How to make the Hermes Evelyne a functional mommy/diaper bag (+how I rehab eBay finds)

The perfect mom/diaper bag changes with time. Either that, or I've taken first world problems to the extreme. (?both)

Initially I carried a canvas tote bag larger than my child, and made it heavier than him (in spite of an attempt at minimalism).

For some time, I resisted changing my ways (I'd spent a nightmarish amount of money on this first diaper bag, too). Recently in the Whole Foods parking lot, I attempted to juggle the child + the child's bag + groceries; in the process, I nearly = roadkill. To some, this may have indicated a need to pare down, to workout the biceps, or to avoid a geriatric-filled parking lot.

To me, this indicated: need a new bag.

As I nevahnevahnevah pay full price (anyone else remember those old Marshall's commercials?), I dutifully trolled eBay. You see, I had long stalked the ultimate MommyBag, and knew the authenticity details to frightful intricacy.

Already-long-story-short: I bought a secondhand Hermes Evelyne II GM in dark canvas. GM, because I don't like the look of overstuffed bags, because I preferred to have a slightly underfilled-with-options bag, and because it was the only one in good condition in dark canvas. Canvas, because it is lightweight, and the contents of my bag are already weighty enough. Dark, because I am super laissez-faire about my purses. version II, because I need the extra front pouch (where I keep my phone, random papers I need to quickly stuff, and my planner).

To rehab this bag: I wiped the tarnish from the hardware, making it good as new. I similarly conditioned the leather. I then stuffed it so it would keep it's shape when wet, and let it dry overnight. (In general, I don't look for pristine quality secondhand, both because I will abuse the purse, and I find it reassuring for it to have withstood other's abuse first, and lived to tell a reasonable-appearance tale. I also do this because I am cheap. There I said it.)

Here is a picture of me with the bag exactly as I use it, with all the contents in it (as described below). I would apologize for the lack of hair or makeup styling, the overly nerdy glasses, and the nevernude jorts, but I feel it adds a dimension of Costco-in-the-rain reality. To add an ounce of dignity, I did add a Rebecca Taylor jacket, which cures many sins. (I'm a little over 5'4" for reference, and have not made any changes to the non-adjustable strap.)

Please note that there is no top handle to the bag, so I tied a throwaway thin silk ribbon from strap to strap to create a second, shorter strap, where I can easily hang the bag from my shoulder. On this, I clip a claw clip, as I have a well-documented fear of hair in my face. I also clip a hand sanitizer (the same claw clip and hand sanitizers from my prior bag).

The big reveal: what's in my bag. The (well-known amongst crazy purse ladies) problem with the Evelyne is that all of your things bunch up to a mess at the bottom of the bag, leaving it impossible to find anything, and looking like a gross blob against the body. There's no organization, and pouches are difficult to use given its slim outline. If you'll notice in the picture of us (the bag and me), even with the purse full, it lays (in my opinion) quite smoothly and elegantly against the body. You'll also notice in the picture above (shot into the bag) that it is extremely well-organized and easy to grab everything without looking or rooting.

The secret: a BACKPACK organizer!! This fits beyond a dream, it is wipeable, it is under $20, and it is AMAZON PRIME. There are also 7 rue paradise organizers that are made of much more swanky materials with super intricate stitching that cost over $400-- but as I think I've already established, this is a diaper bag, and I want light and mindless.

Allow me to show you how it looks outside of my bag:

Here are the items all spread out. Please note that there is enough extra room in the bag for last-minute stuffing of: my sunglasses, a scarf, toddler shoes, a toddler cup, a snack container, and a (adult-size) book and/or standard sized-notebook/papers, with plenty of room to spare.
I have two sets of wipes (one anti-bac and one diaper), one diaper, one diaper trash bag, changing mat (rolled up), spray sanitizer, sanitizer hand wipes, two snack packs, bandages, tiny umbrella, pen, tiny tide pen, bag hook (to hang the bag on tables by the shorter strap), two small toy trains, two chapsticks. It also has a zipper compartment for secure items! (wallet and car keys)

Everything has its own pocket in the organizer, and the pockets are arranged in "stadium seating" fashion: each at a different height, so it's not all in a black hole at the bottom, and uses the entire height of the bag.

Hope this was helpful to all the organization fiends out there! Obviously this could also be used for non-moms, but in general I try to stick to my area of expertise (I can see this working quite nicely for a modern student who uses an iPad instead of books, for example.)

If you'd like to see my work what's in my bag, here it is! (It's more of a workhorse, but there is a little conversational YouTube associated with that post.)

P.S.: If you would like to see the O.G. of stylish writers review it.


  1. This is a genius review!! I love the organizer idea (and I've never been called an OG of ANYTHING, thank you!)

    1. Thanks Katherine for inspiring me to do it in the first place! Your site is where I researched most of my handbags, starting from when you were at HBS!!



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