It's Called Fashion, Honey

I Bought Panera's Viral BAGuette Bag & Rated The Foods That Fit Inside

The only time french fries have ever disappointed me.

Two of my favorite things are fashion and fast food, and it’s pretty rare that they come together so seamlessly. Sure, Carrie Bradshaw shows up at Big’s apartment with McDonald’s in that one episode of Sex And The City, but that was one time. More than 20 years ago. So you can imagine my excitement when one of my favorite restaurants entered the merch arena with the Panera BAGuette Bag back in February. I immediately added one to my cart and pressed “Buy Now”, and it turns out I was channeling Lucky Girl Syndrome that day, because the BAGuette went viral and sold out twice during its initial release. Now, after waiting months for it to be delivered, I finally have my Panera BAGuette in hand and, naturally, I filled it with different foods so you know whether it’s worth the hype.

If you’re thinking, “Uh, Hayley... it’s sold out, allow me to be the first one to tell you that it’s coming back. Today of all days, Panera Bread launched its first-ever online merch store, The Panera Shop, and it’s open for business starting now for Panera Rewards members. That means you can snag some seriously comfy clothes that also sport your fave menu items (obvi, the mac ‘n’ cheese is represented) and accessories, including the popular BAGuette. So, this is your chance to grab one before it sells out again.

In honor of this joyous occasion, I put my BAGuette purse to the test. It was made to hold one of Panera’s Toasted Baguette Sandwiches, which are 10 inches long, but I wasn’t going to stop there. I wanted to know what other fast food items I could easily — and fashionably — pack in my BAGuette. Is it too much to ask for Carrie Bradshaw to be spotted with the Panera BAGuette in the next season of And Just Like That...? Carrie, take notes.

Photo: Hayley Schueneman

Because I wanted to use my BAGuette as a functioning purse and not just a very fancy lunch bag, I put my wallet, keys, and a lip balm inside as well to see how everything would fit once I introduced my food items. I decided to rate each food item on a scale of 1-5 for how well it fit in the bag, how easily I was able to access my other items, how messy it made my bag, and overall aesthetic. Which fast food item reigned supreme? Surprisingly, it wasn’t Panera’s baguette.

Panera’s Toasted Baguette Sandwich

Photo: Hayley Schueneman

Considering that this is literally what the BAGuette was designed to transport, I was not surprised that this sandwich fit inside the bag. I got the Green Goddess Caprese melt, which, unrelated to my judgment criteria (but still very important), was delicious. I’ve previously tried the other two versions — the Pepperoni Mozzarella the Smoky Buffalo Chicken — and they were also delicious. (Now that I have your attention, Panera, this is my formal request to bring back the Sierra Turkey Sandwich.)

Even with how big this sandwich was, I was happily surprised that my wallet, keys, and lip balm were still able to fit, and I could access them easily. But aside from those small items, you really can’t fit more in here if you want to bring the Toasted Baguette Sandwich, so if you need more room in your bag, you might want to go for a smaller sandwich (or, just cut yours in half and give it to your friend who also has a BAGuette). But perhaps most importantly, this sandwich easily transported from place to place mess-free, since it was well wrapped.

TL;DR, I think this is a really stylish and easy way to bring a sandwich with you literally anywhere you go, which is a future I can believe in.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Portillo’s Standard Hot Dog

Photo: Hayley Schueneman

As soon as I saw this bag, I thought, “Hmm what are some other foods that are long?” And boom, the image of a hot dog floated into my brain. I think there are many times when it would be nice to have a hot dog with you, like at a ball game, a picnic, or maybe even a wedding, because sometimes the food sitch is a little iffy. Personally, I’d like one right now.

The hot dog fit SO well in this bag, it made me a little giddy, NGL. Because it’s smaller than Panera’s Toasted Baguette, it was easier to get the other items in my purse, and I actually still had room for my phone and some other things if I wanted to bring them. The hot dog was tightly wrapped and didn’t leave any grease or residue in my bag.

I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I think you could actually fit *two* hot dogs in this bag. Much to think about.

Overall Rating: 5/5

McDonald’s Large French Fries

Photo: Hayley Schueneman

I’d be remiss not to include one of humankind’s greatest inventions in my BAGuette test run, although I had an idea of how well it would go over. Spoiler alert: Not great.

Some of this can be chalked up to user error, because when I went to McDonald’s, I ordered a large fry purely out of muscle memory. Then I realized that maybe a smaller size of fry would be a better way to test this out. Nevertheless, I persisted. I could only close the purse with the carton of fries on its side, which poses obvious issues for spilling fries all over my bag. Ideally, I would love to be able to easily pull a few fries out of my bag while I’m chatting with someone at a party, and that definitely was not going to be doable here. Plus, the salt was already covering the bottom of my BAGuette before I ended this experiment.

Dumping my fries directly into my BAGuette may have been slightly more useful, but I still would not recommend it.

Overall Rating: 1/5

Taco Bell’s Tacos

Photo: Hayley Schueneman

When I got to Taco Bell, I got too excited. TBH, this is a frequent occurrence when I visit Taco Bell. I decided to get a Cheesy Gordita Crunch, a Doritos Locos Taco, and because I wanted a redemption arc for french fries, I ordered the Nacho Fries, too.

Tacos are great because they are narrow. I never thought I would have an appreciation for narrow food, but that was before I got my BAGuette. First, I put the tacos inside end to end, so they were running the length of the BAGuette. This worked well, and I still had plenty of room for my keys, wallet, and lip balm. Even my phone could fit. Snug, but it worked. I also put the tacos side by side on one end, and put the Nacho Fries on the other end, and this was a work of art. The Nacho Fries container is small, so it could stand upright, and I could actually reach fries from my purse without opening the purse.

But, it is with much disappointment that when I reopened my bag and pulled out my Cheesy Gordita Crunch to eat it, I noticed that cheese and lettuce had spilled in the bottom of my bag. There was also a greasy blob from the Doritos Locos Taco. I was devastated, but I quickly wiped everything out and the damage wasn’t really too noticeable. This will, however, dissuade me from using the BAGuette to transport tacos again.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

Final Thoughts

Photo: Hayley Schueneman

Overall, I am happy with my experiment. Firstly, my BAGuette gave me an excuse to go to Panera, which I am always down to do. I actually bought a Cinnamon Crunch bagel, too, but ate it before I remembered to take a photo of it inside the bag. Whoops. Secondly, I was surprised by how easy it was to make fast food portable while still maintaining some sense of style. The next time you see me on the street with my BAGuette, stop and ask me for a hot dog. I’ll probably have at least two.