Diaper Bag Upgrade.

By: Jen Shoop

I have been insisting that my Goyard St. Louis tote (the smaller one — P.M. size) will continue to work as a diaper bag for two children, and it’s laughable. I constantly have things laying precariously across its (overstuffed) top. A wubbanub is almost always dangling out. It’s hard to get my wallet and keys in and out because everything is packed in like sardines. I want so badly to travel light around the city, but I’m finding it increasingly difficult when one child is still toilet-training (and therefore backup clothes and wipes are essential — and we’ve also been toting this with us everywhere we go) and the other is so young that I actually need things like a burp cloth, a spare bottle or two, formula, diapers. Add to this the fact that mini has grown increasingly daring and I’ve had a regular need for things like neosporin and bandaids — plus ample snacks to soothe and quiet and preoccupy when need be. And always, in these summer months, a swimsuit (currently wearing these on repeat) for a last-minute trip to the splash pad. Blarg!

I spent a lot of time researching a possible alternate. I knew I didn’t want the larger Goyard because I already feel guilty seeing how much damage my smaller size has endured. It’s borderline sinful to plop it down on the sandy playground floor, or the dirty subway bench, but I do it regularly — and its handles are seriously showing wear and distress. I don’t know that the Goyard is meant to accommodate the kind of intensive wear and tear to which I subject it as a diaper bag.

So, I wanted something a little less precious.

On days where I will have the stroller as a home base, I have been loving my Pamela Munson plaid tote. It’s delightfully roomy and DEEP, goes with just about every item in my summer wardrobe, and coated in an easy-to-wipe-clean material that is borderline water resistant. (I also appreciate its under-$150 price tag.) I like to hook it right on the back of the stroller and it keeps everything easy-to-access. (I still keep mini and micro’s items separate in monogrammed wet/dry bags, and it makes it very easy to access what I need to access.) But. The tote is NOT convenient if you will be parking your stroller anywhere, as the handles are too short to fit over your arm and you will have to carry it on your wrists — trust me, not what you want when you are also carrying an infant and wrangling a toddler.

I also already own and love the M.Z. Wallace Metro Backpack in black, but there are times where a backpack is non-optimal, as I often carry micro in his beloved Baby Bjorn Mini, and it would be too much to wear him in the front with a backpack on the back. I’d rather have a tote I can hang on a stroller hook or tuck into the stroller basket.

So, I have been on the hunt for a roomier bag that costs less than a Goyard and won’t show wear-and-tear too readily. I have been thinking seriously about:

+A hand-painted Corroon (“Big Daddy” size, seen above!) — though I worry about whether the color/fabric options will show wear and tear too easily?;

+A Parker Thatch “Big Easy” (the “Lil Easy” looks just a touch too small, but is the Big Easy overkill? It looks cavernous — I don’t want to look like I’m traveling when I’m just park-bound);

+A L’Uniform tool bag (though this is pretty pricey and I worry I’d be entering the same too-precious-for-heavy-duty-use territory I’m already in with the Goyard);

+The MZ Wallace Metro tote. I love the lightweight, easy-to-wipe-clean material that the backpack is made of, and just the other day, I saw a crazy chic woman wearing Chanel flats, black pixie pants, and a black blouse toting one in gold at the nearby Maison Kayser and she looked incredible. I can’t decide whether I’d want the medium or large, as it’s hard to get a sense for proportion from the website…

+Prada Large Logo Tote. This has all of the virtues of the Pam Munson tote (similar in size and shape, and I like the short handles for hooking onto stroller hooks) — but it also has that lovely shoulder strap! My concern is that I’m drawn to the white, AKA the least responsible colorway to buy as a mom.

Votes? Other late-in-the-game entrants?

Post Scripts.

+Stocked up on a bunch of essentials thanks to the current Sephora promotion (20% off with code SUMMERSAVE if you are VIBRouge; 15% off if you are VIB!) Because I have been growing my hair out this summer (it’s longer than it’s been in years!), I am currently obsessed with this detangling, protective mist, which I just repurchased. I have less time for a full-on blow-out with all the products, so my minimalist routine consists of shampooing and conditioning with the Ouai Smooth duo (love love love these products, scents and all), spraying all over with Prep Rally, combing it out, letting it air-dry for an hour or two (I have so, so, so much hair — it is fine, but there is a lot of it, so it takes hours and hours to fully dry), and then blowdrying it at the very end. This routine makes sense for my currently frenzied lifestyle since I can break up the showering and blowdrying process into chunks and squeeze them in whenever I have time over the course of a few hours. I also, of course, stocked up on my beloved facial cleanser.

+Very intrigued by this chic high chair. I have no complaints with mini’s, whose main virtue is how easy it is to keep clean), but I far prefer the styling of the Lalo…

+Love this ethereal dress for a bride-to-be.

+These have saved my life more than once. I’m in the throes of dealing with spit-up, pee, poop, yogurt, boogers, all day every day. These are helpful not only for their intended purpose, but for housing soiled items.

+How effortlessly-chic is this flattering dress?!

+OMG — these personalized stickers for your child’s school gear! Mini would love these; she enjoys watching baseball with her father.

+A cute sweatshirt for mini — debating between the heather color and the navy (the gingham trim!)

+These shades are super fun.

+Love the print and cut of this transition-to-fall dress.

+Mamas-to-be: check out the new Hatch x J. Crew collection! I would have ordered this in a flash.

P.S. All of my favorite baby gear and a couple of new discoveries that I have loved with micro.

P.P.S. I am heading to D.C. this weekend with children and the dog and I will admit I am not particularly excited about the five-hour car rides, but — had to revisit this post after my trip to the Hamptons to remind myself of the small joys that come in any trip with little children.

P.P.P.S. Chic Amazon finds for littles ones.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.

35 thoughts on “Diaper Bag Upgrade.

  1. Others have brought up my main issue with the MZ Wallace Metro tote — the handles are so slippery and are constantly slipping off my shoulders in ANY temperature, ESPECIALLY when the bag is stuffed. I would think the Medium size (what I have, in black/magnet) would be fine for a diaper bag, as it holds a ton and the Large is absolutely enormous. Ha! But still — I am not sure I’d buy another, based off of the handle issue. I would try the Metro Backpack and maybe even the Belt Bag, since I find the products to be of good quality and cute.

    I love the look of the Corroon bags, and I’ll try to keep my eyes out for other options to recommend!


  2. I still only have 1 munckin but love my Fawn design bag. Made by a mom in the US, wipeable leather looking material, multepockets, can be worn as packpack or shoulder bag.

    Also, speaking on personalized labels, we got some from Mabel’s labels and they are awesome! I got the daycare set and have them on food containers and some clothing. They are dishwasher and washing machine safe (respectively) and have held up wondefully!

  3. My strategy since having my second child has been to simplify as much as possible. Before returning to work I bought the large Longchamps tote in navy. I don’t think I’ve carried one in 15 years, but it’s lightweight, goes with everything, and transitions well from work to mom life. I don’t worry about spills and will just replace it when the corners start to fray (I recall them lasting about a year before fraying from use). When I’m not carrying a lot, it doesn’t feel like a huge bag. I use floral Baggu 3D pouches inside to organize.

    I considered the Cuyana, but didn’t feel like dealing with leather potentially staining or scratching.

    1. I hear you — I feel similarly about furniture purchases these days. We are going to get rid of our couch when we move in about a month because it is so beaten up and destroyed and when I looked into reupholstery or having a custom slip cover made (it’s a weird length and shape), the costs were greater than just buying a new couch. (AHHH.) But I am going practical this time around. Something moderately priced with a performance fabric or something that won’t show stains/dirt, or maybe something that comes with a slipcover to begin with so it can be tossed in the washing machine or replaced when need be.

      Anyway, I hear you!!!

  4. I see some other’s suggested a Barrington St. Anne diaper bag and I have to vote in that I had one with my first child and loved it! I carried it for well over a year straight. I’m due with my second in February and plan to invest in another because I loved my first one so much that I wore it out. The outside is kind of a wipeable fabric and the inside of the diaper bag is a nice waterproof protected material. I’m rough on bags and I took a magic eraser to the outside once to get some pesky dirt/wear off and it worked great. The newer diaper bag version now has a zipper so I’m excited for that option so that everything doesn’t flop open or fall out for the world to see. I love their prints/mono options too. You’ve got some beautiful options to choose from – Good luck!

  5. That Corroon bag is EVERYTHING. I also love Parker Thatch. I feel like both strike the perfect balance of chic, practical and not totally ubiquitous.

    Now that we have two kids, I feel like I often end up carrying my Goyard St Louis tote AND a small LL Bean canvas tote – need to streamline!! However, it’s deifnitely easier to over-carry when traveling via car and not via foot 😉

    1. Right?! Now I’m leaning in that direction, especially with all of the mixed MZ Wallace reviews owing to the length/slipperiness of the straps.

      Also — I’m so feeling your pain. Fellow bag lady over here.

  6. I don’t have babies so I’m not attuned to any mother-specific needs, but my Cuyana tote has held up amazingly over 5 years. I’ve used it as an everyday tote, travel bag, gym tote…you name it. Fits everything and then some and looks gorgeous.

    1. I have one of those, too — the shape of mine is not quite right for the baby gear I have (sort of long and narrow?). Maybe I need another style because you are so right — they are GREAT bags and the hold up excellently to wear and tear. Thanks for the reminder. xx

  7. Love my MZ Wallace metro backpack and tote, both of which I’ve had pre-baby and was happy to transition them into mom life bags. I have the medium metro and it feels huge when stuffed particularly since I’m 5’0”. Yes they are unstructured but I organize everything in Baggu pouches (which weigh next to nothing) inside. I agree that the straps of the medium metro tote are cumbersome and I don’t use it in the colder season as they would slide off my shoulder. It wasn’t too annoying before baby but I definitely notice it more now. I have been seriously considering the medium Sutton bag as the handle drops appear slightly longer and there is the option of the cross body strap, but the Sutton weighs slightly more as there is a bit more hardware I think. I like that both Nordstrom and Bloomingdales carry them so there are more options for where to see them in person! Overall I love this brand though. So durable and reasonably priced.

  8. That Prada bag is gorgeous, but yes, so impractical in white. I have a hot take on the MZ Wallace bag. I HATED it. I had it for about a week and then back to Nordstrom it went. It’s pretty, but the material is SO slick that the straps were constantly falling off my arm. The inside is slick too, as are the bags it comes with, and the bag is floppy and shapeless so nothing stays in place inside it unless you use a bag organizer- everything just slides to the bottom. I wanted it to be functional badly, but for me it just was not. Also the large one is MASSIVE- weekender bag sized.

    1. Michelle — thank you SO much for weighing in! I always appreciate a contrarian perspective. The floppiness is a bit of a turnoff. Hm. This is going to be tough.

  9. I vote MZ Wallace! So lightweight and easy, perhaps the large Sutton that does have a long strap? Or a brightly colored metro backpack that makes a bold statement since the side pockets are lovely. Also what about an LV neverfull? I see Mother’s carry these all the time! They look lighter and somehow more casual than my zippered LV. Dagne Dover also has be intrigued, I saw a very stylish mother with their backpack!

    1. Reading these comments… hmm to the MZ Wallace. I only own the backpack and it does get jumbled inside but I don’t mind since it has exterior pockets. I think their Crosby backpack looks dressier also? Curious about the barrington gifts! I did carry a freshly picked bag with a newborn and toddler..

  10. Have you been doing anything specific to lengthen your hair? I recently had a haircut and, while the haircut itself isn’t bad it’s just entirely too short, I am trying my best to grow it out as quickly as possible!

    1. Hi JC! Oh man, I wish I had a suggestion for you…I’d probably look into taking some kind of supplement (isn’t collagen supposed to be good for hair growth?) but don’t know anything specific. Maybe another Magpie has a better suggestion!! xx

  11. I have a Barrington tote I use as a purse, but I’m sure one of their larger totes could be used as a diaper bag without too much of an investment! They are super durable. You can wipe them down if they get dirty and the handles are perfect for shoulder carry. Plus the colors and combinations are so fun. Enjoy

  12. I really didn’t want to buy a proper diaper bag but caved after second kid like you. We have this great brand in UK called Jem + bea. I think they are pretty chic. Inexpensive think £150. And they have bottle compartments, nappy compartment, built in changing pad. I definitely recommend buying a proper nappy bag. They are built for kids.

  13. I love my MZ Wallace for travel and would have loved it for a diaper bag, It hides all sins and fits EVERYTHING. And like I said, can be reused as a travel bag when the glorious day comes that you have TWO toilet trained kids. While the handles are a little on the shorter side, it’s fine in a stroller. It’s a more logical, sturdy choice of what you posted.

  14. Check out Barrington Gifts St Anne tote. They have a Goyardesque print under $200 and are monogramable. I’m past the diaper bag stage, but I use it for travel. Kim

  15. I love my MZ Wallace tote, but similar issue as the Pamela Munson tote. The handle drops are on the shorter side.. Especially challenging when wearing layers and a coat. It’s also not structured so there’s a lot of fishing for items.

    1. Oh interesting — I hadn’t even thought about the handle issue. Hm. Maybe I should go down to the flagship store in Soho to investigate before committing…thanks for the heads up!


Previous Article

Next Article