#whatsinmybag shots are always trending in my Instagram feed.They're intended to be realistic, candid glimpses of the contents of peoples’ bags or purses, showing the tools and knick-knacks they carry around with them every day. But most of the time in the fashion world they are shots of chic designer handbags laid casually on Egyptian cotton sheets with recently released cosmetics and popular accessories laid out next to them.
In the hipster world these photos are more Wes Andersony and outdoorsy, but with the same staged look: top of the line backpacks placed next to various expensive hiking necessities, like a camera, knit socks, a water bottle, and an exceedingly slouchy beanie embroidered with some one-word wilderness phrase.
These photos are anything but realistic, and that’s not just because people usually are too pissed to take quick iPhone shots when bags they have just meticulously packed get dumped out all over the place. These #whatsinmybag Instagram posts hardly ever show what the actual contents of bags look like. As an experiment, I’ve gone to a few popular Momstagrams and jotted down #whatsintheirbag and then compared it to #whatsinmybag. Here’s what I found: #whatsintheirbag One Ziploc bag filled with sliced apples and strawberries. Somehow not smooshed. #whatsinmybag One Ziploc bag ¼ of the way filled with Cheez-it crumbs. #whatsintheirbag Several stylish notebooks with dragonflies and the word “Hello” on their covers. #whatsinmybag Three post-it notes. No, two post-it notes. One of them is a tissue. #whatsintheirbag All-natural organic body lotion called something like Wild and Free Body Cream. #whatsinmybag A jar of coconut oil on occasion. Mostly no lotion and another bag of Cheez-its. #whatsintheirbag Jewelry. Usually teething bracelets or necklaces with a single feather charm on them. #whatsinmybag One earring that I lost in there four years ago. #whatsintheirbag A perfectly shiny gold watch. #whatsinmybag Not a watch. Because my watch is on my wrist and it’s covered in puréed prunes. #whatsintheirbag One bottle of sparkling water. #whatsinmybag One sippy cup of tap water that we both drink out of. #whatsintheirbag One lip gloss that is labeled as their “go-to” beauty product. #whatsinmybag Two tubes of ChapStick that I can never find when I need. #whatsintheirbag A pair of brand new adorable baby mocassins. #whatsinmybag Three mismatched baby socks and one baby shoe that doesn’t fit anymore. #whatsintheirbag A completely healthy and perfectly intact bouquet of flowers? #whatsinmybag Diapers. #whatsintheirbag A casual box of macaroons in an assortment of colors. Because why the hell not. #whatsinmybag Part of a donut in a paper bag. Upon further investigation what I thought could be a donut was just more Cheez-its.