The Bags Women Carry In New York

Black motorcycle jacket

I thought I’d show you what I’m seeing women carry right now.

Little cross body bags like the above by Prada are usually slung messenger style.  Catching someone carrying theirs in the bend of the arm is rarer (she was from Europe so….).

Leather satchel bag

Back to school style satchels are a smaller trend but there are enough now to notice.

Proenza Schouler bag

Proenza bag

Ah yes, still a favourite for what? two years now? – The Proenza Schouler PS11

Gucci disco bag

I see more camera style bags this summer. I’m seeing the Gucci Soho Disco (left) in all colors – it’s mostly seen in black.

The Chanel vintage (right) is a luxe option hardly seen so this was a rare catch on Prince street.

leather tote bag

Simple all leather totes with no hardware are EVERYWHERE.  The above is by Mansur Gavriel (congrats for their recent CFDA award!)


I see at least a dozen a day of simple style totes in either black or brown.  The Madewell Transport tote is popular every summer here.

Suede tassle fringe bag

Drawstring bucket bags in various colors and sizes are fairly popular now.

Mansur Gavriel mini bucket

I usually catch one simple Mansur Gavriel bucket bag  every other day (downtown only).  I saw lookalikes online by Vince Camuto and Otte.

women leather backpack

Backpacks are the new summer bag alternative this season and like the totes above, they are in plain logo free leather.


The same backpack principle but done by Mansur Gavriel. This colour is called Cammello which patinas over time.

vintage brown leather backpack

The backpack again but in a more retro take.

Tom Ford tote bag

This bag is by Tom Ford.   Again it’s simple and devoid of  logos so most wouldn’t know where it’s from.

Chanel classic flap

The Chanel classic flap in either small or medium are the most popular sizes carried whether downtown or uptown. The above maxi size (their largest) is less seen. Authentic Chanel resale sites include Fashionphile although the Rebecca Minkoff’s are still a good version.

What’s popular where you are?


  1. coffeeslag says:

    I love this post! I love seeing what other girls in the city are wearing. I commute from Queens on the R and I don’t really see tooo much but when I transfer to the 6 and walk around Midtown East, I’ll see a lot of bags. I see a LOT of Proenza PS1’s but not too many PS11’s. I also see a LOT of Balenciaga, but again this is Midtown East. This morning I saw a girl with the Rockie, one I haven’t seen that often.

    I don’t hang around Soho or West Village too much which is where I’d probably see more Chanel/PS. Oh! I’ve also seen a lot of that very simple tan Coach bag.

    It’s funny you mention you see Mansur Gavriel everywhere. I bought mine 2 weeks ago and I’ve been feeling happy that I haven’t seen anyone else carrying it but I guess just no one in Midtown haha.

    My dream bag purchase is the small PS11. I lustlustlust over that bag SO much. SOON. And the Gucci Soho bag but it’s a bit too pricy for me right now, I kind of want to buy that one used. AND your Chanel WOC which, if it’s still around in July, I WILL buy!

    I’d love to see more of these kinds of posts! Ooh, even on shoes!

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      Thank you. I’ve seen a few PS1’s too although I like the compact structure of the small PS11’s. I wonder which simple tan Coach you mean? is it their vintage bags that came back as their classics? They are still hands down my fave bags from Coach. Ha ha! if the Chanel is still there it’s yours : )

      ps. I am working on a future post like this!

        • Karen Blanchard says:

          OMG I have this bag in 3 colors!! red black and cream LOLOL! I don’t care what designer bags I have I still come back to these. There are amazing aren’t they? Also have it in a smaller size and also a large hobo red one. It’s a problem. LOL. Check eBay there’s LOADS on there plus vintage shops

  2. Diana says:

    I still want a Madewell tote. A store just opened up here in Nashville so it would be super easy for me to pick one up but ugh, I already have way too many bags as it is! I am also loving the YSL saint laurent wallet on a chain bag. In the light rose color! Super cute! Have you seen it? I am in love with it!

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      Just googled it and saw it. Yes I’ve seen it but I think mainly online i.e. on bloggers versus seeing them on the streets. It’s pretty. I find wallet on chain bags are a great way to dip your toe into getting a brand without paying the price of their larger bags. Yes the Madewell transport tote bag is great. My brown one has broken in beautifully. I’ve noticed that they’ve changed the leather recently. It’s not as soft. Make sure to have fondle before you cave.

      • Diana says:

        Ahh, I will have to run to the mall and the Madewell store to check it out. But maybe in a few weeks since I sort of broke the bank online shopping this weekend. Ha.

        • Karen Blanchard says:

          I hear you. Let me know your thoughts when you eventually check it out

  3. Lisa Campbell-Lown says:

    In my little town, they have no fashion since although we are two hours from Atlanta and two hours from Charleston, where you can find some better brands… people buy Tory Burch and Michael Korrs, until I am sick of seeing MK all over their purses! Coach bags are popular, and I Admittedly own one in the most attractive plum color, but it’s very plain looking. And southern girls, are fond of Vera Bradley. I don’t care about the brand of a bag so much as it’s interesting style or color. The bag I am using now is a linen looking with a kaki stripe tote style bag by Thursday-Friday that I love. It looks clean/ summery/ yet still has that preppy polish to it that is my style. I wish I could afford the more expensive brands… but one day….

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      LOL! I’m not a MK bag fan but I can understand when seeing too much of anything puts you off. The plain Coach sounds pretty and I’m glad you have a tote you like for this season!

  4. Caroline Howden says:

    In London im also seeing A LOT of Michael Korrs bags. I spyed a black Sophie Hulme bag on the tube once. I actually don’t own any designer bags 🙁 (££££) I have mostly Vintage, but if I could choose a designer bag to have…(dreaming) Oooo the Saint Laurent monogramme shoulder bag with the tassel…Chloé ‘Drew’ bag *sigh*…also I agree those PS11’s look goood…I think I would go for the Gucci Soho bag <—- so any tips on getting a good deal 😉 I LOVE the shape, colour range, must have a thing for tassels?! and it's not too ££££ – plus would rock during the day and evening 🙂

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      Another reader noticing the Michael Kors bags. I have a lot of vintage bags in general too. Trust me, having designer ones is nice but there’s just something special about the vintage! I shared tips recently on the Gucci soho under my Memorial Day sales post last week! It was 50% off! I too like tassel bags LOL

  5. Lera says:

    I’m not a bag person, but I like some of my vintage bags: Coach Willis bag and unknown 80s red snake bucket bag. I really really like the bags that have character and history about them, so a little worn out, scratched…As for the designer bag I’d splurge on if I could afford…I agree with the commenters, YSL wallet on the chain with tassel – looks so good!

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      I love the Willis. It’s a classic and still a head turner. I love the sound of that red snake bucket bag…..!!

  6. Charleena Fan says:

    I’m from Vancouver, British Columbia so the bags I see around town are of course the MK totes and Herschel Backpacks (maybe some MCM studded backpacks) around downtown and out in the surburbs. Now if you go to the ritzy areas of Vancouver like the Westend you get to see the LVs, the Chanels and Guccis. Go out to the Mount Pleasant area you get to see vintage and more Herschel Backpacks. Myself I own vintage and designer (aka from consignment or resale shops) and the bags I usually carry are not seen on anyone else.

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      Thanks for the insight where you are. It’s interesting how you see certain labels specific to certain areas and that’s it. Like styles are grouped by location. I am with you on buying consignment and resale for designer if you have the time and patience to scout : )

  7. Kathy1653 says:

    I love Coach……the vintage ones….The ones I had when I was the same age as most of you in this discussion……I wanted to comment that I was out in San Francisco and Marin County. I was truly shocked to see an over abundance of Micheal Kors purses/shopping totes. MK reminds me of an expensive version of Fossil purses. Not the style but the popularity.

  8. Elden says:

    I’m looking for a Crossbody bag. I don’t care if it’s a women’s bag. Just want something with pockets and lots of functions. I need help????

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