One thing’s for sure: here at Brit + Co, our love for makers and shakers knows no bounds. So when one of our fave artisans, bag designer LA Caldwell of Minnie + George, told us she was looking to tap style bloggers we stalk on the reg to model in her latest lookbook, we couldn’t wait to hear more about the project — and get in on the action ourselves.
How could you blame us? The true stars of the campaign, nine luxe leather bags, all boast a balanced mix of fashion and function you’d expect from a Portland-based maker, not to mention are made with expert craftsmanship — eight of the bags are hand-stitched by LA herself. “[Hand-stitching has] become a dying craft and I love the idea of being a part of bringing it back. It’s an old and valuable tradition and process,” said LA. Also, hand-stitching is the strongest way to construct a bag. All the stitching is double needle saddle stitched, with an overhand knot in each stitch, so even if one side is severed the seam will not come undone. As a maker, there’s no better feeling than having a direct connection with what you’re making. I love the feeling of my hands being the tools and that I’m not dependent on a machine.”
From the ultra of-the-moment Circle Crossbody Bag to the twist on a classic Tote Bag to the Drawstring Bucket Bag, which goes from shoulder bag to cross body bag to backpack like that (more on that one later), this spring collection is too easy to imagine in your closet. “I love classic, minimalistic design. It’s timeless and works well with anyone’s personal style,” said LA.
To drive that point home, LA skipped orchestrating a traditional photo shoot — no controlled set, no professional models, no pre-approved wardrobe — and instead asked real girls to style the bags on themselves with zero creative direction or input. “I really wanted diversity in creative voice, ethnicity, style and point of view and I’m so excited that this group of talented women really represent that,” said LA. Enter the squad of style bloggers who each will post their own snaps of them + the bag in action on their own websites each day ’til the spring Minnie + George lookbook — a best-of collection of those posts — launches online Friday, May 8. “Each [girl] has her own personal style and it’s vastly different from the rest, yet there’s a Minnie + George bag that she loves and that’s perfect for her. I love that!” said LA. — us too. Follow along as each style blogger’s post goes up live for major spring styling tips starting right now with *my* style story about the convertible 3-in-1 Drawstring Bucket Bag.
I got my Minnie + George 3-in-1 Drawstring Bucket Bag delivered to our San Francisco office and was audibly oohing as I removed it from its packaging, an unusual reaction when an item of clothing or accessory isn’t black — my favorite color to wear. But the rich espresso brown tone of the leather and the contrasting tan drawstring made the bag an immediate standout in my stubbornly goth wardrobe.
Besides the hue, the details drew me in: the soft leather that will only get softer with time, the unique curl of the drawstring ends and the simple slide closure, the brassy hardware that is responsible for making this bag the transformer it is (plus, that new leather smell!). They make the bag feel like it was designed with intention and purpose — the markings of being maker-made.
As soon as I left work, I slung it over my other shoulder — the one not carrying my go-to (black) work tote, and noticed a few things right away. This bag was slightly smaller than the size of my everyday one, and its shape totally not conducive to holding my hunk of a work laptop. I saw these things as a pros right away. We’ve been writing about ways to spring clean your life on Brit + Co lately, and this Drawstring Bucket Bag is what would finally get me to detox my haul (and give my shoulders a much-deserved break). Furthermore, the fact that I couldn’t slide my laptop into my bag so easily felt like a good push for me to leave work at work and not beat up my bag lugging The Brick (my pet name for it) to and fro.
Now after about a week of use, it’s officially my new wear-everywhere bag. It fits my daily essentials like headphones, my planner, balm + lotion, wallet, phone and charger just fine. Plus there’s ample room for me to toss in accessories I might need on-set at the office *and* space for a few post-work splurges (with just a little organizational savvy, I stowed a pair of brand-new platform sneakers, a top and a scarf in my already-loaded-up bag).
Besides being functional, the shoe fits style-wise too. Not just because it’s pretty, but because it’s so versatile. To work, I sling it over my shoulder for easy access to my phone, transit card (both stowed conveniently in the inside pocket), and office keys, which, along with my sunglasses, I’ve started clipping to the bag’s swivel hooks and on the drawstring in between grommets for easy access. At bars or concerts, I use it as a crossbody bag to keep my hands free for cocktails and fist pumping respectively, and rest easy knowing it’s safe from creepers cinched up tightly.
Whenever I want to forget I have a load to carry at all, I unclip the straps and reposition them to convert the bag into a backpack — a stiff fit at first, but after a few takes the straps are feeling more worn in. Truth: there’s never been a chicer bag to bike around with. Oh yeah, and it’s definitely made me reconsider my preferred sartorial color palette: I’m now all for slipping earth tones into the mix. Baby steps are still steps.
What’s your go-to spring bag? Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the rest of the posts here to see how other style bloggers wear their Minnie + George bags before the official lookbook launch on Friday, May 8!
(Top photos via Minnie + George)