When the lovely team at Rue La La — an online shopping destination for a wide range of contemporary designer goods from apparel and accessories to kitchen gadgets and bedding — asked me to help introduce their Style Guide to Handbags, I thought it would be a fun chance to turn my bag upside down, give it a good shake, and share what my daily carrying essentials are and why. If big hair is full of secrets, then what are big bags full of? Let’s take a look, shall we?
While I definitely switch up my bags to smaller choices like clutches for more formal outings and baguettes or mini satchels for dates and such, my daily mainstay is a generous-sized tote bag. As a stylist and the shopkeeper for Millay Vintage, I’m constantly out-and-about sourcing goods for the shop and picking up items for photoshoots and events, and having a bag that can carry what I need and give me room to plop in extra finds as the day goes by is incredibly handy.
Right now? I am loving the rich plum color of that pebbled leather tote bag that I borrowed from the Millay Vintage shop for the day to prepare this here post.
I like having the larger tote bag with me, but still only carrying some bare essentials to leave loads of room for dropping in finds and also getting the added benefit of not having to slug around a super heavy carry-all. My current (cold-weather) essentials?
- A cozy scarf: Northeastern autumns and winters don’t joke around, so even if I’m not wearing it around my neck, I have one on hand for when I’ll inevitably need it at some point during the day. Pictured scarf is an old item from Madewell
- Hand salve: Nothing dries my hands more than this brisk and cold weather, and when you are in the business I am, constantly hand-washing and repairing garments and home items, it takes a toll on your hands. A good lotion for them feels like a perfect luxury. Pictured one is from Anthropologie
- On that same note, I’ve been relying on those Burt’s Bees tinted lip balms. They offer a touch of color while giving that needed moisture for chapped lips. Pictured balm is from Target
- Toiletries: I’ve recently started carrying a title bit of my scent with me realizing that I often have long days at the Studio where I head straight to a dinner or drinks with a pal. Giving myself a little spritz helps me transition from business to social mode and helps me feel refreshed. Pictured spray is from Anthropologie
- Compact mirror: Isn’t that brass etched one a beauty of it’s own? I honestly rarely use it, I just love having it with me…that’s not weird, right? #ilikeoldprettythings #notsorry Pictured compact is vintage
- Get down to business: My holy trinity are my planner notebook, wallet, and business cards. I use what I think was meant to be a little leather clutch as my wallet because its gots to hold all my pertinents — a checkbook, business cards (my own and others), receipts, and actual currency. Pictured old from Madewell
- Market finds: While this ^^ all seems like a longish list, those items don’t actually take up too much real-estate in my tote bag, which is exactly how I like it. That way, I have room to drop in buys from the day, which in this case were some beautiful peonies that I nabbed in preparation of hosting some family visiting us for a few days.
The aforementioned Rue La La has put together a fun little Style Guide breaking down the different categories of handbags and what situations they are useful for. They also offer a handy guide for identifying authentic designer bags, which is useful for both contemporary bag connoisseurs and vintage collectors. My favorite part, though, is at the bottom of the guide (scroll all the way down), where they detail the history of handbags from the 16th century to current day. Super fascinating and worth a read since they break it all down into bite-size nuggets of information.
/ To see more from Rue La La, browse their full Style Guide to Handbags
/ The beautiful pebbled leather tote bag from this post can be purchased in the Millay Vintage shop HERE (and there is only one available!)
So tell me friends, what bag are you carrying on the daily? And more-so, what do you carry inside of it?
Photos courtesy of Chloe Berk. All styling and photo editing done by myself.