Recently I traveled to New Orleans and forgot to pack a cross-body bag. All I brought was a dainty straw clutch I'd have to hold in my hands (not practical or useful in the slightest), and my massive laptop tote that's professional and inappropriately large for daytime adventures. As my dad and I headed out for on-foot explorations each day (river walks, beignet searches, flea market visits, shopping), I was dismayed with myself for not having packed the most fundamental necessity of city travel: a basic cross-body bag. I knew I'd have to do it right for Paris.
I came across this bag while pre-Paris shopping at & Other Stories and felt like I'd hit the jackpot. First, there's the buttery soft black leather that's incredibly high quality, both looking and feeling. The bag is thin, flat, and pliable, which makes it ideal for packing—there's no added bulk from a boxy frame or unnecessary front flap—it just zips straight across the top. It's about as sleek as a bag can get and has a thin shoulder strap, but also boasts a double interior. Having owned a cross-body bag with nothing but one bottomless pit inside, the built-in separation makes a world of difference in functionality and organization. It calls to mind the on-trend Celine version, which is almost 10 times the price, and near identical.
It also fits a ton of stuff, and because the bag itself is so lightweight, it never felt heavy or dug into my shoulders. It ended up being the single best thing I brought to Paris. I used it every day we were there, and kept it on my body throughout airport travel so that all documents you need to pull out repeatedly (passport, boarding pass, and customs forms) were instantly and easily accessible with a single zip. I didn't have to dig through a large bag for things like hand sanitizer or a pen, either.
Lastly the simple design ensured it went with any outfit I wore in Paris, whether black, brown, or colorful, but it's not so simple as to be boring. My favorite thing about it is the gold D-ring hardware, which makes it gleam just a touch (and picks up the gold hoops I wear most days—see photo above), without overpowering a totally casual look. I really appreciate the fact that there is no label or stamp on the outside of the bag—I find visible labels to be quite obtrusive to the style of something. I love the bag so much it's what I got Leslie for her birthday, and her own trip to Paris. It's certainly the best cross-body bag I've come across in my experience, so I couldn't wait to share it with you in this series.
Shop the Item Here: & Other Stories Ring Crossbody Bag (available in a variety of colors)