Down with the Ugly Diaper Bags!

The diaper bag is arguably the most essential accessory for every mom on-the-go. As a busy mom of an infant and toddler in New York City’s Upper East Side, I know first-hand the importance of having a fully stocked diaper bag with me during every outing with my kids. Leaving home without a diaper bag is very much like a handyman arriving without his tools – extremely unprepared and amateur. A diaper bag contains all items needed for emergency diaper changes, spills on clothing, sanitizing of toys/dropped pacifiers, or any other unforeseen predicament. But let’s face it, most diaper bags are ugly. Rather than selecting a bag based on style or color, many moms choose diaper bags featuring the same pastel-colored zoo animals that often adorn the walls of their baby’s nursery. While it may momentarily seem like a cute idea, what woman really wants to tote around a bag covered in purple elephants? The diaper bags below are proof that moms’ most important accessory can be both practical and fashionable.  At many different price points, there is something for everyone.

     1.  The Thea Thea Indigo Diaper Bag in Navy – $145 at Thea Thea

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The Indigo diaper bag by Thea Thea features a chic quilted design with whimsy bow detailing. With 4 inner pockets and 2 outside pockets, this bag is roomy enough for all of your new-mom essentials. As an urban mom, I appreciate the value of rain-resistant accessories, especially when schlepping little ones to school and classes in the stroller. The denim-like fabric of the Indigo bag is water repellent, which will keep baby’s diapers, clothes and other contents protected from rain and snow. With it’s versatile design and removable stroller straps, this bag can also be used as a tote. And did I mention it’s only $145?

     2.  Rebecca Minkoff “Marissa” Studded Diaper Bag – $345 at Nordstrom

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Rebecca Minkoff really hit it out of the park with her “Marissa” diaper bag. Its quilted nylon exterior is gorgeously accented with golden studded hardware making this bag the perfect mix of femme and fierce. The nylon interior makes for an easy clean-up of any mess and multiple exterior and interior pockets make this bag  equal parts fashion and function. With stroller straps, removable tassel bag charm and a leather trimmed changing pad, this bag is a smart choice for trendsetting moms everywhere.
     3.  Timi & Leslie “Marie Antoinette” Diaper Bag – $139.99 (marked down from $169.99) at Timi & Leslie

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Exhausted? Scatterbrained? Running on only 4 hours of sleep yet desperately trying to appear sophisticated and fashionable? Enter: Timi & Leslie’s “Marie Antoinette” diaper bag.  This bag will keep even the most disorganized mom prepared for the whirlwind of parenthood, and she will even look chic changing diapers! This bag truly has it all. An insulated bottle tote, zippered pouch for wet clothes and changing pad with mesh pockets are just some of the features that differentiate this diaper bag from most others.  With interior credit card slots, key ring, matching clutch for Mom’s own small items, and detachable strap for cross-body usage, this bag eliminates the need to carry an additional purse. Is it just me, or does the Marie Antoinette diaper bag bear a striking resemblance to Miu Miu’s signature Matelassé nappa leather bags? See for yourself. 

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      4.  Storksak “Bobby” Quilted Diaper Bag – $195 at Storksak

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Also available in black, the Storksak “Bobby” diaper bag has a durable wipe-clean quilted exterior adorned with delicate bows that add subtle femininity. With four interior slip pockets, an interior pacifier case and detachable insulated storage bag for bottles and snacks, this bag is equally stylish and practical. The “Bobby” can be worn as a cross-body bag and comes with a luxury changing pad. 

      5.  Gucci “Original GG” Diaper Bag – $1150 at Gucci

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The Gucci “Original GG” diaper bag is absolutely fabulous and has been photographed on the shoulders of celebrities like Halle Berry and Nicole Richie. Made of durable GG monogrammed canvas and trimmed in leather, this bag is timeless and built to last. In addition to the tan/pink color, Gucci also offers the bag in a tan/blue combination as well as tan/brown and basic black. Although it comes with a hefty price tag, this diaper bag is a great investment for babies and future siblings to come.  I should know – I bought it (in black) when I was pregnant with my son and now I use it for my infant daughter. 

     6.  Kate Spade “Hildy” Baby Bag  – $189 (marked down from $378) at Kate Spade

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The “Hildy” is a diaper bag masquerading as a chic everyday tote bag.  Once a little one outgrows his/her need for a diaper bag, the Hildy easily transitions to an every day bag. Its classic silhouette and 14-karat gold-plated hardware exude understated elegance that make it a perfect choice for the posh mom on-the-go. It’s equally practical as it is polished with its wipe-clean nylon exterior, several interior pockets; two elastic bottle holders and adjustable stroller straps. Unique to this bag are metal feet on the bottom exterior that prevent scuffing on the underside of the bag. Marked down from $378 to $189, this bag is a steal and I anticipate it will sell out quickly.

      7.  Prada “Vela” Nylon Baby Bag – $1360 at Saks Fifth Avenue 6ab

Move over, ladies! This diaper bag indulgence is crafted from Prada’s durable classic nylon and is adorned with the brand’s signature triangle logo plate. With front and back zip pockets, large center pouch and interior zip and slip pockets, there is plenty of room to stash all of your necessities and signature jacquard fabric lines the bag’s interior and envelops your little one’s most shabby chic accessories. Fashion-forward meets functional with a washable changing pad, adjustable shoulder strap, and metal feet to protect the bottom. While this is the most expensive diaper bag on the list, it’s also a versatile option that even Dad would feel comfortable carrying. An instant classic, you’ll keep using it long after your baby is out of diapers.

     8.  Henri Bendel “West 57th” Baby Bag – $199 (marked down from $398) at Henri Bendel

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Henri Bendel is the quintessential playground of Manhattan’s modern woman, but who knew that Bendel’s also designs handbags for trendsetting tots? Meet the luxurious West 57th Baby Bag, Bendel’s tres chic diaper bag creation. The West 57th bag oozes high-fashion appeal and will add instant glam to any ensemble. The sophisticated silhouette is constructed from both Saffiano leather and water-resistant nylon, a combination that distinguishes this bag from most others. The purple sateen interior lining is fit for the most regal little darlings and the bag can also be monogrammed at no additional charge. With all of these lavish features people won’t even believe this is a diaper bag!

     9.  Mia Bossi “Tabitha” Diaper Bag – $280 at Mia Bossi

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Looking for something smaller? This petite diaper bag is perfect for moms of older babies who may not need to carry so many necessities. Its black quilted exterior (made from vegan-friendly faux leather) is embellished with gold chain link hardware reminiscent of vintage Chanel and its design is similarly sophisticated and timeless. A detachable shoulder strap makes this bag a wardrobe staple by allowing for it to be worn messenger style or carried as a satchel, à la the Louis Vuitton Speedy. With this diaper bag in tow, your baby will be only your second best accessory!

     10.  Nest Designs “Keira” Clutch – $85 at Nest Designs

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Who said that diaper bags have to be of mammoth proportions?  The “Keira” clutch is a refreshing departure from the cumbersome design of traditional diaper bags. On days when all you need are a few diapers and wipes, this bag’s got you covered. Made from genuine leather, this compact clutch surprisingly unfolds flat to reveal a full-size changing pad, making it possible to change your baby absolutely anywhere. With an enclosed wet wipes pocket and removable diaper pouch, the “Keira” is diaper bag simplicity at its best.  Wondering where you will stash your keys and cell phone? Fear not, for there is also a small pocket designed to hold some of Mom’s personal items.

 

Manhattan Mommy Winter Must-Haves

In the city that never sleeps, not even an apocalyptic ice storm could keep New Yorkers indoors. For Manhattan residents, winter brings with it a plethora of exciting seasonal activities, including ice skating at Bryant Park Winter Village, sledding down Pilgrim Hill in Central Park, sipping hot chocolate at Serendipity, and shopping for the perfect resort wear.  Manhattan is picturesque in the winter, but braving the great outdoors in frigid temperatures with little ones takes a great deal of planning and preparation. It can be downright exhausting to dress fidgety babies and toddlers in multiple layers, hats and gloves and ultimately tuck them into stroller blankets. But with all of the focus on the children, who’s making sure that Mom has everything she needs to endure the frosty temperatures? Below are my Manhattan mommy winter must-haves that will make venturing out in a winter wonderland as enchanting as it sounds. Don’t leave home without them!

Stroller gloves

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Gloves: 7AM Enfant

Manhattan’s Upper East Side neighborhood is home to more families with young children than any other region of the city.  Our sidewalks are lined with stroller-striding moms who systematically weave in and out of sidewalk traffic as if they could do it with eyes closed. Dressed in our heaviest down puffers and thermal accessories, we are often multitasking while running our daily errands. It can be difficult to reach into our wallets, answer our phones, grab a burp cloth or anything from inside the diaper bag, or even touch our babies while wearing cumbersome winter gloves. Continuously removing them and putting them back on is not only an inconvenience, but also a needless time drain. Introducing stroller hand warmers, the no-fuss accessory that keeps your hands warm on the coldest of days while simultaneously making it effortless to attend to our babies needs.  Unlike conventional gloves that always seem to go missing, these mitts are securely attached to the stroller handlebar and impossible to lose! Thanks to these innovative gloves, moms no longer need to choose between warmth and convenience.  Who said we couldn’t have it all?

Tech Gloves 

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Gloves: Echo

Smart phones are pocket-sized computers designed to utilize various communication modalities to simplify our daily lives. Their development has revolutionized the way we keep in touch with family and friends and has literally put the entire world at our fingertips. But why is it that we can’t operate our devices while wearing our finest winter accessories to keep our hands warm? How can a thin layer of cashmere suddenly cut us off from the outside world? I didn’t know either until I did a little digging.  Apparently, when we swipe our finger across the touch screen it produces an electrical current that allows the user to interact directly with what is being displayed on the screen. When we wear gloves, the fabric interferes with the passage of this electrical current, rendering us unable to operate our smart phones. I don’t know about you, but nothing comes between me and a good online sale, not even my favorite winter accessories! This fall I embarked on a quest to find the perfect tech gloves, the kind with coated fingertips that transmit the electrical current from your body to the device. I was afraid my efforts wouldn’t bear fruit as I sorted through pair after pair of uninspiring options that reminded me of shoddy juvenile mittens. And then, just as I was about to give up, I discovered the Echo tech gloves with fur cuffs. These beauties, still available at Bloomingdales, are made from the most buttery soft leather and are equally warm and sophisticated. Most importantly, they are compatible with iPhones, iPads and other touch-screen devices. You really can have your cake and eat it too!

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Echo Leather Gloves with Asiatic Raccoon Fur Cuff – $129, Bloomingdales

Aquaphor

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Aquaphor healing ointment is the first line of defense against your baby’s minor cuts and scrapes and for this reason it’s a staple item in the diaper bags of most moms. It’s best known for its use in healing baby’s sensitive skin and the treatment and prevention of diaper rash, but unlike most other baby products on the market, Aquaphor’s uses extend far beyond the nursery. It’s a multipurpose ointment that can be used to promote healthy skin for moms and the entire family.  Flakey chapped lips are a common cold-weather complaint for everyone in a cold climate, especially Manhattan moms who spend a great deal of time outdoors transporting children and running errands. Sure, you can apply layer after layer of balm to your lips, but this isn’t an effective long-term solution to a chronic condition. Aquaphor, on the other hand, not only moisturizes severely chapped lips, but also adds shine and keeps lips soft by acting as a barrier against cold winter weather. This is one item I cannot live without. Grab some of your baby’s Aquaphor and pucker up, Moms!

Insulated Coffee Mug

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Coat: Moncler   Fox Scarf: Optimal Accessories (old), similar here    Sunglasses: Prada   Gloves: Echo    Jeans: Seven For All Mankind

Rain or shine, Manhattan moms are always on-the-go. We schlep our little ones to classes and play dates even in the most frigid temperatures. We arm ourselves with coffee to warm our bodies from the inside out, but how many of us have taken a big gulp of a venti Starbucks latte only to discover it’s quickly gotten cold? We’ve all been there. A durable, well-insulated, and spill-proof coffee mug is an absolute must-have for java-drinking Manhattan moms. The LifeSky mug keeps coffee piping hot for 8 hours and features a one-hand opening mechanism, perfect for stroller-striding moms who don’t have use of both hands. Fill your mug with delicious brew and drink it at your leisure because this mug will keep your coffee piping hot for an impressive 8 hours. You can buy your own here.

Headgear

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Earmuffs: Surell

All fashionista moms would agree that the one thing sabotaging their perfect blowouts this winter is none other than the traditional winter hat.  There is nothing worse than arriving for an event and removing your hat, only to discover that your perfectly tousled tresses have fallen victim to “hat head.”  But what is a Manhattan girl to do in a city plagued by abysmal winter weather?  Earmuffs and thermal headbands are cold weather accessories that won’t wreak havoc on your hairstyle like hats do. From cozy cashmere to luxurious furs, there are plenty of options in all styles and price ranges. I received a pair of Surell ear muffs for Hanukkah and never leave home without them. Get yours here.