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The fact that I used to have a category called Stylish Travel is a bit ironic because I think we have established that I was never a stylish traveler. Except for the fact that I usually wear an oversized silk shirt for long distance flights, there is nothing really stylish about my travel habits. And usually, I am quite okay with that.
So I didn’t mind very much when during my very first job as a fashion assistant in New York, the little camera I used came wrapped in a sock.
It was my boss’ camera and I doubt he had ever used it nor spent any thought on what constitutes an appropriate carry case for a camera. It was a nice enough black menswear sock and clean so I only realized that something was off when I would go to showrooms of Prada & Co. The press people would cast me odd looks when I took out my sock/camera to take pictures of their latest collection and I wondered why. As I was working for one of the best stylists in town nobody dared to say a word, though but I still remember the looks I got.
When I got my first DSRL, I vowed it would be different. I vowed I would protect it with my life and keep it safe – in style! That plan didn’t pan out when I realized there were no nice camera bags on the market. In fact, camera bags seem to go in line with a long array of ugly clothing that travelers presumingly need otherwise they are not real travelers (read this very funny post by The Everywhereist called Travel Clothing: A symphony of Horrors in Nylon for a good laugh on the topic!). They were either very techy and gray, or the ‘chicer,’ slightly more feminine option came with leather bows. Leather bows?! Designers, if you think that is what women want, you have lots to learn.
I refused to spend my money on such ugliness and instead bought myself a few more cotton sarongs which I used to wrap my camera with. While that worked fine for a while, I will admit my camera has taken a slight beating and that now, traveling with a few different lenses has made the whole process a bit tricky.
So I was
intrigued green with envy when I first saw Kiersten from The Blonde Abroad with a camera bag that did not only seem functional but was pretty too. Too shy to ask her I kept on stealing glances at the branded tag, dangling from the side of the bag. L & S. I needed to have one and a quick google search later I was a lot wiser.
“Necessity is the mother of invention” and so it was Helen Lo and her two sons, who first invented the perfect travel bag under the name Lo & Sons. Seems like she was struggling with the same conundrum of bags never blending style and functionality perfectly when it came to travel accessories. With that, they started their own line of bags to meet the needs of frequent travelers, movers, and shakers as Helen describes it.
And boy, have they hit the mark!
I reached out to them and very
candidly cheekily asked if they would send me a bag so I could travel, move and shake a bit myself all the while keeping my camera safe. Sure thing, was the prompt answer and a failed Fedex delivery later I met with their wonderful PR person Sheila in Ubud who brought me my Claremont camera bag in person.
If you want a stylish camera bag in every sense of the word, this is the one for you. Padded from the inside, chic from the outside it comes with one divider and extra space for SD cards and in three different colors: tan, black and gray leather. It not only fits my Canon EOS, zoom and 50mm lens but somehow I also manage to fit my iPhone, wallet, and various snacks which in my books makes it equal to Mary Poppins’ bag!
If you think that my new bag looks a lot fancier than the rest of me (especially when showing up drenched in saltwater after a morning of scuba at a 5-star hotel) you are absolutely right. Mind you, I can live with that. In fact, I like to think it gives me an air of credibility when I go to fancy places now. No, not really, I know that a lot more would be needed for that, but I love the fact that it is practical as it is pretty. With that, it doesn’t scream ‘steal me, I am holding an expensive camera’ and is handsome enough to use it as a regular purse too when I’m not taking my camera. It is not too precious either (like a certain bag with a leather bow), so it fares well on a scooter and the beach. Now I am off with it to the monkey forest because we know that if a bag can handle monkeys, you know it can handle anything!
At $300 the Claremont bag is not a steal, but super reasonably priced for a well-designed & crafted leather bag. For now, they only ship within the US. Check out, all their bags here – I have my eyes on their Catalina weekender next, because one can never have too may weekender bags in my books. Thank you to Lo & Sons for my beautiful bag and to Sheila for the personal delivery!