Top: Kate Spade Grant Park Starla, Rebecca Minkoff MAC, Coach Crossbody
Middle: LV Pochette Bosphore, Prada Vela, Coach Station
Bottom: Rebecca Minkoff Mini MAC
Bag Essentials: I move 3 items when I change bags - wallet, wristlet, and phone.
Long wallet with many card slots and a clear ID slot. I hate bunched up dollar bills and having to dig out my ID so I was happy to find a wallet that addressed both of those issues. Chose black as a good neutral to go with any bag color.
Wristlet to carry all of my small items and make bag transfer a simple process. Holds gift cards / loyalty cards, makeup and hand towelettes, hair accessories, eyeglass cloth, lip balm, lip gloss, emergency concealer (for those midday pimples, grr), eye makeup remover to battle raccoon eyes, and salt for when I need to eat at my desk.
Phone - 'nuff said.
Bag proportions (I'm 5'2"):
Kate Spade Starla, RM MAC, Coach, LV Pochette Bosphore
Prada Vela, Coach Station, RM Mini MAC
Here's how the bags fare:
If you have similar needs to mine, I recommend Kate Spade and Coach. Both brands have a good selection of leather bags, have many comfortable and lightweight styles that are small enough to keep you on the go, but big enough to carry your essentials, and the price point is pretty fair. Both brands are usually in the $200s, but you can score better deals during sales, at outlets, or vintage (try to get these authenticated though [I use the Purse Forum authentication threads], because there are many, many fakes out there.) If you're a fan of LV monogram, I also recommend the Pochette Bosphore. The coated canvas and low vachetta ratio (strap is canvas) means maintenance is practically nil.
And if you're wondering how the MAC compares with the Mini MAC:
When I looked at the measurements online, it didn't seem like the size would be very different. In real life, the mini seems much smaller. I love the look of it, but I really have to work to maneuver my wallet and wristlet into the bag. I don't think I'll be keeping this one (hence the packaging is still attached).
Any favorite bags to recommend?