I freely admit I have a thing for bags. I have a lot of them. I use them all at least occasionally. But I have been frustrated in my quest for the perfect everyday handbag (purse). I no longer need the massive “mom purse” I carried when my children were young, and which saved my sanity on many occasions. Now I mostly just need a way to carry my wallet, my keys, my phone, and some tissues and lip balm.
For the last several months, I’ve been using this little tote bag that looks like something a five-year-old would have:
Not because it is such a great bag, but because it was about the right size and most of my other handbags are too big (or too small) for my everyday needs. I dreamed about designing and making the perfect bag for myself—and I probably will at some point make a bag to take to conferences and meetings—but then again, I now have a backpack that is really nice . . .
So anyway, I started getting a lot of ads in my Facebook newsfeed for the “Sash” bag. It has 10 pockets and the ads made it look so enticing and easy to carry. When I received my class fees for this semester, most of the money had to go toward our taxes, but I did splurge on getting a Sash bag—by the far the most I have EVER spent on a handbag! (It’s made from leather and lined with RFID-blocking fabric.) There is a 30-day money-back guarantee, so I figured I had nothing to lose.
The cross-body bag is U-shaped, with two separate halves divided by a seam so you can NOT put anything in the middle. This is to keep the profile slim so it will conform to the curve of your hip.
The pockets are all small, but will hold credit cards, lip balm, and similar small items. No room for a checkbook or a notebook of any kind, but I do have a pen and a couple of folded 3×5 note cards in there for taking notes. The long strap comes unattached and is adjustable in length via a series of very strong snaps. This is a great feature if you are taller/larger or shorter/smaller than average.
—The biggest drawback for me is that you can’t set this bag down like you would any other handbag. It doesn’t “stand” at all. I fold it in half, and then fold the strap down over it, but it still takes up a lot of real estate and the contents are difficult to get at if you’re not wearing it.
I had my husband install a hook for me to hang it on at home so I have a place to put it without having to lay it down somewhere.
—It really does have ten pockets, but they are tiny. There are several card slots you can use to eliminate your wallet (on both sides of this divided bag). There are two “cash pockets” behind the card slots, but they are very hard to access. I held up the line in Walmart the other day trying to get money out of my cash pocket. Most of the time I keep a change purse in the “main’ compartment and put both bills and coins in it. On the back of each half, there is a zippered pocket that is billed as being perfect for your passport, which is one reason I got the bag (because I still dream that I’ll get to travel again someday). It took many, many tries, but I did eventually shoehorn my passport into there. Maybe if I do it a bunch more times, it will get easier. It’s a very tight fit. The two open pockets on the front for your phone and keys are better, although I still really struggle with getting my keys in and out of such a tight space.
—Because the pockets are intended to eliminate the need for a wallet, it’s a bit of a project to switch over to a different bag if you want something different for a specific occasion.
—My top drawback was that this bag is “unputdownable.” But that is also one of its greatest assets. You don’t really need to put it down even while driving, if you don’t want to. It’s by far the most comfortable bag to carry I’ve ever had. I actually used to get a shopping cart even if I was only getting a couple of things, because I hated carrying my purse around and trying to wrangle purchases at the same time. With the Sash bag, my hands are free and I don’t feel burdened. I can skip getting a cart at least some of the time.
—If you have to use a public restroom, you don’t have to worry about setting your bag down somewhere disgusting or even hanging it on a hook where it might be accessible to a thief. You can just keep it on.
—Despite being made of leather, which is often heavy, this bag is so light that you can wear it for hours without stressing your shoulder or making you want to set it down. In fact, because the capacity is so small, I think it would be impossible to load this bag down enough to make it uncomfortably heavy. There just isn’t enough room, unless maybe you’re lugging gold or lead bars in there!
—Because it’s a cross-body bag, it won’t slip or slide off your shoulder. Yay. You don’t have to constantly adjust it.
—Both sides of the bag zip both up and down. I thought it would be really annoying to have to zip the bag open every time I needed something, but it actually hasn’t bothered me at all. You get to choose if you like to have the zipper pulls at the top or bottom of the bag—or even in the middle.
—It’s a great “diet” bag. It is too small to carry snacks in!
Takeaway: If you like to carry your checkbook/hair brush/makeup/library with you at all times, this is not the bag for you. If you like to have a book/knitting/project with you, you will have to bring a separate bag for that. I actually don’t mind that. When I’m out shopping or running errands, I don’t expect to have time to knit or read, so the Sash bag is fine by itself. If I’m going to an appointment when I might have to wait, I throw my Kindle in my knitting bag and take it along separately. After all, when I’m wearing the Sash, I have both hands free.
I know it sounds like it has a lot of drawbacks—and it does. My free trial month is just about up, but I won’t be sending it back. The comfort and ease of carrying it outweigh most of the negatives I’ve mentioned. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than anything else I’ve tried in the last several years. I have stopped my search for a new, practical, everyday handbag.