Have you ever arrived at a museum, a concert venue or a public building only to discover they don’t allow purses inside any bigger than your cellphone? I have, and more and more places are implementing “Clear Bag” policies to increase venue security and move guests through checkpoints faster. Even if you have a ticket, if you show up with a bag that doesn’t meet their requirements, your choices are to be turned away; hike back to your car or hotel and stash your bag, or throw your bag in the trash before entering.
So what’s a girl to do? Fret not. I have the answer.
Earlier this month I went to see Fleetwood Mac, and the venue where they were playing had a “Clear Bag” policy. If you had any kind of a bag—handbag, camera bag or diaper bag—it needed to be able to fit inside of a clear plastic bag… not to exceed 12” x 6” x 12” …or a small bag that cannot exceed 4.5” x 6.5.”
That’s really small. Think cellphone small.
If my friend hadn’t told me about the policy before I arrived, I would have been one of the countless unsuspecting women—standing in the rain—who pulled out money, ID, credit cards and cellphone and stashed it on their person, or wherever their significant other had room for it. I then watched them put their purse in the trash receptacle outside the concert venue door, hoping it would still be there when they returned.
Always check venue rules about handbags before you leave home. FYI, I’ve learned Clear Bag policies are not always easy to find on the museum, athletic stadium, graduation or concert venue website…
…AND even if the venue allows any size handbags… The artists, musicians, athletic teams, schools and traveling art exhibits may require them to implement a Clear Bag policy for that event.
Before Uber picked me up, I put ID, cash and important cards into my bra and tucked my iPhone into the waistband of my pants. With two more concerts and two trips outside the United States on my calendar so far this year, the next day I started looking for small bags that will get me in anywhere.
My favorite is Tory Burch’s Miller Phone Crossbody Bags. They come in leather or a combination of leather and canvas or wicker, in a variety of colors, with the stunning laser-cut Tory Burch logo, magnetic front closure, interior card slots and adjustable straps. It’s pretty pricey—$198—for a little bag, but if you add up how much you’ll already have spent on museum, concert or athletic event tickets, travel in or outside the country, meals, hotel and Uber, it’s worth it not to be turned away at the door because your bag’s too big.
Then there’s the Kate Spade North South Phone Crossbody Bag in Mauve or Passion Fruit.
There are a number of phone folio cases that open like a book with cellphone on one side and cards on the other, but I don’t know if they meet the size requirements. Technically they’re twice the allowed size, plus they don’t have straps, so it will always be in your hand, or you’ll stuff it in your pants, so you’re right back where you started.
Fanny packs are back in style, but they’re all way too big to meet the Clear Bag requirements.
A WORD OF CAUTION: Before you buy a tiny bag, double check your cellphone’s measurements and the bag’s measurements.