Custom Search

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

BEST handbag for travel: I'm not kidding

BEST TRAVEL HANDBAG EVER: a totally fortuitous discovery.

I am no longer a very devoted blog-writer, but my devoted readers may recall my trip to Chicago last spring. Mr FS and I went to a conference and in our off-time decided to focus on the Art Institute of Chicago. So we bought a membership.

Besides the art, the best thing about the membership was the lounge, which provided respite from the crowds and also provided very good coffee. We also got a tote bag.

The tote bag is plain: black on one side, it proclaims Art Institute of Chicago in white letters on the other side. It also has Member printed on it. The handles are a good length, suitable for shoulder AND hand carrying (unlike the iconic LL Bean tote, where you have to choose one or the other).

It is of lightish-weight canvas and has a coating inside that makes it waterproof. Zip top.  It has a tiny zip compartment where you can put your absolute necessities (for me, a credit card, a lipstick, and some dental floss).

I took the tote on our trip as a backup (haha) and ended up using it every day. Not only is it lightweight and aesthetically pleasing, but it is socioeconomically ambiguous. I have never bought anything emblazoned with a logo, but this particular logo has--i think--an interesting effect.

It is clearly an inexpensive tote, yet it proclaims affiliation with a cultural institution. Most handbags nowadays proclaim their cost, sad but true. Two summers ago I saw several women in Paris holding big Hermes bags across their chests. Truly, the effect was like holding a giant price tag.

My bag could take me anywhere. Was I a penurious artist? a philanthropist? I could be anything. The zip top would foil pickpockets, but would anyone in that line of work be attracted to a cheap tote anyway? I don't think so.

That logo though:  it gives the bag that certain cultured je ne sais quoi. I could even wear it to Hermes. Though I didn't.


Shelley said...

It does sound as though the bag was very practical, having all the qualities one would want when travelling, as well as giving you the image that you enjoyed projecting.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Shelley--The image of an art lover of ambiguous status--hmmmm. Guess that's it.

Gam Kau said...

A lined lightweight tote does sound very practical for travel. I've spend decades in search for the perfect travel bag, alas, it remains elusive. I've very particular; must have cross-body strap, inside and outside zippers, lightweight, not too big, not too small...
I have a canvas mens messenger I use and I've had pretty good luck with Kipling/LeSportsac type bags. Maybe someday I'll be lucky and just stumble across the bag of my dreams. :)

The Frugal Shrink said...

A good travel bag is hard to find.

On another note- YAY!! You're back and blogging!!! :)

Duchesse said...

I absolutely need a bag with outside pockets for travel.

Here is the best bag I've ever had:

Frugal Scholar said...

@Duchesse--May give that a try. I have a hard time remembering what I put in various compartments, unfortunately...