Office Dress: Bags

In the final in this mini series of office dress, I’ve covered suits, shoes, and now its the turn of bags.

I am a hoarder of all things, not least of handbags. I’m forever buying beautful bags and then finding that actually the one I was already using is more useful/comfortable/practical. The best solution would clearly be to use my pink Berghaus rucksack for work just I like I do in “real life”, but it doesn’t really fit in that well with my office image :)

For work I think there are some basic requirements which a bag needs. One is to be pretty spacious as I need my umbrella, wallet/phone/keys combo plus a cardigan or scarf, hairbrush, tissues, gum, lip balm and painkillers. In addition I often pack my mini flask of coffee, maybe a snack or even some lunch, maybe to drop off at the postbox, a music player, and who knows what else (knitting, notebooks, maps, assorted gadgets, penknife, kitchen sink, you get the picture). It must fit onto a shoulder or shoulders, I used to be fine with bags to hold in my hand but since having some RSI problems it isn’t comfortable. Oh and they need to shut at the top to keep the rain out!

Pretty bags are a complete non-starter, they quickly get dirty and often are designed for looks rather than strength. I’m not geeky enough for a briefcase and anyway since I don’t carry papers its completely the wrong shape. I have one I use for intervews and rectangular just isn’t useful! On dry days I have a largish turquoise coloured bag with two sections and handles long enough to put them on my shoulder and tuck the bag under my arm (just). My other favourite is a black leather (actually plastic) record bag which at least keeps most of the water out and looks good with my suit.

I am constantly changing between handbags though, and leaving things behind in the old one! It doesn’t help that I don’t dress remotely smart at weekends and there’s also a weekly office dress-down day to complicate the issue. Maybe I will just give up and go back to the rucksack – it worked when I was a student – what do you think?

5 thoughts on “Office Dress: Bags

  1. Handbag?! lol

    My laptop bag with my macbook in it does the job for me :)

    I’m beginning to realise how lucky I am.

  2. “…finding that actually the one I was already using is more useful/comfortable/practical…”

    I’m so with you on this !
    My handbag gave out on me the other week (shoulder straps broken and the fabric on the inside completely in tatters) and I have been looking for a new one but can’t find one which comes even close to what I want or need.

    My list of requirements:
    * shoulder bag with ability to adjust the straps so I can wear it as a rugsack too (for when I’m walking around, it will save me getting a backache from walking lopsided)
    * relatively smart looking but not posh (have to be able to use it to visit customers, but it will still have to suit me too)
    * medium size: I want to be able to bring my camara, wallet, sunglasses, siggies, mobile, house and car keys and such, but no much more than that either, so let’s not tempt myself by having a massive bag
    * 2 inside bags (do you call them that in English ? sleeves ?) one for the essentials, one for the extra’s so at least I can find something without having to empty the whole bag first
    * one little side pocket on the inside of one of the sleeves for my passport

    Is that too much to ask ?

    Pff.. been going into all the stores which sell handbags in the little town I live in and no luck so far.

    For now, I have resolved to getting my old bag repaired – someone told me of a shoerepairshop where there is supposed to be an true to life old fashioned craftsman, so that is my next stop !

  3. Kat – I’m so glad I don’t have to carry a laptop with me as well! Then I really would be using a rucksack I think.

    jrf – what a tale of woe :) I honestly don’t know who designs handbags (or indeed any other accessories for ladies, as I may have mentioned before) but they need a severe talking to.

    The kind of bags which have changeable straps and places to let headphones out of it plus a mobile pocket and couple of zippy pockets are always boarder/skater style ones. Pretty or smart ones never have any useful engineering in and they often fall apart quite quickly – drives me mad!

    Maybe I really should start my own accessories range :)

  4. Lorna: I somehow suspect the problem is that men are designing women’s accessoires….

    May be we should clue them in sometime….

    Been to the shoerepairstore in the mean time and the guy is actually willing to have a go at it ! Now waiting for him to call me that the bag is ready & all repaired ;-)

    The one I have is actually quite smart, but still has all the practical amendities which I listed above. I’m happy I’ll be able to use it for another number of years quite soon now.

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