It’s Really Over: A Study in Bags



After my tireless search, I settled on this Tutilo bag (found here, but seriously I got it at Marshalls and it was HALF the price!) Tons of space inside and the pop of color adds some extra visual interest to an otherwise classic black tote.

I’ve been really digging an all black look lately- my shirt (old, similar here); H&M jeans (super stretchy and comfortable); Michael Stars head scarf

As part of my extensive research, we did the toddler study…aka how many toys can we fit in the bag. And I will tell you- A LOT. All the trucks, and even a few dinosaurs got to come along for the ride.

Initially I tried to put my two year old in the bag to show how much room there actually is in there, but he wasn’t trying to do that, so this “roar” got to take a break inside the bag.


Over the last week I have been conducting some real scientific research. Some serious stuff. As the school year approaches, and the end to my freedom looms, the dreaded search for the perfect back to school bag has occupied my thoughts.

Maybe this search harks back to a simpler time, when the obligatory back-to-school backpack was the final nail in the coffin of summer vacation. So let’s just say this week’s research is the grown-up version of a yearly tradition that strikes fear in the heart of kids and teachers alike. But like any good scientist, I forge ahead for the greater good of the people.

While the school I teach at has its particular brand of strange forcing us all to be nomads without our own classrooms, the quintessential carry all is something that I believe is essential for anyone on the move. And after my extensive research (in the form of hours of shopping- oh the sacrifice!)I have unearthed the formula that adds up to the perfect bag for fall:  

  1. Color– I love color. when I was hunting for bags, I picked up immediately a red and a yellow colorblock one that I loved, but when it comes to durability lighter colors tend to get dirty quickly, especially if I’m lugging it from classroom to classroom or out somewhere with my son. Black, brown or tan hide most stains and they also ensure that I won’t tire of some trendy color. I’ll save the pop of color for my shoes:)
  2. Pockets– Essential.  Either the bag needs to have some solid inside pocket space, or like the one I choose, deep outside pockets. On any given day, I’m carrying my computer, folders, papers to grade, markers, pens, my lunch, other junk! I have to be able to keep some sense of organization so that I know where things and multiple pockets make this happen.
  3. Straps– After MANY bag trials, I realized that strap length matters. The straps need to be long enough to get my arm through and up to my shoulder even when my bag is full to the brim. Or alternatively, a nice crossbody strap works too (even better would be both).
  4. Cuteness- Details are key. Even if I’m picking a simple black tote, I look for small details that make it stand out. For instance, an interesting pattern or color on the inside or gold accents on the front (like the one I eventually chose) take a classic bag to the next level.
  5. Size- I think my rule of thumb on this one is that my son must be able to fit inside. Ha. (seriously, I actually tried to put him in the bag, but he was NOT having it!) But for real, the bag should be at least wide enough for my 15″ in. computer plus some.
  6. Price- Some people might disagree with me on this one, but I don’t want to spend more than $100 on my back to school bag, less even, if possible. Simply because I know myself, and I know that next year, I’m gonna want a new bag! Come on, I gotta keep the tradition going, no matter how painful. This is why I shop at places like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Target, etc.

Bags I Love:


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