I don’t travel light anywhere I go (what if I need a nail file or some lip balm?), so I’ve always got a tote bag full of stuff at the ready. The only problem (besides my aching shoulder) is that I constantly have to take every single thing out of it and set it on the ground in order to unearth my keys or gum from it’s dark, cavernous void. For years I’ve used my iPhone’s flashlight to see what the hell is going on in there, but when I saw this newfangled light-up pebble in an airport gift shop, I had to give it a try instead.
Officially called the SOI Mini Handbag Light, this German-made gadget seems ridiculous until you actually need it. Unlike your phone’s flashlight, it turns itself on only when it senses that your hand is near, shining a bright-enough light to help you spot what exactly you’re looking for instantly. I don’t know why the motion-activated sensor doesn’t turn itself on when your bag is banging against your arm as you walk, but it doesn’t — it magically only comes on when it senses that your hand is near, then shuts off after staying illuminated for ten seconds.
The automatic shutoff is key for energy conservation. I haven’t had to change the batteries in mine for six months and counting (it takes two CR2 lithium ones), and it’s bright enough to light up even my most gigantic purses — yet, at two inches across and weighing just an ounce, it’s small enough to fit perfectly in even my smallest clutch. I’ll use it sometimes to read a menu in a restaurant lit only by candlelight or as an emergency selfie light in a dark bar; the diffuse glow is much more forgiving than the iPhone’s flash.
This little metal clip is yet another purse accessory approved by Alison Freer: “It’s small enough to stash anywhere, is easy to open and deploy (because calling attention to yourself as you fuss with your purse is not chill), and takes up almost zero room at the table. Every time I pull it out, waiters and people at the table next to me are always leaning over and asking me where the hell I got it.”
Strategist associate editor Katy Schneider swears by Baggu pouches for organizing within her tote: “They are durable, not easily stained, and inexpensive. Here’s what you do: You separate your bag items into categories (pills, makeup, electronic accoutrements), put them in different colored pouches (and the colors are pretty, by the way — I like Fawn and Rust, which make me feel like I’m in I Love Dick), put the whole haul back into the tote bag, and, well, there you go!”
Purse aficionados from Cut senior market editor Diana Tsui to writer and costume designer Alison Freer adore the Apple Brand leather stain repellent. Says Freer: “An excellent product the PurseForum denizens turned me onto is Apple Brand’s Gardé Rain & Stain Repellent, meant to be used before you ever take a new handbag or pair of shoes out for their inaugural spin.”
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best women’s jeans, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, ultra-flattering pants, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.
Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.