Coffee Break: Classic Hardcover 17-Month Agenda

ban do agendaLadies who use paper agendas, which are your favorites? I spent way too much last year on pricey one from Erin Condren, and while it’s really cute and makes me happy when I look at it — it also reminds me every time I look at it that I spent a whopping $80 on a planner. Particularly when you can get just as cute ones for as little as $12, like this fun agenda from BAN.DO. I like the lay-flat design, the pocket on the inside, and yes, FINE, I’ll admit it: I like the stickers too. It’s $12 during the anniversary sale, but will go back up to $20 afterwards. BAN.DO ‘Classic – One Day At A Time’ Hardcover 17-Month Agenda

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The Hunt: Professional Tote Bags

professional tote bagsSure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

We haven’t done a Hunt for professional tote bags in FOREVER, so I thought we’d do one now.  With OCI/EIW coming up we should discuss what makes a great interview tote, which I’ve always seen as a pretty major subset of professional tote bags. A great interview tote should:

  • be large enough to hold a folder that contains the absolute latest version of your resume
  • have structure to it — if you put it on the floor it will stand up or at least lean (so — while I love me my Planetes Longchamp bag, I wouldn’t interview with it — it’s also for this reason that most of these bags are east/west bags rather than north/south bags)
  • be mostly solid and lacking logos all over it (so in my book most Neverfulls, Goyard, and MCM bags are out — but a Neverfull in an Epi leather is a different issue)
  • have enough organization that you can ditch your purse and just carry the tote bag (or, put another way, it becomes your purse)
  • not be primarily as a laptop tote — unless you anticipate needing your laptop during the interview, you don’t need the weight and the added stress of keeping tabs on your bag (but see our laptop tote roundup if you’re looking for one)

I once joked that if you’re just looking for something to shuttle papers to and from the office, most of the rainmakers I knew carried boat bags, or at least the tote bags one gets for donating X dollars to charity or attending a conference, suggesting it was all part of “what your tote bag says about you.” Now I think it’s just because those suckers add up over the years and they’re perfect for sticking in your office closet! (Although I will note – an LL Bean rep recently told me that this bag can hold up to 500 pounds because it was designed for carrying ice blocks through the winter. Ice blocks, huge binders, whatever, right?)

So ladies, let’s discuss — do you carry a tote bag as your regular purse, or only if you’re interviewing or otherwise carrying a folder? What do you look for in a professional tote bag? Do you prefer hand-held briefcase/satchel styles, north/west styles, east/west styles? Leather, nylon, or coated canvas? Have you bought any great ones lately, or do you still carry any older ones?

First, a roundup of some general categories:

Best-Selling Work Totes

Some of the best selling work totes of all time are linked to in our Hall of Fame styles mentioned above — here are a few of those, pictured, ranging from $168-$298: 1 / 2 / 3 // 4 / 5 / 6

Featured Work Totes

Best-selling, classic styles are great, but sometimes you want to know what else is on the market today.  So: six bags we’re liking today:

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Splurge Monday’s Workwear Report: Two-Button Pinstripe Wool Blazer

Stretch Wool Blazer: Brooks Brothers Two-Button Pinstripe Wool BlazerOur daily workwear reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Happy Monday, ladies! Wool blazers may not exactly be the first thing that comes to mind when pondering how to dress for heat dome weather, but one presumes there’ll be cooler weather SOMEtime. Eventually. In the distant future. And when that time comes, this pinstripe blazer is the one you’ll want in your closet. Love the Loro Piana stretchy fabric, the fitted darts, the four pockets — and an inside pocket, squee! Even better, it’s on serious sale at Brooks Brothers: It was $798 but is marked down to $399. Sizes 2-12 are still available. Brooks Brothers Two-Button Pinstripe Wool Blazer

Two more affordable options are here and here; this one is available in plus, petite, and petite-plus sizes as well as regular.

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]

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Weekend Open Thread

black leather jackets at NASSomething on your mind? Chat about it here.

Happy weekend, ladies!  If you’ve perused the NAS at all, you know that leather jackets are HUGE for fall. There are vests! Moto jackets! Suede jackets! Jackets with shearling or fur details! Hooded leather jackets! Coated denim jackets that look like leather jackets! Sweater jackets with leather details! Yellow leather jackets that kind of remind me of Hilary Swank and the (horrible) movie version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer! My favorite iteration is the sort of drapey leather jacket with knit panels, seen here — at least for my own figure it seems more bust-friendly than the usual ones. (Here’s a nice gray version on clearance, also.) And it doesn’t hurt that this one is less than $70 in the sale — love it! It’s available in black and red, sizes XS-XL, in regular, petite and plus sizes, for $65 — the price will go back up to $98 after the sale ends. KUT from the Kloth ‘Ana’ Faux Leather Drape Front Jacket

(While this very jacket comes in plus sizes, here are two other nice plus size leather jackets from the NAS sale, in suede and leather.)

See all of our workwear picks from the NAS, as well as our shoe picks — lots of sizes left.

Frugal Friday: High/Low V-Neck Mixed Media Top

Green V-Neck Top for Work: Pleione High/Low V-Neck Mixed Media TopOur daily workwear reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

I was going back and forth between this top and another top that I really liked — and I came to this green one and I said, NOPE, that’s the one I want to feature on Friday. I like jewel tones like green — and I’ve already noted that I think it’s a fun trend for fall. This top is great for work or beyond, is easy care (ish – “hand wash”) — and it’s under $30. Sign me up. It’s available in 13 (!) colors, in regular and petites, for $29. Pleione High/Low V-Neck Mixed Media Top

Here’s a plus-size option that’s also in the sale.

Psst: Note to all of you who aren’t Nordstrom cardholders: the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is open to everyone today — check out our roundup of shoes and clothes if you haven’t already! Don’t forget that our giveaway closes in just a few hours (11:30 ET) — so if you haven’t entered yet, please do!

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]

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Coffee Break: Archie Leather Tote

taupe leather tote bagI included this lovely Spencer tote in my classic interview outfit the other day, but this pretty taupe version is calling my name. (The name of the color is “dark mousse frosting” — yes please.) I like the fun interior lining, the multiple interior pockets, the feet, and the pretty envelope-like outside pocket.  It’s on sale right now — it was $428 but is currently marked to $285 (it’ll go back up when the NAS ends). kate spade new york ‘spencer court – archie’ leather tote

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