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  1. #16
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    I agree that your friends are just teasing. I would also say "be you". I know of Vera Bradley but I don't know anyone who buys her bags other than older (60+) women and even that is rare. I had a VB wallet because it was red (and I like red) and it could stow into my purse but I personally wouldn't have a purse like that. I think a side effect is a very smart option for someone who wants something purse like but also has a lot of functionality. I find purses these days either don't have character or they don't have functionality. I have a purse right now that I like but I do wish it had o-rings inside

    And I agree with "Do you".

  2. #17
    Forum Member dorayme's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    tiny rural town in the Piedmont of the Carolinas
    Amy, I think the SE will be an excellent unobtrusive purse. Your friends are teasing, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt. I'm sorry they are being unkind.

    Most important is for you to be comfortable in your choices. When you are, then let your friends know the teasing needs to stop because it makes you feel they are trying to change you, vs. like you as you are.

    The friends I have had in the past that made issues over things like dress or accessories/fashion didn't seem to stick around over the long term, probably because we didn't share common interests.

    Maybe you need a new friend that validates you and gets you for who you are? And doesn't make you feel that being you is undesirable. Btw, I love the description of your husband's take on all of this. He seems to get you!
    I really, really like TB Bags!

  3. #18
    Forum Member Amy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Dallas, Texas
    Thanks everyone for all your reassurances that the Side Effect won't make me look any worse than I do already. I'm really not bothered by the teasing of my friends--yes, it's very good natured. It is entirely my fault for consistently choosing practicality over looks. If the two occasionally happen to coincide, all the better. I do have a reputation for being a very efficient packer, so the same people who joke about my weird minimalist running shoes, odd purse choices, and love for the minivan (side opening doors!) will frequently come to me for packing advice. I should be getting a commission from Zuca, Scottevest and Ebags for all the referrals I've sent their way. I expect that in the coming year, Tom Bihn will be getting a lot more orders from Texas.

    (I'll maybe do a separate thread about how I packed for a recent 2-week trip to Geneva and France, using this fantastic bag as my carry-on: Pro Travel Black/Silver : ZÜCA Store and this one as my under-seat personal item: eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible Junior -

    Regarding Vera Bradley being an old-lady thing in the Northwest-- that's hilarious. Down here, it's all over the place, and lots of young people carry the wallet/phone holder/keychain combos. I'm also one of the very few who doesn't have a svelte iPhone, because I prefer the real estate and immensely useful pressure-sensitive wacom stylus of the Galaxy Note II. (I draw and handwrite my journals with it.)

    I don't have any Coach or Kate Spade stuff either, although that's huge here too. I don't see the point of spending that much for something that seems kind of mundane. I do covet many of the interesting bags from Cote&Ciel, because they look european and mysterious-- though I have never seen any of their products in person: Côte&Ciel - Home.

    Dallas really is much more stodgy than Austin or Galveston, where they don't give appearances a second thought. Maybe that's why I love travelling so much!

  4. #19
    Forum Member Amy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Dallas, Texas
    Quote Originally Posted by sturbridge View Post
    Mine is black, and I think I could pull off bringing it to a restaurant where I would wear a dress (as opposed to a restaurant I'd wear jeans too). If I put a sparkly costume jewelry pin on it somewhere , it'd be dressed up even more.

    Tell us more about your miniaturization of items. What kinds of things have you miniaturized? I'm asking as someone who wants to have everything I could possibly need with me, but be able to keep all that stuff in a normal sized "purse" or tote bag.
    I hadn't thought about accessorizing with a sparkly pin! Though I really don't see how webbing straps and ballistic nylon can ever look dressy because it seems very gear-baggish to me. But I have yet to hold the Tom Bihn in my hands, so I may change my mind on that.

    As for miniaturizing and downsizing my stuff to pack for 2 weeks in a carry-on, here are some of the things I did (culled from a recent email I sent to my cousin, who is looking for recommendations for an upcoming trip to Ireland). I hadn't yet discovered Tom Bihn when I wrote this:


    Packing Cubes

    These are packing revelation-- you'll want to get a cube for every purpose once you see how useful they are. They're a great way to keep your suitcase from exploding all over the hotel room. Get the configuration of sizes that fits your suitcase, and use the cubes to organize like things together-- ex. all t-shirts in one, all socks/underwear in one, etc. Watch the video on ebags for tips on how to pack with cubes.

    Here's the 3-pc set:

    eBags Packing Cubes - 3 Piece Set -

    And here's my favorite multi-purpose size, the Slim Packing Cubes:

    eBags Slim Packing Cubes - 3 Piece Set -

    You can also get tiny cubes for little stuff, cubes for your shoes, etc.

    BONUS TIP: Your Scottevest trenchcoat can be stuffed into the Slim Packing Cube, then stuffed into your carryon, if you decide you don't want to wear it on the plane.


    Mother Lode Weekender Convertible Jr

    This is a brilliantly designed bag that can be used for computers or clothes or both at the same time. It converts from over-the-shoulder bag to backpack (I always carry mine in backpack mode) and easily fits under the airplane seat. It holds a RIDICULOUS amount of stuff, yet has a slim profile and is comfortable to carry. Get the jr size rather than the larger size-- your back will thank you. This is [my son-in-law's] current favorite bag and the one he carried to work every day in Geneva, and the bag that I use to haul my work computers back and forth to the office. I used it as my "personal item" on the plane to hold my computer, cables, chargers, plane snacks, toiletries, headphones, extra change of clothes, etc.

    eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible Junior -


    Vapur collapsible "anti-bottle"

    It folds flat in your bag. Fill it at the water fountain when you get past security. The flat shape makes it easy to fit in the seat back pocket or your purse, and the D ring is useful for attaching to your bag if you want it accessible. : Vapur 0.5 Litres Anti-Bottle (Blue) : Sports Water Bottles : Sports & Outdoors

    NOTE: MAKE SURE TO SNAP THE LID TIGHT BEFORE YOU PUT IT IN YOUR BAG! I spilled a full bottle of water in my bag because the lid was loose.


    Smartwool no-show socks

    These are [my daughter's] all-time favorite socks for wearing with ballet flats or cute shoes. I wear mine as running socks also. We have them in black but I can only find them in heather color on amazon. They are very thin and comfortable in any weather, and have the miraculous ability to deter all foot odor, which means you can wear them several times before you wash them. No kidding. Leave them to air out
    overnight and by the next day, they will smell like they have been freshly laundered by fairies. : Smartwool Women's Hide and Sleek Socks - Natural Heather M : Fashion Liner Socks : Sports & Outdoors


    Icebreaker merino wool tech T-shirts

    I bought some for all of us, (crew necks for the boys and v-necks for the girls) and these shirts are the absolute best travel shirts ever. 100% merino wool from a really cool sustainable company, very light and soft, and you can wear them for weeks without washing them. Honest to god. They will never get B.O. because they are made of magic. When you eventually do decide to wash them (which you really only need to do if you spill something on them), do not put them in the dryer-- lay them flat or put them on an inflatable hanger, and they'll be dry by the next day. Do not be scared by the wet dog smell of the wool when it's wet-- all wet wool smells like that and dries odorless. : Icebreaker Women's Tech T Lite Short Sleeve : Hiking Shirts : Sports & Outdoors


    Inflatable hangers

    This is one item I didn't end up actually using on our most recent trip, mainly because we wore wool which never needed to be washed. But
    it's awesome for making your clothes dry faster by allowing air circulation. They fold up really small.


    Tiny travel-sized containers

    Transfer your makeup, moisturizers, creams, etc. to these teensy containers that will easily hold enough for a 2 week trip. They are also tiny enough to fit in your scottevest pocket or purse:

    6 Empty 12ml Black Cosmetic Travel Size Cream Jars $0SH | eBay


    Nalgene travel containers

    These are bigger than the teensy ones above, but also very useful. I used the tiniest round one for my foundation, the squatty ones for my
    face wash and sunscreen. I didn't use the biggest sizes, but they'd be good for shampoo and conditioner. (I just bought shampoo over there.) : Nalgene Travel Kit (Small) : Sports Water Bottles : Sports & Outdoors


    Poopourri (1 oz. travel size)

    I will NEVER leave home without it again. If you're sharing a bathroom, this is non-negotiable: Original Poo-Pourri 1oz Travel Size: Health & Personal Care


    Cable for Samsung Galaxy - for hooking up your phone to a TV

    This is the cable we used to play Netflix movies via my phone on the large screen TV. I also used it to show the photos I took on my phone. Best entertainment purchase ever! Cable Matters MHL to HDMI Cable for Samsung Galaxy S3/S4 and Note 2 in Black: Electronics

    ** IMPORTANT NOTE: Download an app on the Google Play store called Hola, and launch that before they launch Netflix. It'll let you change the country for Netflix so that you'll be able to watch movies. It does it by establishing a VPN line to the country you're trying to access (in your case, change it from UK to USA and it'll bypass the country restrictions.)


    Spare battery and charger for Samsung Galaxy

    I bought this spare battery and charger for my Note, and was SO grateful to have it by the end of the afternoon when my battery was getting low, but we were still out sightseeing. Just swap in the fresh battery and go. Uses the same cable as the phone. Samsung Galaxy S4 Spare Battery Charger (2600mAh Battery Included): Electronics


    Metal door hook

    You may think I'm crazy to tell you to bring a hook, but what's REALLY crazy is a hotel not having enough hooks to hang up your coat or a wet
    towel, forcing you to spread things over doorknobs or lay them on the beds. If there's any risk of your hotel being like so many others I've stayed in, just order this cheap metal hook and stick it in your bag. I was so happy I brought it to the chateau which had no hangers of any kind anywhere. - Design Ideas Hook Over, White - Utility Hooks


    Pactowl microfiber towel

    This will shorten your hair-drying time by half. It also dries way faster than normal towels and packs down to nothing. Get the XL if you want it as a wrap-around body towel, or the L (maybe even the M) if you just want it for hair. : Packtowl Personal Ultra-Soft Towel (X-Large, Kelp) : Camping Towels : Sports & Outdoors


    Pactowl superabsorbent towel, size small : Packtowl Original Superabsorbent Towel (Small, Blue) : Camping Towels : Sports & Outdoors

    About the size of a pack of travel kleenex when folded. Stick this in your pocket or purse as an emergency ultra-absorbent towel for your hair if it rains, or wringing out wet clothes, or even a handkerchief for a drippy nose. It'll get way softer after the first washing. Also, if you wash something in the sink, use this towel to roll up the wet clothes so they'll dry faster. It's like a sham-wow. It absorbs 10 times its volume in water.


    Adapter plugs

    You can bring the one for the UK and leave the rest at home. Get this cheap set instead of an expensive, clunky all-in-one adapter. Ceptics International Worldwide Travel Adapter Plug 5pc Set with Pouch: Electronics


    Travel power strip

    When you get to your hotel, set up a "charging station" on a table or nightstand, and let that be the designated area where all devices and chargers get charged. It'll mean that you don't lose your chargers by having them scattered all over the room, and also you only need 1 UK adapter instead of multiple ones. Plug the UK adapter into the wall, and then plug this power strip into the adapter. Voila-- you now have a way to charge 4 devices at once with their native phone chargers. (Be sure to each bring your phone chargers with you so you can plug them into this strip.)


    Multi-Outlet Smart USB Charger

    Here's another great alternative if all your items are chargeable by USB. It's even more space-efficient than the Travel Power Strip above, and is a "smart" hub that will charge tablets and phones at their maximum speeds. All you need to bring is a cable for each device, and leave the little square wall adapters at home: Anker® 40W 5-Port Family-Sized Desktop USB Charger with PowerIQ™ Technology for iPhone 5s 5c 5; iPad Air mini; Galaxy S5 S4; Note 3 2; the new HTC One (M8); Nexus and More (White): Cell Phones & Accessories


    Chico shopping bag

    In N. Ireland, which may be true for the south as well, they charge you for grocery bags so you have to bring your own. I used a chico bag and carried it in my coat pocket for whenever we bought some groceries or something large. You have a million shopping bags already I'm sure, so you may want to pack your most space-efficient one. : ChicoBag Vita Reusable Shopping Tote/Grocery Bag (Daisy Chain) : Sports & Outdoors

    Samsung 32gb Micro SD card

    You can pop this in your Galaxy S3 or S4 for 32 gigs of extra storage. Then, set your samsung phone to store all photos on the exernal card
    (here's how to do that:
    How to save photos directly onto the SD Card for Galaxy S3 and co. - AndroidPIT

    If you have this much storage, you may not need the additional thumb drive below. Samsung MicroSDHC 32GB Class 10 Plus UHS-I Memory Card: Computers & Accessories


    Patriot Stellar 64gb usb thumb drive for Android phones

    This tiny double-headed drive will allow you to plug directly into any Android phone and download photos. It's great if your phone is running out of stoarage space, and you don't want to carry around a computer or external hard drive. To use it, you plug the Micro USB end of this thumb drive into your phone, and copy or move the files via the Android file browser. You can use the stock file browser that comes with Android, or download the free ES File Explorer from Google Play. When you get home, you plug the regular USB end of the drive into your computer's USB port, and copy the files to your computer. Patriot Stellar Series 64GB USB 3.0 OTG With Up To 140MB/s Transfer For Android Base Tablet/ Smartphone- PSF64GSTROTG: Computers & Accessories

    (It also comes in a 32gb version)


    folding dishes

    While not a necessity for the sort of travel you're doing, I did find several times on our trip to France that I needed a cup, and didn't have one. I am thinking about ordering this nifty set of dishes that folds completely flat and is really light. You can also use the plate and bowl as catch-alls on your nightstand or dresser, to keep all your loose crap together that tends to get scattered around (cables, coins, earrings, medicines, etc.). Also, the plastic is sturdy enough to use as a cutting board. And it's easy to wipe or rinse off. : 'Fozzils Solo Pack (Cup, Bowl, Dish) - New Blue : Camping Cooking Utensils : Kitchen & Dining


    - dental floss. Can serve as emergency twine, a clothesline, and a million other things.

    - 10-12 gallon freezer ziploc bags. Use them to keep wet stuff separate from dry stuff. Use them as coolers when filled with ice, or as food storage containers, or to keep purchases, cables receipts, and small stuff together. Drop them in your bag if you're going on a picnic. Use them as extra compression bags for packing.

    - bandaids
    - painkillers
    - Airborne or Walborn, for the plane ride.
    - wet wipes make great stain removers

    For some reason, the dryers completely suck in Ireland. We ended up drying all our clothes on radiators. Hopefully you won't have this problem since you'll be at hotels with laundry facilities, but you may want to pack a small baggie of dry detergent for delicates if you need to wash stuff in the sink. I ended up also buying a bottle of liquid woolite at the grocery store when I was there and washing most of our stuff in the sink since it was so much faster than the slow, tiny washing machine.

    Or, you can get this laundry kit which includes packets of woolite plus a rubber stopper, which is another thing sometimes missing from Irish sinks: Lewis N. Clark Laundry Kit, White: Clothing

    - Pack only enough clothes for 1 week, and do laundry halfway through.
    - Stick to your packing cube plan so it's easy to find stuff without
    tearing apart the whole bag

    - always keep your stuff in the same place. Charging station always in
    one place.

    - On the dresser, use one of your small packing cubes as a "bowl" to hold all your change, keys, wallet, eye drops, etc. that normally floats around loose and can fall off and get lost.


    I would use whatever suitcase you already have, but if you're in the market for a new one, this is the Zuca that [my son-in-law, daughter] and I all use and love. We used this as our main bag. It fits in the overhead compartment of the plane, and holds a ridiculous amount of stuff.

    Pro Travel Royal Purple/Silver : ZÜCA Store


    I think coolers are incredibly useful on family trips. We used the cooler every day in the car, at the hotel, walking around, and grocery shopping. The square shape of the zuca cooler fits a huge amount of stuff. It's also nice to use it as a padded "box" for breakable gifts for the return trip home.

    Just treat the cooler as a packing cube and you haven't sacrificed any space. I packed my clothes inside the cooler, then put the cooler in the zuca, where it fits perfectly.

    CoolZÜCA Purple : ZÜCA Store

    By the way, I really like the Zuca cooler because it's got a flap on the lid which lets you put tall wine bottles in, and access stuff in there while still keeping it zipped. We cooled a champagne bottle in there for [my husband's] birthday. I carried it like a totebag in Geneva for our picnics. Also, the zuca cooler has a removable waterproof lining which lets you wash it easily. And you can slide extra stuff between the back velcro closure and the lining-- it makes a kind of dry "pocket" for napkins and stuff.

    TIP: freeze a plastic water bottle and use it as an ice pack for your cooler. It'll last most of the day in the zuca cooler. When the ice melts, you've got fresh cold water to drink.

  5. #20
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Amy, all the other purse brands mentioned can either be bought on shopping channels or found as knockoffs.

    But, Tom Bihn Bags are boutique items. Innovation in Fabrics (video) - TOM BIHN Blog: We make travel bags in Seattle, Washington

    You can only get them from the Store, otherwise known as "The Mothership" which is adjacent to the factory.

    Tom Bihn bags are made in Seattle.

    The people who work on the bags, have many decades of experience in the bag making business and can be compared to the people who work for European Fashion designers.

    When I compare Tom designs with European fashion designers, I mean the classic ones, Chanel, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy.
    All of them have a signature silhouette.

    Tom has a design signature that I have never seen in any other bags or, accessories, for that matter.

    I have owned many, many travel bags and purses from no names to brand names, in all kind of materials,
    Even 2 Vera Bladley which I gave away when I moved, they were gifts and I cannot stand flower patterns.
    What century are we? It is not Little House on the Prairie anymore!

    I was one of the first person to wear a backpack and khakis in my little town, to much sneers and dismissive looks but I didn't care, I wanted the first to save my back and the cotton fabric from the second was very soothing to my sensitive skin.

    So what matters is, use, wear what makes You, feel comfortable.

    Some years ago, I decided I no longer wanted to buy leather purses, I did a search and found Tom Bihn Inc.

    When I moved, I needed a very strong backpack, able to fit two iBooks and all their accessories as well as external hard drives.

    I bought the Brain Bag, I loved its lovely curves and I loved it even more when it was loaded with all the gear described above!

    This is what happened the day of the move:
    I carried the Brain Bag at the counter to check our many oversized things. I went through security, removing both laptops, my shoes, etc... for the xray, then walked to the gate, then took the bag on the airplane's cabin, then do the very same thing, in reverse,

    We travelled with our very feisty cat, who didn't appreciated being confined in an airline compliant carrier, after her routine (breakfast) had been skipped, my husband was in charge of her well being.

    I took care of all the checked luggage and boxes but our other Brain Bag filled with clothes witch he was carrying.

    At the destination. I waited outside, for an hour with the Brain Bag on my back, for my husband to come pick me and the checked stuff up.
    Our cat needed to be released from her travel carrier, watered, feed, shown where the litter was and left in one of the room with a door before I could be picked up.

    I will not say that a Brain Bag feels like nothing but, on another trip, I had to run from one side of a terminal to another to catch a flight with a Brain Bag that weighted around 30 pounds plus a 10 pound Large Cafe Bag.

    I can even carry it when I am really exhausted or not feeling well, which happened on two trips.

    Carrying Tom Bihn Backpacks is not painful, it shouldn't be.
    They make great companions to EDC=Every Day Carry such as Cafe Bags or Side Effects.
    Last edited by backpack; 05-21-2014 at 11:05 AM.

  6. #21
    Forum Member Hollie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    I second and third and fourth everything said here already. I'm fashion-challenged as well, my friends have teased me that as I'm "maturing", it's so nice to see I've branched out from buying all my clothes at REI to buying a few at Lands End, too. I look around at how other people are into fashion and I can appreciate that they're good at it, but I've no idea how they do it. I'll take my jeans, my linen shirt, and my Keens, and if I add some cute earrings a tinted lip balm you know I'm REALLY going all out.

    I have several Side Effects, including the one in Aubergine/Wasabi, and they're all lovely! I just moved from using an MCB as my EDC to using the Nordic/Solar SE as my purse, and it's working great. If I need to carry more, I just put the Side Effect into a bigger TB bag. It's so handy! Everything is always right there. And like bchaplin said, you can keep it with you all the time. Even on a flight, it's small enough to just tuck into your lap or at your side, practically invisible.

    Both pockets zip completely, which means nothing falls out. You can dress it up or down with bright zipper pulls (I use red ones on my Nordic/Solar, so cheerful!), or sedate black ones. At REI I found some very fancy black ones, on slender black cords with tapered rubber pulls - they don't look like camping gear, at all. Makes the SE look QUITE the elegant little thing. You can wear it as a waist pack (I use this at the Farmer's Market, and for walking the dogs), as a crossbody, as a clutch, or as a little grab bag with the 16" key strap (love that one, I use it all the time). On that note - you can also dress it up or down with the key strap used as a bag strap. On my Nordic/Solar, I use the Solar strap for fun and brightness, and the black one when wanting to feel more grown up (I'm nearly 40, married 18 years, a mortgage, two children, but it's the black bag strap that makes me feel more grown up. Go figure.)

    I bought a Dooney purse a year ago, fulfilling a teenage dream of someday having the fancy bag like those fancy women - it was such a letdown. It didn't feel like me at all. Where do I put my water bottle? What if I get dirt in it? Why did all these cows die for something so heavy and unwieldy and terrible to travel with? I immediately gave it to my mom, who LOVES it, and, like Backpack, stopped buying leather bags entirely, and happily went back to my TB affliction. Life (and fashion) makes sense again.
    Seriously, like, so much Nordic Dyneema I don't even know what to do with myself anymore. They will bury me in it. "Where's Mom's urn? WHERE DID YOU GUYS PUT THE SYNAPSE 19 WITH MOM'S ASHES?"

  7. #22
    Forum Member Amy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Dallas, Texas
    You guys are the BEST! I'm glad to hear so many of you choosing good design and manufacturing over trendiness. I see a lot of beauty in simple, thoughtful design. I have expensive purses sitting unused in my closet because they have design flaws that make them unusable to me-- too cavernous, awkward clasps, uncomfortable straps, stupid pocket placement, etc. So much of what's out there is trying to be different without trying to be better.

    I can't wait to get this little bag! I'm loving it more the more I think about it, and caring less for the stuff I obviously never cared about in the first place.

  8. #23
    Volunteer Moderator Ilkyway's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    GMT +1 Germany, North
    I love the Side Effect for so many reasons (wont repeat because who wants to reread this all the time?) but this particular color-combo (aubergine/wasabi) I have twice because it is so dawn beautifull that I could not bear the thought of a future when the first one gets lost or hurt or what not and than there might not be a new one to buy anymore.

    I know you could say: what does it say in your case? You have two nordic Side Effects as well. Yes I do, but nordic was pronounced to go extinct. Not so aubergine and as much as I love nordic, the aubergine is more of an all-rounder. It works with jeans and with skirts. The nordic I would wear on a day through a city. The aubergine can do that too but it can also go to the club at night. The nordic would not go with my wardrobe than. So, in my opinion you have chosen very wise for your FIRST one.

  9. #24
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Side effects are the BEST. I use one for my EDC of wallet, phone, chapstick, notepad and pen, and gum inside a larger bag, or alone when I don't wanna lug the purse along, and another SE for bits and bots inside my work bag, and I have ANOTHER on the way as we speak (and I am a bit over-excited really.) I have a 16 inch ultraviolet key strap on the EDC one at all times, and just stick it over my shoulder that way if a quick trip is needed, and add on the over the shoulder strap when needed, and leave the key strap hanging to look extra-awesome! I think if my SE as urban-chic, and also sporty-chic, and just generally the best. There is functional--nerdy, and then there is functional--sleek and minimal. The SE is the second for sure. (And you can pop that baby into a fabulous leather clutch for girlie night out and not worry about anything getting lost.) Enjoy!

  10. #25
    Forum Member Moose's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Downeast Maine
    Fashion sense? What's that? Mine is either stunted or plain nonexistent. Maybe that's why I moved to Maine. Got denim, flannel, Bean boots and you're pretty set.

    I personally find the SE to be fashionable for me. Admittedly I'd like a more fashionable strap for it but I work with what I have. Bottom line is bling is not my thing.

    You do what you want and like what you like. Just because everyone else wants to look the same doesn't mean you have to follow the crowd.
    Last edited by Moose; 05-21-2014 at 05:01 PM.
    List exceeds allowed characters. So I'll just say I'm plum and kiwi loving FOT!

  11. #26
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    And I haven't seen anyone mention this: you can carry an SE and slip it into a larger bag. Folks sometimes do this when grocery shopping or going to the library. You have lots of options with an SE. I find the wrist strap is a nice option for one.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  12. #27
    Forum Member TavaPeak's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Colorado Springs
    The aubergine is a stunning color - you will love it. I trade out the SE strap with a wider one from a LeSportsac Kasey. And once you get your aubergine SE, you might feel compelled to try a Dyneema one (steel?), which fits so easily into a backpack or messenger.

  13. #28
    Forum Member Amy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Dallas, Texas
    Okay, I've been going back and forth in my head since I ordered this Side Effect. Yesterday, I showed to a friend whose fashion opinions I respect, and who totally appreciates useful pockets, well-made products, and the principles of good usability. She's not a girly-girl, but she does love great shoes, great bags, and beautiful clothes. We grew up together, and she probably knows me better than anybody.

    She told me the Side Effect looks exactly like a man's "gear bag."

    "Is this supposed to be for women?" she asked.
    "It's unisex," I replied defensively. "But it's purple!" I said. "Everyone says it's a really pretty color."
    "It's ballistic nylon," she replied quietly. "What's the strap made of?"
    "Webbing..." i whispered.
    She clucked her tongue.
    "But it is lightweight, handmade in the USA, has pockets, and will hold all my stuff and slide in my computer bag when I need it to!"
    "Other cuter bags also meet that criteria," she said. "This one looks exactly like a fanny pack," she said.
    "But I promise I won't ever wear it around my waist! I didn't order the waist strap!" I cried.

    It was like she was talking me down off a fashion ledge.

    She then made me stack up all the stuff I plan to load into the Side Effect to see if it will fit. It seemed to be a tight squeeze, but I wasn't ready to let it go. She then gently but firmly directed me to ordering a different, very slightly larger bag that she think will suit my needs. It's called a "Busy Body" sling bag from Maruca Design, lightweight, handmade in Denver of custom-designed, domestically woven jacquard which contains some recycled content. It was hitting all my hot buttons. It's about the same price, with a form factor similar to the Small Cafe Bag, but with what appear to be useful pockets for my needs, because you don't have to open a flap to access what's inside.

    It was really hard to argue with her logic. Even to my untrained eye, I could tell it is a significantly more feminine and attractive bag than the Side Effect, with a fabric texture and pattern I really like, that will go with more of my clothes, and will effortlessly work in most usage scenarios, from work to nights out.

    So I ordered this one: Maruca Design

    My current plan is to investigate it when it comes in to see if it meets my needs. Then to wait for the backordered Side Effect to get here and see if my opinions change about it, or if I can somehow use both.

    Who knew choosing a purse could be so agonizing.

  14. #29
    Forum Member Amy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Dallas, Texas
    My posts keep getting caught up in moderation, probably because I am putting URLs in them, so I'm not sure my last post will make it through. On the advice of a friend, I ended up ordering a Busy Body Sling Bag from Maruca Designs to see if it suits my purposes. I'll wait till late June for my Side Effect to arrive. I still think I'll love it, though I'm pretty sure that virtually any other purse will look much more feminine than this one.

    I still am enamored of the attention to detail of the Tom Bihn products, even though I don't have one in my hands yet. I've ordered 2 double organizer pouches, one small and one medium, though I'm not sure what I'll do with them yet. I was hoping to use the small one as a wallet.

    I also did a search for tom bihn fanny packs last night, and was stunned to see that so many people wear this pack around their waist without a shred of embarrassment. I do have a spibelt for running, which ends up looking really fanny-packish once I squeeze my giant Galaxy Note 2 in it, but I am deeply, adamantly against the fanny pack and all its connotations. To me, it makes you look like a frumpy tourist or middle-aged festivalgoer from Galveston. It reminds me of the 80s.

    Which is also why I'm having such a hard time with checkered dyneema as an outer bag fabric. It looks like a Le Sportsac from the 80s to me. I can't seem to let go of that association.

    Anyway, I'm certainly not dogging the Tom Bihn stuff and I fully expect to love the stuff I ordered. But I am having some hangups about the styling.

  15. #30
    Forum Member scribe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Cambridge, UK
    I don't like dyneema as an exterior fabric either - it reminds me of the kind of laundry bags that people take to the laundrette. I'm OK with it for something totally utilitarian like a Shop Bag or a PCSB used as a seat-back bag, but wouldn't carry one for my EDC.

    I do like both ballistic and parapack nylon, though - the black looks very professional, and the other colours are rich enough not to look cheap.

    Also I only wear my SE on a waist strap when I'm flying and want a secure place to hold my passport. If I want to look festival-chic at the other end I take along my leather utility belt
    Last edited by scribe; 05-23-2014 at 09:57 AM.
    Work EDC: SE + S19/CP/MB
    Leisure: SCBs, MCBs, FJN, Swift, lots of YSSs
    Travel: WF + Pilot or SA, with SE/SCB
    General organisation: More pouches, stuff sacks and cubes than you can shake a keystrap at!
    Favourite TB colours: aubergine, forest (sniff!), linen, wasabi, UV
    Hoping for: A new dyneema colour for YSSs; a Linen Side Effect; the return of Portable Culture!

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