Coffee Break: The Tote

Dagne Dover The Tote | Corporette2018 Update: Looking for a Dagne Dover tote review? Check out our latest thoughts in this post. Looking for other options? Check out our roundup of the best tote bags for work.

The team at Dagne Dover was kind enough to send me this bag recently and it really is stunning in person — a bright, vivid, happy blue, and because it’s coated canvas I have a feeling it will stand the test of time. It is filled with pockets, a spot for your smoothie (or, hey, water bottle or Tervis coffee cup or whatever), and has a ton of structure — it won’t fall over on you. The bag is $265, and available in numerous colors. (The brand also has a “tiny tote,” and a “clutch-wallet” that looks adorable.) Dagne Dover ‘The Tote’

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  1. Mary Ann Singleton :

    What would you send to a close friend who is in hospital with two broken arms from a bad fall? He can’t use his arms at all as they’re in casts, and he’s about to go in for more surgeries. Since he can’t hold anything, reading materials are out. What would you send to cheer him up? I guess I could send flowers but looking for other ideas.

    • Lorelai Gilmore :

      What about audiobooks, some CDs (do people even do CDs anymore), a subscription to Audible, a Bluetooth-connected portable speaker so he can listen to music or audio books from his phone? I think flowers are always good. How about edible treats from Mouth?

    • Lorelai Gilmore :

      What about audiobooks, some CDs (do people even do CDs anymore), a subscription to Audible, a Bluetooth-connected portable speaker so he can listen to music or audio books from his phone? I think flowers are always good. How about edible treats from Mouth?

    • Mary Ann Singleton :

      Oh and he’s across the country so I can’t deliver something personally, unfortunately.

      • anon a mouse :

        Can you put together something poster-sized that someone could hang on the wall for him to see? Full of well-wishes, photos, etc. Maybe even suggest that the hospital tack it to the ceiling, if possible.

        Also consider recording a message somehow (flash drive or on CD). He’ll need someone else to set it up for him, but it might be really nice for him to hear your voice.

    • Wildkitten :

      Amazon giftcard for movies and audio.

    • Anonymous :

      If he has an ipad, I’d get him a subscription to Netflix or a bunch of iTunes gift cards. It will rot his brain to watch that much TV, but with no hands, that’s pretty much it other than podcasts/audiobooks.

    • Mary Ann Singleton :

      Thanks all, good suggestions. I’ll check what he has available for viewing movies / listening to audiobooks.

  2. Are the straps long enough to fit over your shoulder?

    • Says 8.5″ drop. Definitely yes

    • la vie en bleu :

      but the top doesn’t close all the way. :o(

      • I have this bag (in the blue color, so pretty!) and carry it every day as my work laptop bag/purse. Straps are very comfortable over the shoulder. It does zip closed, but the zipper doesn’t go all the way to one end of the bag — there’s about a 2″ gap when it’s closed. I haven’t found it to be a problem in practice.

        • la vie en bleu :

          Yeah, that’s what I meant, the gap at the ends really bothers me. But maybe I can get over it.

          Do have any thoughts about water resistance? I need something that will hold up to getting caught in the rain at least for a few minutes wtihout my stuff getting wet. Is the coated canvas hardy enough for that?


          • Anonattorney :

            I got a Tumi “Sinclair Patricia” bag that’s very similar to this in size. It’s definitely water-resistant, it fits well over the shoulder, and looks pretty sharp. It still has the 2″ gap at the ends of the zipper, though. But, I love it. It’s very durable.

          • The fabric is heavy and super water resistant, so I think getting caught in a rainstorm for a few minutes would be no big deal. The gap is not very noticeable when the bag’s on your shoulder anyway, because it folds most of the way closed.

            I bought it as a new-job-moving-into-management present to myself, and I really do love it. I keep my stuff in a purse organizer so I can swap out for evenings/weekends, but I often still wind up carrying it even then.

  3. Gorgeous, stunning bag! Their site is lovely.

  4. Dear kid at my alma mater looking for an internship for the summer,

    1) It’s almost May. Of course there are no internships open here. What were you doing until now?
    2) Your email is totally a form letter. Really. So clearly a form letter. I don’t care that you went to the trouble to tell me you play varsity squash (and I would care about that because…?). You can still totally tell it’s form letter.
    3) If you use a form letter and do find/replace for the organization names, at least go back through and check to make sure you didn’t wind up with wonky capitalization/spacing issues. Because you did.
    4) At least research my organization so you know what we do. We’re a little different and your email blast clearly includes a number of organizations quite different from mine.

    I will still write you back because I’m nice and you’re only like 20 years old, and because I think someone should tell you these things. But seriously, didn’t career services tell you these things? Or did they tell you and you thought “ugh, that’s so much work!” Yeah. I’ve been a 20 year old college student, too.

    • I had one a few years ago that sent me an intro email with smileys (and several other really bad things). I met with her and told her nicely that she should not do this. I like to think that it was helpful.

    • anonymous :

      My BIL (23 and out of college) went to a few informational interviews and asked for a job, and was very disappointed when he didn’t get one.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I’m actually really disappointed in career services at most colleges. They are extremely unhelpful. I had no idea most internships were lined up months in advance my first year of applying.

    • Wildkitten :

      I did real dumb stuff like that when I was that age. Tell him. He has the rest of his life to use the knowledge of how to do it right.

    • I got an email once in comic sans and cringed so hard!

    • Anonymous :

      My daughter is in college, a pretty good one, and when she tells me about the advice career services give to students, I want to scream and throw things at walls. It’s not just useless – it can seriously harm the chances of the students who follow it, especially if their parents do not get involved or have never worked in an office.

  5. Anooooooon :

    I am a lawyer in my second year at a plaintiffs side firm in DC and I am looking to make a move somewhere else. I would like to go to another plaintiffs side firm if possible. I have no idea how to do this – suggestions? I’ve been looking into clerkships as an exit strategy but since I can’t get any help from my firm, I am having a heck of a time getting letters and stuff together. Any suggestions for maybe a recruiter or something that could help?

    • Are there other plaintiff-side shops in DC that you admire? Maybe they were co-counsel on a matter with yours, or they’re doing the kind of cases you would like to be doing? Maybe you could contact them directly with a very targeted inquiry? From what I understand, Plaintiff shops are well networked so even if the shop you contact isn’t looking for another associate, they may know someone who is. Caveat that your inquiry may get back to your firm through back channels even if supposedly confidential.

    • Need to Improve :

      If you are looking at clerkships you do not need a letter from your firm if it is your second year out of school. Get letters from professors and apply the same way you would have in law school. It is a lot of work but it is what you need to do to apply.

    • Join your local trial lawyers association and attend any events they have so that you meet other Plaintiff attorneys in the area. I’ve found that, at least in Dallas, jobs don’t always get posted but are found via referrals.

  6. So I finally had some dedicated lunch time (as opposed to eating during meetings, yuck) and came across that laundry thread. I do not wash my clothes every time I wear them except for underwear and socks. I wear form fitting t-shirts under blouses and dresses and wash those instead. Once I rediscovered the concept of “under shirts”, my clothes are much happier. I have a few in every color.

    • Anonattorney :

      I do the same thing. I wear camisoles that come up fairly high under the arm. To the extent I do sweat at all during the day, those camisoles seem to work as a decent protective shield. Add on the fact that I usually wear tights/hose/skimmies, I don’t really need to wash skirts, dresses or pants very often. I probably wash my sweaters once every few months (unless they get dirty from food), and dry clean my other work clothes once every six months. I iron at home.

      I may not be as perfectly professional and polished as I could be, but it’s pretty cheap and easy.

  7. Anonymous :

    Oooh I’ve been eyeing this tote, but $265 is a lot for non-leather. I might have to splurge on it though.

    Design question: We bought a house with a perfect location and price and a good floorplan, but with an interior I’m not a big fan of & we are doing a lot of remodeling work. I really want dark cabinets and light-colored (cream or white) granite in the kitchen. The problem is we have medium brown, sort of orange-y hardwood floors in there now. I think the dark cabinets can work with either really light colored hardwood (contrast) or dark hardwood (matching), but the color we have now would really clash. I know hardwood can be sanded down and stained, but the hardwood in there is also extremely narrow planks, which looks dated and 1990s-ish to me (think this style but darker brown/orange:, so I’m leaning towards ripping it up and replacing it. But because we have the same color hardwood floor throughout the first floor of our house, we’d have to replace kitchen, dining room, entryway and banisters (which match the floor). So I have a few questions (but also welcome any general advice anyone has):
    1) Am I crazy to rip out hardwood floors that are generally in good condition? My husband thinks so. The floors in there now are as old as the house (15 years) but really look very good, except for the fact that I think they are ugly as-installed. I’m aware that a more modern style of hardwood floor won’t add much (if any) resale value to our house, but from what I can tell, it’s also not a huge expense (<$5K) and might be worth it just for our happiness while we live there (we plan to stay 10+ years).
    2) If we do replace them, should we go light or dark? I like the contrast between light wood floors and dark cabinets (like this and I've heard light hardwood is a lot more forgiving with scratches, pet toenails, etc (we have a dog). But I want to do gray walls, and I love the look of dark hardwood with that, and I'm not sure light hardwood would work on the banisters. Light floors and dark banisters could work? I've seen photos with that that I find very attractive. Is that a trend that will look super dated soon?

    (sorry if this posts twice, having problems posting)

    • anon prof :

      I’d go dark. Maybe you can get the existing ones refinished in dark and save some money –you can stain them darker but not lighten them.

    • Refinishing existing hardwood floors is a messy process, so hopefully you haven’t moved in yet. I didn’t love light hardwood floors either, but after moving into a house with them, I’ve grown to like themt. It makes the house seem much lighter and allows us to do some strong colors on the walls without the floor fighting for attention. They are also better about hiding dirt and dog/kid scratches (they are oak with a decent poly coat on them). We do still see the dings from dog nails and such, but that happens with all wood floors.
      In our previous house we had dark (pre-finished) floors installed. They were lovely when clean, but showed dirt and smudges really fast. With dogs and a kid, that meant pretty constant smudges.

    • PinkKeyboard :

      I’d look into the cost of new vs refinishing. Depending on what wood you would be replacing with the cost differential may be minimal if you choose pre-finished wood to go down as the replacement. It’s over 3$ per sq ft for refinishing. That said, we had the narrow oak floors and my husband refinished them to dark walnut and now I love them. I wanted wider planks but now I’m very unbothered.

    • Must be Tuesday :

      Don’t rip out perfectly good hardwood floors. Refinish them. It’s a messy project, but it’s over quickly (around 3-4 days) and hopefully you haven’t moved in yet and don’t have any furniture in the house. Have all the floors done at once and then hire someone to clean afterwards, before you move in or start painting. You can also have the bannisters stained to match the floor. It’s much less expensive to refinish floors than to rip them out and replace them.

      When I moved into my house, my floors looked almost exactly like the ones in your picture. I hated the color and thought it looked dated, plus the floors were scratched and worn almost everywhere. After refinishing them, they looked brand new. I was amazed at the difference, and so was everyone who had seen them before they were refinished.

      I personally like dark floors, but the lighter ones are sharp too. If you want the same color floor throughout the house, think about how the light vs. dark will work in other rooms besides the kitchen. Maintaining the same floor color room to room helps the house feel like one connected unit with the rooms flowing into each other. Different colored floors can make each room feel like it’s just dropped into the house without being connected to anything else on either side of it. Light or dark floors can look good with grey if you match the shades well. If you leave the bannister dark and don’t like it a few years down the road, that’s a fairly small project to fix while you’re living there.

      • NavyLawyer :

        It’s funny, I used to like dark floors but now don’t, and wonder if it’s just trendy. It does darken the house quite a bit. Are dark floors like dark cars where you see the dirt faster?

    • Are you planning to replace the cabinets that are there, or just repaint them? If replace, and especially if you plan to change the layout at all, pull up the molding around the cabinets and see if the flooring goes under the cabinets.

      Our house had a major kitchen remodel about 5 years before we bought it and it looks like the previous owners did the whole thing all at once – cabinets, flooring, the works, and the flooring extends to the rooms beyond the kitchens. We went to make a minor change recently that required pulling up one of the cabinets and we were horrified to find that the flooring doesn’t go under the cabinets – so if we ever want to do a change involving a major kitchen layout re-arrangement, we will have to rip out the flooring in multiple rooms, or else change the flooring only in the kitchen and have it not match the rooms it leads into and out of. The floors look really nice and are not cheap (and are pretty much the thing in the house we actually like most and would be the last thing to change on our list of things to change, compared to the cabinets, countertops and other things that are just not our style) so this was a pretty frustrating discovery and puts a possible kitchen remodel far less likely for us now.

      If flooring doesn’t go under the cabinets, and you are going to change the layout – you’ll need to replace or patch the floor anyway, so you’ll need to change at least the kitchen and may as well look at the price of changing out the whole first floor.

      • If you have wood flooring, a hardwood flooring pro can match the color of the existing stain pretty well, so you might not have to rip out other flooring – you’d get the same wood, unstained, and the pro would match the stain for you. We added wood flooring in a space that had carpet, and the company we used was able to get basically an exact match.

  8. A couple of months ago I mentioned the Victorian Women’s Lit class I was taking – I thought this might be an okay place to share that my term paper mark was the best academic grade I’ve ever had – high enough that I didn’t know it was possible to get that grade! I can’t share this with many real life people for fear of seeming like I’m boasting, so I hope it’s okay to share it here.

  9. Anonymous :

    What does your office look like? Like, how clean is it?

    What are you strategies for keeping paper under control?

    • I clean it every day at the end of the day, even if it’s just to shift my papers around on my desk so they look like pretty stacks, instead of messy stacks. I also put almost all loose stuff (paperclips, pens, etc) in a drawer before I leave. I sometimes leave one or two things I know i have to do first thing in the morning right on my desk in front of my computer so when I get in the next day I know I have to do that first.

      For papers… I use folders for almost everything (otherwise it’ll probably get lost) and have them on the shelf and in drawers. For notebooks, I tab pages with matters and cut them out of the notebook to put into folders when a project is complete.

      Although I’m relatively clean in the office… my apartment is a mess. So there’s that. haha. But I can always seem to find something in the apt when it’s dirty and can never find anything once I clean it.

    • Wildkitten :

      I have some very pretty inboxes and each week I clear it down to only have a pile that fits in my inbox. I use a physical box to limit the number of books in my “to read” stack as well.

    • I learned from a former coworker the concept of “putting your day away.” At the end of each day my desk is clear, papers in folders or files or drawers where they belong, pens in pen cups, chair pushed in, etc. This helps a lot with switching my brain from work-mode to home-mode.

    • Coach Laura :

      I’m in finance, and due to privacy reasons I never leave customer files out over night. I have a folder (clear, colored plastic) for each active deal/project and then a few “to be filed” papers in a separate stack to give to my admins for filing. Every week I go through the folders and cull unneeded papers, put some in the to-be-filed stack and free up the folder of completed deals/projects. I have an in-box but only keep trade publications in it to read later.

  10. Nice bag!

  11. anonypotamus :

    I posted my review of this bag a few weeks ago on a coffee break thread, but figured I’d repost in case anyone was interested:

    I got this bag (in the purple/blue color) for Christmas and have been using it as a work bag. for the most part, I really like it.

    Pros: holds a lot (work laptop, ipad, wallet, water bottle, a few folders), super durable, easy to clean, great color (get tons of compliments), and the straps are pretty comfortable. I like the interior organization, the feet on the bottom, and the fact that it is structured enough to stand up and stay up on its own. I like that it has a zip top

    Cons: when fully loaded, it is pretty heavy and it’s larger in dimensions than my previous work bag (MK laptop bag that Apple sold a while back). It does not tuck well under airplane seats (because the handles stand up). You can smoosh them down to get it to fit, but it isn’t graceful. While I like the full zip, because of the way the zipper is attached, it leaves a gap on either end of the bag that is not closed up. (I couldn’t find a good photo, but if you google image “dagne dover tote zipped up” you can kind of see the way the zipper is attached). I haven’t encountered any issues with things falling out going through security at either court/the airport, but it wasn’t exactly the design I was picturing.

    Overall, I really like it and am looking forward to seeing how it holds up to daily use. I switch out to another lighter bag (like the OG) when I travel as it is lighter and seems to hold more things.

    • Carrie... :

      This is really useful. Thank you for re-posting this.

      I am constantly looking for a durable and stylish work bag, that is structured but as light as possible. I use a nylon bag right now, but it really doesn’t look very nice. I had hoped the coated canvas would be almost as light as nylon.

      Could you make a guess how much heavier your bag feels compared with the OG, when comparably packed?

    • The weight of the bag listed on the website website was surprisingly high.

    • pretty bag, but :

      I ordered this bag and returned it. It’s very pretty, but I found it to be very heavy (with no laptop, just my regular everyday bag contents), and also a bit too big for my frame. I ended up with a Graf and Lantz tote which is light as a feather (it’s mostly wool), but I don’t know yet how durable it will be.

      • Carrie.... :

        Graf and Lantz.. Which tote did you get? I do like them. Can you manage your lap top in it, or does it collapse with the weight? Thanks for mentioning this. Light as a feather.. Such beautiful words….

        • pretty bag, but :

          I don’t see it for sale online but I got the Cosmo Petite. I think the shape would hold up well with a laptop

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