I would have waved off the idea of a "vacation bag" until last year when I was on a plane back from my own vacation in Turks & Caicos. Whenever I go to the beach, I always struggle with which bags to bring, despite the fact that I literally think about bags as a career. The problem is that I have a bunch of bags that are very appropriate for my life in New York City, and any vacation I take is going to be very different from that. And that goes for my clothes, too, but before a vacation, I usually buy some new things that will look good next to the pool or at a dinner on a fire-lit patio. But I never think to do the same with a bag.
So I'm sitting on this plane, and I look across the aisle at an impeccably dressed woman with a MUUN tote on her lap. I had seen the bags online for a while before that, and although I thought they were cute, I never paid them a whole lot of attention—they just didn't seem all that useful or practical, and they were too casual to be used when most impractical bags come into play, which is at fancy parties. But seeing that bag on this woman's lap suddenly made the whole thing clear to me: they're the bags you take when you're in a situation where you're wearing flowing dresses, not running errands and lounging in a situation that would look good on Instagram.
Because so many bags like this have a traditional or nostalgic look to them, with lots of canvas, raffia and light leathers, the vacation bag you buy for one trip can easily last you through several years of outdoor summer parties, getaways and long weekends. And because the bags are often majority non-leather, they don't even have to cost you very much. Now I get it, and long live the vacation bag.