Fashion Find: A chic packable tote

After putting together the piece in our September issue on "healthy" handbag styles (Lighten your load, pp. 42-44), I resolved


After putting together the piece in our September issue on "healthy" handbag styles (Lighten your load, pp. 42-44), I resolved to reevaluate the weight of the handbag I carry around everyday.

The two bags I alternated between most frequently were either a thick leather purse with two shoulder-length handles, open across the top to allow more to be stuffed in, or a heavy suede satchel with solid metal hardware and a long webbed strap that, while meant to be worn cross-body, I usually ended up lugging on one shoulder. And the contents: day planner, notebook, credit card holder, change purse, full makeup bag, gum, pens, cellphone, iPod’ the list goes on. I realized not only was I lugging too much stuff inside my bag, but the bag itself was also adding to the weight staining on my back and shoulders.

So, while I have also tried to pare down what I put inside my bag’I’ve set my alarm to wake me up just a little earlier in the mornings so I have time to do my makeup at home (instead of on the subway, as tends to be my habit), so I can just carry my lipstick and blot powder for touch ups, and leave the rest of my makeup bag at home; and, I’ve started using the notepad app on my iPod to take notes at press launches, eliminating the need for the notebook’ I also set off in search of a lighter-weight bag in which to put the remaining essential items.

Enter French designer Longchamp’s ‘Le Pliage’ tote. Best Health art director Stephanie Han remembers seeing all the women in Paris carrying these no-frills chic bags on her vacation there two years ago, and lately I’ve noticed them gaining popularity on this side of the ocean, too. Made of PVC-coated, water-resistant nylon with leather trimmings, this tote is durable, yet lightweight. It comes in an array of colour and size options. My choice: the medium size bag with longer shoulder length straps in Bilberry (dark purple). It’s the perfect size to hold all my essentials, plus some extra room should I do any shopping after work. Bonus? It’s also travel friendly’ when not in use, the tote folds up into a neat packable bundle.

Longchamp ‘Le Pliage’ Tote, $133 (plus shipping) online from, or find Canadian retailer listings on