Friday, September 16th, 2011...3:48 pm

Time for le big bag

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I’m a small purse girl through and through — but now that I’ve got a baby on the way, toting around a diaper bag is all the excuse I need to get a fabulous big bag! Here’s a roundup of my favorite totes right now.

Rib & Hull Technical Tote, $183

What a beautiful bag. Handmade to order by Rib & Hull in their Warsaw studio of full-grain Italian leather, organic cotton canvas and Italian hardware. I’d envisioned a bag with mid-length shoulder straps, but it might be super convenient to have a cross-body strap like this. I’m just not crazy about the silver hardware. For me, I think this unisex bag skews a bit masculine.

Clare Vivier La Tropézienne, $320

Clare Vivier’s styles are so classic, and this one is just perennially beautiful. All Clare Vivier bags are made in Los Angeles. My main concern for my use of it is that it doesn’t close at the top, and it’s unlined, so any spills would be a no-no. Great strap length — straps come in both a 5″ and 8″ length, and I’d go for the 8″.

Treesizeverse Recycled Vintage Cotton Tote Bag with Leather Bottom, $169

Handmade in Belgium of a camel-colored deadstock fabric and black leather. The straps are adjustable and the top has a loose closure. I love the “organic” vibe of this bag — well-crafted but not overly manicured. The colors are lovely, including the touches of gold/brass hardware, and it’s fully lined. I’m really debating on this one — if it’s as sturdy as it looks, it might be perfect!

Shannon South – Remade in the USA Degraw, $275

Shannon South hand-sews all of her bags out of reclaimed leather jackets (either that she finds or that you send in!). “There is so much perfectly usable waste in the United States,” her website says. The bag is lined in organic cotton, and the complete lack of hardware lets it go with anything. The depth of this tote makes a closure seem less necessary.

Clare Vivier Messenger Bag, $345

A second Clare Vivier style — this one with the cross-body strap and a top zipper. Whereas the La Tropizienne is made of a very stiff leather, I’ve tried this in person and was surprised by how soft and droopy the leather was. I think it’s too soft for my preferences. To anyone who has a Clare Vivier tote — was it worth the splurge?

Longchamp Le Pliage, $149

This bag has a great mix of affordability and classic style. I see them around SF every once in a while, but they were ALL over Europe. The style has been around for ages; I know some women buy a new one every five years or so. I do wish I knew more about Longchamp’s manufacturing process; all I’ve learned online is that some bags are marked as Made in France and some are marked as Made in China. But for the most part, luxury brands don’t skimp on any part of their production processes.

So what do you think? Please let me know if you have any other recommendations!

The only I’ve gotten so far about a diaper bag is that you want to have lots of pockets (thanks Mary!), so with any of these bags, I’d use an insert like this in it.


  • I have both Clare Vivier bags you mentioned (and two young kiddos) and I love both of them. I’d recommend the messenger bag with a baby because it’s hands free and comfortable when you are carrying a child. I’ve used mine for two years now and it’s totally worth it!

  • I use a tote now for both Juniper’s and my stuff. Because it’s for both of us I like a bag with a few pockets. I know you don’t like the hardware on the first bag, but I love that it has an interior and exterior pocket to separate my stuff from Juni’s. I also love that the strap is adjustable. My two cents. :)

  • I love the La Tropezienne. It is just gorgeous. I realize that some of the others might be more practical (hands free is always nice), but there’s something to be said for carrying a bag that *you* love, even though the majority of the stuff inside is for your kid. If you anticipate having a stroller with a basket that can acccommodate your bag, then you really don’t have to worry about having your hands free most of the time. I find that a shoulder bag works great for me.

  • i love a nice big bag, and these are all beautiful in their own way. my husband can’t stand big bags–he claims they’re always whacking his side when he tries to walk with me. but i still collect them. :) sometimes i just make my own because it’s hard to find one that fits my exact specifications.
    love the blog!

  • My favorite is the La Tropezienne bag. The leather is so gorgeous! I was going to suggest the PishPosh Mommy Bag insert. I blogged about it awhile back and I use it everyday. I love that I can just grab it and switch back and forth between multiple bags depending on my mood without destroying my bags.

  • Look for a Matt and Nat Cedar Diaper bag. They’re vegan and the fabric lining is made of recycled milk cartons. Great exterior pockets. Totally lovely, too!

  • I have just concluded my diaper bag search. I will be carrying the Longchamp Le Pliage. Clean lines, easy to clean, virtually indestructible and available in many colors yet I will be sticking with the classic black. The only downside is the lack of internal pockets. Here is my remedy:

    Best of luck in your search.

  • I really like the first but have always found that shape to be most conducive to me loosing a lot of stuff. One day, like Mary poppins, I’d probably pull a coat stand out of it.

    Bright Green Laces

  • My sister has something similar to the Longchamp bag you have pictured and she uses it as a diaper bag (I have the travel size version of that Londchamp bag, it is ace). But I think that’s the best bet. Something versatile!

  • I love the tan bag and all your
    street fashion ideas. So cute!

  • I have a Clare Vivier Tropezienne (really like it) and a Messenger. The problem with the Messenger is that the unlined suede pills off and leaves little leather bits all over the contents of the bag. I’ve written to Clare Vivier about it but have not heard back. Not impressed – I think as they are getting more popular, their customer service is lacking.

  • this is an old post but here goes anyways: so many bags that i have been considering! i REALLY want the vivier tote but i am worried that i wont be happy without the cross body strap. (also as a diaper bag.) i am curious what you ended up with and if you have been happy with it!

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