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its all about the bag, baby

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Garance Dore's bags! Photos by Celine for MyMingPai

When I was all of 23 (which was actually not that long ago), I was complimented by an older French colleague (the kind of super cool older French colleague you long for recognition from) for my very fake MontBlanc briefcase that I had bought at the Russian Market in Phnom Penh a week before.  I had hoped it would help me solidify some sort of professional image…and it worked!  Since then, I have been obsessed with the notion of the perfect work bag.  Whether it’s a briefcase, a messenger bag, or a laptop case, there is a perfect one out there for you which can contain your entire life!  It can make you seem the put-together, super-organised, young-professional you are, while the inside of the bag might be quite the opposite.

The perfect suit needs the perfect bag!.....Illustration by Garance Dore

There is totally a perfect bag for you out there.  I’m obsessed with leather.  Specifically a nice chocolate that’s sturdy and will hold up for years and decades. The bag also needs to be structured.  No flipping and flopping of your documents, files and folders allowed! A vintage one would be even better and I’m insanely jealous of friends who inherit the formerly fabulous bags of their elders. And I actually kinda prefer men’s bags….they hold so much more and are often more utility driven than smaller, slightly more “delicate” bags designed for women (which are totally being revolutionized these days!).

So since I’ve been up to my…well, not neck, more like knees – in applying for jobs, I found myself oh so excited about the bags that come with employment!  These are some faves!

Gorgeous, huh? I love this classic! This bag is made by Etwas, a new awesome leather company that makes crafting bags like these into a sustainable and environmentally friendly process!

This is another fave made by HongKong-based leathermen, 78Percent. I love how minimalist and cool it is, and it carries your life's work in it too! Love it when I can compact my life into a bag!

The Mulberry satchel is a must-mention of course. But golly, are they expensive! Nonetheless, we had a hip young professor this year, who would always walk in with her big Mulberry and I would think to myself...must get one! Once I can afford one at least, since this one comes at £1160!

And now for one that’s a bit non-sequitur, but also a bit more affordable….  Don’t you love this colour?  This year the Cambridge Satchel Company has paired off with ASOS to bring a collection of affordable (around £100) leather satchel bags that are just adorable in their range of colours!

This blue is just so cute!

And now for some tomboy stylings….

This padded laptop flight bag by BillyKirk is cute! I love the old-school WWII designs and I can just see myself stuffing my work life in there! Plus, these leathermen brothers have a cool story - BillyKirk was schooled in the ways of durable and environmentally friendly Amish leather design. So their line is totally built to last!

And finally, I fell in love with this line of bags the moment I saw them on Cup of Jo! Lo and Sons have such purpose-driven designs that they’re perfect for me since I tend to carry my life in my bag and I also tend to be a bit messy too.  Though they’re a completely different design from the ones above, I love the fact these bags will probably save my life when I can afford one.

I love that literally everything can go into these bags and look minimal at the same time! My laptop, my files and papers, the book that I read on the Tube, lunch, my gym clothes, my iPod, a bottle of water. This thing literally fits it all! And it can attach to your suitcase!

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