The Big Bag Trend: Here’s What Happened When I Commuted With One

Diane Keaton recently shared an image of a woman wearing a tote bag the size of her body alongside the caption, “NOT BIG ENOUGH FOR ME. I’LL BE BUYING TWO,” on her Instagram. It racked up over 75,000 likes.

The photo was regrammed from an account called “The Big Bag Club,” which shares comically large photoshopped versions of already comically large bags.

But many people who liked the photo may not have even realized at first glance that the bag was digitally altered. Oversized bags have been schlepped down the runways and through our wildest carryall fantasies for quite some time now. Elle even called XXL bags one of its “5 biggest bag trends for winter 2019.”

As a person who at any given moment can be found carrying a backpack, two tote bags and a purse, the massive bag trend intrigues me. On the other hand, as a New Yorker who commutes by subway and scoffs at people for not taking their backpacks off on a crowded train, the massive bag trend annoys me. But then, as a person who has long taken style cues from Keaton, the massive bag trend was something I needed to try.

V by Townsley is a vegan leather brand that offers beautiful normal-sized bags as well as the Eden, an oversized, buttery blue tote that, according to the V by Townsley website, is “large enough for all your essentials, with space for a few luxuries as well.”

“Essentials” I fit inside this bag with room to spare go as follows:

  • A coat.

  • A box of Rice Krispies Treats cereal.

  • A pair of shoes.

  • A full bottle of tequila.

  • A computer.

  • A metal water bottle.

  • An umbrella.

  • A medium-sized dog.

  • The crushing weight of my impostor syndrome, the political climate and the actual climate.

  • And a notebook.

A couple of things happened when I tried to commute with this puppy (or Great Dane, rather). First, I got stuck in the turnstile. Then, a small child stared at me. Then I had to let a crowded subway car pass (for reasons detailed above). Then, more people stared at me! Some laughed!

If you’re reading this, I’m still trying to get on the 6 train.

When I finally got on the subway, I committed an offense less egregious than manspreading but no less pandemic in commuter culture: I bag-spread. I just could not fit the bag and my body on one seat. This did not make my fellow commuters happy. Forgive me fellow straphangers, for I have sinned.

Not the ultimate subway sin, but close. 

Not the ultimate subway sin, but close. 

“That bag is the size of my apartment,” my friend remarked as I gleefully placed her not-small dog inside of it and promptly plotted my plan to steal her. Then I remembered I would likely have to get on the subway again to do that, so we stayed put.

Objects in photos are heavier than they appear. 

Objects in photos are heavier than they appear. 

Here’s the thing: This bag is really nice and can hold a lot of stuff. It’s a great weekend or travel bag, though it most certainly would not be suitable for an overhead bin. There is a time and place for a massive bag, just probably not in my everyday life, as Instagram and the runways would like me to believe. Sorry, Diane Keaton.

The Eden bag will also set you back a pretty penny, around $500. Considering you can carry every single one of your earthly possessions in it, maybe it’s worth it.

Whatever your price range, there are plenty of options for carrying as much as humanly possible with you at all times ― including the number of a good chiropractor. Check out a few more below, and good luck finding your keys.

HuffPost may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page.

Yoga comes in handy for these bags, it turns out. 

Yoga comes in handy for these bags, it turns out. 

Hairoo Big “Lazy Bag”

Hairoo on Etsy

Free People All Day Tote

Free People

Asos Claudia Canova Oversized Tote Bag, $42

HuffPost US

Madewell Transport Tote


A Day Like Washed Cotton Bag

A Day Like on Etsy

Sophie Anderson Mercato Market Bag, $326

Patagonia Black Hole Gear 28L Tote Bag, $49