On a trip to Mexico City this year, my go-to travel cross-body breathed its last breath. A boring, clasp-front bag with only enough room for my phone, credit card holder, and not much else, I'd been squeezing it into the gaps of my suitcase since college. So when the strap finally gave way, I left it in the trash can of our Airbnb and didn't think twice.
It was nothing special in style, but I quickly realized the hole it left in my travel bag collection. The only other bags I regularly rotate through on trips are my beloved carry-on backpack, a medium-sized tote, and a packable day pack for outdoorsy pursuits. So this bag was not only functioning as my smaller every-day bag, but also as a night-out clutch, a phone pouch for pocketless outfits, and occasionally even my jewelry case when packing (points for multitasking!). I grabbed it any time I didn't want to feel weighed down by a bag — which, when traveling, is pretty often.
My search for a replacement started and ended with Leatherology's new Willow Envelope (leatherology.com, from $130). Size-wise, it's ideal — not too big, not too small. It's got an impressive amount of organizational components for such a slim design, too. There are six sewn-in card slots, a zipped compartment for bills and other smaller valuables inside, and two more slots on the front and back, so it can also function really well as my wallet when I'm using one of the bigger bags. I also love that this eliminates the need to waste time transferring the essentials from one bag to another. In the main compartment, my enormous iPhone 8 Plus in its Otterbox x Popsocket case miraculously leaves enough room for a pair of sunglasses, a tube of tinted lip balm, and my apartment keys.
When it comes to straps, the world is your oyster! The Willow comes with a wristlet loop, or you can choose to change that to a thin cross-body, belt bag, or thicker guitar cross-body — all of which cost a bit more. Or spring for all four to give yourself some options! I can see myself getting the most use out of the thin cross-body strap and the belt bag strap (both of which are adjustable). Also of note: there are two separate attach points for the straps, both on the back of the bag and underneath the top flap so you can find a configuration that looks and feels good on you.
I wear a lot of prints, so will usually go for a simple black or tan for travel bags, but Leatherology also offers the bag in bold primary colors which can be really fun if you tend to pack more neutrals. And you might be able to tell from how the sun is lighting up the texture of the leather in these photos, but oh man, it's so soft and lovely to touch. I have a feeling this bag will never bore me.
Leatherology Willow Envelope
To buy: leatherology.com, from $130 (Take 10 percent off with code GIFTMOM through April 26.)