Back-to-school shopping fever strikes as the Big Apple pulls on a sweatshirt for the first time since April. I’m thrown into delirium, preparing for the coming season by replenishing my makeup supply, re-vamping my iPod playlists, doing a mental diagnostic on what I need to throw out—and what I’ve been needing to buy. As I’m slamming my ’pod with Michael Jackson and George Michael tunes, getting ready for renewed commitment to the treadmill, I realize that at the top of my list is a gym bag.
Out of laziness, I’ve been using a quilted tote my sister made for me—it’s beautiful, I get compliments on it, and it is the most impractical bag one could possibly use for the gym. Seriously. My wallet falls out, I can never find both socks, my Gatorade spills, I scramble around the bottom of the bag looking for the necklaces I swear I’m going to put in there carefully and never find again. (Where did you go, gold-fill acorn pendant?!) Michael Phelps would never keep his gym bag so disorganized! Something needs to be done. It wasn’t until today, when my colleague asked me if I knew of a great gym bag—petite enough for her tiny frame, doesn’t LOOK like a dreaded athletic bag, and would be useful enough to keep her organized—that I decided we could all benefit from some locker-room reconnaissance. Here are the results.
The Angela Chase
For those who like the casual look, appreciate a bag that’s comfortable to wear (and reminds them of the 90s? or is that just me, being obsessed?), and don’t want a lot of fuss, I adore this Stussy duffel from the deliciously-named 80s Purple. It’s tidy, has the durable dop-kit zipper, and is lined in nylon for easy cleaning ($106 online, dimensions 16×9x10).
The Jenny Humphrey
The brand-new Fall 08 LeSportSac Leigh bag weighs as much as some dust—leaving only your crap to bog you down. I like the removable shoulder strap, the 50s style handles, and the fact that you can wash these babies until the cows come home—great for when I forget to do laundry and leave my shirt in there for a week. Plus, it’s cheap enough to renew every year when they put out zesty new prints ($94, dimensions 9×15x7).
The Charlotte York
Plenty of us demand that our gym bags resemble our Botkiers, but thankfully most refuse to ruin a $700 suede tote. Nike has our number. NYC’s Paragon Sports offers the Nike Club Bag ($55, dimensions 18×11x8) and the Nike Heritage Mix bag (shown above, $80, dimensions 18×6x14 approximately). The Club has the doctor-bag thing going on, tidy and cute, just big enough for some kicks, a water, and an iPod; while the Heritage is the Club’s big sister, country-club worthy yet just as petite.
The Blair Waldorf
And for girls with a tendency to jaunt off for the weekend right after a Friday night spin class, Brooklyn’s amazing Hayden-Harnett (Store Adore Shoppers save 20 percent on all travel gear!) offers the Maldives bag (regularly $185, Store Adore price $148, dimensions 19×17x6): it’s meant as a weekender, but built perfectly (IMHO) for the gym, with its nylon fabric, awesome pockets, and ample space for a change of clothes plus some extras.
Photo courtesy of Store Adore