To Have And To Hold…. Musings Of A Bag Lady!

Nadia Minkoff

We welcome designer Nadia Minkoff as our new contributor in the first of a regular series of fashion features.

It’s quite amazing just how many bags we women can accumulate, and there’s always a valid reason for having just one more.

We need a practical bag to carry our belongings in, a utility bag so we can get on with our daily chores (whilst leaving our hands free), a keepsake bag to remind us of something or someone special, a status bag to show that we’re in the know and that we’ve made it, a luxury bag - so that we can go out and feel good (no matter what shape our body’s in).  

Our role as women changed drastically from the 19th century to the mid-20th century - and so has the role of our bag. Gone are the days when a bag was there for carrying a lipstick, a handkerchief, a small amount of change and the front-door key. Most women need a bag that can accommodate everything but the kitchen sink, a big bag to use whilst at work, for travel and on our daily rounds… and a small bag for the ‘night out’ when we get treated like a lady and our bag size shrinks miraculously as we plan to take with us the very minimum of essentials.

Still, even with bags in abundance, buying a bag can be a serious decision. You don’t say ‘I do’ before you check out all the vital statistics, do you? So over the course of the next few months I plan to look at what is available out there, from practical to sheer glam - what’s in the high street, the mid-market, the top end, and even vintage - and then sharing with you my “top 5”.

I start off with the ubiquitous day bag. What would we do without it??

What defines a day bag is its functionality: Is it big enough? Sturdy but not heavy? Practical? Streamlined?  Cost-wise?

The main day-bag shapes are embedded in our consciousness - shopper, tote, shoulder bag, bucket bag, duffle bag, and while they are all generally designed to be worn on the shoulder, it seems that tote bags and shoppers are neck at neck on the ‘most-wanted’ wish list for winter 2013-14.  Other current trends in the world of totes and shoppers are: soft leathers, no hardware, cleverly engineered interiors with zipped compartments and multi-pockets, shoppers you can fold away, quirky prints and detachable straps. My personal top 5, starting on the high street through the mid- market and right to the top, are:

1. Topshop perforated shopper 

2. Longchamp, Le Pliage shopper 

3. Michael Kors large Selma tote 

4. Hobbs Downham tote 

5. Alexander Wang Prisma leather tote 

And my winner is definitely ... Longchamp’s Le Pliage. This effortlessly stylish folding bag is durable, folds down and can be carried easily in a pocket or handbag or suitcase. Available in just about every colour and in various sizes it’s hard to believe that it has been around since 1948, but not at all surprising that it has acquired legendary status globally.

Nadia Minkoff


Nadia is giving one lucky subscriber the chance to win a Nadia Minkoff London, St Johns Wood tote bag in navy leather (worth £185).

This chic leather bag has been fantastically received for the past 2 seasons and is back, this time in a dark navy. It ticks all the boxes for your winter 2013 wardrobe, great colour, great size, hand finished whipstitch detailing on the edges, hardwear free, hand held or over the shoulder, central zipped compartments and easy access open side pockets , but best of all- it’s timeless!

To win simply visit and tell us what designer she has collaborated with for her London Fashion Week catwalks.

Then send your answer to ensuring you place the name Nadia in the subject header and also include your unique Women Talking username with the submission. This competition is restricted to Women Talking subscribers and any entry without a valid username will not be accepted.

The competition closes on November 16th and the winner will be announced soon after.

The editor’s decision is final and there are no cash alternatives.

Prize may differ from images shown.