One of this summer’s biggest trends in women accessories is the shopper bag. To me, it is the perfect tool for combating the ever-changing, extreme temperatures of summer in the city. Take today for instance. It’s bright and sunny with highs topping 90 degrees. It is so humid, that I know the second I step outside of my door, my makeup will begin to melt off my face and head straight for my eyes. Oh how it stings. After running for the subway, I will be dripping in sweat and be forced to wait for my train in a dungeon-like tunnel that smells like mildew and is somehow about 20 degrees hotter than it just was above ground. Once the train pulls in, my only wish is that I won’t step into a beat, air-conditionless car. And if it is my lucky day, my joy will soon turn to pain as I learn that the air is set on Arctic levels and my sweat begins to turn into icicles. After catching a cold on the train, I will again be thrust into 90+ temperatures for my couple blocks walk to work. Yet how quickly my mind forgets about the pain of riding in the igloo train as I step into a cafe to buy an ice coffee. Only minutes later, do I step into work which is somehow even more frozen than my morning commute. Good call on that ice coffee! And as I sit in work and watch the sunny summer day fade away in to night, it is only my luck to step out into a torrential downpour for my trek home. Ohhhhh summer.


American Apparel, Bull Denim Woven Cotton Cities Bag with Strap: $38

The erratic weather (both natural and man-made), has led me to ALWAYS carry a summer scarf no matter how sweltering it may be. And most days, I’ll also have my umbrella on hand. Sketch books, pencil cases and magazines are also in my summer arsenal, along with my Kindle for reading on the train. Items to keep me occupied during little breaks in the park are essential to keeping one’s sanity during twelve hour shifts. And so long story short, THAT is why as soon as I saw this trend come on to the scene, I knew it was perfect for an urban summer. A bag to easily carry around my life.


Left to Right: Loup, The Shopping Bag: $270; Cold Picnic, Colorblock Leather Tote: $180; Baggu, Basic Tote: $160

Shopping bags come in many forms. There are the canvas styles which I’m sure you have all seen in an array of graphics. Perhaps the most popular being American Apparel’s canvas tote covered in the names of different cities from around the world. Some bags fall into the mid-way price points such as the popular Baggu brand leather totes. While other shoppers are much more expensive, and sold for  hundreds of dollars such as, Kenzo and Marni brand beach totes. But for me, I wanted to combine the black, perforated leather trend, with a shopper for under $100. Often seen in slip-on sneakers (another huge summer trend, sweeping the feet of both dress and pants-wearing Soho women alike), I was drawn to this aesthetic for the same reason I’m drawn to most of my clothing options lately. Sophistication in minimalism. It’s sleek, geometric and effortless. The less I have going on, the more fashion forward I feel.


Left to Right: Marni, Printed PVC tote: $340; KENZO, Tiger embroidered leather tote: $685; Both available on Net-A-Porter

And with that in mind, I set out searching for the perfect bag. As is usually the case, once you have a specific item in mind, it is never easy to find. Everything had too much going on, and all the perfect bags were far too expensive. Finally, I turned to Etsy, where I finally found just what I was looking for. The store’s name is CoralsandNuts, run by a woman name Mezay, who is based out of India. She had a beautiful selection of handmade, vegan leather bags, in the exact color and texture that I had been searching for! And finally, it was under $100!


CoralsandNuts, Perforated Black Vegan leather Tote Bag.Everyday Large foldover shoulder bag: $85

I can honestly say, I have never been more pleased with an Etsy purchase. I love this bag more than my Hawaiian kimono, more than my Japanese pillow covers, even more than my Wes Anderson movie character prints. The material is so soft, it is completely void of any pleather-y qualities. The perforations are small and subtle, and the inner lining is a beautiful, soft, dark grey. There is even an interior zipper which I was unaware of upon purchase, which makes it even more perfect for valuables, money, my Metro card. With this bag, I can carry my life around with ease. Made with quality, and crafted into a timeless shape, I know this will be my go-to summer bag for years to come. It is also available in several different colors and styles. As it is made to order and has to journey a long way, it does take a long time to get to you (about a month). But trust me, if you are looking for an affordable, quality shopper and want to support a small business, DEFINITELY head over to CoralsandNuts. You won’t be disappointed!


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