I’ve always been fascinated by the celebrity magazine articles billed as “What’s in their bag?” It’s a heavily product-placed glance into what makes people we’re interested in tick. What celebrity carries Hermes scarves for fun, what are they reading, what makeup is sponsoring them, etc.  But, it’s not realistic. I don’t live the same life as Kate Hudson. Gigi Hadid and I don’t need the same things out of our bags.

As an alternative, I have become interested in what my peers and fellow working women carry in their bags. Whether it’s giving tours on the Hill, reporting from the White House, running programs at the public library, or crafting marketing plans, these women have agreed to share what’s in their bag with you. Now, you can get a better idea of what a real working woman keeps in mind when packing a purse or backpack for the day. 

Reporting in the Field

Amber is a reporter covering the White House for the Daily Caller and is the host of the “Unfit to Print” podcast.

Amber carries her daily necessities in a Louis Vuitton Neverfull. She bought this purse as a gift to herself last Christmas because it’s large enough to hold everything she needs for the office, the White House, or the gym. Plus, it matches everything. 

In addition to carrying the standard wallet, keys, and sunglasses combo, Amber always has a travel bag of makeup and a pair of heels in case she has a last-minute TV appearance or sit-down interview with an administration official. Her makeup bag has everything needed for a professional look, including a NYX HD Photogenic Concealer, NARS Orgasm Blush, Tarte Don’t Quit Your Daydream Palette, NYX Worth The Hype Mascara, Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner, and setting powder

Amber keeps two pairs of headphones tucked away: her preferred AirPods, and a wired pair of Apple headphones in case her AirPods aren’t charged and she really needs to transcribe an interview. Speaking of interviews, a black Moleskine lined notebook and an assortment of pens always need to be within reach. 

Hiding in the small zippered bag that comes with the Neverfull are two epi pens, in case of the rare event that Amber comes into contact with raw oysters. She discovered the unfortunate allergy during a work happy hour just a couple of months after starting at the Daily Caller. 

Finally, on Thursday nights during the summer, Amber totes around her softball glove and a pair of cleats for the Caller’s intramural softball league game. She recently became the head coach of the team. During her work day, she will take a few minutes to jot the day’s lineup down in the Notes app on her iPhone.

Marketing maven

Katie works seven days a week as the Marketing Director for a shopping center in Lynchburg, Virginia that is undergoing a multi-million-dollar renovation and redevelopment.

We all know “Marketing Director,” means you wear a lot of hats. So, what does Katie have in her handbag(s)? A florescent pink hard hat for when she’s called into construction zones to check up on progress of the redevelopment of the shopping center. This could mean a new store, restaurant, or an aquarium. Yes, an aquarium. What kind of bag fits a hard hat you ask?! Well, two.

Katie carries two gigantic totes to work every day—bag one for her agenda, laptop, phone, charger, and typical work items. Bag two for the other random things like a florescent pink hard hat, hairspray and a comb for when the hard hat comes off, roller ball perfume (Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue), probably dog treats, and book on architecture. Because let’s face it, she went to school for Public Relations—she’s has to know a little bit about everything; just enough to be dangerous. Bags 1: Tory Burch Robinson Tote – Black Bag 2: Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM Damier Ebene.

Legislating the day away

Caroline is a legislative assistant in a state general assembly.

She carries around a Kate Spade black tote. It’s versatile and carries everything she needs for a day at work. Caroline always have her wallet, keys, and phone. In addition, she brings my personal laptop in because she isn’t supplied them at work and a charger, just in case. She doesn’t leave home without her Lilly Pulitzer planner so she can stay up to date on to-do lists. As a legislative assistant, Caroline has probably 5 lapel pins in her bag at a time and she also carries around tons of pens. Lastly, she always carries a book so she can read during lunch. 

Long-days librarian

Aryssa is a librarian in Washington, DC and also moonlights as a house manager for a theater.

First of all, she doesn’t change purses often, but when she does get a new one, it has to be able to hold a book. The tote bag she carries every day is a big gray one she got for $30 at TJ Maxx. It’s perfect because it’s structured and won’t fall over when empty. It also has a zipper section specifically designed for her laptop, which is perfect for when she have to carry it around town.  Once Aryssa leaves her house, she’s pretty much gone for the day. If she doesn’t have something in her purse, she either has to stop and buy it or go without.

Instead of a typical wallet, Aryssa use a cross body type bag that’s small enough to hold my cards, some glucose tablets, band-aids, and an extra set of headphones. She can also attach a strap to it and carry it as its own purse. Aryssa also tries to carry a small pack of tissues and feminine hygiene products, because she believes in being a prepared girl that’s ready to help other women in need. She carries two sets of headphones at all times since she has an iPhone 8 that requires the special headphones that plug into the lightning port, but she also works on desktop computers that require the traditional jack. It’s a hassle, but she says it’s easier to just keep both with her at all times.

Aryssa is a writer, so she always has notebooks, pens, and pencils. She, of course, always has a book, in addition to any eBooks on her phone and Kindle. She also carries a phone charger, because days can be long, and in DC, being without your phone can leave you up a creek. When her blood sugar drops, she;s a hunk of wood, so she usually carries a chocolate chip CLIF bar and an apple. A girl’s gotta have options.

She always carry a Tide pen, because if Aryssa gets a single blemish on her blouse or dress, you can bet every patron she interacts with that day will mention it. Her work badge & keys are on a lanyard, so even when she’s off work, she usually keeps it in her purse. This may seem like a lot, but for Aryssa, it’s easier to have a fuller purse than to realize one day she forget something crucial. Lastly, while it doesn’t quite fit in her purse, you won’t catch her out without her Nalgene or some sort of reusable water bottle. Hydration is key!

DC intern life

Karly is an undergraduate student who spent her summer interning at a nonprofit in Washington D.C. five days a week.

If Karly is headed to work or an event, her purse is huge and always houses quite a few essentials. She absolutely never goes anywhere without a notebook, a pen, and business cards. You never know who you’re going to meet when. It’s always nice to be able to hand out a professional card instead of exchanging numbers digitally. Plus, Karly doesn’t think she’ll ever outgrow taking notes. Also, she considers myself a conservative environmentalist, so she always has her collapsible metal straw handy for lunch or the occasional iced dirty chai latte. Turtles matter, too.

This summer, Karly interned in D.C., so her metro card and key fob were always housed in the front pocket of her over sized purse, opposite her cell phone pocket. Other important items include band-aids, earbuds, and of course, a wallet that can fit both cash and cards. Karly makes sure to always have a phone charger. A dead phone in D.C. is not her ideal night after work. More often than not, she is also toting around the book she is reading for the metro ride. Lastly, Karly has a theory that if she has an umbrella, it won’t rain, but if she forgets an umbrella at home, it’ll probably thunderstorm. So, an umbrella makes it into her bag about three or four times a week.

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Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member