Spring Bag Picks for Moms

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Screen shot 2011-05-12 at 12.24.05 AM Especially since having babies, I've become a bit of a handbag addict.  Bags are the one fashion splurge I've always known would fit over the past four years as I've been pregnant, postpartum, nursing, pregnant again (whilst nursing!), postpartum, nursing, and yes, pregnant AGAIN (!).  A truly fabulous bag can make any t-shirt-and-jeans with a three-days-without-a-wash 'do look amazing, and the right bag can replace esteem-usurping diaper bags if you're willing to give up a little storage space in the interest of personal style.

If you're out of diaper bag phase, congrats!  Skip this paragraph and head on down for my spring bag picks for moms. 

If you're still changing nappies or hanging out with a toddler who has the occasional accident (or, like me, both), here's how I make non-diaper bags work.  First, I keep a fully stocked emergency bag in my car.  It has snacks, juice boxes, diapers, wipes, first aid, and a full change of clothes for both babes.  I can't remember the last time I needed to dip into it, though.  Second, I carry one of these fab Planet Wise reusable wet bags in my purse.  In it are 1-2 diapers and a travel size wipes case for my 20-month-old, and a pair of cotton gym pants (soft enough to be worn commando) for my preschooler–it's very slim, about the size of a small clutch, and it fits in every one of my big (but fabulous) mom bags.  If I end up with a wet or poopy mess, I dump the other stuff out and zip up the offending items in the wet bag–these babies are air tight.  I carry a few band-aids and a Neo To Go! in a small make-up bag along with my lip gloss and such.  And last, I usually carry a few compact, packaged snacks like squeezable fruit, fruit twists, Z Bars, apple chips and the like loose in my bag, and then I call it a day.

It could be that I'm a terrible, under-prepared mother, but I mean, how far can you really get and how long can you actually stay out with a small child?  How much can that child possibly eat and drink, and how many diapers and changes of clothes can he possibly require during that three-to-four-hour period?  Where will you be that you can't get her a drink of water or a cracker?  If the day has gone that far south, chances are it's time to head home for a nap anyway, so get yourself a fab bag, Mamas!

I'm loving the soft slouchy look of cross body bags for moms, and the muted, neutral color palette will go with most anything.  Little else will be as functional when you need your hands free to wrangle your babes, and more structured hand bags and purses wont wear as well as these soft leathers and synthetics.  Here are my picks:

Lucky brand bag
$178 - piperlime.gap.com


Messenger bag
$138 - piperlime.gap.com


Deux lux handbag
$102 - bluefly.com


Deux lux handbag
$114 - bluefly.com


Michael Stars shoulder bag
$160 - piperlime.gap.com


TopShop handle shopping bag
$75 - topshop.com




Happy spring, Mamas! 

– M.



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  1. I love all of your choices, and I totally agree (and LOL’d) with your paragraph about possibly being unprepared. I am amazed by the amount of stuff other moms carry in their bags, but yet I’ve never felt unprepared with the few things I carry. I even got rid of the emergency bag in the car when I realized I had 3T clothes in it for my 4 1/2 year old. Apparently we don’t dip into it very often! Can’t wait to start shopping for my new spring bag!

  2. I’ve been looking for a more fashionable diaper bag, since that has seemed to replace my purse these days! Would it be better to find a large purse/bag and add diaper bag stuff to it? Or keep up the search for a diaper bag that looks like a fabulous purse?

  3. I am pregnant, and I keep looking at moms with gigantic diaper bags stuffed to the brim and thinking, “What in the world do they keep in there?” This post makes me feel better.

  4. When I was pregnant, a new mom was waiting in my doctor’s office for her 6 week checkup. She had a huge diaper bag AND a big purse AND her baby in a carrier! I thought that was way more than I could ever handle and that motivated me to keep it simple. When I leave the house with with my four month old son, I throw two diapers and a ziploc baggie full of wipes in my purse. I also have the emergency bag in the car with a changing pad, more diapers and a change of clothes. I haven’t needed it yet.

  5. At M’s prodding, my husband got me the fabulous suede fringe bag from Piperlime. I LOOOVE it. However, it’s much smaller than I’m used to and I tend to save it for quick errands and weekends (when my husband is carrying most of the stuff).
    But like M, I’ve never actually owned a traditional diaper bag. Unlike M, I’ve never stashed anything in the car (genius, though!). I tend to leave the house wanting to be able to jet off somewhere at a moment’s whim….but I’ve never needed a real diaper bag to do that. And in the summer, I have to pack…ummm…3 or 4 changes of clothes for R who manages to get wet everywhere we go.
    The kid can find a sprinkler in the desert.
    Yay, cute bags for moms!

  6. I’m guilty of carrying everything but the kitchen sink with me. My mom was fond of saying, “Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.” Yeah. I come from a long line of Nervous Nellies.
    But seriously, we cloth diaper and just three cloth diapers take up so much room! Then my five-year old STILL has the occasional accident (which is grosser than you could imagine), so I need a change of clothes for him (which take up a lot of room) AND the baby. Add in some snacks (I can’t leave them in the car because in Wisconsin they would either melt or freeze) and I fill a big tote bag.
    But inspired by this post I’m thinking I’ll *try* to pare down. I was just looking at diaper bags at Zappos the other day, and if I need something roomy-ish, what about this one:
    or this one:
    http://www.zappos.com/product/7858528/color/313788 ?

  7. This post is inspiring me to give up my enormous diaper bag ways. But I don’t know if I can…I love my Storksak Emily SO MUCH! But The Pup is getting big enough that I might be able to go smaller, except I love having some of his favorite toys with me. Sigh…I just don’t know. But the bags are GORGE.
    And hooray for #3! Congrats, M.

  8. LOVE this! Espeically the wet bags. I need one of those suckers. We live in the middle of NOWHERE (literally – 1.5 hrs to a walmart…) so we’re in the car/out and about for a while when we go. I got a delicious bag from Piperlime in a nude/tan. It is pretty gigantic, but it fits all my needs for a 6 mo old and a 26 mo old plus my wallet, makeup, changing pad, a couple toys etc. I love the zipper flowers and its held up pretty well for the past 6 months (with daily use). It’s probably a dead mom giveaway, but at least it isn’t an obvious diaperbag (well, until you open it…).
    Street Level 3023 bag in nude
    (this sucker fits a change of 2T pants, undies, a bag of toys, hand sanatizer, bandaids, fruit snacks, suckers, a folded changing pad, wipes, a bottle, a onsie, a full wallet, makeup bag, checkbook, bag of 3 diapers size 2 and 2 pullups, along with a formula wheel container, crayons, and a small spiral coloring book.)

  9. oh, for non-diaper-bag-looking-bags…I bought one from Amy Kathryn before my most recent pregnancy. I LOVE it, but its a little too small for 2 kids under 2.5 and my junk when we’re going a long ways. I think now that I’ve got one potty trained I might switch back to it come fall (its a navy/tan combo). I love her stuff though, and I don’t think it looks diaper-baggy at all. Her “diaper bag” does come with the internal mesh pockets typically found in real diaper bags, which is very handy for a 1st time mom or newborn. (you can also get them on sale at the end of each season – she doesn’t do a print for more than one season!)

  10. Since I work full time, I don’t need a diaper bag most days. Yet, I hate switching back and forth. My solution was find a medium sized bag with plenty pockets for all my personal things and a few more for my toddler’s emergencies. I also love having pockets that hold water bottles since she always needs a drink. Then when I take her out, I just add a diaper and wipes and we’re good to go.
    This is the bag I have http://www.ellingtonhandbags.com/Home_2/Travel-Active-Lifestyle/Annie-Convertible-Tote-Pack-Brown

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