What gets you out of the house these days?
Groceries. Dog walking. Latte in the park. The very infrequent restaurant date. Taking out the recycling bin. Bringing in the recycling bin.
Amongst the side effects of COVID, changing the meaning of ‘going out’ is definitely one of them. Before, I used to leave my apartment multiple times a day. Meetings, shows, drinks with friends, LIFE! Now, the main reason I open my door is to answer the Fedex guy. No joke.
Truth be told, I’ve been loving this schedule purge. Not having to run recklessly all across the city feels nice and calming.
Unfortunately, not everyone can adapt so easily. And for this little guy, this change of pace has been especially challenging. I’m obviously talking about: Mr. Handbag, whose sole reason to live is to accompany us on our outings.
The new role of the handbag
It’s not that the handbag’s become obsolete, not at all! We still need somewhere to put our mask and hand sanitizer, right? The difference is that a handbag can’t just be cool and pretty anymore. It also needs to be functional. (Looking right at ya, teeny tiny barely visible Jacquemus handbag.)
Gabriella Salvi, founder of Wearshop, had that new reality in mind when she designed her newest collection of ethical leather handbags. “The idea was to introduce something practical but bright for everyday use, especially with all that we’ve been going through with this pandemic. A bit of colour for a woman’s wardrobe felt refreshing”, she says.
The designer, who studied in Florence and who’s worked as an assistant designer for Salvatore Ferragamo, knows a thing or two about handbags. And it shows. Her handbags all have something special and precious, but in a very subdued and wearable way. It’s basically as if Italy and Montreal had a baby handbag together. An analogy that makes total sense now that Gabriella has moved back here and produces everything locally using luxurious surplus leather.
But like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words! So I imagined three scenarios very common these days and decided to showcase Gabriella’s beautiful ethical leather handbags accordingly. The result is equal part inspiration, style advice, and jokes.
SCENARIO #1: I’m Going Out for Drinks and I Need My COVID Survival Kit
“I designed the Corsia crossbody bag with several pockets, made to carry used and unused masks, and a small sanitizer bottle”, shares Gabriella. I mean, beautiful AND smart, it’s what every bag aspires too. And can we talk about that electric blue?!?
As for the clothes, I wanted to feel a bit fancy even if ‘dressing up’ feels like a term borrowed from a long-gone era. So I took out my 1-inch heels—the highest I can bear after six months of slippers—and my faux patent leather pants. Their main perk during COVID: some disinfectant and a cloth, and voilà, clean as new.
SCENARIO #2: I’ll Be Gone All Day and I’m Bringing My Water Bottle, Camera, Charger, and All the Tralala
I do not travel lightly. My boyfriend, my family, my friends know that. So I love my bags to be roomy.
With biking season almost over, I’ll need something to replace my scruffy backpack and this orangey Navona bucket bag seems like the perfect contender for the task. Plus, I’ve never seen such a buttery leather. And butter = comfort food = autumn = happiness.
As for the outfit, I couldn’t decide between professional and casual, so I went for both. A vintage men’s jacket and some loafers seemed like a nice change from my at-home sweats uniform. And the idea of wearing a mom jean with a dad jeans shirt just sounded too good to ignore.
SCENARIO #3: I’m Grocery Shopping and I Need My Hands to Be Free
-How are those avocados, honey? Ripe? Not enough?
-I DON’T KNOW! My hands are too busy holding my handbag!!!
To make sure this (nightmarish) scenario never happens to you, may I suggest the Pitti belt bag. Small but not too small, it’s spacious enough to carry your errand essentials: cellphone, credit card, grocery list.
When I go grocery shopping nowadays, it sometimes still feels like I’m an elite cart pusher on a pre-apocalypse mission. Canned tomatoes? Yes! Frozen pizzas? Yes! Toilet paper? Yes, sir! And you now understand why I went for combat boots.
On another note, writing this post also made me realize that this shirt, which I had always associated with summertime, has serious four-season potential when layered on top of a turtleneck. Life is full of surprises, isn’t it?
Do you still use handbags or do you go straight for the canvas tote bag? Are there other brands making ethical leather handbags that you love? Let me know in the comments!
Photos by @beniwawa
Joëlle Paquette is a sutainable fashion and clean beauty blogger and copywriter based in Montreal, Canada. After 10 years of working as a journalist for different magazines, she now specializes in writing conscious content for brands built on strong environmentally and socially responsible values. She also pet a corgi once—a very special day she will never forget.
Follow her on Instagram to make sure you don’t miss out on anything @veryjoelle 🌼
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