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  1. #1
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    Replacing Purse with Medium Cafe Bag?

    I currently carry around a large Bagallini tote (Tulum model) as my everyday purse. I'm looking to replace it with something a bit smaller (and crossbody), but still spacious enough to carry my stuff. I recently got into Tom Bihn bags and was wondering if I could use the Medium Cafe bag as my purse or if that would look odd or if the messenger flap would be too frustrating/unsafe.

    My typical carry is this:

    • Big Skinny Wallet (about the size of a checkbook, but very very thin)
    • Nintendo switch in case (this is the toughy because of how big it is (10 x 5 x 2).
    • Small makeup bag with emergency stuff (floss, Band-Aids, deodorant, feminine products, etc.)
    • Car keys
    • Small battery pack
    • Small grid-it with various cables
    • Small case for in-ear headphones
    • Sunglasses
    • Cell phone (Samsung s8)
    • Totes Travel umbrella


    Ideally, the wallet, switch, umbrella, and makeup bag would go into the main compartment and everything else would be in a separate area. I'd want more room than I need so everything has enough room and wouldn't be squished in.

    Unfortunately, most larger purses now are incorporating a tablet pocket in the main compartment which usually is padded and floppy and ends up caving into the main compartment, eating up space. That's another reason for me wanting to look into another option.

    Anyway, sorry if this is a bit scattered, but if anyone has any thoughts on it, I'd appreciate it!
    Last edited by nolegrl; 08-15-2018 at 07:54 AM.

  2. #2
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    Sounds like you could consider the Small Cafe, Medium Cafe, Daylight Briefcase, and the Maker's Bag... all can be considered cross-body, though how they fit on you would obviously depend on you...
    The Side Kick is too small for the Nintendo... the Co-Pilot may be too suitcasey for what you're looking for

    I have a SCB but I don't use it often as the main compartment is open except for the flap covering (there is a zip pocket, but not the big main space)... I'm always worried that little stuff might fall out if I toss it around.
    Recently I got the DLBC in a swap and it worked well for me. I took it on a trip where it carried my work laptop by day and then all those random things you want running around a city on the weekend... not the same items on your list but things of equivalent size
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by G42 View Post
    Sounds like you could consider the Small Cafe, Medium Cafe, Daylight Briefcase, and the Maker's Bag... all can be considered cross-body, though how they fit on you would obviously depend on you...
    The Side Kick is too small for the Nintendo... the Co-Pilot may be too suitcasey for what you're looking for

    I have a SCB but I don't use it often as the main compartment is open except for the flap covering (there is a zip pocket, but not the big main space)... I'm always worried that little stuff might fall out if I toss it around.
    Recently I got the DLBC in a swap and it worked well for me. I took it on a trip where it carried my work laptop by day and then all those random things you want running around a city on the weekend... not the same items on your list but things of equivalent size
    Thanks! I was looking at the Maker's Bag too, but I think that my be little too messenger- like. I also considered the daylight briefcase, but it definitely looks more like a briefcase than a purse.

    I was hoping the smaller cafe bags could pass off as a purse even though they're messenger bags. I'll take a look at the small cafe again, on first look, I thought it might be too small for my needs.

    Good point about worrying about stuff falling out. I only plan to keep the bigger items in the main flap compartment, so hopefully they'll be too big to spill out.

    The sidekick would have been perfect if I didn't carry so much stuff. Lol.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by nolegrl View Post
    I also considered the daylight briefcase, but it definitely looks more like a briefcase than a purse.
    My DLBC is in Nordic and whilst it's definitely not a purse, I didn't think it looked too briefcasey, YMMV of course.... here's the photos I took in June
    https://forums.tombihn.com/photos-vi...tml#post162094

    The black halcyon is probably even more unobtrusive looking because the black seams & zippers blend in....just a thought
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by G42 View Post
    My DLBC is in Nordic and whilst it's definitely not a purse, I didn't think it looked too briefcasey, YMMV of course.... here's the photos I took in June
    https://forums.tombihn.com/photos-vi...tml#post162094

    The black halcyon is probably even more unobtrusive looking because the black seams & zippers blend in....just a thought
    Thanks! It actually doesn't look that bad, just a little boxy. If I ever decide on a bag, I may pick that one up as well to see it in person.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Forum Member marytattoo's Avatar
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    Although it's bigger, you could try the PU in halcyon. It's organized and the halcyon lets it conform to your body. It just looks like a big hobo bag.
    Quote Originally Posted by nolegrl View Post
    Thanks! I was looking at the Maker's Bag too, but I think that my be little too messenger- like. I also considered the daylight briefcase, but it definitely looks more like a briefcase than a purse.

    I was hoping the smaller cafe bags could pass off as a purse even though they're messenger bags. I'll take a look at the small cafe again, on first look, I thought it might be too small for my needs.

    Good point about worrying about stuff falling out. I only plan to keep the bigger items in the main flap compartment, so hopefully they'll be too big to spill out.

    The sidekick would have been perfect if I didn't carry so much stuff. Lol.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
    Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by marytattoo View Post
    Although it's bigger, you could try the PU in halcyon. It's organized and the halcyon lets it conform to your body. It just looks like a big hobo bag.

    Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk
    Sorry, still trying to get the hang of all the acronyms...PU?

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

  8. #8
    Forum Member marytattoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nolegrl View Post
    Sorry, still trying to get the hang of all the acronyms...PU?

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
    Parental unit.

    Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk

  9. #9
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    I ordered the medium cafe bag which came in yesterday and I don't think it's going to work out. I'm spoiled by all my purses pockets and the medium cafe doesn't have that same utility. It felt very full once I stuffed all my crap in there.

    On the plus side, I also ordered a travel cubelet again (in Dawn) and that will work great as a minimal purse! I had accidentally ordered 2 of those last month and ended up sending them both back because I couldn't think of a purpose for it. I had intended to use it as my "concert purse", but it would have been way too small for what I usually carry to concerts. It does work great for when I just need my keys, wallet and phone. That's my usual carry when running to the grocery store or just running around town on the weekends.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by nolegrl View Post
    I'm spoiled by all my purses pockets and the medium cafe doesn't have that same utility.
    I like the look of the café bags but prefer the horizontal packing of the Side Effect and the larger Side Kick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tress29 View Post
    I like the look of the café bags but prefer the horizontal packing of the Side Effect and the larger Side Kick.
    I wish I could do the side kick, I really like the look. Unfortunately, I have way too much stuff to fit in there.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by nolegrl View Post
    I ordered the medium cafe bag which came in yesterday and I don't think it's going to work out. I'm spoiled by all my purses pockets and the medium cafe doesn't have that same utility. It felt very full once I stuffed all my crap in there.
    A Freudian Slip would give you more pockets/organization, although it would take up some space, giving you even less room...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by marytattoo View Post
    Parental unit.

    Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk
    I decided to give this a shot today and placed an order. I saw an online review of someone using it as a non-diaper bag and it seems like it'd work really well as my purse. I'm a bit concerned about the length as my purse is 15in across now and feels a bit long, and this one is 16in, but I'll see how it goes. I like that it has a double zipper, so hopefully I can situate it where I won't have to reach all the way across to zip it.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by loma View Post
    A Freudian Slip would give you more pockets/organization, although it would take up some space, giving you even less room...
    I definitely need the room before the pockets. I just placed an order for a parental unit, so hopefully that'll be a happy medium between space and pockets.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by marytattoo View Post
    Although it's bigger, you could try the PU in halcyon. It's organized and the halcyon lets it conform to your body. It just looks like a big hobo bag.

    Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk
    The parental unit I ordered came in. I got the steel ballistic (totally missed your suggestion for halcyon, sorry!) and I loaded it up today. It fits everything nicely, and actually carries more than my regular purse does despite being only slightly wider. The only issue I can see is that the side caves in a bit since it's not packed full so have to straighten it out a bit to open the zipper. I imagine the same thing would happen with the halcyon too and may make it look really floppy. I do like that the ballistic keeps it's structure.

    I also worry that it looks a bit big and slightly luggagey as an everyday purse. I was trying to downsize my current purse but this actually upsizes it a bit, lol. I love the pockets and organization of it though, it's perfect for tucking away all those little things that you want with you but don't necessarily need all the time.

    The true test will be taking it with me when I go out and about to see how well it works day to day, but that's tough to do with the tags on.

    I may take it to work tomorrow as a trial run and keep the tags on and ignore any weird looks.

    Edit: I decided to do a rush order on a black halcyon PU for comparison. It's going to bug me to wonder whether that would have been a better choice and I'd rather know for sure which I like. I don't like spending so much on shipping (expedited was $36, I really wish they offered USPS for large items), but the thought of waiting a week to potentially make a decision in 2 minutes made me go for it.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
    Last edited by nolegrl; 09-07-2018 at 03:06 AM.

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