25 July 2013

Style Dilemma: Finding the Grownup Overnight Bag

This is my dilemma, folks. Usually, Style Dilemmas come from readers and friends, or even from family. But in this case, well, here’s my story.

In January, H had his Big Company Holiday Party at the American History Museum. It was a crazy time, and I’d barely thought about what to wear. Fortunately, both of the dresses I bought for his reunion were an option. Nor did I need to think about shoes. The I-Could-Wear-Them-Every-Day Stuart Weitzman patent platform pumps I bought for the reunion (a more than worth it investment I’d recommend you consider) worked for both dresses.

So we could have a little alone time, H booked the night at The Willard. We certainly don’t live far from downtown DC, but not having to worry about what time The Beans would wander into our room (invariably early, when we’re out late)? Heaven.

We were late, we were rushed. I tossed my shoes, underwear, and next day morning clothes into my gym bag. It’s the smallest thing I have. The dresses went in a leftover store garment bag.

We ran out the door and hopped in the Uber. I mean, if we’re going to stay at the Willard, we should arrive in style, right?

We pulled up, and the doorman opened the door. I stepped out, and our driver handed me my bag. And then I went to walk through the lobby at The Willard. With my gym bag. I decided right then and there I need a new overnight bag. Well, I need an overnight bag, because a gym bag doesn’t count. I’m a nearly-40-year-old woman who counts herself among the relatively stylish (presumptious, I know), and my bag looks like I’m in high school.
Thank you, Mr. Bellman, for snapping this before we stepped out to party with Kermit, Dorthy's ruby slippers, and the American Flag.

Well, I still haven’t bought one, but I’ve thought about it. Often. And on the eve of my BFF’s 40th, when I’ll drive north to PA to celebrate with her for one night, I packed, and again I wondered which bag to use. My trusted and reliable L.L. Bean rollerbag is too big for a t-shirt, shoes, a dress, toiletries, and a sweater. Oh, and a clutch. I won’t be able to find a solution in time (gym bag, you win again), but I searched out a few small, stylish, and hopefully durable options.

Herschel NovelRib & Hull Heirloom Tote, Adidas Perforated Hold All (yes, I know, no gym bags, but this is a decidedly grownup one. Picture yourself arriving for an overnight in a hipster hotel on the LES, perhaps?), Graf & Lantz Carry On

What do you use for overnight or weekend trips? Do you have a favorite? Do you use a garment bag? Toiletry or jewelry cases? Please share!

Oh, and yes, I wrote this post, then remembered...I’d posted on a very similar dilemma not all that long ago. We’ll just blame my memory loss on The Beans


Serena McClain said...

I'm always on the lookout for the perfect overnight/weekend bag. I love the ones you've highlighted. Currently, I vacillate between my smallest black roller bag and one of my Baggu totes.

This bag (http://shop.thenewdomestic.com/bon-journey-process-yellow/) has been on my list for a while.

RosaLovesDC said...

Have you looked at Everlane? They carry a fabulous Weekender Bag. I love the quality of their items as well.


Alison (Wardrobe Oxygen) said...

I had the most perfect overnight bag from Ann Taylor. It was Barbie pink and had a texture like grosgrain and a shape like a big Birkin. And then a bottle of red wine spilled on it and there was no way to clean it properly. Since then my overnight bag is a monogrammed LL Bean Boat and Tote though I would far prefer something leather that would weather and refine with time!

DC Celine said...

@Serena, I love that one! I've been eyeing one similar (from my original post on the topic). Casual, fun, and still grownup.

@Rosa, no, hadn't seen those yet. They look wonderful! Exactly the cross of easy + grownup that I'm hunting

@Alison, that's awful. I can picture it - and your face when you saw the stain. I've actually considered a Bean Bag, too. I grew up with them (Mommy always put our stuff in them to go to the pool), so I'd almost feel the transformation to my mother would be complete.

I, too, love the idea of something weathering and refining over time.

Laura Emily Dunn said...

I have this dilemma too!

I have a small Mulberry case that I often use, or a small Antler case that I also use as my carry-on when flying.

What about this gorgeous Robinson Weekender from Tory Burch? Chic and functional!


Great post! :)

Valerie said...

I have a Michael Kors bag that I got at Marshall's that is technically luggage, but is small enough for overnight. It's shaped like the Adidas one above. It was probably part of a larger set at some point but got separated (hence for cheap at Marshall's). I love it because it is bigger than it looks (multiple pairs of shoes is no problem, for those times you can't decide), and is pumpkin orange. I feel glamorous and dramatic tossing it in the backseat of a car or walking through a train station!

Bridgette Raes said...

I have a large LeSportsac bag I rely on and have blogged about, It is indestructible!!