For years, I was a fan of a large handbag. What can I say? I like compartments. And, as a frequent user of public transportation, I REALLY liked having the daily essentials accessible to me at a moments notice. I was not alone.
Several months ago, I had the good fortune to be invited to the Zara opening downtown. The Press Preview included a lovely giveaway- a light blue and white leather mid-size clutch. As someone who LOVES both white and light blue (if you add in lavender you've pretty much covered all my favorite spring colors), I started using it the same day. To my surprise, it is still my everyday bag.
I've made it to the top of the mountain. And, may I suggest that it's time for you to join me? You'll be current and comfortable. It feels good.
5 Simple Steps to Downsize Your Bag
1. Downsize your wallet.
It's official. Zara converted me to a clutch girl. Worried that a clutch won't provide adequate storage for all your goodies? Or perhaps you feel apprehensive that it will be inconvenient if it lacks a strap? Worry no more. It's all about adjusting and sometimes (like now) change is good.
The first step is downsizing your wallet. If you are rocking a substantial wallet with a frame closure, you are carrying a heavy haul from the start. Opt for a slimmer wallet that still provides lots of compartments to stay organized. Or consider using that bulky (but very stylish) wallet as your clutch. If you choose to use a lighter weight wallet sans hardware inside your new clutch, ensure that you can simply grab your wallet and leave the rest of your clutch behind in times when you simply need cash or plastic. Woah, you just super downsized.
2. Get organized.
What do you REALLY need? 10 pens? 3 lipsticks? Extra keys? Nope. I've found that I can live with the following on a daily basis:
- Wallet (includes a pen, cash, credit cards, business cards and even punch cards for retailers or restaurants I visit frequently).
- 2 colors of lipstick. One bold, one natural.
- A small bottle of sunscreen or powder with SPF
- Cel phone
(Disclaimer: Everyone is different. So, think about YOUR essentials. Perhaps a nail file, clippers, nail polish, hair tie, mini bottle of hair spray or product, etc. are key to a good day for you.)
That's it. In my case, I've found that this leaves enough room to add forms/mail, random jewelry or a granola bar for my son, should the need arise.
When you don't have the room to store lots of random items, you discover you don't actually need them. Even better, you can easily find what you are looking for when you need it without digging through your bag. It's sort of like moving from the suburbs to the city.
I can hear you telling me that you NEED your iPad so this approach just won't work. Have faith, Dear Reader. I'm looking out for you. Velouria usually carries a version of the bag below that is large enough to accommodate an iPad. Currently, they are in the process of moving the entire boutique of goodies to the new location in Pioneer Square. Hooray! So, be sure to swing by the shop when it opens in late September or keep checking back online. For now, the larger bag is unavailable. Not worried about an iPad? This smaller clutch IS available online now.
Another need that comes up frequently with clients: clothes for the gym. Try a wet bag for activewear. Use it to separate sweaty items from everything else. Stash the wet bag and your clutch in your larger travel bag if you walk or take public transportation.
3. Learn how to exist with a clutch.
Sure, you can pare it down to fewer items. But, then what happens when you are trying to carry your coffee, your handbag and hold hands with someone? Or, perhaps you are at a cocktail party and you'd like to drink a glass of wine while holding your clutch and greeting a friend. Not to worry. There's a strategy for that.
Another option? I adore bags with a strap you can slide your hand through like the blue AMT x Mimot clutch above. So hip and effortless.
4. If you need to, take baby steps.
Perhaps you are especially dependent on your larger bag. That's just fine. Start with baby steps. For instance, opt for a clutch that can fit inside your current large bag. Then, do the exercise in #2. Now, carry your clutch inside your larger bag for a few days and determine what (if any) additional items from the larger bag you REALLY needed throughout the day. If possible, add them to the clutch. If not, determine if there is a work around. (Ex: Keeping extra shoes at the office.) After a few days, you should be free and clear of the large bag.
Another baby step: opt for a clutch with a cross body strap or a wristlet to allow you to go hands free.
5. Remind yourself and everyone else around you, that you are, in fact, not a sherpa.
A big bag pretty much guarantees that you'll be carrying everyone's everything. Whether it is your significant other's hoodie, your child's toys, your extra XYZ, you'll be the one hauling it from place to place. Sure, there's a time and place for carrying everything. Yes. Of course. But that time and place is not every time you leave the house with another person. Give yourself, your back and the straps of your large bag a break.
I think you are ready. I know you are. I'd love to hear how it goes.
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