Fancy Bag for Plain Purposes
- What: Orla Kiely Baby Bag
- When: Birth until forever
- Why: Irresistible patterns
- Where: Amazon
After my second kid, my beloved Skip Hop Versa diaper bag started popping a few parts. I loved it dearly, with the fabulous orange fabric in the expansion panel in the middle. I would never have replaced it, except for pure chance. I saw an ad for a used Orla Kiely diaper bag on my local parenting email list.
I love Orla Kiely, but had never taken the plunge on a bag because of the steep prices. I couldn’t resist this deal, and snapped it up. I’m super glad I did. I carried that bag exclusively everywhere I went for more than two years, and it brought me lots of happiness.
I have a lovely brown stem pattern called multi directional stem print that showed no dirt whatsoever. I loved that the bag made any outfit look put together and well coordinated. The canvas strap never slid off my shoulder no matter what kind of material I had on underneath it. The strap adjusted length and fit easily over the handles of my stroller, so I didn’t have to constantly lug the bag around in addition to a kid or three.
It has plenty of pockets inside and out for storing and organizing everything for my baby and toddlers. It has two front open pockets, and a larger back zippered pocket. Inside, it features two elastic pockets on the short sides big enough to hold a bottle, and four pockets big enough to hold a wipes case. It also has an elastic key hook that prevented me from losing my keys time and time again.
It looks like the classic midi sling bag, except for the extra zippered section that goes all along the bottom. That part holds the included diaper changing mat as well as a stack of diapers. Actually, that compartment is my only complaint. Because it covers the entire bottom of the bag, if stuff inside it doesn’t lie flat and even, the bag tilts or falls over when I set it down. I also used that compartment to access all my changing supplies, and finding room to lay the bag on its side proved tricky several times. I regularly left the bottom partially unzipped accidentally after changing a diaper, and kind strangers pointed out my mistakes for which I’m grateful. (There’s nothing like leaving a trail of clean diapers and clothes behind you as you go.)
My only other complaint is that I prefer a bag that zips closed. I liked the quick one-hand access of the snap closure, but I also like to keep little hands out of my bag. I worry less about leaving a bag zipped shut hanging on my stroller while I’m chasing little ones around the playground. Newer versions have a zip closure for the main bag instead, which is an improvement I wish I’d gotten.
The coated material proved impervious to the elements and most dirt, but after the strap folds over repeatedly when not in use, some of the coating cracks. Unlike my Skip Hop Versa, I had no way to fix or disguise that. I even looked into official repairs with no luck.
You can get Orla Kiely designs on less expensive styles, including a tote option (though those straps would need a Toogli bag hook to attach to my stroller handle). I still wouldn’t pay full price for what the British call a “changing bag”, but I adored my Orla Kiely baby bag. I love that I can still carry it with me full of my own belongings and no one is the wiser about its original purpose as a diaper bag.