More on Big Bags! Bags that Hold The Kitchen Sink

  1. i didn't read the full article but it sure sounds like me when i'm packing every morning!
  2. Aww - I wish I could read the whole thing - but you have to subscribe to the NY Sun online in order to read it.

    Could you copy and paste it here for those of us that don't want to pay to read it?
  3. Oh no! When I posted the link, it was still available for the general public. I'm not a subscriber either, so we need someone else to help!
  4. Bags That Hold The Kitchen Sink
    May 30, 2006

    Every morning, before art dealer Sylvia Chivaratanond leaves for work at a gallery just blocks from her apartment, she packs up her handbag - a tote by Goyard or Comme des Garcons, or a Dries van Noten hobo - with all her day's essentials: wallet, cell phone, yoga clothes, the latest issue of the New Yorker, flats, a water bottle, a small cosmetics bag, and more. By the time evening rolls around, she may have stuffed a spontaneous purchase from Jeffrey in there too.

    "When I try to go smaller, I burst my Fendi," Ms. Chivaratanond said. On the upside, she noted cheerfully, a big, overstuffed bag "builds my biceps."

    Sound familiar? Ask any woman in New York about the size of her handbag and she's likely to respond, "Big - it needs to be." Of course, "need" is a relative term, but nobody can deny that in New York, our bags are our cars. What suburbanites throw in the back seat, New Yorkers must tote over their shoulder.

    A few years ago, women all over the city could be seen carrying two bags to accommodate their needs. Now, in what appears to be a mutually beneficial relationship, handbag designers are coming out with ever larger options, with carrying capacities that rival what used to pass for a weekend bag for the Hamptons.

    Two of the hottest bags recently have been the luggage-like Paddington by Chloe, for which an even bigger size was offered this season; and the Fendi Spy, whose medium size's 15.5-inch width (the typical gauge of handbag size) is so large it could easily fit Ms. Chivaratonond's daily stash - and more.

    If the selections over the weekend at Barneys and Bergdorf's are any indication, the clamor factor is nearly as high for Devi Kroll's luxury-skin hobos, Balenciaga's enduringly popular motorcycle bags, Celine's Clandestine (whose size, if we're being literal, is anything but), Chanel's new "luxury" line, and generally any design by Marc Jacobs, Hogan, and Goyard.

    Popular bags by smaller designers operating in lower price brackets - mid-three figures rather than the low-to mid-fours charged by the major fashion houses - include Kooba's Sienna, Hayden-Harnett's Thalia, Dooney & Burke's Circle Hobo, Bulga's Stud, and Botkier's Bombay and Bianca bags.

    Big bags symbolize the multitasking reality of modern urban life, which requires dashing from the office to the gym to after-hours events, all of which in turn require their own uniforms and makeup, while the commute between them necessitates more multitasking (reading material, iPod), and footwear more comfortable than, say, the towering platform wedges dominating shoe departments this spring. Stylish stay-at-home mothers prefer larger handbags as an alternative to the traditionally cutesy bags designated for diapers and other baby loot.

    Many women say they are thankful that at least one precinct of fashion exists in which designers are as attuned to a woman's practical needs as to her style. "I am so excited about the big bag phenomenon because I am always carrying dance clothes, water bottle, lunch, commute reading, files for work, and props," a performance artist and development associate at contemporary-dance presenter Danspace Project, Ursula Eagly, said. "The big bag phenomenon promises that even people like me can look fashionable lugging around so much stuff."

    But some fashionable handbag aficionados contend that a big bag, even one by Hermes, the Holy Grail of handbag designers, can never look stylish. "It's one more element in the super-sizing of America and it looks terrible," said Tina Craig, a blogger better known as the Bag Snob who can dissect a handbag's construction and detailing with the artisto-analytic rigor of an architect.

    Ms. Craig advises that women take their own size into account when choosing a handbag, pointing out that an almost 14-inch Hermes Birkin is disproportionately large even on 6-foot-tall Elle Macpherson. (The Birkin comes in an almost 16-inch model, too.) "Don't get me started on the Olsen twins," whose predilection for big bags, Ms. Craig said, "makes them look more emaciated than they are already."

    As a general rule, Ms. Craig counsels sticking to a 12-inch width, like the original incarnation of the Balenciaga Motorcycle bag, instead of newer versions that have grown to 15 inches.

    She also noted that most fashion houses don't even sell their largest handbags in Asia and Europe "because people there aren't as fat, and they understand the power of discrete status symbols."
    While the status conferred by a large designer handbag might be obvious, said clinical psychologist Marcia Gilroy, the ability to stuff one's bag with everything from snacks to hand cream to evening accessories also points to the trend's so-called securityblanket aspect. "In today's world, you need to be prepared for every eventuality," she said."I wouldn't be surprised if young single women tote around toothbrushes and clean underwear."

    Indeed, a fashion publicist, Laura Livingston Rubin, said that her Luella Gisele - dubbed "the suitcase" by her boyfriend - got heavier after the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the 2003 blackout. "While lip gloss and Women's Wear Daily certainly won't save me in the event of a terrorist attack, I dread being stranded again without my creature comforts" she said. Those creature comforts include lip gloss, a BlackBerry, a Razr cell phone, a digital camera, vitamins and organic snacks, a pair of Marc Jacobs flats or Christian Louboutin heels, necklaces and bracelets to pile on for meetings, and something to read. "Short of a roll of duct tape, I'm ready for anything," she said.
  5. minicoop - thanks for posting the whole article!! Interesting read. As I am used to throwing my "stuff" in my car, but I guess if I carried it all around I would need a really big bag! I can't imagine the stress that comes with trying to be prepared for EVERYTHING all in one bag!!
  6. Thanks so much for posting! Very interesting article!
  7. l love the big bag style. I really hated those teeny tiny bags that everyone had/wanted a few years ago.
  8. They are wonderfully spacious bags and fits my stuff and my kids' stuff too. I like to have more big bags!!
  9. Lol, I love big bags, but I think that some of them are seriously getting too big if it's like toting luggage around.
  10. Minicoop, thanks for posting that interesting article.