Coffee Break – Hobo International Amber

Hobo International AmberLoving the look of this “Amber” leather tote bag from Hobo International — the gathered pleats! the fun lining! tons of interior pockets and dividers! And even a zip on top to keep the contents of your bag, in your bag.  Fabulous. Zappos has it in caramel (pictured) and black; Endless has it in on sale in maroon and taupe, and eBags has it in a citrus green and zinnia orange.  It’s $298 at full price at all 3, (but $161 in maroon and $197 in taupe at Endless).


  1. Too much bag for me, but hey, that’s me! :-)

  2. Love. I wish I were in the market for a new bag.

  3. Threadjack, but still on the subject of handbags: how important is it that your bag ‘matches’ the rest of your outfit (specifically shoes)?

    For work I tend to stick with black pumps and a black purse- classic yet SO boring. In non-work settings I wear my brown leather boots everywhere, but feel weird wearing brown boots with a black bag and also dislike the look of a non-matching brown bag– so I tend to just go with a turquoise bag.

    I’m now in the market for a new work bag and I found a taupe one that would match most of my work clothes and go well with black shoes (I think)….but what do you ladies think about a taupe bag with brown boots? since ideally I tend to like multi-functioning bags that I can wear to work AND play…

    Sorry for the ramble, but the feedback on this blog has helped me make respectable fashion choices thus far, so I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic as well!

    • AnonInfinity :

      I think the rules regarding shoes and purses matching is outdated. I would never notice if someone’s bag and shoes “went” together unless they were both bright red or something like that. I think you should be good to go with taupe and brown.

    • I carried a black leather bag for many years and now have gone to fun colors — red, pink, seriously drooling at kelly green. I don’t have the time or energy to change bags more than seasonally, so whatever I carry to work, I also carry for play.

      If you like the taupe bag, go with it. But if you want to do something more fun, live it up. :-)

    • I definitely think you’re fine almost always with a different colored shoe than bag. Unless both are super-obvious bright colors that clash in a non-purposeful way. I think black and brown can be done together, as well as taupe and brown.

      Here’s where I get stuck — when I am standing on the metro in my green boots, yellow bag, brown gloves, holding my red Kindle case, pulling out my ivory wallet with my metrocard — that I’m completely in color overload.

    • Matching is definitely not necessary. Have fun with your bags. I carry a big black bag with patent accents and switch it up with smaller bags on the weekends. Since you want to keep it to one bag though, a taupe bag should work well with brown.

    • I actually prefer that my bag and shoes don’t match. I tend to pick one “investment” handbag for work to last me several years, in a color I think is neutral. My briefcase for years was a dark burgandy color; my handbag now is a high-end lovely purple thing. I tend to keep my shoes neutral — blacks, browns, the occasional grey (and I just bought my first pair of navy).

    • Taupe sounds great. Will go with everything (colleague owns one & I can vouch for it). Also a good idea if you wear colour (balances it out).

    • I carry the same bag all the time, can’t handle swapping out with different outfits or week/weekend (though I do get a new bag at least seasonally) – so I tend to go with a somewhat classic but a bit edgy bag in what I consider to be a neutral-ish tone – used to be black a lot in the winters, but right now it a dusty pink (but in a very classic design); last winter it was red; it’s been blue, black with a kelly green suede lining… you get the idea. Anyway they almost never match my shoes but still work. I see absolutely nothing controversial about a taupe bag.

      • Taupe sounds great for brown or black shoes. As far as shoes and purses generally, I like for the tone or color scheme to work together. For example, pale pink heels with a cool grey purse, or a vivid red clutch with rich brown shoes. Less often a consideration when I’m dashing to work, but if I’m off to dinner or a weekend event, it’s fun to comb through my clutches and shoes (of various tones, colors, and textures) to find pieces that aren’t matched, but seem intentional.

  4. Just got happy news from my accountant — I am getting a tax refund large enough to pay down more than half of my credit card debt!

    I know that the cc debt is “bad;” I know all the arguments against getting a tax refund, but all that stuff is water under the bridge at this point. I’ve been chipping away at the debt slowly (still in law school), but it will feel so nice to make a big lump payment and really see the balance go down dramatically!

    • YAYAYAY!! Congrats!

    • On this note, I just paid off a student loan! One of my smaller ones, but it still felt great to see that line drop off of my summary of accounts.

      YAY for getting rid of debt. Someone commented last week that paying on debt is buying your freedom…so true. Congratulations!

    • Awesome! Congrats to the both of you!!!!

  5. Yuck, I do not like this.

  6. Thread jack – I have seen so many great responses to job application follow up questions, I figured I would ask mine. I applied for a job in which the application was due at the end of January, with interviews to be held in early March. At what point should I follow up on my application, and what type of wording would you use in the inquiry? Thank you in advance for your answers.

    • I think more information would be helpful here, like whether you know anyone at the place, how competitive a position it is, and whether you sent your application to a specific person (or just uploaded it into a blackhole). But in general, you should follow-up if you think you have something to add (like a reward or publication or something else that might mean something to them) that is beyond what you’ve already presented in your application and resume. I think you need to assume that they will contact you for an interview if they are interested in you. Unfortunately, we are in a terrible job market so a lot of times, company’s get flooded with resumes and don’t respond back to everyone. Good luck!

  7. Job Hunting in LA :

    Total threadjack — Do you think it’s wrong to blatantly flirt with a willing and appropriate partner (not a boss, priest, etc.) if it doesn’t lead to anything and it actually spices up your marriage?

    • I’d say it depends. If it is random people in passing (the UPS man, some dude at a bar while you are out with the girls) than I say go for it. If it is with the same person that you are frequently in contact with then be careful. It might start all innocent and then lead to feelings.

    • I would think it was wrong if I saw my partner flirting with someone else, so it’s wrong for me to do it too. If it turns your husband on to see you flirting (can’t tell what you mean by spicing up your marriage), though, then I guess it’s fine.

    • I would not do this as I would hate my husband doing the same. What’s sauce for the goose etc etc….

    • Agree with Star, definitely.

      (I’m guessing that you mean that being flirtatious makes you feel fun and fresh which carries into your interactions with your husband, but Eponine’s thought is certainly intriguing…)

    • Yeah, applying the standard of “would I get upset if my husband was doing this and I found out?” – I would say no. I also think that sometimes it is not as easy for the other party to understand that “it isn’t going anywhere” and that can cause all kinds of problems.

      I do think, however, it’s fine and totally to have little crushes on people. I just don’t think taking it to the next level, and actually flirting with the person, is all that OK. But I am also one of those people who believes in avoiding the “near occasion of sin” when it comes to your marriage. (I’m not Catholic, just pragmatic)

  8. Oooh! Love the bag!

  9. I went to the Zappos site to look at the bag. That’s a BIG bag! Not really my style, but I always get a kick out of their short videos about the product.

    I really like how the Zappos ladies model the shoes in the videos. It really helps to see the shoe on a live foot and moving around a little bit. I’d never watched a purse video before, but I can see that’s helpful, too. You can see how the bag hangs from your shoulder and the proportions against the body. Nice Zappos feature!

  10. Hey gang, any tips for negotiating your salary at a new job? The negotiations are set to take place with my future boss, not someone from HR. How do you toe the line between being assertive and not coming across as a jackass?

    • I have been thinking about this a lot, and I think one way is to ask how they arrived at your salary. It’s completely reasonable for you to know how your salary is calculated, and your salary should be based on some concrete, objective factors. Then you have to counter with how *you* think it should be calculated and explain why your method is better than their method. Obviously requires a little bit of work on your part, depending on your field. But I think this is a good method, it makes it more “scientific” and less personal and it makes it seem like you have actual reasons to ask for more money aside from entitlement or inflated self-worth.

      If they are resistant I would say something like, OK next year I really want to make X, what can I do to get there? It shows that you are willing to work for your raise. And then next year you can say, OK I did X, now pay up.

    • also you should post this in the open thread tomorrow – i bet you’d get a much better response!

    • Base your arguments on the value you bring to the company, not on what you “need” to make. To assess the value you bring, it helps to know what people in the same position at the company’s competitors are paid. If you can’t find that out, mentioning your current salary (if you’re taking a paycut at the new job), the salary offered if you have any other job offers, or unique credentials or experience that others don’t have at the new company could help.

    • See if you can find out what others in your position are making, ideally in a confidential setting. I don’t know how to go about doing that, but I think that is the best way to know whether their offer is fair.

    • Thanks, this is really helpful. They’ve given me a range, but I’m trying to negotiate for the higher end of that range. I really like the idea of asking them what their criteria is–I think that’s great. I’m at the high end of what the job description said they were looking for in terms of years of experience (attorney position) but negotiating with the new boss will be a bit daunting. I may repost this in the open thread, but we are having the conversation midday today. I’ll follow up and let you all know how it went!

    • I have been on both sides of this conversation (candidate and hiring manager) and here is my advice: Approach this with data about the market you live in, the average salaries for your law school class, the going rate for attorneys at your level, any actual data (with references) that will support your case that you should be paid at the high end of the range. In addition, approach it with a positive, constructive tone–this makes a huge difference. You should be factual, make a logical argument, and share the data and sources with your negotiation counterpart. Try to avoid being emotional (disappointed, winey, demanding) in tone or substance. I do think it is helpful to list the ways in which you as a candidate are at the high end of their job requirements (years of working experience, actual tangible experience matching the job description, etc.). I found this very helpful in a recent negotiation. In addition, I would remind you that money is not the only thing to negotiate. Some other things to negotiate include: title, vacation time, bonus structure, time to next review/raise, stock options, other types of time off, etc.

      Remember not to negotiate against yourself. Wait and hear what they are offering. Maybe it will be the top of the range!

      • Average salaries for your law school class? Where does one get that with any accuracy? I know my school’s average was so inflated that I would get laughed out of the room if I mentioned it. I really don’t think that’s something that should be used to negotiate.

      • What’s tricky about this is that it’s at a non-profit legal organization. I’ll be taking a 60% paycut to go there–is it tacky to mention that? I don’t think it’s entirely obvious to the guy I’m speaking with (though he’ll know it’s a big cut).

        • No, it’s fine. I work in the nonprofit sector and I know that candidates who are taking paycuts are more likely to come in at the top end of the salary range. However, coming in at the top generally means that they aren’t eligible for raises until they get promoted.

    • UPDATE! Exciting to have an update so soon after posting (for once). I spoke with my future boss and his first offer was a) 15% higher than what the job description said the salary would be and b) higher than even the highest number I was going to ask for. I didn’t even have to give my speech!

      (Just posted this on other page, too!)

  11. I love Hobo bags because of all their pockets, but I’m trying to steer away from something so big. However, the frame Hobo bags look really neat.

  12. ElevenElle :

    Hi everyone! I was looking for a late-seasondeal on a black or charcoal wool coat when I came across these earrings. I remember someone mentioning how versatile their earrings like these are and that they wear them more than anything, but is this a good price?…prod.1

    Also, Kat, love love love the blog. And I would love to see a must-have jewlery basics post. Being from Atlanta, I have the classic pearls. But should I also have different size pearls? A simple gold necklace? Bracelets? I’m a 3L so I’ve started building my collection of classics that I plan to wear forever.

    • Ballerina girl :

      I got a pair of earrings just like those from the Brooks Brothers outlet for about $18, I think. I don’t think $54 is a terrible price, but if you’re near an outlet, I’d check that out first. Brooks Brothers outlets have surprisingly good deals on basic jewelry at outlets.

    • I’m late to this party, but my gold studs were from Overstock — higher gold content and cheaper. Around $30 I think.

  13. I like Hobo bags. I have one from several years ago, a clutch that I call my “Desperate Housewives” bag because it reminds me of something the character Gabbi would have held daintily in her manicured hands :) Hobo seems well made and have LOTS of great pockets.

  14. Kat- is the filtering fixed? This morning I turned on my home computer (uses Firefox 3 and Windows 7) and saw 72 comments for Thursday’s TPS report and did not see this post or the post prior. I did not have that problem last night and am not having them on my work computer, so I am not sure what is going on.

  15. Love this bag. I have a giant Hobo bag that I carry now, and I love it! I need to be able to fit my laptop and some files in my work bag. I’m really tempted by this one in caramel.

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