Bag’s the Question

vintage schoolbag

As back to school looms (or has arrived) for most of us, thoughts of last year’s schoolbag, still bulging with tattered binders, doodled notebooks and dull pencil nubs, resurface. While these shabby bags still look servicable to us careworn and cash-poor moms, they are positively outre to our persnickety children. They always need bigger, better, cooler bags. Can the universe continue to supply these? Of course not. We look to the usual retailers and perhaps a couple of unorthodox solutions to getting the bag right for Fall 09. Lizzi, you go first.

(Lizzi/Daughter) To me, book bags are probably one of the most important elements of going back to school.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but does anyone else have trouble finding a bag that will fit all your books and folders for school? And making sure it’s affordable but stylish?

Last year, being my first year in middle school, I had no idea how many books and things I would have to bring home everyday. So, I bought a good-sized LeSportSac that was 50% off and thought it would do fine. But every day when school ended, I’d find myself jamming hundreds of books, folders, jackets, lunch bags, etc. into my what-seemed-to-be-tiny book bag. Sure, the bag was cute and all, but by the middle of the year, I was tired of it.

It looks big here, but that's because it's stuffed with some old folders I still haven't unpacked.
It looks big here, but that’s because it’s stuffed with some old folders I still haven’t unpacked.

This year, I want to make sure not to make that mistake again.

Instead of having a tote this year, I want a messenger bag again, like I had in 3rd and 4th grade:

JanSport messenger bag 3rd and 4th grade
Of course, I want it less sporty and less, well, “fourth grade.”

I found this leather messenger bag a few days ago from J. Crew.

J. Crew leather messenger bag

I fell in love with it… until I looked at the price. $595?! Wow, must be real leather! I looked around for less pricey ones, but found out that most of the bags were too small. And not just the leather bags, all of them.

To be honest, I thought that finding a school bag this year would be easier because I knew what I wanted. But now that I’m looking, I can’t find anything. Mom! Help!

(Erika/Mom) How ’bout Mommy’s old Coach briefcase c. 1995? Just kidding. For cool stuff I tend to look across the Pond for inspiration. I found a few neat-looking messenger bags at Miniseri that seem roomy enough. This one is leather, with a fun plastic window in front for a photo:

Miniseri messenger bag
And I really like these bags, but seen through the cloudy lenses of mom-dom, I have no idea if they are cool or not:

travel bag
Besides,they might be a bit hard to shove into the narrow slits they call lockers. Personally, I love market bags–deep and roomy and oh, so malleable. You can shove these bags anywhere. Here’s a pretty blue floral one from April Cornell:

April Cornell market bag
When in doubt, though, it doesn’t hurt to fall back on the good ol’ Army/Navy store. We used to buy our peacoats there, when they were in style, er, awhile ago. They have these authentic Danish schoolbags that look like they would survive a war or two:

Danish messenger bag
And judging by the way kids abuse their bags–cramming them in closets, flinging them on as they run like mad to the schoolbus, dragging them along questionable cafeteria floors–well, durable isn’t such a dirty word.

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4 Responses to “Bag’s the Question”

  1. Francesca Says:

    fab! I like the idea of Lizzi’s messenger bag, & the April Cornell is also gorgeous. I’m still stuck this year, but I think I’m going with a blue Ralph Lauren tote bag if I don’t find anything else.

  2. beth gales Says:

    Keep us posted on what she picks! I’d be curious about the Coach (1995) bag myself. Can we call it retro yet? 🙂

  3. Cathy Says:

    I’m having a lot of fun on my trip to India. I’ll write a lot about my trip when I get back!

    I think I’m going to be using my same Vera Bradley Large Tic Tac Tote. It’s pretty big and last year I could fit everything easily.

    And I’ve seen people with much smaller bags so don’t flip 🙂

  4. My Book Bag « 13 Going on 47 Says:

    […] Book Bag By Erika & Elizabeth (Lizzi/Daughter) Most of you remember the post we recently did on what bag I should get for school. Well, I finally found a bag that is close to perfect! We went […]

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