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5 Things Every College Girl Needs in Her Bag – Daytime


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As spring semester begins, we all have to adjust to new schedules, changing classes, and different books. Does the way you carried your things for fall make a seamless transition into spring, or does a back-to-back schedule mean you’ll now be toting your laptop all day long?

Whatever your situation this semester, you’ve got to have the necessities: ID, keys, and phone. Beyond that, though, there are a few other items CF girls should have on hand. Though these five handbag essentials are super basic, there are tons of fun fashionable options for customization. Check out our suggestions (and adorable picks!) for ideas and inspiration!

1. Notebook and pen.

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If you’re going to classes, you probably already have a notebook and pen in your bag. These two items, however, are just as essential for time spent outside the classroom!

Mini notebooks are ideal for jotting down random ideas, making lists and schedules on the go, and for general distraction! Even if you can’t spare the space in your handbag for a notebook, a pen is absolutely non-negotiable! Have you had those times when you really wanted to write something down during the day (an e-mail address, website, whatever!) but couldn’t? Having a pen on hand in the same spot in your bag ensures that you’ll totally avoid those issues.

Hot Picks

Notebooks and pens
Product Information: Pink Vintage Pen, Jack Wills. Limited-Edition Very Hollywood Scented Signature Pen, Michael Kors. Marilyn Mini Notebook, Crate & Barrel. Watermelon Pen – Sniffly Scented Pen Set, Fred Flare. Bob’s Your Uncle Who, What Notebook, Velocity Art and Design. Bic Round Stic Ballpoint Pens, Shoplet. O’BON + Bird A6 Peacock Notebook, Econscious Market. Appaloosa Horse Pen, 1928. Other Half Notebook, ModCloth. Mini Notebook with Pocket in Hope Garden, Vera Bradley.

2. Mints or gum.

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Anyone on the go can attest to the importance of keeping pack of mints or gum within reach. Both are excellent options for consumption pre and post lunch or for freshening up.

Mints are ideal for covering up nasty latte breath, can decrease tummy rumbles, and can even make a good “snack” (if you can call it that!) in your last-class-before-lunch pinch. Chewing gum can keep you awake and alert, remove stains from teeth, and as some studies have shown, increase brain function and memory.

Aside from mental and physical benefits, fun-flavored gum is a great mid-day pick me up! With flavor options ranging from classic mint to strawberry shortcake and mint chocolate chip to tropical fruit, if you’re a gum girl, there’s enough variety to last an entire year. Whichever breath freshener you choose, it’s an essential in your bag.

Hot Picks

Mints and gum
Product Information: Cool Honey Altoids, Walgreens. Extra Dessert Delights Strawberry Shortcake Gum, Amazon. Eclipse Gum, Amazon. Trident Tropical Twist Gum, Buy The Case. Fairy Mints, Archie McPhee. Orbit White Gum, Mint Tic Tacs, Candy Warehouse.

3. Hand sanitizer.

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During cold and flu season (…which seems to be every season in college!) it’s always a good idea to have hand sanitizer in your bag. On an average day, we touch dirty doorknobs, use germ-filled bathrooms, encounter coughs and sneezes, prepare food and eat, and sit at tables and desks used by many, many students before us. And, since we’re constantly on the go, few of us have time to take a hand-washing break after each class.

The solution, of course, is ultra-portable hand sanitizer which uses alcohol or other chemicals to disinfect and cleanse as needed. Far beyond the days of Purell gel, manufacturers now often hand sanitizers in scented spray, lotion, and foam forms that do double duty by killing germs and moisturizing. An item that keep you pretty and healthy? A definite CF do!

Hot Picks

Hand sanitizers

Product Information: Fresh Lemon HandiBac Foaming Hand Sanitizer, Bath & Body Works. Pure Seduction Travel-Size Anti-Bacterial Sanitizing Hand Gel, Victoria’s Secret. Belli Motherhood Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer, Petit Trésor. Spehora by OPI Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer Spray, Sephora. Burt’s Bees Aloe & Witch Hazel Hand Sanitizer, Walgreens.

4. Sunglasses.

Sunglasses and Vogue magazine
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Though often forgotten in snowy and rainy months, sunglasses are a definite handbag essential for CF girls. Not only do they shield your pretty eyes from the sun’s rays, but a great pair can create a focal point for an outfit, conceal a tired face, function as an impromptu headband, or just make you look mysterious!

Like a pen, a pair of sunglasses is often only noticed when you find that they are missing from your bag on super sunny days. So pick a go-to pair and keep them on hand at all times! Look for a pair that comes with a protective case or buy cheapie lenses and splurge on a post-market case (I love the ones by Vera Bradley!) to ensure that your shades won’t be crushed in your bag.

Hot Picks

Cute sunglasses
Product Information: Plastic Aviator Sunglasses, ASOS. Côte d’Azur Sunglasses, ModCloth. Heart-Shaped Lolita Sunglasses, Amazon. Floral Print Sunglasses, Forever 21. Karen Walker Eyewear NUMBER ONE Crazy Tortoise Sun Glasses, Gargyle. Blue Wayfarer Sunglasses, Ray-Ban. Michael Kors Updated Aviator Sunglasses, Neiman Marcus.

5. Hair ties.

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Have long hair? Keep a hair tie or two in your bag! They’re great for those moments when you decide you want to put your hair up on the go like going to the gym or keeping hair out of your face during an exam.

They also have many other uses – In a pinch, a hair tie can function as a rubber band to hold school supplies together, cinch regular bra straps into a racerback, or provide secure closure for an open bag or container. I’ve even heard of girls attempting to squeeze into their skinniest jeans creating an  accommodating “loop” with a hair tie woven through their button holes and then secured to the buttons for an extra inch!

From a fashion standpoint, many companies are making stylish alternatives to simple banded and scrunchy styles by offering bands that double as bracelets or hair accessories.

Hot Picks

Hair ties
Product Information: Cuteberry Rhinestone Flower Hair Tie, Yes Style. Scunci No Damage Hair Ties, Walgreens. Tortoise Hair Tie, Sephora. Marc by Marc Jacobs Heart Ponytail Elastic, Bloomingdales. Three Green Hearts Leather Feather Hair Tie, Swell. Juicy Couture Multi Thin Elastic With Chain, Zappos Couture.

Your thoughts?

What do you keep in your bag?! What are the top five items that you always have with you? Do your essentials change at night? Let us know with your comments!

Posted on on January 19, 2011 / Filed Under: College Life / Tags: , , , , , , ,

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48 Responses to “5 Things Every College Girl Needs in Her Bag – Daytime”

  1. 1
    January 19th, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Awesome List!!! My only addition would be CHAPSTICK (or lipstick or lipgloss, whatever you prefer) especially in the winter!!!

  2. 2
    January 19th, 2011 at 11:37 am

    I love talking about handbag contents! (What a geek!) Personally, I prefer a breath-freshening spray to mints or gum, and with such short hair, I don’t need any ties! But I’m never without a brush, my iPod, my phone or my page-a-day Moleskine.

  3. 3
    January 19th, 2011 at 11:57 am

    I feel ashamed…I don’t carry ANY of this stuff in my bag!!

  4. 4
    January 19th, 2011 at 11:57 am

    I think these are all good things to have except for the hand sanitizer. Overusing antibiotics is becoming a real problem because the bacteria develop resistance to them ever time and they eventually won’t work. Also, antibacterials don’t work to prevent colds and flus because they’re caused by viruses. Otherwise, good article as usual. :)

  5. 5
    January 19th, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Marjorie, I have to disagree, a hand sanitizer CAN help prevent flu or cold and it is not a antibioticum, since it couldn’t be sold without prescription here. Usually kills bacteria, viruses and funghi.

  6. 6
    January 19th, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Marjorie: That’s true for some hand sanitizers, but not for the alcohol-based ones. Bacteria aren’t going to come up with a way to combat 70% ethanol anytime soon. They do, however, kill “good” bacteria on your skin that are thought to contribute to a healthy immune system. Plus, they dry out your hands.

    Anyway, my 5 would be, not counting the obvious actual essentials, like wallet, keys, course readings/notes etc.:

    1. Chapstick or lip balm: Because over air-conditioned classrooms, offices, and labs make my lips crack.

    2. Water bottle or thermos: The water bottle is cheaper and easier than getting up during the mid-class break to buy a drink or go to the water fountain, plus wastes less. A thermos fulfills the same function, but you can also use it to save some money on your morning coffee (most places give $.10 off for your own cup; the coffee cart I go to gives $.25, taking a latte down to $2.50) and keep it hot or cold for hours.

    3. A snack: I always get hungry in class. It’s truly inevitable, no matter what or how much I eat for breakfast. They key is finding something that’s both healthy and not too loud. I like nuts, cheese, and sliced fruits and veggies (because few people are more annoying than the girl who starts gnawing on a whole apple in front of you and drowns out the prof.)

    4. A good book: For the bus, awkward schedule gaps, and lunchtime reading on those days when your break doesn’t sync up with your friends’.

    5. I was trying not to repeat yours, but hair ties are a definite must for me. I don’t always keep them in my bag though; I keep one on my wrist and one wrapped around my chapstick.

    Runner up: Depending on the bag and how far I’m walking that day, my laptop. I guess some people might consider a computer (or netbook, IPad, or IPhone) a necessity, but at least for me it’s mostly a convenience. It’s unbelievably helpful when you’re confused on a small point in lecture and don’t want to ask a question–or when you do, but the prof. doesn’t notice. I use mine all the time during down-time in lab. Thirty minute incubation? To the internet!

  7. 7
    January 19th, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    love this! Such a great list. I would add chapstick to the list myself… chapped lips are the worst!

  8. 8
    January 19th, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Loved this list! I always carry a tiny comb (the size of my hand!) and some lip balm, because I don’t like looking unruly and with chapped lips. I agree on the hand sanitizer, which I was comtemplating buying next time I went out of my house (it’s mid-term time here in spain…). Overall, great list =)

  9. 9
    January 19th, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Lovely List, I had to downsize from a large satchel to a small Guess cross-body bag and thought I only would have the essentials. I agree chapstick is a necessity, preferably with SPF, I won’t leave the house without my Burts Bees. Also a small container of Body Shop grapefruit body butter, nothing worse then trying to type with ridiculously dry, cracked hands.

  10. 10
    January 19th, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Great post! Hand sanitizers and pens are always in my tote but I keep forgetting my sunglasses! I would add chapstick and most importantly, a bottle of water: it’s something I can’t live without and it doesn’t take me too much to feel dehydrated so I always make sure I’m carrying a little bottle with me :)

  11. 11
    January 19th, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    I agree that I’d want a chap stick (or moisturizer). But I also always try to have a band-aid in there somewhere, just in case I bump into something and hurt myself – and everyone else is always grateful for it when they get hurt ;)

  12. 12
    January 19th, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    The peacock and “who, what, …” notebook are *so* cute. Definitely buying the peacock one – it’s only $3.59?!

  13. 13
    January 19th, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    I keep all of these in my purse/backpack already, including chapstick, tissues, and headphones.

  14. 14
    January 19th, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    I have to agree with Majorie, everyone is getting too caught up with killing germs. Sure, you may get a cold every now and then, but it would be ten times worse if you were forever killing germs and had no immunity to it. Why do you think so many people are sick all the time now? Or swine flu? It’s all down to people not building up a resistance to common every day germs. Clean dirt as my grandmother calls it!

  15. 15
    January 19th, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    I would also like to add Chapstick/Lip Balm, Advil, Hand Lotion/Moisturizer, Tissues, bobby pins (in case of hair craziness), a travel hairbrush, compact mirror, a bottle of clear nail polish, and 2-3 safety pins.

    The reason why I said to keep clear nail polish is because I am a teacher – a lot of us have to wear stockings/tights/pantyhose to work or to internships. Fact of life: Stockings run. A little clear nail polish at the top and bottom of the run, and it won’t spread any further.

    The safety pins are in case you rip a seam, or the hem of your pants. That way you have something to put yourself back together with until you get home and can sew it up!

  16. 16
    January 19th, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    This is a great list! I absolutely agree with others who’ve added lip balm to the list — I always have a tube of chapstick and also some lipstick for touching up during the day. (And a mirror! I used to carry a compact of face powder, but I decided that was overkill.) Also lotion, especially when it’s cold out. And I always have hand sanitizer in my purse (I like the ones from Bath & Body Works; they have some awesome scents). I don’t use it as religiously as some people, but it’s great for when you’re in a bind and don’t have access to a sink to wash your hands. And influenza viruses are enveloped (though rhinoviruses are not), meaning that they’re susceptible to alcohol. The data aren’t 100% on the effectiveness of hand sanitizers in protecting against colds and the flu, but as other commenters have said, it can’t hurt.

  17. 17
    January 19th, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    I’m with you girls on the chapstick–I ALWAYS have it! That’s coming in the second part of this series (nighttime essentials) even though I carry it all the time! I love reading about what you all keep with you! Awesome suggestions!

  18. 18
    January 19th, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Great post carry all of the above except a notebook so thanks for the tip !!!

  19. 19
    January 19th, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    great post! my personal must haves are: hair ties, bobby pins, lip balm, blotting sheets, the antibac hand sanitizers/lotions from b&bw, and a pen. and if i expect it’s cutting close to that lovely time of the month, tampons and liners.

  20. 20
    January 19th, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    The timing of this article is perfect because I start school next week!! Plenty of time to stock up. Great job Liza and I can’t wait for the night time edition!!!

  21. 21
    January 19th, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    My essentials:

    1. A book
    2. A pen
    3. Hair ties
    4. Chap stick
    5. Sunglasses
    6. Advil
    7. Tampons (even if its not my time of the month, I often lent them out to girls who needed them, plus I always forget to stock up my purse before I go out when Mr. Monthly Visitor does pay a call)

  22. 22
    January 19th, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    I love talking about handbags and what goes in them! It would be amazing if you would continue this into a series for different scenerios of college and everyday life! This post made my day

  23. 23
    January 19th, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    This post was so helpful! I need to start carrying around all of this in my bag. I agree with every one of the picks, especially a pen and mints! You just always need them!

  24. 24
    January 19th, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    I carry all of these in my bag, I also have lipgloss, a little brush, and a mirror for a quick touch up =-)

  25. 25
    January 19th, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    I laughed when I saw that everything you put on the list I always carry them with me! The only problem I have is that by bringing so many things, a bag is not enough! So I always use a backpack, although not the most chic in the world.

    Sorry for my english (thanks google traductor ^^)

  26. 26
    January 19th, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    Super cute post, I really love the tips! One thing I always like to carry is pain reliever! I don’t get headaches often, but when I do, they’re the worst. Or better yet, when the monthly comes, always a GREAT thing to have for those cramps. :)

  27. 27
    January 19th, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Currently in my purse, there is:

    – a moleskin 2010-2011 planner
    – multiple pens
    – chapstick/lip balm
    – wallet
    – a mini-filo fold for receipts
    – advil
    – excedrin migraine
    – gum
    – Bath & Body Works hand sanitizer
    – a book
    – wallet
    – iPhone

    I’m a first year teacher, so this bag goes with me to work and out. I have a separate bag for my work stuff.

  28. 28
    January 20th, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Tampons are a definite for us girls!
    I know I should keep track of my periods but I always forget, so a spare supply is a good idea.

  29. 29
    January 20th, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take back what you said about hand sanitizers. Triclosan and various other chemicals are increasing resistance to antibiotics (ok, misuse of antibiotics in agriculture is having a much bigger effect but this still matters). We are already running out of suitable antibiotics and pharmaceutical companies aren’t producing enough new antibiotics replace them. Also, the added moisture actually increases the amount of bacteria on your hands exponentially after a little while because the chemicals evaporate off and the surviving bacteria (99.99% death of bacterium only happens in petri dishes, not on hands) are able to reproduce even more. Plus, they are now more resistant! Washing your hands the old fashion way is the safest and most effective way to destroy germs on your hands.

    – Honors Biology and Environmental Major

  30. 30
    January 20th, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    LOVE this post. Very well done and fun and just needed. I love to know what others put in their bags and what they think is needed. This was perfect (besides the fact I can’t personally wear sunnies – I have glasses). Thank you thank you.

  31. 31
    January 22nd, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    I love bbw’ s pocketbac in I Love Cake!

  32. 32
    January 23rd, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    really helpful! ill wait for the nighttime :D

  33. 33
    January 25th, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    ii love it!! <3

  34. 34
    January 29th, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    My bag is probably the most intense. I like to make sure that I have almost everything I need with me, so I carry a medium size makeup bag stuffed with stuff that transfers easily from one bag to another and means that my purse isn’t cluttered with a bunch of loose stuff.
    In it I have:
    – Eye drops
    – Spare contacts
    – Tide to go pen (I spill a lot)
    – Spare concealer
    – Anti-itch pen (mainly for the summer when I’m covered in bug bites)
    – A small tube of sunscreen
    – Oil absorbing sheets
    – Those little colgate toothbrush things
    – A mini hairbrush and mirror
    – Tampon
    – Hand cream
    – Lip balm/gloss
    – Tissues
    – Band-aids
    – And in little individual packets with their dosage instructions on that I made from post-it notes – painkillers, pepto bismol tablets, my prescription meds, anti-diarrheal meds

    Everyone always makes fun of me, but when we’re out and they need something they realize how useful all this crap is.

  35. 35
    January 29th, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    Oh, I forgot to say a hair tie and bobby pins too!

  36. 36
    January 30th, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    I carry alot of things in my everyday bag. Whenever i take something out that seems non-essential at the moment later turns out to be a crisis. My current purse contents are:

    1. Makeup bag. chapstick lip stick concealer…the whole nine yards
    2. Perfume/deodorant. My school doesn’t seem to know what a thermostat is. Some classes are broiling while others are of the alaskan nature.
    3. Hair accesories. Ties, clips, every once in a while a travel size bottle of spray gel
    4. Small bottle of lotion…it’s winter…
    5. Wet wipes.
    6. Clear nail polish
    7. Tampons. Always.
    8. Snack. My scedule is crazy and i never know when i will get to eat.
    9.Jewelry. My favorite earrings for when I’m on the go and forget accesories
    10. My phone. My right leg. This thing is with me at all times!

    That’s my craziness :)

  37. 37
    February 1st, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Excellent list! Really should start carrying hand sanitizer around. And I love my sunglasses because of all the reasons you pointed out :D

    I also always carry around my measuring tape, but that’s because I’m an architecture student

  38. 38
    February 10th, 2011 at 11:28 am

    pretty good list though i really need to stock up on gum.
    i carry loads more like band-aids(for the injury prone), lotion, floss and eye drops

  39. 39
    February 13th, 2011 at 9:22 am

    All the previous post are on the right track. Lip gloss, glasses, tampons, mirror, and gum are a most. But the one thing i must carry with me is what i call my emergency money. Usually a 20 hidden in the inside the secret zipper bag. You never know when a 20 dollar bill will save you. I learn my lesson when i ran out of gas and no visible money in my wallet and my credit cards were max out. I remembered i had a 20. Yay!! Never go without emergency money hidden inside your bag.

  40. 40
    March 5th, 2011 at 12:23 am

    This is such a great list! Aside from these things, here’s what my suggestions are:
    1. A small mirror and LOTS of bobby pins.
    2. Burt’s Bees lip balm (the best stuff EVER) and C.O. Bigelow mentha lip shine for when I need to look a little fancier.
    3. A Tide-To-Go pen. I’m a klutz.
    4. Pacifica solid perfume. This stuff smells SOOO good, is made from eco-friendly materials and is really compact and convenient. It’s a little pricey, but well worth it. I’ve had mine for about three years and it still smells amazing.
    5. My iPod. Clears up awkward moments, and if you have a Touch, it’s like having a computer in your bag if your campus has WiFi.
    6. A teeny bottle of anti-frizz gel. I live in Michigan (brrrr!) and my locks get super dry in the winter, lemme tell ya.
    7. A cheap pair of fingerless gloves. Whether I’m driving, have to walk in the cold to class, or if my hands are just generally cold (that Michigan thing), these guys are great to have around. And they’re fingerless, so I can still text :)

  41. 41
    September 1st, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    I noticed the only thing missing from the list and comments was a bail file or clippers. Us ladies can’t be walking around with a broken nail! :)

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