Musings & Miscellany

Lesson Learned

Happy day, dear reader!

I hope your day has been full of only pleasant surprises! Over the weekend, I had an unpleasant surprise of my own doing. Sometimes we make planning mistakes. Even when we (think) we know ourselves, we don’t always remember our quirks… In my case: Especially when it’s been more than six months since I thought about spring and summer!

The Lesson

What am I talking about? My Spring 80/20 Capsule wardrobe. Specifically, my bags. I am a handbag aficionado, and have already used each of the five I selected to get me through spring, and am very happy with my choices. (Bags are part of the variety for my otherwise simple outfits.) My plan was to use the same five through summer as well. I failed to remember one little thing… (Actually, large in this case!) I prefer a large casual tote to carry for weekend trips to the farmer’s market, day trips, and other like adventures. Often, I will throw a cross body bag or clutch inside, a magazine, a sweater, a couple of bottles of water, and the odd purchase or two. And I want to be able to throw it over my shoulder to leave my hands free to peruse the produce.

Here’s the fail. I selected one shoulder-carry tote to be in my five. It is large enough, but is relatively heavy. For work, it loads up with my notebooks and samples for work, and doesn’t need to be carried for long periods of time. My (tote-ish) sea green bag is hand carry only, and not large enough for all the goodies I chuck in for a day’s adventures away from home.

I know. This is certainly a first world problem. More annoying is that if I had looked at my own Handbag Wardrobe post, I mighta-coulda avoided the issue! When I compare my 80/20 choices (on the chair) to the Handbag Wardrobe I thought through here, there is (Literally, front and center!) a casual summery tote missing from my capsule picks. When I chose for my capsule, I left out the dark classic work handbag, as I can use my clutch, ‘tude bag, or sea green satchel for grown-up work events, or if I’m carrying a load, the tote. I didn’t worry about the metallic clutch. That’s part of my Special Occasion Capsule and would be pulled in to pinch hit if needed. So I am thinking about how I want to fill this handbag wardrobe gap. I could buy a casual tote, but I’d rather be more gentle on my budget and see what I can do with what I have.

The Options on Hand

So what do I have in the back of my closet? Three options, none of which make my heart sing. (And yes, your wardrobe can and should make your heart sing!) Option one: A five-plus year old coated canvas tote from Lands’ End. Grey with navy polka dots. I love the polka dots, and the material and construction are casual, and it it still in good shape. Grey and navy are great with my capsule, but don’t feel festive. Option two: A soft open leather tote in taupe. Again, good construction and shape for a casual tote. The color lacks any fun or festive at all, although I love it for winter when I wear more color. Maybe I could paint it with leather paint to up the fun quotient? Option three: A very cute, very structured, denim tote. This one, although denim (More fun?), is built like a work tote. It has a very rigid seamed shape, and is a North South tote. Nor is it large enough for all the extras. Sounds like this one is ready for consignment…

Epiphany! You’d think I would have noticed this tendency before, but I prefer North South totes (vertical rectangles) for work, and East West (horizontal rectangles) totes for play/very casual. That’s an eye opener. Not sure why I never made that connection before. Now to hold that thought the next time a tote calls my name… Think: How will I use it most? Work or play? Is the shape the one I prefer for that purpose?

Other Options

So here are some that have caught my ever roaming eye…

The light blue is from Target. It would likely be a one season wonder. (Which makes my composting/recycling self very unhappy.) I love the color, and it is casual enough for the weekend. It is PU, so that means it will not get ruined if water bottles spill, or other messes happen. A quick swipe with a cleaning rag should sort out most troubles. The two toned straw is darling, but is almost twice the price of the blue. It is also likely to be a one season wonder. I’m not sure I want to pay that much for a straw bag that will be trashed by water spills and grandsons’ grubby hands. The lovely light pink is from Everlane. Clearly, for a leather tote, one is not paying a one season wonder price. I would expect it to last for many years. I have heard great things about their quality and wear. The color is fun, but keeping it clean gives me pause. The last stripey tote is also from Target. Stripes are a favorite of mine, and on a tote shout “Summer!” I expect this would be another one season wonder, as the white is likely to get quite dirty whilst adventuring.

What I Am Thinking

I will likely pull out my old polka dot tote, and get on with it. I am not really happy with wow it will look with some of my dresses, but the one that creates the biggest issue isn’t really a casual-hanging-out-on-the-weekend dress anyway. With any luck, I will fall in love with the polka dot tote all over again, and get another spring and summer out of it. If it makes me too uncomfortable, I will probably find something similar to the blue from Target (since by the time I make up my mind it will likely be unavailable). Decision by indecision is sometimes an acceptable tactic!

How about you? Do you like to lose your work bag on the weekend or could you care less? Or are you a carry-the-same-bag-everywhere woman? Do you have a tote that says “Summer!” to you? Let’s start a conversation in the comments below! I do love to hear your thoughts…

Stylishly yours,

Many thanks to Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb for the Link-Up!





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