I am not one of those chicks that carries a bag around just because it looks good. For me a bag must meet both function and style needs. I believe in the right bag for the task. Bags are for hauling stuff and I’d prefer if they kept things organized. Once those two tasks are checked off then I will deal with the look of the bag.
Note: Some style elements are embedded in the functionality category. Certain shapes of bags are better suited to tote your stuff around better than others.
- Work Bags. These are usually rectangular. They MUST be able to hold a standard size notebook and file folder. A bag with a rounded bottom will often lead to damaged papers. The other thing that I prefer about the work bag is an adjustable strap that I can wear messenger style if the bag is heavy. Since this is a work bag, I NEED pockets (cell phone, palm pilot, tampons, pens, pencils, etc.). The last messenger bag that I made had a removable internal organizer to keep everything in its place.
- Tote Bags. These are usually task oriented. They can not become a bottomless pit. The straps have to be the right length and they must be sturdy. I usually drag these around for group crafting and trips to the swimming hole.
- Travel Bags. Large enough for an overnight stay. They have pockets on the front (big enough for an id, boarding pass, and passport), on the back (so no one has easy access to my wallet or mp3 player), and on the side (so I can easily dig out my cell phone before the flight starts). It can’t be a bottomless pit either. It must be as roomy as Mary Poppin’s Carpet bag.
- Generic Purse. Just big enough to hold a wallet, cell phone, and sunglasses. I have yet to tackle the redesign for my generic purse. My favorite is by Nine West. It has an external cellphone pocket, a main compartment, a front organizer pocket (which is where the lip balm and sunglasses end up), and a small pocket on the back (handy for grocery lists).
Fabric choice is key. All bags MUST be machine washable. Another thing I pay attention to is the pre-loaded weight of the bag which the fabic choice also plays an important role.
Once all of the functional stuff is taken care of then I look at the style. This usually involves things like color, pattern, texture, embelishments, and details (topstitching and such). I prefer to keep the outside simple colorwise, that way the bag will match everything (although I went a little crazy with my messenger bag). The linings tend to be a little more fun (I really like reversible bags).