BitDepth 465 - March 22

The manufacturers of bags for computers finally start to acknowledge the needs of women.
Bags for Babes

Top row from left; Julien MacDonald for Intel, Acmemade's Stripe Cadet Tote, Knomo Bags' Cholet, Crumpler's Wack-o-Phone, Liz Clairborne's Workworld.
Bottom row; Sumdex's Meg Cosmo and Tina Cosmo, Knomo's Quetta, Targus's Jackie and Katherine.

My serious bag love began with photography, when I'd stuff equipment into a bag with great care that I could get at it quickly. It only got worse when the gadgets changed from lenses to computer knick knacks.
I have some pretty stiff requirements of an equipment bag. It must be sturdy and well made, it must provide a minimum level of protection for its expensive contents, and it must have room for everything I normally have to carry.
A bag that fulfils all those criteria must be one more thing. It must look good without looking like exactly what it is. My current daypack is a handsome leather beast I got from Roadwired that's quite possibly the best bag I've ever owned. Buying it on special for a third of its astronomical price was the icing on the cake.

A toploading container, it holds enough gear to fill an average sized desk when it's emptied, but it keeps the gear accessible enough that I never take everything out, preferring to keep the bag near at hand and reaching into it when I need stuff. It's perfect but there's one thing it isn't, and that's feminine.
For all my previous bag cred, buying a bag for my wife, who totes a smaller laptop with far less gear, proved even more intimidating than shopping for perfumes or jewelry. In the end, I settled for a sleeve, snug foam protection that holds only the barest essentials, adds little to the bulk of the system and can be stuffed into a bigger, more attractive bag.
Recently, it seems that the manufacturers of computer bags have been getting the message that women need computer bags too. A lot has changed since I went looking for a bag the lady wouldn't wince at.

Established bag manufacturers have been adding "feminized" versions of their carriers to their lines and the results have been almost uniformly disastrous. Materials like black leather and ripstop nylon are cut in less blocky shapes, but these new bags have come to inhabit a no person's land in the computer bag industry, too macho for women to consider and too girly for a serious geek.
But there are a few manufacturers who have managed to get it right.
Acmemade has a line of colourful computer bags, including intriguing totes that mix the shape of a woman's carry-all with electric patterns and closed cell foam padding.
Australia's Crumpler, a quirky bag provider with a thing for primary colours on what they describe as their "compoota" bags have products that the active woman might like. Even if their bags aren't quite ladylike, the downloadable catalog is a right hoot.
The two surprises in my investigation into the right bag for the right woman came from a total unknown and an old standard.

Knomo Bags offers spectacular computer cases that are fashion statements on their own. These are the Manolo Blahniks of laptop carriers; lush, streamlined and uncompromisingly X chromosome, you'd better have one hell of a laptop to pull out of these bags.
Traditional bag maker Sumdex entered the fray with their "She Rules" line of bags, but nothing prepared me for the effort from Targus. The name Targus is synonymous with bland when it comes to laptop bags. Their standard bag, a black nylon rectangle with a huge front pocket is practically the definition of a computer bag, and is often bundled with a new laptop.
So you could have laid me out flat with a powderpuff after I saw their line of what they call "Ladies cases", a stunning collection of laptop bags named (in what might have been a fit of hubris if the bags didn't look so stunning) after the first names of famous femmes fatales.

From the top of the line Jackie to the student-targeted Kiera, Targus has successfully reinvented itself, at least with the fairer sex, with bags that can only be described as desirable.
If none of these bags hits the glamour spot, try seeking out the designer bag created by Julien Macdonald for Intel, an S&M flavoured piece of couture that's impossible to find on the Internet except in reports. It's almost certainly going to be a unique wrapper for your laptop.

Links to the bag trade... (look for She Rules)
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