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Personal Shopper: Weekend Bags for Ruth's Sister

Ruth E. wrote: My sister has a big birthday coming up (not going to say which one, for my own good as much as hers!) and she rarely actually asks for anything for her birthday. This year is different though - she has asked for a weekend bag. She's an artist who loves classy, interesting prints and appreciates good design as much as good quality. Do you have any suggestions? I'd like to stay under $200 and find something that has fun colors/pattern and would be good for planes, trains and automobiles. Thanks for any suggestions!

Hey there, Ruth! This is Ann, your Outblush personal shopper. I unearthed many wonderful options for your sister, all offering an unmistakable dose of personality without sacrificing function or durability. You mentioned that suitability for "planes, trains and automobiles" was important, so I tried to keep my selections close to the FAA's limit for carry-on bags, which is 45 linear inches. Where's the joy in owning a great bag if it's got to spend the trip bumping around the cargo hold with all of those ho-hum roller-bags?

1) Le Sportsac Jumbo Duffle in Way of Experience ($128)
Never one to be boring, Le Sportsac teamed with Brazilian print studio Pianofuzz to put a decidedly happy, musical spin on the iconic nylon duffle bag. Measuring 12.25" x 17.5" x 8", this bag would be a great fit for your artist sister's travels. Lightweight and durable, the bag zips closed and features three exterior pockets and one interior zip pocket.

2) Saltbox NY Basketweave Utility Tote in Squash ($80)
The bag's sunny orange shade is a bold departure from the ordinary.
Measuring 14" x 21" x 8", this bag is made of sturdy waxed canvas with antiqued brass hardware. Two interior snaps keep the bag closed.

3) Sobella Explosion Small North South Tote ($150)

Flight delays may be a bit more tolerable thanks to this fun bag, inspired by Italian graffiti artists. Generously sized at 18" x 14" x 8", the bag keeps small items organized with its attached mini-bag and an interior zippered pocket. Leather handles ensure years of stylish travel.

4) Toss Designs Medallion Expander Tote ($84)
Sometimes, deciding what to pack and what to leave behind is just too painful. A quick unzip around the middle gives this bag room to hold that extra outfit. Or three. Trimmed in patent, this 19" x 8" x 15" bag gains an extra 6.5" in height when unzipped.

5) Papier 135G Bag by Saskia Diez ($193)
An award-winning design in Germany, this shiny black bag is sure to appeal to both your sister's artistic eye and her intrepid traveler's heart. Constructed of Tyvek - the weatherproof paper used in home building - the bag is lightweight, tearproof, waterproof and recyclable. Measuring 17" x 17" x 10", the bag has a zipper closure that runs up one side, across the top and down the other side, allowing for a generous opening.

6) Jane Marvel Puddle Jumper Bag ($120)
A beige zebra pattern ups the chic quotient on this coated-canvas bag. At 14.5" x 11" x 20", this bag is the perfect size for all of your sister's weekend travels. The tote has an interior zippered pocket and, like all of designer Jane Marvel's bags, comes with a happy bonus: A free eye mask in a coordinating pattern.

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