The last four years or so have seen a seemingly endless parade of bags that haven't quite worked for their purpose. It started with a pretty magenta faux-leather bag that was the perfect size and shape by a Portland bag designer called Queen Bee. I loved that bag, and used it every day until the straps totally crapped out. I wanted to buy another one, but they stopped including this size in their line-up.
So I moved on to a Namaste Hermosa bag. It was perfect in many ways, but again I had strap issues - this time, only four months after I bought it. I did take it to Japan with me, though, because it fit my books and umbrella and cash with ease, and just tried not to look at the super stretched out handles. The only problem was that it was a bag that was too big for the Japanese lifestyle, in an almost comical way. Every time I got on a packed train with my gigantic-ass bag, I held on for dear life while the train pitched back and forth, hoping that my bag wouldn't end up in some poor obāsan's face.
And, while I was in Kyoto one weekend, I found a great little bag for 500 yen. I started using this one, and when the handles of the Hermosa started driving me too crazy, I switched to it as my primary bag.
It worked pretty well, although it wasn't big enough to carry schoolbooks or bigger knitting projects around. This bag lasted until last June, when I was stepping off of a hotel shuttle and one of the straps ripped off completely. So I was back to square one: no bag, but this time while traveling, when I really, really, really needed a bag. I ducked into a vintage shop, bought a $15 bag that was too small, and thought no problem, I'll just buy a new one when I get home!
And then I figured out that the kind of bag I need is completely out of style in the mid-range bag market, and the high-end bags all cost upwards of a thousand dollars. So it was six months later, after a lot of searching, that I found a bag that fit all of my criteria: must be big enough to carry at least one notebook, my lunch, my knitting, all of my keys and cards, and the random crochet hooks, measuring tape, and stitch markers that I invariably need while I'm out and a knitting project hits a snag.
While out Christmas shopping with my mom, I walked into Coach on a last desperate search for a bag that served my purposes and was under two grand, and found this beauty, a Madison Leather Lindsay Satchel in Cherry. Actually, they didn't have the Cherry in the store, but I saw the color and fell in love, and my awesome mom decided to get me an early Christmas present. And about a week later, after years and years of buying hundred-dollar bags that crapped out in six months to a year, I was the proud owner of a bag big enough for all my crap, that cost more, but had a warranty to cover the problems I've had with cheaper bags.
I waited until after Christmas to actually start using it. I'm smitten. When I first got it, the red seemed like it could be too much, but every time I look at it I feel happy. I love that it's unusual, it does exactly what I need it to, and I hope that I have it forever.