PurseBlog Asks

Have Your Handbag Carrying Habits Changed This Past Year?

Did the pandemic permanently influence how you use your bags?

2020. It was a year unlike that of any other, but looking back the year had started off with so much promise. I was training to run the New York City half marathon, I was happy, healthy and my friends were all experiencing milestones of their own. The world seemed to be at my fingertips and even though things seemed quiet in my New York City neighborhood when I attended my friends would be not-so-going-away party in early March pending her move to Israel, I naively felt a sense of peace. At that very party I remember carrying one of my newer bags, my Louis Vuitton Multi Pochette Accessoires, which I had just purchased in November of 2019. Little did I know that it would be months before I would carry that bag (or any bag for that matter) again.

In the wiping down our groceries phase of the pandemic (remember that?), I would head to the store with my phone in one pocket and keys and credit card in the other. After arriving home I would promptly wipe down everything, and I mean everything with Lysol wipes. I didn’t dare dream of packing an actual bag to go anywhere—how would I clean it?—and the reality was that beyond the bare necessities, I didn’t need much to leave the house for a couple of errands.

Fast forward to the summer in New York City—outdoor dining had began and my friends and I slowly began to reunite in the great masked-up outdoors. At this time there was sufficient evidence that COVID-19 was rarely spread through surfaces making carrying my bags again feel safe. Though by then life was insanely different, and spending more time outdoors meant a lot of walking and movement. For that reason I opted for my smaller bags that weighed less and were hands-free like crossbody bags or belt bags. My dressier bags and top handle carry-alls stayed in storage throughout the summer, fall and winter, and now even as life returns to a sort of normal, I’ve noticed how much my purse habits have really changed.

I still prefer easy to wear bags that air more on the side of casual. I can tolerate a lot less fuss than I used to, and I ponder the thought of streamlining my collection. Though to be honest I’m unsure if my purse carrying habits are forever changed or if as life eases back to normal so will I, but I’m wondering if anyone else has experienced something similar? Have you noticed your purse habits changing throughout the last year?


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  1. Santa Pala Avatar
    Santa Pala

    With having to use hand sanitizer several times a day, and some of it so liquid it takes forever to dry, I decided to switch to my Prada Nylon backpack from way back in the day, keeps my hands free, nylon easy to wipe down. The LV, Chanel, Balenciaga’s all in the closet, haven’t used them in almost a year I won’t risk ruining the handles with hand sanitizer or having to wipe them down with some chemical.

  2. ILP Avatar

    In the beginning, I certainly shopped less as I hardly left the house. When I did, I carried my camera bags that I could wear crossbody without fear that they would accidentally touch something else. At this point, we knew little about how COVID spread. Now we know it’s primarily spread through the air. I’m fully vaccinated and I’m going out a lot more but I am gravitating towards my easy-to-get-into bags as I am frequently searching for my hand sanitizer. And after a year of casual clothes, I am not wanting my high maintenance or fussy bags.

    1. Kaitlin Serio Avatar

      I feel exactly the same as you! I’m fully vaccinated as well and doing a lot more but still find that I’m not using certain bags. I’ve really started to think more about my collection because of this. However I’m not ready to make any rash decisions yet in terms of selling ect. as I don’t know if this will remain the case or it’s temporary.

  3. Jaime Avatar

    I have been using smaller bags exclusively in the past year. All I need is my keys, small wallet, and phone. I recently went to grab a tote bag and literally had nothing to put in it. Looking forward to traveling and using the tote to hold my iPad, magazines, snacks, water bottle, etc.

    1. Sarah Avatar

      Same! I gravitated toward my smaller bags this past year as I didn’t need to carry much. I stopped using my long wallet and started exclusively using a card holder because I literally only had to carry my ID and a credit card. Beyond that, I only needed my phone, keys, hand sanitizer, and maybe a lipstick if I was dining out. When I tried to use a bigger bag this morning, I had nothing to put into it so it was floppy and shapeless.

  4. Sandy Avatar

    I work out all the time and spend many days in athletic themed clothing, doesn’t change the bag I carry. If I want to carry my Chanel jumbo CF, I do. I would refrain from carrying a beaded clutch, but that’s about it! Nothing has changed for me in regard to the bags I carry, during COVID I just didn’t have many places to go.

  5. A.S. Avatar

    I’m finding I actually need a larger bag for the first time. I now go into the office 2-3 days per week and need to carry things back and forth that used to live at my desk full time. That being said, when I go out for any reason at night or on weekends, I want something small and easy.

    1. lalarey Avatar

      This is exactly my situation. So sadly I’ve just been carring my MASSIVE work bag that is so huge because I bought it when I was pumping twice a day so it has way more space than I really need at this point. I bought four bags last year thinking they were good work bag sizes (including Polene Numero Un which i love!) but I keep going back to the massive one.

      1. A.S. Avatar

        Yep, all my mid-size bags are just sitting around untouched :[

  6. seattleminimalist Avatar

    Yes, it has extremely changed. I used to carry my LV on-the-go but nowadays, I’m carrying a re-usable tote bag from Sephora. I still carry my LV key pouch and compact wallet, but I have not carried my larger LV bags for many months.

    I’ll carry them again when I feel comfortable doing so.

    1. Kaitlin Serio Avatar

      I completely understand! Everyone’s comfort level is different and we have to do things (beyond just carrying our bags!) when we personally feel ready to do so.

  7. FashionableLena Avatar

    My handbag habits never changed. I tried the whole camera bag/small crossbody and hated it. Pandemic or not…I carry my bags. I’m not a big bag/tote bag/backpack person anyway. I live in Texas and a teacher. We’ve been open for over a year, and I’ve been teaching face-to-face since October.

  8. Brea Avatar

    I didn’t carry a bag, for the past year, due to Covid. Everything I needed I put into my pockets. In the last couple of months I purged many bags. Not using them made me realize I didn’t need them.

    1. Gayle Avatar

      Same here…sold around 8bags which was a good thing my closet has extra space now and it contributed to my kelly fund. I just bought my first birkin and i cant wait to take her out. I kept telling myself i should sell more bags because im never going to use them again especially now i have my b.

      1. Brea Avatar

        Enjoy your Birkin! They’re beautiful! I saw a Birkin that I love, but I’m debating whether to purchase. My issue is that sometimes I buy a bag, but worry I’ll damage it if I use it. Crazy? Yes! I’m a work in progress. ?

    2. Slim Avatar

      I feel exactly as you! The pandemic put it all in perspective! Thousands of dollars spent on handbags, now stored in their dust covers inside my closet. My focus now is travel and enjoy life, not things!

  9. Jerri R Avatar
    Jerri R

    I only carry crossbody bags these days because I don’t feel comfortable parking my bag in a shopping cart, now more than ever. I don’t wipe down my bag when I come home, though. I just thoroughly wash my hands.

  10. Lucy Watson Prendergast Avatar
    Lucy Watson Prendergast

    Great article, Kaitlin. I am a self pronounced big bag lover but that has really changed this year. i have been carrying crossbodies pretty much exclusively since covid. I haven’t carried my onthego or neverfulls in over 15 months. Actually, I carry my two Pochette Metis LV bags almost exclusively because I can throw them over my shoulder and go. No fuss or fear of putting them down somewhere dirty.

  11. Sparky Avatar


  12. Maureen Avatar

    Great question! I don’t think my handbag habits has changed due to the pandemic. It changed way before that. I used to work in the city and so was influenced by all the pretty brand name bags. I bought a few over time to satisfy that craving. Now that my life is in the country, it seems silly to be carrying those bags. At least I feel that way. Plus, now more than ever I realize it doesn’t fit my lifestyle so yeah, I am definitely a fan of cross body bags and backpacks as they cater so much more to my casual style.

  13. Yazi Avatar

    Not really. I like classic structured bags and the pandemic only made me buy them in a smaller size. I do use crossbodies more but a pandemic isn’t a reason not to look and feel good.

  14. Rose Rapture Avatar
    Rose Rapture

    Yasssssss. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who recognized that their purse habits have changed. I’m too scared to take out my expensive bags because one drop of hand sanitizer dribbling on it could be detrimental to the bag. I have been wearing many more cross body bags and using a reusable shopping bag for larger items. I long for the days of wearing a satchel on my elbow or holding it in my hand as I head into the office. Frankly all I can see is sticky sanitized hands and not letting them come anywhere near my bags for awhile. Sadly it may be another year before I feel comfortable enough to take my satchels out of storage again.

  15. Deann Frank Avatar
    Deann Frank

    I bought several washable totes to carry masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, wipes. I bought MZ Wallace, Telfar, and Naghedi – all great totes that come in a variety of sizes and colors that can be wiped or washed clean. So I’ve been carrying totes and cross bodies for a year. I can not imagine carrying something in my hands like a satchel, but I will start to carry my Louis Vuitton Neverfull again, because I can wash the canvas although not the straps. Baby steps for me to get back to carrying my more expensive leather bags.

  16. slyshar Avatar

    Great question Kaitlin! Early on, questions about germs on surfaces killed my desire to carry my caviar Chanels -too many places for germs to lodge. After learning more, there was still little opportunity to wear my bags, as I worked from home and used delivery for everything. The tragedies of COVID and social unrest in my Minneapolis hometown made bags feel quite superficial. However in the fall of 2020 I bought a silver hardware black double flap jumbo Chanel that was a bet on hope and serious retail therapy that I desperately needed. When the vaccine emerged, I took my “go to” gold hardware black double flap XL Chanel with a letter from my the 6 year old grandson declaring he missed me, and a vintage passport of my family when I was 7 years old tucked into place. Given I am in Minneapolis and grew up 50 feet from George Floyd square, I also took my previously mentioned “go to” to the anniversary at the square. So like others, I agree that I did get more casual, but my classic bags are still with me. My classic bags represent hope and an ascension of my life. I understand why people are selling bags and saving for really special ones. I am in search of a Birkin now!

  17. LuxBagLVr Avatar

    For sure! I have gone from using my Chanel Black Caviar Jumbo Flap with SHW and Chanel Patent Black Rectangular Mini Flap with SHW semi regularly to not at all. Now i seem to exclusively use my LV DE Neverfull MM, my LV DA Delightful MM or my Karl Lagerfeld Regular Size Agyness in Beige Clair with GHW. I seem to use my LV DA Pochette Accessories NM the same as i used to- occasionally for small outings during the warmer months- as much as i did pre-pandemic. I miss using my Chanels and can’t wait for “going out” occasions to be safe again so i can use them more.