Coffee Break: Martha Medium Satchel Bag

Furla Martha Medium Satchel BagI’ve always been a big fan of Furla bags, and this red croc-embossed leather satchel looks like a gorgeous, work-appropriate tote. At 10″x13″x4″ it could certainly be bigger, but this would be a great daily (or interview bag) for a lot of us. (Note that this dark burgundy and navy look great together!) There’s also a slightly larger “medium shopper” (12″x12″x6″).  It was $348, but is marked to $187.50 through April 2. Furla Martha Medium Satchel Bag



  1. Senior Attorney :

    Wow. All I have to say is that is one gorgeous bag, and it looks like a great deal!

    • Yes, beautiful! And surprisingly reasonable. I remember practically pressing my nose up against the glass of the Furla store in Milan. In love. But not really having the guts to go in. But hey, if it were today, I’d go right in!

    • Fooey! I love this FURLA Satchel, but I just bought another one, and it’s to late to return it b/c the baby spit up on it this weekend at Dad’s house. DOUBEL FOOEY!

      I learned from mom to be pateint and not to let men fluster me. The manageing partner has been pusheing for me to get new busness b/c we need to make more money to pay the tax bill, but I realy think I should NOT be responsibel for that b/c I did NOT get a partnership share in those year’s, which must of been alot bigger b/c they were short paying the taxe’s. But NO, the manageing partner want’s me to carry the load on it and pay it off thru more work so that he and his dad can make alot more money. FOOEY!

      Dad say’s I should negotiatite for a $75,000 raise, b/c He figure’s if I am going to HAVE TO work another 600 hours (at $700/hour), that is breinging in another $420,000 GROSS into the billiengs, so I should get the equivealant of a “tip” of $75K, which is less then 18%. It make’s alot of sense to me, but I wonder if the manageing partner is goeing to get MAD at me, like he alway’s does when I ask for more money. I DO have expenses, and I DO love this satchel, but I worry that he will take away my clotheing allowance if he gives me another $75K. What does the hive think? Should I even ask for it? Why do I have these delimmas? Why can’t I just get prince Charming to find me and MARRY me already so I can have kid’s! I am so stressed over this now. TRIPEL FOOEY!

  2. I love the quality of Furla bags.

  3. Beautiful. This bag might convert me to burgundy leather!

  4. Styling help! I bought the following items while I was vacationing in Europe.

    The dress: If I belt this, can I pull it off in a California business casual work setting?

    The cardigan/jacket thing: Kind of lost here. I got it on a total whim. It’s very different from anything I have or would usually buy, but it was cool looking and on sale. Any ideas as to what to wear it with? The model photo is a bit too hippie-looking for me.

    • Dress:


      • I love the dress but I don’t think I’d love it as much belted. As for the cardigan, to me it looks like lightweight outerwear and that’s how I’d wear it. The neutral color would go with a lot of outfits.

      • BankrAtty :

        The dress: for sure.

        The cardigan/jacket: thsi looks like weekend wear to me. I would pair it with skinny jeans or other slim pants so you have less volume on the bottom to balance the sweater.

    • hoola hoopa :

      The dress would work in west coast business casual. I’m also not sure whether I’d belt it, though.

      One of my favorite sweaters was very similar to that one. I wore it away from the office with just about everything. For style, though, I agree to wear with skinny jeans or other low-volume bottom.

    • How’s the dress length on you – in my opinion on the model it looks too short to be work-appropriate. I personally don’t favor these shapeless shifts, so (if the length is sufficient) I would try belting it.
      The cardigan I agree is casual wear. Or I’d keep it in my office for chilly days but not wear to meetings.

  5. Mint green ballet flats :

    Wow, this is gorgeous. Is this wide enough to hold documents/file folders.

  6. Anonymous :

    How do you keep your books organized at home?

    I have a lot of books, and when I add new ones, I tend to just squeeze them into a bookcase wherever I can make them fit, but that means they’re unorganized. I started rearranging them this weekend, which is a huge undertaking, and stopped halfway, because I realized I didn’t know how to order them effectively.

    • In the library, which used to be a spare bedroom. Removed closet (about 8 feet wide, with two sliding mirrors) and replaced with built-in bookshelf. Supplemented with two six-feet high free-standing bookshelves and one three-foot free-standing bookshelf. And, in last couple years, many, many piles of books that don’t fit anywhere.

      Fiction and non-fiction separated. Fiction alphabetically by author. Non-fiction by subject. Husband’s foreign-language books separate (to be distinguished from my foreign language textbooks and dictionaries — his are actually reading books).

      Started reading trash/one-time only books on iPad last year. But non-fiction and literature that I want to interlineate (interlineate — not annotate, so please don’t talk to me about how I can do that in iBooks) I still purchase on paper.

      • PS: yes, I used to work in a library. I actually contemplated using the Dewey decimal system a couple years ago, but chose instead to purchase a few thousand custom-printed bookplates. I had intended to put one in each book. HA! But I use them liberally when books leave the house.

      • Just want to say that this is my DREAM! Sounds amazing.

      • and I am So. Totes. Jells. that you have a whole library room!! Siiigghhhhh…..

        • Used to have one, when I had a husband who collected books. But you will see what’s left next week!

    • We separate n0n-fiction by subject, and fiction by genre and then by author, so my boys know exactly what shelves to go to if they are looking for something new to read & don’t accidentally pull out one of my romances, or Game of Thrones.

    • Anne Shirley :

      By color. It pleases me , gives everything a home, and motivates me to keep at it. But key for me is purging. If I’m going to buy 2 feet worth of books in a year, I need to prioritize donating that many as well.

      • GAH!!! I would weep salty tears if I gave up my books! They are my one thing that I love so hard that I have to move them everywhere I go.

        • I once went on a date with a guy who swore it was a sign of true love when you were ready to combine books. I still can’t decide whether that was charming or a sign that I was not ready for true love (give up my books?! what if we don’t like the same things?)

      • Senior Attorney :

        I remember many years ago when my then-husband and I were expecting DS, the library was going to become the nursery. So we took boxes and boxes of books to a used book dealer, who looked us up and down and said “Hmmm. You don’t seem like the kind of people who sell your books.”

        Oh, yes. Salty tears were wept!

    • Depending on how many books you have and how often you need to find a certain one, you could think about arranging them by color. The effect can be quite pretty.

    • I have seen pictures of books organized by color of the spine. If you’ve got the right kind of décor in your house, it looks so cool. I am not sure that’s the answer you were looking for, but just a thought.

      • I, too, have seen this and agree that it looks awesome. The downside, however, is that unless you can remember what color the book is it is hard to find a particular book when you are looking for it.

        • This would be my problem too (getting over my OCD for having nearly everything in alpha order, of course, except for my Beatles albums, which are always, always, always in release order)

      • I’ve adapted this with white-spined books on the white shelves which are an original architectural feature of my house, and everything else on the dark wood shelves which we installed when we moved in. It does look a bit ‘design-y’ but we can maintain a more logical order within the light/ dark sections, so no big problems locating stuff.

    • Shopaholic :

      I’m a bit of a freak so I have them organized by size – any other method would be easier to find things but wouldn’t look as nice I think.

      Also only have one bookcase because I’ve moved so many times in the last 8 years that I had to downsize, which makes me sad.

    • I have mine organized by color. I know what all of the covers look like, so I can find every book I want. Before that, I organized them by subject.

    • hoola hoopa :

      You sound a lot like my husband, so I’ll start by lovingly advising that you probably need another bookshelf. Maybe two.

      We separate non-fiction and fiction, then clump by topic. “His topics” are generally separated from “my topics” when applicable. We don’t bother with author name (unless author is essentially a topic), but we do consider size.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        This is what we do too. We need more bookshelves since the 3 large ones we have are bursting, but we are out of room in our apartment.

    • Bookcases and shelves by subject area. I have a vague memory of having the subject groups alphabetized at some point, but that was a long time ago. The magazines I have saved are in holders by date and issue number, but that is a remnant from that distant past when I had time to do that sort of thing.

    • I am such a freak about the organizing of my books. The ‘organize by color’ thing looks cool in other people’s houses, but I think I would literally lose my mind if I tried to do it! I really desperately need to find a specific book when I go looking for it.

      I have one book case for fiction: ‘literature’ organized alphabetically by author on top, on the bottom more mass market fiction type stuff, also alphabetically by author. Everything else organized by subject and then author by last name. So, my nonfiction bookshelves have a shelf of bio/memoir, a shelf of travel guides/travel lit, a current events section, history section, race/gender studies, political theory/philosophy, etc…. But like I said I am completely obsessed bananapants about my books. It is always the first thing I do when I move into a new place. And whenever my ‘new’ books start overflowing their assigned sections, I spend a day pulling down entire shelves and reorganizing the space. … Yeah…. have a little bit of a problem….

    • I organize by type rather than by author (so I can jump to a bunch of selections if I am in the mood for non fiction science, or non fiction history, or poems, or sci fi etc. french, russian, british, american lit all have their own shelves. work related books all go on another).

    • I play Book Jenga until the whole stack tumbles. Rinse, lather, repeat.

      I suppose it’s time we buy more bookcases.

  7. Anonymous :

    Shopping help/advice needed please! I am newly single and have no idea what people wear on dates for coffee/drinks/dinner/whatever. I’m 35, have 2 small kids and looking at my wardrobe it all seems a little too covered up. Can the hive help me come up with a few outfit ideas? I’m a size 6/8 and have an hourglass/slight pear shape. If you have tips on how I can wear part of these outfits to work, too (attorney, small firm), that would be amazing!

    • Anne Shirley :

      I usually wear work clothes during the week, or a jersey dress/jeans and a low cut top on weekends. For post work I typically go with whichever skirt/dress combo I’m feeling prettiest in at the moment.

    • Wildkitten :

      Sheath dresses go well from work evening.

    • I have the same problem! I feel like work clothes are too dressy to meet someone casually for a drink or so, unless you are planning to meet at happy hour right after work. I usually end up wearing dark jeans, flats or small heels, and a wrap top. I would stay away from things that might seem frumpy – like I’d wear a Land’s End dress to work, but it seems too mumsy for me to wear on a date.

      • Anonymous :

        OP here. I think I need to get some low-cut tops or something. Last time I was single I was 22!

        • hoola hoopa :

          I was astonished by how low cut my maternity clothes from my first pregnancy were when I pulled them out for my second! Apparently my wardrobe had aged a lot on those three years.

        • If you find any that you like, it would be awesome if you posted them. My casual wardrobe is lacking and I am having a hard time picking out tops lately.

    • hoola hoopa :

      I can’t really help, although I’m curious about answers, but I have a suggestion as a mid-30’s mom of two who needed to get her groove back: black leggings and black knit mini skirt (mini can be a relative term). They are as functional and cozy as oversized fleece sweats when chasing kids, but a heck of a lot s*xier. Probably not appropriate for first dates (?) but helpful for changing your mental image of yourself while hanging out with the kiddos.

    • TO Lawyer :

      I wear work clothes if I’m meeting someone after work (and my first and usually second dates are all during the week – don’t want to waste a weekend on a new guy). I wear something cute to work and make sure to accessorize but refuse to change if I’m meeting someone after work (mostly because it’s too much effort for a first date… gotta keep those expectations low).

      If you don’t want to wear work clothes, I suggest jeans and nice top (doesn’t have to be low cut but I find skinny jeans and a silk blouse and heels looks fantastic and is appropriate for pretty much any occasion). Jeans and a nice-tshirt with a blazer on top would look great too. In the spring/summer, I wear casual dresses.

      keep your hair and makeup simple and pretty.

      Good luck!

    • kjoirishlastname :

      sleeveless shell with some kind of interesting feature (neckline, embellishment, the layered ruffles) under a cardi with a skirt or pants to work, change to date night heels or skinny jeans for evening, lose the cardi??

  8. Lands End sale and I’m going to buy The Ponte Sheath in a pattern. If I had to pick one, would you go with the leopard print or the sarsaparilla dots (brown w/white polka dots)? I can wear both to work.

    I have a 30% off coupon code so I’m tempted to just get both…would come out to $20 apiece.

    • The center seam is less noticeable on the leopard.

    • kjoirishlastname :

      the center seam is the ONE thing that turned me off to a lot of the prints of that dress. It’s like Rule #1 of dressmaking: match the patterns (especially geometric) along a seam.

    • hoola hoopa :

      I’ve never been one for leopard print and love polka dots, but if they are equal to you then I’d get the leopard. Center seam less obvious. And the polka dots are fairly subtle if you’re looking for A Patterned Dress.

    • Meg Murry :

      I bought the polka dots and really liked it and the pattern seemed lined up enough not to look terrible with the center seam, but I returned it only because I don’t have shoes purse etc to go with a brown dress and didn’t want to invest in them. FYI the dots are both cream and tan which is a cute touch IMO. But then again I’m not a leopard print person so my vote is definitely for the dots.

  9. Threadjack: I’m mourning the death of the JCrew Cece shoe. Apparently they discontinued them in favor of their much sloppier, casual looking Emma. I’m now attempting to hoard pairs via ebay.

    • Anonymous :

      ME TOO. I am so sad. And am now looking for a replacement for the perfect comfy/cute/professional ballet flats. Any suggestions?

      • I was looking for a replacement for black ballerinas that I wore to death, and tried on the Emma, which I hated. I ended up with Pretty Ballerinas, in black, quilted, with a patent cap toe. The pair I replaced was also this brand (2 stores in NYC – which is where I bought mine. Only 1 store in Canada (Montreal), but these feel great, have a tiny heel and feel substantial, in a good way.

        • Anonymous :

          Thank you soooo much. I just ordered the sally wedges in black suede. They are the perfect balance between dainty look and legitimate shoe. Yay, excited!

    • Me too! I haven’t bought any of the Emma, but it doesn’t look nearly as nice, so I don’t intend to. I’ll be following this thread with interest.

    • anonyomous :

      I love AGL flats. They withstand so much wearing without looking shabby and they are sooo comfy to wear all day long. I wore them all through traveling in Europe without a single issue.

  10. Chico’s thoughts anyone?

    I have never shopped there, but a fashion blogger (of a certain age) who has pretty great style recommends them. I checked out the website last night and had to wade through a lot of polyester and “cougar” looking prints. I found a nice white cotton blouse I may or may not purchase.

    Can someone weigh in about the quality, etc. of this retailer?

    • I have some nice things from Chico’s (not the polyester and crazy prints and bling) and I find them to be decent quality. I’m *really* picky about what I’ll buy there. I used to shop there more because I had a friend who shopped there regularly and she was my shopping buddy. I have a beautiful sweater coat that people rave about every time I wear it. A nice denim jacket. Some solid v-neck cardigans. And a pretty black zip hooded jacket from the Zenergy line. I haven’t shopped there in years, so all of these things are holding up!

      • Thanks! Some of the prices look decent and some I would not consider a good value. But for some basics (the blogger highly recommends their tanks and tees) this may be a good resource. I think I will buy the one blouse as a test.

        • FWIW, when my friend worked in a very conservative industry (MSL in pharma), she wore the Chico’s blouses with her suits. They were a staple. I don’t wear button down blouses (too big in the chest) so I never tried them.

    • hoola hoopa :

      All I know is that I ruthlessly teased my husband when he was watching a show with a Chico’s ad on every commercial break.

      The brand always feels very “I’d be a cougar if I were 20 years younger” – but I believe Soma is a Chico’s and the quality of the Soma underwear is good so I’d think Chico’s clothing was as well. My guess is that they are a mark-up-to-mark-down kind of store.

  11. WHAT, Lightning and Thunder in the SF Bay?!??!? This is crazy!!

    • Orangerie :

      Really dreading leaving my warm, dry office this afternoon!

      Also, cue all the armchair weathermen “oh we really need the rain.” Ugh yes WE KNOW.

      • oh yeah, I know we need it, I am ok with that.. but the thunder just totally freaked me out!! ;o)

    • Mary Ann Singleton :

      This was a good day to work from home…. Not sure how I’m going to convince my dog to step outside in this weather.

      • I live in an area of the country that gets pretty frequent thunderstorms, and the funny thing is that my dog does not mind at all the thunder, lightning, or rain pelting him–he does however get freaked out by the umbrella opening or the sight of me (or anyone) with a hood. It is the cutest thing to see his reaction when he first looks at me after I’ve pulled my hood over my head.

    • mama of 2 :

      I practically jumped out of my skin when I heard the thunder – this never happens!

    • Pelting down so hard my office windows are rattling! What!
      (And yes I realize some of you are battling snow as we speak, and have been for months.)

  12. Loftaholic :

    Ok, I need an intervention. I looked down today and realized my skirt, top, sweater and necklace are all from LOFT. Even my coat is! I think that store makes up about 90% of my workwear because it fits me, matches my style, and is soo affordable.

    Suggestions for similar places to shop? I need to expand my horizons!

    • hoola hoopa :

      Former loft addict – because it’s a perfect match for my style and fit, also. Lands End, JJill, Halogen, and Pendleton (outlet) have been getting most of my money since. LE and Halogen have the same perfect fit in tops, but I’ve been struggling to find an equally perfect fit in jeans.

      Have you found that their quality has improved? I shopped there almost exclusively until about 3-4 years ago when the quality downturn accelerated, but You Look Fab recently reported that the quality seems to be going back up? If you’re a long-term fan (5+ years), I’d love a review.

      • I was at Loft (both outlet and retail) stores over the weekend. I was mainly looking at tops and I liked the many of them. The colors, prints and cuts were very nice. However I didn’t buy because the fabric was very flimsy and transparent. I was not sure if it holds up even for a couple of washes…I liked cardigans though but I was not in the market for them..May be it is worth a trip for you..

    • baseballfan :

      I have the same issue only with White House/Black Market.

      I don’t know if this is helpful at all, but for years I’ve been sort of a serial monogamist with my shopping. Some years ago I was a Loft addict, and then went to Banana Republic, and now it’s WHBM. So maybe BR?

    • I absolutely love The Loft, but it doesn’t completely dominate my wardrobe because I also love The Limited (very similar prices, style, inventory) and H&M (I know they make a lot of disposable club wear, but some of their work stuff is actually pretty nice – I have a $50 blazer that’s held up well to at-least-weekly wear for the past two years).

  13. also: Super cuteness for anyone who needs a smile-break:
    10 Oscar Nominees Posing with Their Younger Selves

    • Weeeeiiird. Notice how Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep apparently haven’t aged? Also, does anyone besides me remember Leonardo DiCaprio on Growing Pains?

      • MeMeMeMeMeMe!!!! I remember!!!
        And Christian Bale in Empire of the Sun??? Anyone??

        • Tradionalist :

          Yep, I got you, zora. I watched that at least 800 times.

          • Traditionalist :

            And apparently, the memory of Empire of the Sun got me so frazzled that I couldn’t even spell my name correctly in the first post…

          • I was too busy watching Newsies on repeat…

          • hoola hoopa :

            Add me to the group who watched Newsies and Empire of the Sun way too many times!

          • Had about 5 years to be obsessed with adorable “Empire of the Sun” Christian Bale before he became Cowboy Jack. ;o)

  14. Packing advice? :

    Next month I will be going on a business trip, followed by vacation, and need some advice on packing. I’m a VERY light packer (seriously only took a backpack for a 3 week trip last summer) and can only take a carry on suitcase for this trip due to all the traveling (ferries, etc). I’m trying to figure out what mix & match essentials I can bring that will work for the work trip and then for vacation. Any advice? I will need at least 2 business formal outfits.

    • Moon Moon :

      I have done this, only in reverse. I had my secretary fed ex a box with business clothing in it. I was going to be on a lengthy business trip though (4+ weeks) so carrying all of that around on my vacation was a no-go.

      I did find that what is suggested in the post below was helpful — silk blouses do double duty for me, and are relatively easy to hotel-wash because they dry quickly. I found a camel blazer was great for going around during my vacation, but you haven’t given us location so I’m not sure of weather. I would try to cut down on shoes where possible — if you have a very comfortable pair of neutral or black flats that could do double duty, that would cut down on bulk. Also, wear one blazer on the plane as an extra layer — less likely to get crushed and won’t take up as much room.

    • What type of activities will you be doing on your vacation? And what is the climate like where you are going?

    • Coach Laura :

      The blogger Roadwarriore*t*t*e (remove the * marks) dot com talks a lot about wardrobes for business travel and I think she’s done some posts on combined business/personal trip wardrobes.

    • Bring a suit and wear it with a different top for both the days on which formal is required. You can also get a couple of less formal outfits out of the bottom by pairing with a suitable blouse or sweater, and the jacket can go with jeans on the vacation days.

      For me, this usually translates into a trouser suit, a couple of cardi twin-sets (one off-white, one in the same colour as my suit), jeans, dress loafers and some kind of rubber-soled flat (sometimes a ballet flat, sometimes a retro-style trainer in a bright colour). Limited ironing required, bulky shoes kept to a minimum, and still lots of room to add coats, scarves, leggings, additional t-shirts and anything else required by weather or specific events (I occasionally go to black-tie stuff while on the road).

  15. also (sorry!) paging Patrice Behnstedt, I posted a response to your question about what book(s) I am reading on the morning thread. ;o)

  16. Can any of the DC ‘r*ttes recommend a pedicure place that uses plain plastic tubs that they clean/re-line with plastic for each use rather than the stationary ones with jets? I will be there for a conference and may want to stop in at the end of the day. Staying near Metro Center, but I’ll be out and about so don’t need to be right there if there’s a better place further away.

    • Qi Spa in Georgetown does this (or did, I haven’t been there recently). Not super convenient but also not terribly far away.

  17. New to "professional" dressing :

    If any group can help, it’s certainly this one! I have a few preMBA events coming up soon that I’m very excited about (I’m starting this summer/fall). At these events I’ll be meeting students, alumni etc. I come from a super casual work environment where I always look put together/nice but I wear jeans everyday – so I’m just wondering what exactly is appropriate to wear to these things. One event calls for “business” attire and the others are “business casual”. Does “business” always mean a suit? Is business casual just “polished but no jeans”? What on earth do I wear on my feet?

    • Wildkitten :

      Yes – business means suit and business casual means polished but no jeans. Might as well buy things you can wear for all future such events that you’ll encounter in MBA-school. Where are you, geographically? West/South/Mid/East? CHS has a good post on what black flats are business if you prefer flats:

      • New to "professional" dressing :

        Thanks! That link was super helpful. I definitely have some black flats that are out of the running now. I guess I have some shopping to do…I’m on the East Coast (events are in NYC).

    • Orangerie :

      Business means full suit, but since it isn’t an interview environment you can have a bit more fun with your other pieces (brighter colored blouses, bolder jewelry, etc).

      My favorite business casual combination is a sheath dress with a coordinating blazer. If you pick up a jacket in a subtle tweed, you can mix it with your suit separates for more business casual outfits. I also really like the J.Crew navy schoolboy blazer if I want to make my dresses more casual.

      As far as shoes, it really depends on what color your foundation suit pieces are. If the majority of your pieces are black and grey, a pair of 2-3″ closed toe black pumps will go with almost everything and shouldn’t be too hard to find. Lots of people here like nude-for-you patent leather pump but I prefer a darker tan/cognac leather with navy suits in the summer.

  18. Shoe help needed! I’m going to a black tie wedding this weekend and I’m renting a floor-length dress. I was planning to wear heels but I recently sprained my ankle. Can I wear black flats?

    • Orangerie :

      I think black flats would look really odd with a black tie gown. What about metallic, flat, strappy sandals? I’m thinking along the lines of these:

      • Orangerie :

        These are also cute but are probably a wear once type of purchase, whereas you could rewear the sandals:

    • That sounds a bit too casual. What about embellished or glittery flats?

    • hoola hoopa :

      Link to dress? I feel like the answer depends on the dress.

      I see nothing wrong with wearing black flats to a black tie wedding in principle. If that’s more your question.

      I assume you’ve thought about the dress length issue?

    • Well if you’re hurt, you’re hurt! How about something embellished so that if it peeks out it looks fancy like this:

  19. Anonymous :

    A friend of a friend reached out and sent his resume and asked if I want to get coffee. I like him and am willing to pass his resume along if something comes up but don’t really want to get coffee with him. Thoughts on how to softly decline that?

    • Suggest a quick phone call instead of coffee? During which you can tell him to look and identify suitable roles and you are willing to pass on his resume, etc. That’s probably what he had hoped to come out of the coffee meeting, anyway.

    • Wildkitten :

      Why don’t you want to get coffee? (I think this answer would inform my answer)

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