Are all toiletry bags meant to live and die inside your luggage or bathroom?(Photo by David Yi/Very Good Light)

World traveler or not, chances are you’ve come across something called a ‘dopp kit.’

That’s just a fancy and traditional term for your toiletry kit, or, if you’re playing into gender roles, your beauty man bag. Whatever you call it, it’s not very aesthetically pleasing and looks like a loaf of burnt pumpernickel bread. A dutch clog. A leather log. Poop.

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Which is ironic, given the fact that beauty products are so aesthetically pleasing in 2018. In this new era of peak skincare, our products are as Instagrammable as ever. With the rise of millennial pink, #shelfies becoming a thing, as well as product marketing > actual efficacy, it’s a little odd that dopp kits haven’t changed in, well, forever. They’re possibly the ugliest part of your entire on-the-go beauty regimen, altogether.

And it all goes back to the origins, which was all about function over fashion. It made sense when it first made its debut for soldiers during World War I and then World War II. Created by a leather craftsman named Charles Doppelt, (and then named after him) dopp kits were meant to be sturdy bags durable for war – protective enough for the many goods it stored inside.

It wasn’t until the early part of 1970 that “The Dopp” brand name and its rights were purchased by Samsonite and later acquired by Buxton in 1979. At first, the U.S. Trademark Office approved of its filing under the “toilet cases sold empty, briefcases, briefcase type portfolios, sample and catalog cases sold empty, luggage identification tags and traveling bags.” The name stuck around then the trademark was canceled in 2003 when no one filed a required Declaration of Continued Use. Since, the word has become one that’s a staple in our very American vernacular. It’s as synonymous to grooming bags as duffels are for gym bags.

But that doesn’t excuse why dopp kits are so uh, unattractive. I may be totally wrong, but I’ve never come across a toiletry bag that was actually useable outside of the confines of your luggage or you sink. And there also are zero functions inside that organize your beauty products. Usually, a dopp kit is fabric wrapped around with a zipper on top that’s literally just an open container to fill at your own will. It’s a sort of nightmare for packing Nazis like me, who want to organize everything to a tee.

With so much investment into your beauty products, you’d think that there’d be better options for storing them. Or, better yet, functional bags that take your beauty to go with you. With so many people now sheetmasking in planes, misting in trains, moisturizing in the backseats of their Ubers, beauty isn’t solely for use in your bathroom. It’s a big part of your everyday life. Why isn’t there a beauty bag to reflect that?

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