For someone who is pretty darn good at forgetting just about everything (I forgot it was my friends birthday party this coming Saturday!) this is not a good thing for me. To top it off, the amount of the two items in my cart kept changing. I mean, it started off that I could buy both bags for $140. It then switched to $170. And finally to $160. That short of thing makes me really uncomfortable  though I think the site was just overwhelmed from Black Friday traffic.

At this point, I was pretty darn bummed. I was going to stores I had never shopped at, looking in vain in so many stores. I was pretty distraught. I hate that feeling when you think you’re looking for something that’s pretty much a staple and boom! It’s nowhere to be found!

After browsing around for hours (no wonder my essays didn’t get written…) I came across this J. Crew bag. Pretty sweet, right? Well, that’s just eye candy. It’s way out of my budget, but it’s so so perfect.

I went to bed that night feeling pretty disappointed in myself – and in the rest of the world. How could such a simple bag be so hard to find?

As I lay in bed, trying to fall asleep, I realised something.

I already had the perfect bag. How could I have forgotten it? It was a super bargain, I only bought it last year. But there it was, hiding at the bottom of my closet. Almost identical to the bag from Go Jane.

My structured, forest green, vintage Longchamp bag.