brown leather handbag on white table

Say goodbye to carrying around multiple bags and chronic back pain. It’s time for a bag that lasts a lifetime.

Everybody has a little bit of the old normal that they don’t want to return to. It’s funny how it’s fashionable for me. An overspill bag is something I will never, ever return to.

Overspill bag-loving for years, I was. The type with the wallet, phone, and lip balm all in a smart handbag or crossbody bag with a bulky tote bag strapped over her shoulder. The bag could contain my gym trainers, a garden trowel that I needed to return to my friend, or a book that I wanted to finish before book club. I might also have a tub of last night’s risotto to make at my desk while I complete said book in a quick 15-minute micro lunch break.

brown leather handbag on white table

An overspill bag was unnecessary when I only worked from home. I rarely needed a bag. Even though I’m back at work, I don’t want to spend my commute feeling like my bag broke on the return from a weekend getaway. I am trying to achieve some balance, and that means saying goodbye to my uncomfortable, cheap bag that causes me pain.

What is the ideal hybrid handbag in this age of hybrid work? A structured tote is my preference. You want something spacious, but also soft and lightweight. You might be thinking, “Okay, that’s fine. I have loads of fabric tote bags in my kitchen drawer…”

Sorry, that’s not the topic I am referring to. It’s a tote but not the right answer for your hybrid prayers. You need to give your hybrid handbag some gravitas. You should feel that your day is manageable and that you have control over your time. Good leather, or what youngsters call “vegan” leather (fake leather for the oldies), is great.

Although the Brooklyn Birkin is also known as The Telfar Tote it gets a lot of attention from those who think it’s too cool for school. However, with its light fabric, comfortable handles, and well-thought-out pockets it is almost perfect. Kurt Geiger’s recycled square shopper, made of quilted recycled black nylon, has a pleasingly Prada-adjacent vibe for a fraction of the cost.

It’s not necessary to have a lot of bells and whistles. However, a few details are good – like a little hardware at the straps joining the bag (All Saints’ Edbury shoulder bags). Boden and Jigsaw are good labels to try. Instead of spending a lot on a logo, you can invest in your initials. You can find great monogrammed leather bags on Etsy.

Although I don’t consider myself a label snob, a broken strap can ruin a day. A bag with well-thought-out features – secure pockets, comfortable straps – is vital. It’s a no-brainer to get preloved. Mulberry’s porridgy leather looks better with age. The Dorset tote by Vestiaire Collective is a great place to start your search for preloved clothing.

It is easy to find the right bag. The right bag should feel natural to grab on days when you are leaving the kitchen table to go for a pint or two of milk. It should make you feel comfortable in restaurants and allow you to walk home without shoes. It should be able to do all of the above without trying to do it all. We can make this the new norm.