It’s in the bag! (sorry)

Recently I have had a hankering, and the hankering is for a new purse.

For the last year my main “purse” has been my diaper bag, and before that I was rocking a handsome little Matt & Nat number that I picked up about nine years ago. (Seriously, nine years). When I went back to work I hauled it back into duty out of neccessity but really, I think its days are done.

So the search is on, and initially, given its spectacular longevity and the fact that it’s vegan, I was planning on purchasing another Matt & Nat bag. Then I got to thinking – isn’t “vegan leather” just…plastic? I mean what makes “vegan leather” better than all of the fuax-leather junk you see at the mall? This is not a hypothetical question, I actually don’t know. Is there a difference? Help!

This conundrum, coupled with the fact that their bags aren’t made in Canada anymore, spurred me to look elsewhere.

Because nothing is more fascinating on a Friday night than my thought process when choosing a new purse, here were my criteria:

  1. Not leather. (Why? I am vegetarian and although I do own some leather items [shoes and belts mainly] I try to limit leather to items that undergo heavy use. In these cases, non-leather alternatives wouldn’t last as long or wear as well, need to be replaced more often and contribute more waste in the long run, if that makes sense. So, since leather boots/shoes will last decades where other materials wouldn’t, I buy them. Purses on the other hand, aren’t kicking around on my feet all day so they can probably deal with being made from something else.)
  2.  Not not leather. No fake leather, I mean. Fake leather is usually PVC which is just environmentally ick.
  3.  Made locally, and/or by someone in ethical, fair, and safe work conditions.
  4.  Crossbody style, for optimum hands-free-while-running-after-toddler functionality
  5.  Gorgeous, obviously.

I couldn’t find anything that matched these criteria locally, so to Etsy I went! Here are some of the finalists (Edited to add: Clicking each picture will take to the the Etsy listing for the bag. I am in cahoots with exactly none of these Etsy sellers, I’ll always disclose relationships/advertising)

I am eternally indecisive, votes/suggestions are welcome.

Hello! Slightly nautical, but brisk and efficient looking. I feel more productive already. I think it’s the clip. That clip means BUSINESS.

I feel very grown up looking at you. This looks like the kind of bag a well-put-together thirty-year old would have, and I’m not too sure how I feel about that. Bonus: Lots of inner pockets.

Oh my gosh, you’re beautiful! I don’t deserve you – why are you so beautiful? And…large. You’re actually kind of large.  Too large? I don’t know, I can’t decide. You are also not cross-body so…clearly I’m befuddled by your extreme beauty and can’t think straight anymore.

This is terribly cute, and I am such a sucker for dark gray (perhaps with a tan strap instead though?). It has about a million pockets inside but it’s also advertised as a diaper bag and that makes me bristle. I am trying to get AWAY from the diaper bag style. But then again any bag I have will inevitably hold diapers and other child-related flotsam and jetsam (see; cheerios; naked ken) so should I just stop fighting it?

I just love pink, OK? Also, this lady’s shop is named “Design By Sew and Sew” which, I mean I do love me some good wordplay. But this bag is also perhaps a little too big? Why do I keep choosing giant pink bags that could fit the world inside?

Not a purse, obviously, but I thought I would just leave this here in case anyone else secretly coveted that little archery-half-sweater that Katniss wore in the last hunger games movie. It could be yours for the low low price of $165. Just sayin’.

Well, this is very sunny and happy looking! It also makes use of a repurposed camera strap, which is all kinds of cute. Would one tire of the colour? Is this more of a summer bag? These are important questions to ask oneself when one is purse-shopping and referring to oneself as “oneself”.

Subtle, cute, innocuous. I would never get tired of the ticking, it reminds me of the mattresses at my cottage (is this a quality one generally looks for in a potential purse?). Don’t worry, the flower comes off. This bag is called a “Market Sack” which please me enormously for some reason.

Jesus christ! I mean…wow. Ok. So… I’ll put this as a maybe? Shit would get DONE if I had this purse, I will tell you that.

This is a wristlet – possibly the most annoying fashion term ever, second only to “jeggings” – but it’s amazing. I am keeping this here for the day far far in the future when I need a small purse and the use of only one hand.

Also not cross-body but I am seriously in love with this bag – um…and with this lady. This is what I think I look like in my mom uniform, when really I just look like this:


nailed it.

So! That was….productive.


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  • Reply jamieramirez March 8, 2014 at 12:41 AM

    my only suggestion is to try out something not crossbody as an experiment one day while toddler wrangling to see if it is, in fact, an impossibility. i think it might be. well, you know, impossible not to hate it constantly falling off your one shoulder.

    • Reply sweetmadeleine March 8, 2014 at 1:47 AM

      Yes, I think you’re right. That’s what my old purse is and it’s do able but also gives me rage after it falls off for the eighteenth time as I’m picking Olive up or putting her down or whatever. Sigh. That mint bag though. Zeut alors.

  • Reply Jannicke Horn Torp March 8, 2014 at 2:45 AM

    I love the last one, such a beautiful green color. Where can i purchase that bag?

    Good luck and sure which every i decide will fit perfectly 🙂

    Sent from my iPad


    • Reply sweetmadeleine March 8, 2014 at 9:53 AM

      Hi Jannicke! If you click the picture of each bag it will take you to its Etsy page where you can purchase it 🙂

  • Reply mamabethbarnes March 8, 2014 at 3:27 AM

    My vote is for #2 – I love a good slouch to a purse. Plus, lots of inner pockets?? Sold!

  • Reply Sarcastically Katie March 8, 2014 at 5:12 AM

    The first one gets my vote.

  • Reply kt March 8, 2014 at 5:30 AM

    #1 is pretty great. Has some pop to it.
    #2 simple and chic.
    #3 great color, but the shape makes it look like a paperbag from the grocery store. No.
    #4 I agree with you on a strap color.

    I love the last one, too. Mother’s Day present? For the days sans O?

    The rest don’t do much for me personally.

  • Reply Amber March 8, 2014 at 7:09 AM

    You need to seriously reconsider your no leather purse rule. Especially if you buy one that is made from repurposed leather. Besides if you don’t consider leather then you can’t get one of these hot little numbers from Erin Templeton in Vancouver. I’ve been coveting the medium tote for several years. You may never need another purse ever. I think that’s worth breaking the no leather rule for. It has a single strap that, thanks to some design ingenuity, can be worn short over the shoulder, long over the shoulder and cross body. And no hardware to break or not match your belt buckle. Love is a many splendored thing.

  • Reply Leigh March 8, 2014 at 7:21 AM

    Try Hides in Hand–ethical (they make their purses from the hides of hunted animals), and they are made in Canada! And they have a few cross body options 🙂

  • Reply Cassie March 8, 2014 at 8:05 AM

    The first one for sure!!

  • Reply Penny March 8, 2014 at 8:50 AM

    Ooo number 1 or number 4, but then I’m a sucker for anything remotely nautical. Just please don’t get no. 2, it’s just so…serious/soul destroying :-/ This bag will never make you smile. Only buy things you love! 🙂

  • Reply Jenn (and Zac) March 8, 2014 at 9:20 AM

    I’m in love with a lot of these!!! One piece of advice from my corner, DO NOT compromise on the cross body factor! An absolute must! I had a non crossbody one for about 2 weeks before I just about threw it into traffic! Never again, crossbody all the way lol!

    • Reply sweetmadeleine March 8, 2014 at 10:13 AM

      I think you’re right, which pains be because LOOK at the last one! Ugh. But I think I need to choose function first on this one.

  • Reply Valerah March 8, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    obviously a pink one!!!
    but maybe you can simultaneously get your pink fix via Olive’s clothing and accesories (an option society has precluded me from what with my offspring being male)…and something more neutral would do….hmm……#nothelpful

  • Reply lilymama March 8, 2014 at 1:36 PM
    LOVE LOVE mine! (recycled seatbelts anyone)

  • Reply Sam pereira March 8, 2014 at 2:01 PM

    I, too am on the hunt for a new handbag, with baby practicality in mind. I however am a fan of the shoulder strap (a good one that sits perfectly on my shoulder without slipping off). As an Etsy seller (of bags, no less. If you want to look at more ‘handsfree cocktail bags, just search etsy for Madame Clochette. I feel weird leaving the link so I won’t!)) I thank you for your patronage! Personally, I like the first two, or the mint one. Definitely put the wristlet on your “ideas for mummy” list.

  • Reply suzy March 8, 2014 at 2:11 PM

    1. Yellow yellow yellow!!! What a happy little bag.

  • Reply Fee Wright March 8, 2014 at 5:39 PM

    I like the first two the best!! They look like the would go with your “mom uniform”!!

  • Reply Stephanie March 9, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    I’m rather fond of the first one.

  • Reply Serene Criticism March 9, 2014 at 4:15 PM

    I love the pink ones, but if I were actually buying one of these it would be the Market Sack. Possibly because I have a very similar bag right now an it is working out very well. But, I am LOVING the yellow because of that camera strap. Super chic for a media professor or too gimmicky? Hmmm…

    • Reply sweetmadeleine March 9, 2014 at 8:42 PM

      Oh, do it! I don’t think the yellow one is on my short list so if I can’t have it, SOMEONE should!

  • Reply Jacqueline March 11, 2014 at 6:22 PM

    First time comment – someone needs that second bag & if you don’t buy it, I might have to (and I have too many bags already!)
    Best of luck deciding…

    • Reply sweetmadeleine March 11, 2014 at 10:41 PM

      Oh my gosh do it. DO it. It’s going to take months before I can pull the trigger on any of these. SO INDECISIVE.

  • Reply Call off the search - Sweet Madeleine March 16, 2016 at 6:35 PM

    […] It also means that until I find that thing I love,  I often do without. This explains why until yesterday I was still using Olive’s diaper bag as a purse. I’ve written about this before. […]

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