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The Bag That Comfortably Fits a Paperback

This small shoulder bag fits only the necessities, as is its purpose.

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Le Bas Shoulder Bag in navy
Le Bas Shoulder Bag ($375)

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I first spotted Le Bas’ small shoulder bag when window-shopping at the Buenos Aires boutique Panorama. I fell in love. Small, structured, minimal, elegant, and modern, not to mention handcrafted with gorgeous Argentine leather, it was everything I wanted in a bag. But the price tag scared me off; I already had a sturdy leather purse and couldn’t justify investing in a second.

Flash forward a few months later, and my leather purse was stolen at a bar. I took it as divine intervention and forked over the cash for the Le Bas bag. A year and a half later, I am still in love.

The purse proved to be just as functional as it is beautiful. It looks small but is deep enough to fit a fat paperback. I can carry Hanya Yanagihara’s 800-page A Little Life and a Moleskine in it and still have room for my keys, phone, money pouch, and a tube of lipstick. Part of that can be attributed to the bag’s thoughtful design, which incorporates four individual compartments without interrupting the minimal look.

Buy Here Le Bas Shoulder Bag, $375

But keep in mind this is not a carry-all tote, though I would consider that a plus: I don’t end up turning myself into a pack mule every time I take it out.

Despite the fact that I have just waxed rhapsodic about a purse, let me clarify that I am not a bag person. I detest the very idea of having a “wardrobe” of purses. I want to have one bag that goes with everything, and I will wear that bag until it is literally falling off my body. This Le Bas purse is that bag, and unlike my many cheap shoulder bags of the past, it has stood up to all my manhandling with aplomb. I’ve smooshed it into suitcases, taken it to grubby bars, exposed it to the elements — someone even spilled coffee on it, and it still looks good as new.

And fortunately, you don’t need to go all the way to Argentina to buy it. Le Bas’ leather goods are available online and in select shops around the world. My preferred color chestnut is sold out online, but there’s an array of gorgeous neutrals to choose from.