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Where to find Simple, Stylish, and Functional Cotton Fabric Bags

A simple, stylish, functional bag is a hard thing to find, I tell you. It is incredible how hard it is to find one that will meet your criterion, which by the way is the following for me:

  • Crossbody functionality (you can find plenty of shoulder purses)
  • Nothing glitzy or ostentatious (no logos, no weird colours, something rather unisex)
  • Strap for the crossbody can’t be leather (it stains all your light / white shirts with a stripe)
  • Pockets galore (back and front, are ideal!)
  • Lightweight but still water-resistant (waxed cotton or waxed canvas fits the bill)
  • Easy to open and close (I rather dislike buckle-closures, I like faux buckles with a snap closure)
  • Not made in China (Is this so hard to ask for? Apparently yes. )

I came up with a few options, most of them are made in China but I thought I’d show the styles to you anyway because you may not be as concerned as I am.

(No I am not getting sponsored or paid by any of these companies, I am just frustrated I can’t find what I want, and figured I might as well include you all in my search.)



  • Unisex
  • Made in the U.S. (OH THANK GOODNESS!)
  • Rather expensive (think in the $200 – $400 range)
  • A bit hard to find their whole range in Canada


Field Bag – Medium

I don’t enjoy their real-buckle enclosures, and I would prefer a fake-buckle with a snap enclosure so I can just pull it open without fiddling too much with it.

That said, some people like this fiddly buckle bit, and it may appeal to them. What appeals to me, is just how well-made they are, and how practical it is.


Rugged Twill Messenger

Alas! If only they weren’t so fiddly!

There is of course, this option with the clasps instead of buckles, but I don’t like it.

Oil Finish Field Bag

It’s too camera-bag-y. I like the buckled look, I just hate the hassle of it.

After searching through all the other brands and testing them in store, I had to turn to Etsy to find things not made in China.



Field Messenger 1915

This has a good look to it, and the buckles look easier to deal with. It has a cool hook style, and 10 pockets!? Beautiful.



Waxed canvas bag

I am not loving this buckle in the front (wish it was a snap closure), but I do like the simplicity of it in general.



Messenger Number 2

It looks like the perfect size on the model, but I am not totally sold on this strap going through a metal loop, rather than just being a snap closure.

I really like the style though.



Waxed canvas messenger

I don’t like it as much as the other styles above, but it has a nice simple look to it. I’m just more of a satchel kind of girl.



Waxed canvas leather accessory

PERFECT. I wish it wasn’t buckled however, that’s the only downside.



Dark brown waxed canvas bag

It is just a tad too slouchy for me, but I like that it’s simple.



Leonard waxed canvas messenger bag

Good size and everything, not loving the buckle clasp.




  • Made mainly for men (is the brother to Kate Spade’s brand)
  • Made in China (this eliminates this brand for me)
  • Moderately priced ($150 – $200 range)


Waxwear Port Case also available in a Nylon version.

I really liked the style of this bag and was about to buy it in-store until I asked: Where is it manufactured?

Alas, made in China rules out this particular brand for me, but it had a very practical look to it, and would have been a great bag.



  • Made for women (it’s like a sexy camera bag for women)
  • Made in China (this eliminates this brand for me as well)
  • Only seems to be made in leather (*sigh* I wanted waxed cotton or waxed canvas)
  • Is rather large as it is meant for huge cameras / lenses
  • Has lots of great pockets in all the styles


The Boy Bag



  • Seems to really enjoy making backpacks, so no messenger bags per se
  • Has a wonderful faux-buckle but with a SNAP ENCLOSURE! (Oh! Ease meets beauty!)
  • Made in China (…another eliminated brand for me)


Little America Backpack

That’s all I found so far. 🙂


  • Metaphore Bag


    Thank you for including our waxed canvas messenger. I just want to say that the buckles are fake, there are snap enclosures behind them, just like you wish 🙂


  • cj

    Nice section, Mochimac!! But one can find a Simple, Stylish, and Functional Cotton Fabric Bag right on my shoulder that cost me $14 through Amazon. Of course, it is debatable whether my bag is any of those things except tor functional;)

    Have a willy nilly Friday!

  • Revanche

    I paid way too much for an Etsy cross body canvassy-cotton bag a couple years ago now that I see the options you’ve found! I’m always on the hunt for The Perfect Bag that serves every purpose and is lightweight but classy enough for all scenarios. Obviously, I have not succeeded. 😛

    I’ve always liked the Kelly Moore bags but didn’t realize they were made in China.
    Looks like you have so many Almost Perfects here.

    • saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.


      When I find The Perfect Bag, I will let you know. I am going to keep looking until I find the bag I WANT. I am not willing to settle.

      Kelly Moore had some really nice bags. It’s unfortunate they’re made in China but that’s the price point she wants, not a higher one that factors in proper wages.

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