The Bag That Looks Good With All Of My Go-To Outfits

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I discovered last year that — despite the children that seem to keep appearing in my household — I actually don’t need a bag that holds two weeks of supplies, like I’m preparing for a natural disaster and not a trip to Target. I can get away with a smaller, crossbody bag. I can give my shoulders a break.

Despite my, erm, colorful personality, I gravitate towards neutral-colored bags. Because I am, at the end of the day, practical as hell. A brown or black bag goes with everything. If I’m going to spend money on a designer bag, it might as well be one that will get daily use. Neutrals it is.

Honeycomb Crush: 5 Outfit Ideas Featuring The Coach Canteen Crossbody Bag

But then I saw a bag during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale that I couldn’t get out of my head; this Coach Canteen Bag in the most satisfying shade of honeycomb. “What a delightfully, unexpected color!” I exclaimed…OK, I whispered as best as I could at 4am with multiple cups of coffee under my figurative belt. After reading the specs and seeing that it hit the important marks: space for my phone, coin purse that holds my cards, hand sanitizer (cool times we’re living in) and a zippered close, I was sold.

But how to style it?

Bag | Mini Kite Ring (similar) | Jeans | Sneakers | Jacket

The first thing I do after purchasing an item that’s outside my comfort zone is shop my closet. How does this work with the clothing in my regular rotation? We all have those “go-to outfits” for different occasions; no-fail formulas for various events. I wanted to make sure the color and style of this bag worked from my “momming” around outfit to date night outfit and everything in between. Because, just like my clothing, if it requires anything additional, like say a special undergarment, it goes immediately back to the store.

1| Momming Around

Tee | Jeans | Bag | Birkenstocks (similar)

Bus stop drop-off? Jeans and a tee. Weekend with the kids? Jeans and a tee. You could call this my typical “momming around” outfit. As is well-documented, I am low-key obsessed with these MOTEHR Tomcats. Broken-in and nary a saggy bum in sight by the end of the day. The MOTHER Tomcats are perfection. Pair with a graphic tee, like this floral Pink Floyd one and Birkenstocks (similar). The Coach Canteen Bag picks up the yellow in the tee and elevates the entire look. It’s fun, easy, and a cheerful spin on my regular day-to-day look.

Fit Notes: I’m 5’7 with long legs and a short torso. The graphic tee is TTS (I’m wearing a large). The Mother jeans are TTS (I’m wearing a 30). Birkenstocks are TTS (I’m wearing an 8).

2| Parent/Teacher Conference Outfit

Tee | Jacket | Bag | Jeans | Sneakers | Necklace

This jeans-leather jacket and bag combo make me feel like, “Not a regular mom, but a cool mom.” And I definitely want to be cool and impress all those elementary schoolers when I strut the halls for a parent/teacher conference or Room Parent meeting (I can’t say no to a sign-up sheet). The pale green of the AllSaints Balfern Leather Jacket (plus-size dupe) looks fabulous next to the bright Coach Canteen Bag. My comfy AG Ex-Boyfriend Jeans, favorite basic black tee from James Perse, Adidas Superstars and Kendra Scott Jae necklace finish off the look.

Fit Notes: The AG Ex-Boyfriend Jeans run big (size down, I’m wearing a 29). The James Perse Tee is TTS (I’m wearing a 3). The Adidas Superstars are TTS (I’m wearing an 8, but some reviews do say to size down by 1/2). The AllSaints Leather Jacket runs SMALL. (I’m wearing the largest size they make, a 10 US, which is a story for another time).

3| Friends’ Night Out

Tee | Jacket | Bag | Skirt (similar) | Booties

My friend date formula only varies slightly from my Momming Around or Parent/Teacher outfits. Just add a skirt and a pair of booties and look fly for brunch or coffee. My brother knows me too well and got me this “A Little Bit Alexis” tee last Christmas. I “la la la” layered it under my AllSaints Leather Jacket, added a leopard midi skirt I found on-sale (similar) and a pair of adorable (and comfortable) Dr. Scholl’s booties in olive green. The Coach Canteen Bag picks up some of the “spots” on the skirt and again just elevates the entire outfit in a way a black or brown bag wouldn’t have. It doesn’t compete, it compliments.

Fit Notes: The shirt is fitted (I’m wearing a Medium. For a roomier fit, size up). The jacket runs small (I’m wearing a 10US and it just fits). The booties are TTS (I’m wearing an 8).

4| Outdoor Events

Sweater | Coat | Bag | Jeans | Booties | Bag | Mini Kite Ring (similar)

I have a new outfit formula thanks to my Colorado lifestyle: Fall Festivals. Give me the pumpkin patches, art festivals, late-season Farmer’s Markets, all of it! This whole look is a ’70s vibe; the BB Dakota Houndstooth Coat, a “reformed” Cruella de Vil if you will. Thrown over a lightweight Zadig & Voltaire Wool & Cashmere Sweater (under $100 alternative), the most fun flares from FRAME, the Sloane Steve Madden Booties (a top 3 NSale purchase) and the Coach Canteen Bag. I love how this all goes together, and again, that pop of color from the bag! It just works with what’s in my closet.

Fit Notes: The sweater is TTS (I’m wearing a large). The coat runs small (I’m wearing an XL). The booties are TTS (I’m wearing an 8).

5| Date Night Outfit

Dress | Bag | Booties (similar) | Lipgloss (shade: Walk of No Shame)

I’ve recently revamped my date night formula. Let’s be honest, with three kids, a night out is something to celebrate, so I can put in a little more effort. This Good American Long Sleeve Belted Dress is wayyyy outside my comfort zone, but dang it just hugs everything the right way! My husband hasn’t seen it yet, but I’m fairly certain it’s going to be a favorite. I added my stiletto booties by Vince Camuto that I’ve owned forever (same brand), a swipe of my Charlotte Tilbury Lipgloss in shade Walk of No Shame, and the Coach Canteen Bag for a much-needed infusion of color.

Fit Notes: The dress is TTS (I’m wearing a 3). Booties are TTS (I’m wearing an 8).

Shopping my closet to see how the Coach Canteen Bag works with my existing wardrobe makes me even more confident — and excited — to rock this bag this fall/winter. It adds to each of my five, mainstay, outfit formulas for a winning equation. Now that I’ll know I’ll actually use it and it won’t just exist in the back of my closet, it’s definitely a keeper.

x, Meredith

6 COMMENTS

  1. I subscribe to the ‘pop of color’ theory, and have several colorful or metallic bags that qualify. Frankly, the colors usually go on sale faster and are easier to obtain.

  2. Seeing this post reminded me that I have their 90s version of this bag in my attic, taupe color and in perfect condition except for the hair spray that leaked from the inside! I had only used it a few times when this happened and could never get it out. Maybe I’ll ask for ideas over on the Facebook group….
    Love this bag and looks great on you!

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