Ask Belle: The Magic Bag

Nov 29, 2010

For the last ten years, my Mother has been on a Grail Quest for a travel bag to carry with her when she travels with the local Speech and Debate team.  Thus, every time that I have entered a department store or a mall, my Mother has rifled through the purses searching for a “Magic Bag.” 

Her search for the perfect bag used to be adorable.  But given her laundry list of requirements, and her unwillingness to bend on even a one of them, her epic journey has grown more than a bit bothersome.  In fact, all she has to do is say the phrase “Magic Bag” and my eyes roll so hard that it gives me a migraine headache.

To end this torturous journey, I have spent the past year on a daily search for my Mother’s white whale.  And maybe, just maybe, I have found it.

Big Buddha Empire Bag (Piperlime, $95)

Behold a Magic Bag! (Insert eyeroll. Geez, that hurt.)

My Mother loves pockets, and this bag has more pockets than I have ever seen.  It has two outer compartments, a zippered inner pocket, a zippered coin pocket, an outer zippered pocket and a cell phone pocket.  And it has turn lock clasp so that thieving high school students can’t remove things from the bag, hoorah!

It’s synthetic, but Big Buddha’s are durable.  It has a double strap, so it’s sturdy.  And it has stylish gold-tone hardware and pleated detail!

Oh no, it has gold-tone hardware.  That’s a disqualifying offense.  Mrs. B only likes silver.  Dammit! 

Once again her pickiness has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.  Won’t somebody help me end the torture?  Surely, someone out there must have a suggestion.

Ask The Edit, Style

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  1. evoque says:

    What about Penelope & Parker bags? There are some pretty great styles, and the Penny seems like it would fit the bill. Otherwise, I'd separate out the interior-organization/pockets issue from the actual bag design itself, which is what ended up working for me.

  2. evoque says:

    What about Penelope & Parker bags? There are some pretty great styles, and the Penny seems like it would fit the bill. Otherwise, I'd separate out the interior-organization/pockets issue from the actual bag design itself, which is what ended up working for me.

  3. casual reader says:

    Get thee to Levenger.com. Beautiful leather. Lots of organizer pockets. Not trendy, but very classic styles.

  4. Kelsey says:

    And piperlime is 20% off today! Use code LUCKY20. Love the bag!

  5. Rory says:

    Order it for her, and get some paint for the hardware. My mom is on the same quest, and like your mom, doesn't want but NEEDS all sorts of pockets.

  6. Senate sider says:

    I had the same problem and it was solved with Levenger. I have a rust colored leather tote from them that is fifteen years old. The best organized bag I have ever found (no loger available). It is still in fabulous shape. I added another last year from Levenger, the St. Tropez.

    https://www.levenger.com/PAGETEMPLATES/PRODUCT/Product.asp?Params=Category=11-843|Level=2-3|pageid=5873

    Love the pockets, the size, the leather, the hardware of both of my Levenger bags. They work great for travel and my daily comute on the train to DC. They are the best quality I have ever purchased. I used to buy a new bag every 3 months, but not any more.

  7. evoque says:

    What about Penelope & Parker bags? There are some pretty great styles, and the Penny seems like it would fit the bill. Otherwise, I'd separate out the interior-organization/pockets issue from the actual bag design itself, which is what ended up working for me.

  8. KRF says:

    Hi Belle,
    If you like Big Buddah bags, they are sold on E Bags and the prices are better (its going for $76 today) and you may be able to find something even closer to your current match: https://www.ebags.com/product/big-buddha/empire/203820?productid=10108070. I have had a great experience ordering bags from this site. Good luck on your search.

  9. renee says:

    Go to a craft store, get some pantone metallic pens and colour all the gold to silver. That might just make it perfect for your mom.

  10. vrimjai says:

    I'm late to this game, but my problem is that I have to (as a college student and sometimes-campaign intern) haul my laptop and computer charger back and forth. I've broken so many bag straps, but I really can't bring myself to get one of those bulky, kind of ugly (imo) timbuk2 bags.

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