Coffee Break: High Fashion Tote

High Fashion 3023 Drawstring ToteOK, so we’re not sold on the name (they couldn’t come up with anything better than “3023 Drawstring Tote”?) but we like the look of this product.  Love the vertical stripes of alternating leathers, as well as the nice size — it’s 15.25″ high, 14.25″ wide, and 3″ deep, with an 8″ shoulder drop.  Also love the different colors it comes in:  purple (pictured), mud/taupe, grey, and black.  It’s $238 at High Fashion 3023 Drawstring Tote,Purple,one size


  1. Are those….tassels I see?

  2. Ug.

    On another note, whoever recommended a Hobo bag to me in my quest for the perfect black work tote (I think Emilie?), LOVE you! That led me to a huge 22 inch wide x 13 inch high Hobo tote with red (RED!!) interior and lots of pockets. And feet on the bottom! Let’s be honest, it’s monstrous, and I could carry a 2 year old in it (or all the Little People that mysteriously end up placed in my bag by said 2 year olds). But I think my quest is over.

    Here it is:

    I’m so enamored by the Hobo stuff that I might even buy a new wallet (I may or may not have dropped my long-lived Kate Spade in a giant puddle…)

    • I bought it late last year, and it is a great looking bag. I like a giant bag that can handle my work stuff, gym stuff, wristlet, and lunch (and then some). I returned this one, though, because the drop wasn’t long enough. It says 10 inches, and it might be that, but barely; a bag that size needs a bigger drop, especially during puffy coat season here in Chicago when it’s harder to slip things over the sleeve! It’s too big and heavy to carry by the handles instead of on the shoulder. A smaller problem was that the top is longer than the bottom, which made packing it harder (I couldn’t get legal size folders to fit right).
      If it works for you, though, cheers! It’s certainly lovely and more fashionable than the bag I would up with.

      • Thanks for your review. The bag drop might be an issue for me. I might just have to try it and see, but I definitely want a shoulder bag.

        • Definitely try it, it’s a great bag if it works for your needs. Did not mean to go Debbie Downer on you. And ditto on Hobo wallets being great; they have the details like the change slots and ID windows that so many otherwise pretty wallets seem to lack.

      • anonymiss :

        My Hobo wallet (the long full one with the snap change section on it) is the best wallet I’ve ever had. The leather is fabulous and the wallet itself is the perfect size. I love it and have gotten TONS of compliments on it.

    • Glad you found something! I have to control myself to keep from buying *only* Hobo bags. Have a wallet and love it too. They also make really great clutches that function like large wallets and can be slipped into your tote, then pulled out for grabbing lunch and such.

  3. Yech. I think that looks ridiculous, Kat, I’m sorry.

    On another note, today is way too crazy for my taste. I want to take a nap. How are you guys?

    • Hmmm….I’ve spent the day shuttling between work, the pediatrician’s office, work again, now to the pediatric orthopedic surgeon. A nap would be beyond my wildest dreams. I’m settling for iced latte.

      Oh, and PS: never slide down the slide with your toddler on your lap because the slide is too tall for them to go by themselves — their foot could get trapped and end up with the aptly named “toddler’s fracture.” Thanks GOD for my benefits as an employee of the the great state of Washington.

      • Yikes, even more yikes because you’re probably beating yourself up over it. This will be funny in 5 years when your little guy’s up and running again.

      • Oh no! Poor little guy!

      • Poor toddler! And poor you! Eek!

      • My cousin’s daughter was climbing up a playscape ladder, slipped and banged her shin against said ladder, and ended up with a toddler fracture. It is named that for a reason…..

        • Oh no! Having had a child with serious medical issues, I feel for you. At least they’re reslient little guys. :)

    • I have been fighting with my bank in Scotland to transfer money to my letting agency to cover the rent so I can close my old lease and start my new one. I can’t do the transfer online or over the phone. And I get charged for mailing in a transfer order when it otherwise would be free if I walked into the branch.
      Did I mention the nearest branch is in Scotland?
      My letting agency is also tacking late fees on left and right. Thankfully my boss is understanding and letting me leave the office to make calls.

      Today is not a good day.

      • Could you do this with Paypal somehow?

      • anon today :

        Folks are cancelling and no-showing for appts. right and left. No time to rebook others who were turned away when services couldn’t be provided “before school starts” and now I have empty billable hours. The last person to cancel had his assistant phone in the following (after I hawked them both for a week after the no show): “Tell her I don’t have time for appointments next week.” Gee. Another person called and cancelled in a message then from work the next morning, sent in all the completed forms. Gee.

        I think everyone is just bloody well exhausted and cringing about the economy etc. Perhaps USA ought to prescribe an all-encompassing vacation time in August? Just joking – then all of us who earn our living by booking our intellectual “time” and “writing” would be up a creek again.

        sharing your pains… some of whom are people!

    • Today I am bored and slow, but yesterday I had a crazy day and around 2pm, I did the following:

      1. Typed up schedule for August for a weekly group activity. There are two groups that alternate weeks. Send out schedule.
      2. Get 15 emails back saying I put group 1 on group 2’s week and vice versa.
      3. Email everyone saying I’ll fix the schedule. Fix schedule.
      4. Resend schedule.
      5. Realize I hit reply instead of reply all and sent schedule to myself.
      6. Reply all and resend schedule.
      7. Get 15 emails back saying I resent the original version of the schedule.
      8. Send the corrected version of the schedule.
      9. Realize that I hit reply instead of reply all and sent schedule to myself.
      10. Reply all and resend schedule.
      11. Realize I forgot to attach schedule.
      12. Cry.
      13. Resend schedule.

      • This made me smile.
        I have done this very thing so many times, except once instead of crying I thumped my hand on the keyboard and sent gibberish to everyone. Then I cried.

      • Glad I’m not the only one who’s done that! Oh, and I usually then add the name of someone who is in fact not supposed to be at the meeting to the mailing list at some point in the chaos

    • I’m spending the day(s) clearing review notes from our tax advisor on the 990 that is my life, and mentally crying b/c

      a. We’re down 3 people in another office so I’m spending a lot of time there (150 miles away), which means that I didn’t have time to do as thorough a review of this return as I would have liked.
      b. As a result of having no time to review, many of the review notes are, in fact, things that are stupid and I would have corrected given the opportunity
      c. I’ve spent every day at work (yes, Saturday AND Sunday) for the past six weeks
      d. I went on a first date over the weekend after working until 6 that day, and while he was a perfectly nice guy, I know I talked about work too much. You know, what w/ it being all consuming and what-not.
      e. Yet another friend-from-grad-school got engaged. I’m happy for her but beginning to feel more than a little concerned for myself (…and at 25 that seems a little premature)

      • at 25? very premature! Shayna, you’re fabulous. I love your posts.

      • Shayna. Don’t get concerned. I didn’t meet my wonderful hubby until I was 33. He was worth the wait. ;-)

        • Anon for this :

          Yes, Shayna, it can take a while. Met my wonderful husband & soulmate – who is my second husband – at 45. Worth the wait and agony of getting there. There is a lid for every pot, it just takes a while (and maybe a starter mis-fit) to find your lid!

      • I officially love you all… thanks for the much needed boost!

    • I just found out I didn’t make partner again. I was expecting it, but hearing it is still rough.

      • Legally Brunette :

        I’m so sorry to hear that. I know the build up to that process is killer.

      • divaliscious11 :

        That sucks. Had I stayed in biglaw this would have been my partner year…I find I am getting 2 types of email – I made partner, or my new job is…. Hang in there and if you really want it, go for it, but there is no shame in moving on….

      • Oh no, I am so sorry.

      • Ouch…sorry to hear that!

      • Thanks all! I’m officially a 10th year associate. I really want it, and I’m giving myself one more year to try to get it. If it doesn’t happen next year, I’m accepting that BigLaw partnership is not the path for me and moving on – to something in house or to something in a smaller firm. I can accept that our partner track has become 9-10 years, but this is not how my career was supposed to look. And I know I’m Anon on the internet so I could be a ridiculously bad lawyer and you wouldn’t know, but I’m not. I’m among the best, and I deserve to be a partner.

    • It must be in the atmosphere! Me too on the crazy is just everywhere. I need this week to be over right now. Oh, and E – you poor thing! And, yes, it will be funny on the ‘look back’!

  4. There’s something about this bag that reminds me of panelling or upholstery…though I do love the purple color (besides my usual black/gray I’m finding myself very drawn to magenta/purple lately!).

    Side note: Has anyone tried “Ooh I Love” ? ( – they’re an auction site for purses, jewelry, etc.?

    • I think that purple is an excellent faux-neutral (I also think this is true of dark orange). I tend to pair purple with mustards and charcoal greys, but it is really versatile.

  5. The only thing I’m feeling about this bag is the color. (I love purple handbags! I have a gorgeous D&B tote that I use for everything.)

  6. Is Pandora down or is it just me? The silence in my office is deafening. Anyone have another music streaming site to recommend?

  7. hijack time…

    I’m going home next week for a brief vacation before I start work, and I scheduled an interview with a judge I’m hoping to clerk for next year (sept. 2011). He knew I was going to be on vacation, so he told me to just wear something casual, no suit. … So what should I wear? This would be so easy if I was a guy (khakis, polo, done). I was thinking maybe a nicer skirt that’s not quite work level (I have a black and cream one from last year’s ann taylor loft that might work), but no idea on a top. Thoughts?

    • oh, and home is the South, if that makes a difference in the fashion world.

    • No. Wear a nice dress with blazer or wear a suit. You can’t really overdress for an interview with a judge, but you can definitely underdress and that would be *not good*. Isn’t this the federal magistrate that you were talking about last week? I know it’s kind of a pain on vacation, but you just can’t go wandering into chambers in federal court in ‘casual’ attire. Even if you were a guy, you would need to wear at least a tie, notwithstanding that judge said be casual. Sorry to be a wet blanket, but I really think you have to dress for this interview the way you would for any other judge interview.

      • I don’t know about wearing a suit when the judge explicitly said not to. If I were the judge, that would make me think that you weren’t listening to me. I would definitely dress on the nicer side of business casual though–a dress with a blazer or nice pants with a blazer would probably be good.

        • I agree – ignoring the judge’s explicit instructions doesn’t seem good to me.

      • this is a federal magistrate, but a different one (the other one is for a job starting next month). This one’s in a small town on the coast near my hometown, and there’s exactly one federal judge and one federal magistrate in the federal court. And the federal court is also apparently in the post office.

        I was going to wear a dress, except I currently don’t have a good one for work (old ones are too small, since I just graduated and hadn’t work since last summer) and I was worried then I would be overdressed since he told me to dress casually. Argh. I wish he hadn’t had said that and I could just wear a suit. So much easier.

        • I agree that you should not ignore the judge’s instructions. Hell, he’ll probably be wearing his golf clothes and doesn’t want you sweltering in a suit. He sounds like a nice guy.

          I think women overthink these things. The judge isn’t going to notice what you’re wearing unless it’s really loud or really sexy.

        • HotInTheCity :

          Southern, rising 3L here. Congratulations on the interview! I would wear a sheath dress with a blazer that I could remove if I felt over-dressed. I would not wear pants, but that’s based on how many judges in my district are appalled by them on women. He said casual, but that doesn’t mean he’s ok with pants. Better not to risk it, in my opinion. Not in this clerkship app season.

          Horror story time: one of the other interns was told to come in and get his id and paperwork done at the beginning of the summer. No need to wear a suit, etc etc. So he showed up in shorts and sneakers. He expected to only see HR. Which he did. And HR proceeded to tell every single person in the building that he wore shorts to a federal courthouse. Poor guy.

    • Suit.

    • Since you’re in the south – khaki skirt, polo, pearls, flats? It’s the female version of the guy’s uniform you described. Your black-and-cream skirt and a short-sleeved sweater tee would also look great and someone posted a link in another of today’s threads for LL Bean sweater tees on sale.

      • Okay, I am rethinking this a bit – have been to the federal court in the post office in the land of mosquitoes a few times myself. Agree that a suit *might* be too, too since the judge said not to wear one.

        Will share why I gave my initial response: years (decades) ago, when I was making move as 3d year associate to next job, I was asked to interview at a firm on a Saturday (b/c it was firm tradition that all partners worked on Sat. mornings – bad start, I know, but a job’s a job). They told me to come casual and I had no idea what that really meant (this was before the advent of ‘business casual’), so I just wore a nice jewel tone suit that was a little more ‘of the moment’ than the standard black interview suit would have been. My ‘audience’ was mostly men in semi-golf attire and one or two women in khaki/pullover type getups. Several of them – one way or another – basically said ‘thank you for obviously taking this interview and us so seriously/professionally.’ I felt confident/comfortable, the interview went well and I got the offer (which I declined, thankfully since mandatory Saturday duty is sort of undesirable). I felt like I learned something there about the value of over vs. under dressing.

        All of that said, given the post office factor and varying opinions above, I would say that a work suitable dress (maybe you could shop for the dress? heck, the ones that JCP featured on the video series w/blogs of Kat and others were like $70 and would be fine) or a nice skirt/sweater combo (with pearls or similar understated accessory and pretty flats or low heels) would be ok. Definitely nothing loud or sexy though! And I would not do khaki trousers (or any other pants unless they are part of a suit).

        Good luck!

    • Just listen to him!

  8. Speaking of purses, what do you think of this in white?

    • For $115, if you can manage to keep a white purse clean, I think it’s a good buy. It’s a classic summer bag.

  9. anon and alone :

    People are no showing and cancelling appts. like mad – all at the last minute so I cannot fill with others. Have turned away calls for services “before school starts” because I was booked – and then those booked just vanished. “Everyone” is out of town on last vacations and camp and just busy…no one around to fill these sudden openings.

    One had his assistant call with the message: “Tell her I’m too busy for appointments next week. Tell her to schedule those with someone else.” That’s after me hawking them both daily for a week after the first no show. Had I not done that, it would be no shows for sure. 10 hours gone.

    Another called one night and left a message to cancel the next days’ appointments and those further on in the month. Total of 8 hours billable…then went to their work the following morning and sent all the completed forms to my office. As if they were keeping appointments.

    I think everyone is just fried by the summer weather and economic doldrums.

    Maybe USA ought to follow EU and make all encompassing vacations in August? No way, just joking. Then all of us who earn a living by offering our intellectual time and writing would be further up a creek.

    It’s got to get better … maybe by September?

    OK, so I got billing done, reports for the month written and filed, computer backed up, and a few ideas found for pr mailings, and…..the dreaded task – culling through journals and magazines on the “read me” stack … at least the first cut of “is there anything remotely important in here” is done.

    All us corporettes need to meet up locally, hoist a great purse onto a table and smile at each other.

  10. Speaking of purses…an informal poll…

    How often do you change your purse? Why?
    How often do you change your briefcase?
    Do you even use a briefcase (as opposed to a monstrous bag, sac, or a glamorous tote)?

    Just thinking about the purses in my closet and the fact that IF I change them, it’s because one wore out (I don’t go to the Corporette level of cash as I’m hard on them) or I’ve decided to change for the fall/summer color. Gosh, it’s always a pain for me to put stuff into a small bag or clutch when we have tickets to a show or concert…OK, so I’m curious if I am stifling another facet of sartorial splendor.

    Thanks for the comments.

    • Purse – Almost never. I hate switching. I only switch if I’m doing something that might damage my purse, in which case I carry a cheaper one. I used to buy cheap purses and I’d wear them out every couple months and have to get a new one; I recently invested in a lovely Cole Haan bag and I don’t expect to have to worry about wearing out any time soon. I do go to a formal event maybe once every two years and then I carry a clutch.

      Briefcase – it’s a leather tote and I only use it for interviews and very formal business occasions. Otherwise I haul my crap around in a canvas tote bag.

    • I have one main bag per season (just big enough to fit a few documents when necessary), and generally only switch for nighttime events or dressier daytime events, or sometimes to something more casual for weekend. I never use a briefcase unless I am going to a client’s office.

      A couple of friends used to tell me that carrying more than one bag was a “glamour don’t”, i.e., from the “don’t” page of glamour mag. Silly, but it stuck in my head and I try to never carry more than one bag! It does make life simpler than juggling a purse and a briefcase.

    • anonymiss :

      I have 4 nice, work appropriate bags and I change them maybe once every few weeks, and that might be a bit of an over-estimate. I find it way too much trouble to change them, and when they’re a beautiful rich neutral in a classic shape, I find it unnecessary. I would never change bags every day. (although I will say when I was in high school, I had a ton of cheesy bags and made a chart for my closet so I could date when I wore them and not repeat. Thank God I grew out of that!)

      • Haha. I saw that Glamour “don’t”, and so I always feel self-conscious when I have my gym bag and my purse…especially if they’re hanging off of the same shoulder.

      • I have 4 nice bags too and change them once a fortnight. They’re all neutrals (2 black, 1 tan, 1 deep reddish berry) and each is a classic shape.

    • I basically use three bags for work that are varying sizes but all can fit my water bottle and a legal pad if necessary:
      – black bag with tan straps
      – large brown bag
      – beautiful Tibetan deep turquoise bag with cream insets (I found out the hard way that in the heat and humidity of the summer that the dye spreads onto my clothes, so it is retired until the winter!)

      Most of my work outfits are black-based but on the occasion I have a brown-based outfit so I’ll switch bags or if I know I need a bigger bag I’ll use my brown one.

    • I have the same ‘issue’ :)! I can’t really move purse contents around very well and ‘everyday essentials’ just don’t fit into elegant clutch (altho I force the bare necessities into a little Kate Spade silk clutch when necessary for weddings, formal nights out, etc). So I have generally carried some ‘classic’ purse (Coach until they went bananas with all the print stuff, Furla more recently) in like 4 year cycles until the purse was ‘dead’ (my current Furla is really beyond dead).

      dr, I do think I am “stifling another facet of sartorial splendor” – a sentiment greatly enhanced since I’ve spent too much time here in the last few months. So in the last three months, I have purchased two new bags – one really pretty Elie Tahari hobo in a beautiful turquoise calf, which is essentially nonfunctional because it has no meaningful interior pockets and no exterior pockets and so is like the black hole, more recently a Monserrat de Luca shoulder bag that is very interesting, but maybe a little too ‘rock and roll’/unstructured (but at least it has decent interior pockets). Not really sure what the answer is. The giant hobo thing seems like too much of too much, the old classic Coach thing now seems church-ladyish, and I just wanna keep track of my stuff AND look good. Plus, bags are one of the few ways you can be more ‘individualized’ without getting too much attention for it.

      I will be interested to see what everybody else says here (and afraid that I might fall victim to another bag purchase, likely last week’s Brahmin which I looved the looks of and somebody else bought and liked..but seriously, I can’t spend my whole retirement on bags).

    • I change purses 2 or 3 times a year. I have a cream purse that I LOVE that I bought last year. It is my summer purse. I use a black or deep red one in the winter. I bought a dark royal blue one this April, so that was my spring purse. It is a pain to change purses, but I do have an across-the body red purse that I use for trips into the city (San Francisco in my case) for dinner or shopping. I also have a black North Face purse made of some kind of nylon that is across-the-body and good for things like baseball games (where it might get beer spilled on it) or trips to a museum. It is big enough to stash a lot of stuff, and tough enough to withstand spills.

      • Forestgirl :

        I have a large brown leather Coach tote (classic looking) and a large black leather bag (Kenneth Cole, maybe? more modern looking) that I use for work–I switch as much as necessary so that I carry the brown tote with brown-based outfits and the black with black. I keep all my little stuff in a small makeup bag, so it really isn’t that hard to switch every day or so. I just scoop it all out of one and into the other! :-)

        For the weekend I have tons of causal bags that I switch up all the time–whatever goes with the outfit.

    • I switch once or twice a season. At any point I probably have 2-3 bags in wearable condition.

    • I don’t change mine very often, and I tend to use the same purse for business and casual – bad I know. I usually use a large black leather tote. It fits small files, allows me to carry my papers, and (best of all) has a center zipper compartment where I can keep and find my personal stuff. Love it, but it’s definitely not a “casual” bag.

    • I switch purses rarely… I usually use one purse for April through August, and another for September through March… I will use a smaller evening bag if the occasion warrants though.

      I’ve been using the same black Diane Von Furstenberg carryall for work stuff for years… it still looks good (I think I’ll probably get sick of it before it dies!)

  11. @Erin – I have done the same thing before. Only, after hitting reply instead of reply all, I open the email and send myself a read receipt. Instead of crying, I usually weave a tapestry of profanity and go buy a diet coke. Guess it happens to the best of us.

    • Ooh. Luckily I was using gmail and not Outlook because if I’d sent myself a read receipt I’d probably have punched my monitor.

  12. I keep one high-quality, expensive bag in a stylish but not trendy silhouette that’s made of traditional, solid color material and had classic detailing (think Coach, Prada, Kate Spade) and use it pretty much daily – work and social. Right now it’s a near-tote-size black leather Kate Spade. I only change it on the rare occasion that it just does not look right with my outfit – despite being a government lawyer in the southern sticks, there is so much black in my wardrobe I would blend right in in Manhattan!. I only replace it when it begins to show wear and tear.

  13. anonymous :

    does anyone have tips for upkeep of nice leather bags? I have a nice camel colored classic shaped coach that i would like to take care of. how often do i need to condition it. what type of leather treatment should i use? any good brands?

    • Use the Coach stuff if they still make it – they used to have a cleaner and a conditioner that worked really well on the classic stuff. If they don’t, highly recommend Lexol – if you don’t live near an equine supply store, I assume it’s available online…..

      Oh, and jealous that you have a nice classic Coach that you like!

    • Second the recommendation to use Coach’s cleaner and conditioner. It’s good stuff, but also, if you use other products and the product somehow damages the bag, they’re unlikely to fix it for you for free.

      Clean it whenever it starts to look a bit dingy – probably only every couple of months. Then condition it.

  14. I felt the need to tell a female attorney about this site today. She wore a white belted dress (or skirt and top) with red-orange leopard print platform open toe 4″ heels. The male officer pointed it out! On top of it, she objected to a question and said “unrelevant.”

    • No. Really? Are you a clerk? How (and where) does this happen? I am (sadly) intrigued. Eeep!

    • In DC lately I’ve seen so many inappropriate things on people going to work. And not even not appropriate for court, not appropriate no matter where you work! must be the summer heat

      • Haha no I’m just the intern! The secretary and I had to briefly leave the courtroom because we were laughing. We just looked at each other and slipped out. It was BAD! But such great experience for me to see what not to do. This is in NJ.

        • Here in NJ there is a scary propensity toward the tacky at times… I hate the stereotypes (like that show Jersey Shore) but at the same time, I can see where it’s true …

      • Legally Brunette :

        Amen. Went to the DC Superior Court and was SHOCKED SHOCKED SHOCKED at what people were wearing to court. Halter tops with b**bs hanging out, short shorts. It was terrible. These were not lawyers, but still.

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