Which Bag?

by - January 23, 2019

In this month when everyone is KonMari-ing the shiz out of their closets, I'm browsing online end of season sales. I did two rounds of handbag shopping. The two bags I currently have in rotation are a cognac Duluth Women's Lifetime Leather Messenger Bag and a black Kooba bag I scored at Costco on clearance. The Duluth bag is going strong but needs a cleaning. The Kooba is holding up nicely. Beyond those two, I have a cluster of bags that I've been hanging onto since high school and college.  One is currently soaking in the tub with a blue pen stain that has been there at least ten years. My favorite floral diaper bag turned go-to bag bit the dust. So anyhow, I'm looking for a fun, stylish bag for hanging out with friends and maybe for carrying an ipad, sketch pad and snacks. Always snacks.

In round one, I got lucky and found and bought two woven leather bags on clearance via T.J.Maxx and Nordstrom Rack. Both are now sold out, and have a Boho feel and are larger than I'm used to carrying. The biggest differences are color and size. I personally love the denim color. I don't use my black back that often because black seems to communicate "business" a little too strongly in my brain. However this deep navy communicates either "slightly tasteless grandma" or "slightly unconventional wannabe stylista" to me. I can't determine which. It also has a crossbody strap, not shown.

3 compartment design - zipper details - detachable adjustable shoulder strap - top carry handle - woven 16in W x 12in H zip closure 1 interior pocket leather imported - made in Italy

This second bag or an incredibly similar version is also sold at Anthropologie, a store all my fashionable friends love, but I've never purchased from. Interestingly, it also comes in a denim version leading me to believe I may not be totally off-mark on the previous selection. However, the bag is much bigger than something I would normally carry, and the top zipper doesn't go all the way across the bag. I did notice that holding massive bag makes me look much smaller, so maybe that's why celebs carry huge bags -- just a theory. The light color and design seem to say, "Look at me. I'm a fine leather good" rather than "I'm here to serve the one carrying me". All that texture is lovely though!

Dual top handles - Removable adjustable shoulder strap - Exterior features leather construction with patched design and zip top closure - Interior features 1 zip pocket and 2 slip pockets - Approx. 10" H x 21" W x 9" D - Approx. 6" handle drop, 12-22" strap drop - Imported

So... which one? I was leaning towards navy until I snapped these super low-grade bathroom selfies. The brown is super supple. Neither one? Other suggestions? Well my update is that I returned them both! The zippers with both unsatisfactory and the size of each just wasn't right.

Round two was another clearance purchase from T.J.Maxx and a Duluth purchase with a coupon code.

carry handle, woven detail, 16.5in W x 12.5in H, zip closure, 3 interior pockets, leather, imported, made in italy, style #:1000291491

Choice 4: Duluth Lifetime Leather Large Tote (30% off brought it to $153.65 before tax)
Made of rustic 100% oiled full-grain leather that gets better with age, Zip main compartment with 2 polyester interior zip pockets, plus open pouch for fast access 8" end pocket on each side for water bottles or your umbrella, Fully adjustable carry straps, Full-grain cowhide, Antiqued brass hardware 15-1/2"W x 5"D x 12"H, Imported

Low quality bathroom selfies of the two that make them look way more yellow than they are:

In my mind, there's hardly a debate of which to keep between these last two choices. Duluth lifetime leather bags are amazing. They may not be the most stylish, but they are so durable and functional. Also, if they break, Duluth stands by their promise of 100% satisfaction at any time. I've had a Duluth women's messenger bag since Christmas 2015 or 2014, and Joe has had the Duluth minimalist briefcase since Christmas 2016, and the leather on both has aged very well. However, the woven section of the tan bag is pretty cute, and the size is more appropriate for going out. I was initially drawn to the woven leather look, and this one doesn't overwhelm like the first two choices do. My brilliant third grader expressed his opinion that I should keep both for different occasions. Did I mention he was brilliant? That Duluth bag is so roomy it could be an overnight bag!  The final choice was the Duluth bag. The quality and feel were so above the others.

I've included some affiliate links to other styles below. Purchases made through my affiliate links give me a small commission to help run this blog, but don't cost you any extra. 

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