I have been wanting to do a post about planner bags for some time. When I attend my local planner meet-up, our bags are often as talked about as our planners. And why shouldn’t they be? What we carry every day is a big deal and it’s important that our bags can accommodate our planners.
Totes are huge right now, so that works in our favor. Totes have certainly been updated to be more stylish and less plain, though thanks to companies like Whipping Post, Madewell, and Cuyana, a traditional tote is still in style.
I own several “planner bags” and want to share the pros and cons I have discovered for each:
The Whipping Post Vintage Tote is probably the most popular planner bag right now. It’s everywhere! It is roomy and it can be thrown around because scratches and scuffs actually add to its appearance. I particularly love the longer handles that make it easier to carry. I do find the leather to be a bit stiff, though that can also be a pro due to its durability. It can hold just about anything you throw at it, and the price point is fantastic for what you get with this tote.
The Mulberry Bayswater is not technically a classic since it was created in 2002, but it is an icon. It doesn’t look tote-like at first glance but if you pull the top flap back, it opens to be a roomy tote and the belted sides can be loosened to afford you more space. It can easily hold your 13″ laptop in addition to your planner(s), wallet, folders, and other purse goods. I find the handle on the Bayswater to be a bit short, which can make it hard to carry if you’re wearing a coat or sweater. The price point is high, but this is the original British “it” bag and it is very versatile. Mulberry has an outlet in Southern California where you can find past season’s bags at a discount.
The Smythson Panama East West Tote is a favorite of mine. The tote easily transitions from work bag, to everyday carry, to overnight bag. It is casual enough that is is not flashy, but has an understated elegance. Within reason, your planner supplies and other everyday items will easily fit inside. The handles are comfortable, though I prefer longer handles like the ones found on the Whipping Post Tote. The price point is higher but Smythson heavily marks down past season’s bags and if you make a few calls, you can find a good deal on a beautiful bag.
The Proenza Schouler PS1 in large is a workhorse of a bag. It has tons of pockets and is deceptively large. The pocket in the front holds an A5 planner well as long as it is not too bulky, and the main pockets opens up to accommodate most of what you can throw at it. However, this is not a bag that will do well with a laptop or folders. The handle is adjustable all the way to crossbody, which makes it the most comfortable bag on my list. When you’re carrying multiple planners and a case full of planner supplies, you need a strap that you can adjust to your most comfortable length. Another bag with a higher price point, Proenza Schouler can also be found at deeply discounted prices if you’re willing to do the work.
Alexander McQueen… the brand has stolen my heart due to its perfect juxtaposition of classic, clean lines and edginess. The Padlock Zip-Around Satchel is no exception. Another bag that can hold more than you think it would, this bag opens to one large pocket that can hold a 13″ laptop, folders, and definitely a planner or two. The Padlock Zip-Around is less flexible than any of the other bags on my list and due it’s short handle, it is the least capable bag on my list, though still capable of doing the job. McQueen has a higher price point and even if you find a good sale, you will still pay quite a bit for a bag. I like to use rewards dollars I earn from Neiman Marcus to help soften the blow.
Last but certainly not least, is the Mulberry Tessie Tote. Mulberry is known for it’s soft, luxurious leather and this bag highlights that fact perfectly. The Tessie Tote is roomy and beautiful; when you see it, the first thing you want to do is reach out and touch it. Then smell it. Then marvel at what a perfect representation of a classic tote it is. Much like the Whipping Post Vintage Tote, there are no bells and whistles, here. It’s a simple tote that gets the job done. Another bag that can take just about anything you throw at it, and easily transitional from everyday carry to overnight bag. I do wish the handles were longer, but they are still a comfortable length. And don’t forget that you can add a matching Mulberry agenda to go with your tote! With it’s slightly higher price point, again, the Mulberry outlet is your friend if you want to find this bag at a more affordable price.
I know that many of the bags I have highlighted are pricey. The reason is because I have purchased and used a lot of bags. My experience is that you really do get what you pay for. That is not to say that there aren’t more affordable bags out there that can get the job done, my opinion is simply based on my personal experiences. If you are looking for a less expensive bag, Madewell and Cuyana make totes very similar to Whipping Post and at the same price point.
What are all of you using for your planner bag? How is it working for you?
What is your dream planner bag?