Leather, Wool, and Denim: Gift Guide 2018 #1

I’ve been dumping all the cheap, mismatched, ill-fitting crap in our closets and replacing them with one solid, permanent item. Three GAP purses out, one Frye purse comes in. I’m still watching Outlander, even though the show has completely fallen apart, partially because the clothes are so good. Yes, I’m dressing my family like they’re early colonists, what of it? I’m shopping for leather, waterproof, solid, and somewhat badass, manly items.

So, that’s why I’m digging everything by Frye right now. It’s manly and solid. I’m coveting Oxfords like these or these. (Amazon) The Chukka boot is nice. I also love this purse (like correction).


Madewell also has some nice bags, including this cute leather backpack and a velvet pouch for holiday parties.

I’ve gone back to wearing my old Docs and my Irish knit sweater from the 1990s. G2014_BR6755_ld.jpeg513IUnz7G0L._UX695_.jpg


When Steve’s messenger bag fell apart this year, we replaced it with one from the Buffalo Jackson Trading Company. Yeah, it isn’t cheap, but he’ll use it every day for years on his two hour train commute. It carries his history books and his ten-year old iPod. It’s worth checking out the website, just for the cute models in plaid shirts.


Along with his messenger bag, Steve’s wearing a Barbour waxed jacket. mwx0339ol71_ss18_front_model.jpg

Yeah, these items are pricy, but they last. Canada Goose jackets are out of our league, but if you’re going to buy them this Christmas, please order them here.

(more tomorrow)

20 thoughts on “Leather, Wool, and Denim: Gift Guide 2018 #1

    1. There aren’t even umlauts!

      Five syllables. oon-geh-eye(g)-neh-teh

      Of course, I’m also someone who believes that Polish is pronounced just like it’s spelled, so there’s that.


      1. “It took me a while, but I finally found the two words.”

        No worries! The root is hiding behind two prefixes and an adjective declination. Not as bad as Georgian, mind you, but still a lot of camouflage.


  1. I knew those Canada coats were expensive, but I had no idea they were that expensive. You see fair numbers if students with them. Or maybe they are knock off versions.


  2. Hard no on the Canada Goose coats. I could stretch to afford them, but the fur collars are a no go for me. I’m not a PETA person who is going to throw paint on your fur coat, but I just don’t get fur, particularly on a coat like this.


    1. I’m not sure why they are supposed to be considered worth it? They are expedition parkas and the styling isn’t that different from North Face or other brands that are much less. The materials are also not that different. Sooo, this is strictly brand?


  3. The velvet bag looks exactly like my husband’s chalk bag for climbing, except for the fact that his chalk bag is denim and homemade.

    I bought myself a Fossil satchel this fall (I believe Laura has featured a number of Fossil bags in the past).


    Here’s a demo that’s helpful for showing the compartments:

    After decades of backpack wearing, I started trying the purse thing about a year ago around the time our youngest turned 5 and went to 3-day pre-k. I was delighted to no longer be toting around a backpack with a full change of clothes for our youngest, a pack of baby wipes, diapering supplies, etc., etc. (My kids potty train LATE.) Also, when you carry a backpack, family members keep wanting you to carry their coat or water bottle or whatever. I still keep a backpack in the car fully packed with mom emergency supplies and travel with it, but when I’m out and about in town, I just carry a purse 99% of the time.

    Initially, I was using cheap purses, but after having the strap on a vinyl one fray to fuzziness within months or the brown come off of contact points on another vinyl one (also within months), I made the plunge to buying the Fossil bag, which is the most expensive item I have ever purchased for myself. I’ve been very happy with it. I’m hoping that the brown leather will take wear gracefully, and I really enjoy the satchel format, where the bag stands up by itself and easily holds my large calendar and a large wallet, but it’s not big enough for me to wind up being the family sherpa. I like the bag a lot (it’s very substantial feeling), and if/when the straps go first, I will definitely replace them (although I might just buy webbing/or a guitar-style strap for the shoulder strap).


    You can get a very serviceable guitar-style replacement strap for $9.99.

    We’ve been having some behavior issues with our youngest in church, so I now have a collection of 7 (!) different fidget toys in my purse. I’m on the lookout for a squishy one (if anybody has any recommendations?), but I like this one:


    and this one:


    (That second one can be a bit clicky.)


    1. I’ve carried Fossil bags for decades. They last a long time, they look great and have lots of pockets.


  4. I’ve had a couple different Levenger bags (briefcase-style but soft-sided) and like them, but I think AmyP may have sold me on Fossil. Levenger had a great canvas one that I used for years – it looked good but you didn’t have to worry about it getting rained on – but they discontinued it. My mom got me a nice leather one that I like but not as much as the canvas one. It has held up very well, though.

    I think you should write at least one of these entries in the style of the J.Peterman catalog, a la Seinfeld.

    Also looking forward to the books!


    1. “I’ve had a couple different Levenger bags (briefcase-style but soft-sided) and like them, but I think AmyP may have sold me on Fossil.”

      I can’t speak to long-term wear, but the one I linked has really good functionality so far. I’ve been using leather wipes on it. I’m not totally sure that’s the right protocol, but so far, so good.

      I believe I took that bag as my one carry-on the last time I went to WA, as I was going to a funeral, and thought it would look more appropriate than a backpack…(I’d normally fly with a backpack.)

      This very short video gives a good sense of capacity:

      Youtube is really good for bag shoppers–often a lot more helpful than the Amazon photos.


  5. OK. Just finished a totally horrible work week. The project is off my plate forever, so YAY. I have stuff to keep me busy for the next two months, but not too busy, so things are good. I’m doing some online shopping right now. I’ll blog about what I find.


  6. I have a gazillion bags because I fantasize about the perfect bag. I’m not so concerned with what they look like, but am looking for a way to be perfectly organized + lightweight + the perfect size to fit exactly what I want to carry at any moment. I have the Fossil Lane Satchel, and it’s nice, but a little too big + leather is always heavy. I very much liked the Keen Brooklyn bag, but they keep tweaking it and the current version is not perfect (because it doesn’t have an exterior phone pocket). I’m currently switched to the Keen.


    1. Yeah, the Lane Satchel looks massive. Nice, but large.

      I like the fact that I wouldn’t be scared to stick a water bottle in the Brooklyn bag, and it looks light.

      I’m a one bag person, just because I want to be certain that the necessary stuff is in the bag at all times. I’d never never be able to do the Marie Kondo thing of completely unpacking every night and then repacking in the morning.

      Whyyy are the wallets so expensive proportionate to the purses from the same company?


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