Before I moved to New York, I didn’t really think of bags as seasonal. Sure, colors might get a little darker when it’s not blazing hot outside, but I had lived circa Atlanta all my life–the practical implications of a real winter were never something I had encountered. Now that I’m on my fifth NYC winter, I’ve come to at least one conclusion: the saddle bag is your best cold-weather option.
Winter coats are bulky and cumbersome (I ran into a trash can yesterday because I have no peripheral vision in my parka), and they make it hard to keep bags on your shoulders or get top handles up into the crook of your arm. Nothing sits right on top of that much extra fabric and padding, and manipulating zippers and lock closures can also be tricky in gloves or when your fingers are stiff from cold. That’s where saddle bags come in.
Saddle bags are almost always set up for crossbody carry, which is ideal to sit comfortably on top of a heavy coat, and they stay in place, unlike regular shoulder bags. The flap-top closure is also ideal; it rarely has difficult hardware to fumble with, and even if it does, the overall structure of the bag means it’ll easily stay closed without using the closure every time. The flap also keeps your belongings dry in inclement weather, although I wouldn’t be sad if it never, ever snowed again.
Another big perk of saddle bags are is their relatively affordable price points. You can find very expensive versions, of course, but right now our favorite retailers are full of beautiful options that are solidly within the three-figure range. Below, we’ve done the legwork for you.