Why Proenza Schouler’s Ultimate Back-to-Work Bag

The schlep from home to office is back. Sooner rather than later, we’ll all be carrying our bags as if they were sacks of potatoes instead of totes filled with battered laptops, chewed-on pens, and soggy lunches. If that didn’t make it clear, I’m not a huge fan of commuting. Since I have to, I want to at least do it in style. I’m not a tote-bag gal; I can’t deal with the flimsy and weak. Of course, a fun pochette is out of the question for corporate 9-to-5s. Sure, I’d love to consider a Louis Vuitton Saint Jacques Epi bag, but I need something to expand and contract with ease. The Epi’s rigid leather isn’t the best for stuffing running sneakers in! So what have I discovered? Well, the quintessential, chic back-to-office bag might just be Proenza Schouler’s PS1.

The piece is roomy with a devil-may-care attitude. It’s an elevated messenger bag that isn’t too stuffy, structured, or angular. Still, the PS1 is made from thick leather that can handle the daily wear and tear of a commute. Of course, there is also the nostalgia component. Like the Balenciaga Motorcycle bag, the bag encapsulates the tail end of the excessive noughties at the end of the 2000s.

The PS1 launched in 2008 and was discreetly seeded among designers Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough’s stylish coven of friends, including Mary-Kate Olsen, who had a version in suede and python. The bag came at the right time, when a range of not-so-flashy but very durable bags started to make waves, like the aforementioned Motorcycle bag and Chloe’s Paddington. For the November 2008 issue of Vogue, fashion writer Florence Kane wrote about the boom of the bag. “This is the anti-It-bag,” says Hernandez in the article. McCollough adds, “It-bags sometimes lack a certain subtleness.” So, Kane wrote, “The two have veered away from the usual designer trappings; the pieces aren’t littered with logos or weighed down by hardware. It is details like the special moiré print lining or the laid-back knot in each strap that ID them. “

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