17 Nov 2013

Hands Free

I am a ‘handbag‘ kind of woman… you probably know this by now… thinking, looking and changing bags never gets tired for me…

Recently I have started using a cross over bag… In the beginning I wasn’t sure about them.. now, I get it… ‘hands free’… and all that.

It’s not to say I don’t fill and lug my tortes around, I do… but this cross over idea is a new and brilliant addition to my wardrobe…

I wear one when I want to be free to take photos and I use one at night when I don’t want to think about where my bag is… As much as I love a clutch… sometimes I don’t want to “clutch’… if you see what I mean…


Paris, Cycling - Vicki Archer

Hands Free

  annabel ingall  /  coach ‘madison’ / ‘claremont’ j.crew /  hide  / sophie hulme


10 vintage postcards will be on their way to bonnie, margie, carmel, ana, marg, holly, carolyn, kathysue, rita and lydia…  i will email for your address…   

don’t forget to leave a comment if you would like to be in the draw for a parisian postcard

i have a few more to giveaway next week… 


Have a wonderful, wonderful weekend… xv

VA In Your Inbox

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Anita Rivera

YES YES! I have recently taken a liking to carrying my bag over and across as such; but a smaller bag “me convient” for I have a small frame. Oh Vicki, you are the best to bring me the latest so I can always keep up with my French fashion. Isn’t it so much fun to dress à la française? I am currently teaching my 8th graders about Givenchy, Chanel and other big names in Haute Couture and they are loving it.



I discovered the benefits of a cross over bag last year when I became more serious about going to marchés. Life is just so much easier when you have 2 hands free. An added benefit is that I don’t have room to carry all my husband’s clutter for him.


I Haven’t worn one yet; however I have to admit, it would be a huge help to me. Walking with a cane, however chic one attempts to look; try carrying a bag and anything else at all!

xoxo Karena
The Arts by Karena


I also walk with a stick so can strongly recommend the cross the body bag, it’s a must. I particularly love the Mulberry Alexa which usually comes in three sizes and a really good range of colours. A cross the body is also great for travelling and for markets and shopping generally. Also bought a wonderful Sonia Rykiel cross the body bag in Paris last year, it’s light weight nylon, but strong and secure and a bit sassy – it combines some of the signature Rykiel colours and stripes so can be worn with red, orange, pink yellow or of course with black and neutrals too. There was a matching scarf which I found later in the sales. Best wishes, Pamela


For me the benefit was being able to have my hands free so I could take as many photos as I wanted .


that’s weird I just just thought this morning, I am changing my large bag to my cross over bag for shopping today… we are having a snow storm this morning so we are taking the bus for a breakfast and lunch date shopping downtown… saves any problems with the car and parking…
My hubbys getting a birthday sweater and I’m going to have a look in Chanel, you never know…lol
Have a wonderful day x


I remember when, at least in my part of the world, these bags were synonymous with pocket-protectors and taped together eyeglasses…or at least they made you think of the mailman. It will always be a mystery how things that were once a fashion faux pas are now “in”, and vice versa (“mom jeans” anyone?) Now I think I need to cross-over!

Nancie Bartley

O! If only these were in style when I took my 6 year old to Paris. (She’s 18 now!) I do my best to not dress like an ugly tourist but that trip I HAD to have a fanny pack. There were no other options for safe and secure hands free and I needed both hands to keep up with child and friends and Stuff.
Cross body bags are a huge improvement and the hands free-ness of them really fills the bills sometimes.

une femme

My favorite bags now are the satchels that have an optional cross-body strap. I love being able to go hands-free when I travel or am out running errands.


Wishing I had a cross over bag the other day as I shopped through West Edmonton Mall. My shoulder still aches today! Not to mention constantly adjusting the strap as it slips off your shoulder. Should have bought a cross over bag while I was there. I guess I’ll just have to go back to the mall!

Judi M

Love a cross-over bag! I always take one when I travel and more and more, I’m using one daily – hands-free is great. Still loving the postcards!

Leslie in Portland, Oregon

Thank you for the links to some great cross-body bags–I like your taste! Cross-body bags, worn across the body, over the shoulder, or with the strap detached, have been my mainstay ever since Pan Am provided one as part of my first uniform. Since I am very particular about any bag I buy, I tend to use each bag for many years and so am willing to spend a bit more on them than I otherwise would. Even though I am hard to please, I love the lines and other features of every one of the bags you found. If you ran into any other leather cross-body bags you liked, please post their link. Appreciatively as always (homage to David Terry), Leslie P.S. The Marc Jacobs bag is now sold out at the site of your link.


I have been wearing crossbody bags for years. I found that shoulder bags were uncomfortable and slipped. I love purses, and am always looking for the “perfect” new crossbody purse. I have a few by Longchamp that are subdued but simple and elegant. The only negative aspect of a crossbody is that the strap can ruin the visual line of a nice top (be it jacket, blouse, or sweater). However, the comfort and convenience far outweigh the drawback.

Wendi Yates

I have a love/hate relationship with my handbags – love the big totes but I need a GPS system to find my things! Love the small bags, more convenient until I try to STUFF everything that I need into them! Love the cossovers – AH, hands free is the life for me until that bumping on my leg starts to drive me CRAZY! But without them, I feel naked as a jaybird! I love them…I hate them…I love them……


I’m all for going hands free: a cross-over bag and a ‘capuche’ instead of an umbrella. Vive la liberté!


Travel wouldnt be the same without a cross over bag, so easy to grab your camwea etc. Oh to travel again. perhaps a post card would help!


Have been a fan of the cross-over hands free bag for some years.
Gosh a trend setter! Not the most elegant look but practical.


I am wishing for a Frye cross-body bag. I think a cross-body bag would be a better option for me, when I go to the antique stores and markets. I love to be hands free. Lugging a shoulder bag is cumbersome. Love your blog!


Cross-body bags also intrigue me, Vicki. I’ve yet to find one I love, though. The one from J Crew does look nice. Thanks for the inspiration!


I love the idea of a cross over bag, but can never find one that looks good on me as I have a big bust.

+Barbara Pligavko

Just discovered your blog via Joni at Cote d’Texas- Love, your home in Provence and your rental is lovely- Will definitely keep it in mind for future trips and stays- I too am a fan of cross over bags (for a really long time) So wishing the style becomes more popular as I’ve often wondered if I was looking too old ladyish!! but the convenience has always won out! Loking forward to your future posts and will definitely go back when I have more time to catch up on all I’ve missed!!


The small crossover bags are perfect for my small frame. Besides the built-in convenience of hands-free use, they are small enough to keep me to “just the essentials”. Otherwise, just as with any other bag, I put too much in and end up with sore shoulders and a headache! My favorite is a small Coach bag from the 70’s in navy blue. Works with everything, and especially jeans.
By the way, Vicki, I would LOVE a postcard from you – of all people!


Bonjour Vicki. Long time, no talk to (but I have been lurking :-)

Funny you should switch to cross-body bags. I have been using them for years, but in an attempt to go one more step towards “hands-free” mode, I have recently started looking for a stylish leather backpack. My old Lancel one is long one, and I missed it… Methinks Santa might have to swing by Nordstrom in Seattle next month :-) A bientôt. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

leslie nash

I love my cross over bag, I started using them for travelling years ago. It makes life much easier and I think they can look stylish in a different way. I love my bags too Vicki, ( I saw two today I could have bought…….but trying to simplify my wardrobe. I love your blog and get heaps of inspiration about “French Style”. In fact, my husband commented on my outfit today…….with a ” do you think your are living in Paris!” Best compliment for a long time~!!

miss b

I’m definitely a handbag kind of woman too! All shapes and sizes, I find them hard to resist but the cross over design was one that didn’t appeal to me until last year when I spotted a super soft leather Osprey one which is a good size and perfect for wandering around busy cities. It’s amazing to be hands free and it’s secure too. However, I’m still not sure about this style for the evening. Perhaps I just haven’t found the right one yet. I know that a neat little clutch can be somewhat of a nuisance though!!


Vicki, you are so right that there are times when a cross-over bag works best for activity. I’ve found keeping the bag light,compact and unstructured is the most comfortable.
I do love the Sophie Hulme bag.

Lynne in NC

Love my cross over bags when traveling and on shopping days. I have several styles and sizes depending on the needs of the day.
It’s interesting that the Chanel post shows the cross over bags in the window displays, yes? Very chic.
Thank you for the postcard offer — I hope I win!!!

Ivy Lane

I have been “crossing over” for a few months of late..So much better to be “hands free”… I still thing the handbag needs to be quality with a little bit of fab…

Anita Rivera

Good evening, beautiful Vicki Archer!

How delightful to see your comment come in as I sit here by my fireplace, enjoying a restful evening. We had gone out today to see some holiday inspiration, and what loveliness is all around us.

Our city is influenced by French culture, and many of the homes are like châteaux, cottages and the city has other charming elements that incite a desire to decorate. It is so joyful.

Yes, we are all waiting for something, and I just wonder is when we do receive what calls us all, how will we react? I believe it is good, and so good that I will weep because something tells me, it’s “love.”

Enjoy your week dearest Vicki; you truly inspire us all. Anita

Carmel Fauth

When I travelled to France for the first time last xmas I made sure I brought a black leather cross-over bag that would look great, take all the knocks of travelling overseas & make me feel confident that my money/travel docs were secure throughout my travels. It survived the trip & is an absolute favourite now!

Thanks again Vicki for the postcard, looking forward to it arriving!! :)


wow, THANK YOU VICKI, I went to your page, Gasped as your page was gone, thank goodness
your wrote not to fret, ha ha ha…….and so I dug around and found you again ~ love the cross body
purses, I got such a steal of one by Marc Jacobs, I look now at the prices, even though then I gasped, and they have gone up higher…..they are truly so handy if you don’t get too huge to pull
on one’s neck ~ I love mine, looks look that J Crew one you have listed ~ :-) XOXO


The Sophie Hulme bag is on my covet list. I can’t believe that my name was drawn for one of your lovely vintage postcards… perhaps my luck is about to change… Parisian style !


Hi Vicki, when I am spending the day walking, shopping and site seeing in a large city, the cross body is all I want. Both my daughters are in NYC and it is all I want when I am there. I have been carrying a Ferragamo for travel for about 5 years when I travel and it has been getting tired. I’m so excited, I just got the Chanel “half moon” to replace it. Yeh! I find it interesting that in Europe you refer to them as “cross overs” and in the States they are referred to as “cross bodies”.

Marnie S.

I always travel with a couple of cross-body bags. I think (or at least hope) they make me look more like a local as I can’t carry lots of stuff in them.

I find they really accentuate my cleavage though if I’m wearing light-weight clothing, so I have to be more aware of what I’m wearing on top if I know I’ll be out and about with the cross-body bag. Small price to pay for the convenience of being hands free.

abbracci, Marnie x


My kiné recommends crossover bags, because they distribute the weight to both sides of the back. Much better than having it all hanging from one shoulder.
They also are hard to steal.


They are much safer, particularly in crowds and shopping, unless the straps are really thin when they can easily be slit by a knife that you don’t even see or feel – and suddenly your handbag is yanked and gone. This isn’t unusual in parts of Italy and maybe elsewhere. Particularly need to watch out for the guys on motorbikes/motor scooters. If you can, always walk on the footpath with the traffic flowing in the opposite direction. The bikers can only get shoulder or cross body bags if they’re travelling in the same direction. Our Embassy in Rome often used to hear of this happening to visitors. Thicker straps are a little safer for travel, even if they may not seem quite so glamorous. Also if you have any real weight in the bag the straps are less likely to cut into the shoulders. Best wishes, Pamela


I love the idea of a crossbody bag, but it’s hard for me to get used to the feeling of one! I must say, though, the options you have linked are pretty tempting…
Keeping my fingers crossed for a postcard, Lauren

anita spinello

Due to a recent “incident’, I am using a cane when walking outdoors at the moment. A cross-over bag is a must for me these days. Luckily I found I already had a few in my bag “back catalogue”, including a 1970’s Louis Vuitton “cartuchiere” . I had used that back in the day for travelling, and now it is a daily necessity. Being hands free is spoiling me. It will be a bother to clutch a “clutch” again!


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