Double duty – Cosmetics/ Toiletries bag

Everything you pack into your suitcase has to matter. You have limited space and weight making it very important that you only bring things that matter, and more importantly things that can do double, even triple duty. One of the things we typically bring with us, but usually get only single functionality out of is our toiletries bag. After all, once you’ve stuffed everything inside, and in the rare instance it leaks, you want to make sure you have something that you don’t mind getting dirty, can be cleaned and wouldn’t be so difficult to part with once it cannot be repaired. But choose the right one and you could come up with a second use for it. Namely, bringing it out as your alternative clutch bag.

Clear see-through bags

There has been a recent influx of fashionable see through bags, and even brought along by fashion powerhouses like Chanel, Prada and even Burberry. Of course the  upside is that things tend to trickle down to the masses and you end up with a great range of clear bags from the ultra lux (though seriously, it’s clear PVC, so why should it cost as much as leather handbags?) all the way to even being able to DIY. Now these bags are perfect for travel as you could

  • Easily slip through security at the airport since you can put all your toiletries in a clear bag for x-ray screening
  • Given its PVC properties, you could easily clean and dry the inside should anything accidentally drip

For evening or day use though, you may not feel as comfortable putting everything on display. You could easily use the dustbag that it comes in as inside lining and stuff all your important things inside that for a little privacy


Apairandspare (L-R: Alexander Wang, Tory Burch. Bottom: Make your own DIY clear bag)

Zipped up clutch bags

I recommend using these as the zipper makes sure everything does stay in place (both for your toiletries or cosmetics). There’s a whole range of wonderful clutches that could handle this double duty. Just make sure that

  • Best to have PVC exterior and if possible inside as well as it means you could easily wipe or clean out your bag should there be any spills
  • It has a base that can expand so that your toiletries can sit in comfortably. Buy a clutch that doesn’t have those accordion pleat bottoms and you may find yourself unable to stuff it with anything else apart from your lipgloss.

Asosorange(Asos PVC bag




(Stephanie Johnson’s Medium Cosmetic Bag)

Evening bags

You could work in reverse as well, and look for an evening bag that you wouldn’t mind stuffing with your things. If you’re willing to spend cash on a good one and worried about spills, I would recommend using GoToobs. They’re really quite spill proof with a latch opening as well as a screw top making it difficult to spill. They even have an additional safe guard on its opening which could help keep at bay any accidental small spills as well. If you’re extremely worried though you could of course keep everything in a ziploc bag and then stuff it into the evening bag to reduce space in your suitcase.



(Oasis gathered bobble clutch)

..and of course, practicing what I preach, I’ve been using this baby from H&M for the longest time. Fluoro trim, accordion pleats, and chilled out resort feel patterns. This clutch has gone through a ton (especially since this was before I found the GoToob)


First night's romantic dinner by the beach with Nancy(Bringing my toiletries bag out for an evening by the sea in Koh Samui, Thailand)

Any other recommendations for ways to save space in your suitcase? What other double duty products have you used?