Inspiration Recreation

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Sole Society - Mason Oversized Travel Satchel

This November I'll be traveling to Austin, TX for a few days to attend a conference for work.  In the midst of arranging my hotel and flight accommodations, I started thinking ahead about what I should pack and realized I really needed to replace my old carry-on bag.  I wanted something that looks nice and professional but not like your typical travel bag.  I needed something roomy enough to pack for a 3 day trip without being too bulky and cumbersome, and I wanted more organization than a duffel style bag.  I think I found what I was looking for with the Mason bag from Sole Society!

                                     Sole Society Mason Oversized Travel Satchel ($79.95)
I purchased the bag in black but it also comes in cognac brown, grey, midnight blue, olive green, and oxblood.  All bag colors have the same gold hardware.  The black bag has what looks to be a micro snow leopard print lining.  The bag measures 13"H x 19 1/2"W x 7"D,  with a 8 3/4" handle drop and adjustable cross-body strap drop of  23".  Of the 13" bag height, the main compartment is about 9" and the bottom compartment 4".  Overall, the bag is a little smaller than my old 21" carry-on suitcase so there shouldn't be an issue with airlines trying to make me check it (I hate baggage claim!). 

I was a little concerned about whether the main compartment would be big enough when I ordered but after seeing it in person I'm convinced it will be room enough to pack several pieces of clothing (I don't have to pack heavy winter clothing).  Just to get an idea of how much I could possibly fit in this bag, I tried stuffing in 2 pairs of jeans, a skirt, 3 tops, a cardigan, laptop and charger, book, 2 pairs of flats, and a cosmetic bag and still had a little room to spare!
The bottom shoe compartment is probably my favorite part about the design of this bag.  I've never really liked the idea of packing my shoes and toiletries bag together with my clothes so this compartment will allow me to pack them separately.
I like that the bag looks like a big purse so it has a more sophisticated look than the typical travel bag.  The leopard print lining also gives it more of a purse feel.  I also like that it has an interior zipper pocket and slip pockets like a purse to hold my wallet, keys, phone, etc.  There is also one exterior slip pocket that will be convenient for keeping my boarding pass easily accessible at the airport. There is a detachable luggage tag hanging on one of the handles as well.
Although this bag is sold as a travel bag, I think it would also make a nice "fancy" gym bag or work bag if you have to carry a laptop, chargers, lots of paperwork, a change of shoes, etc in addition to your regular purse contents.

This bag is faux leather and has a smell that needs to air out so I'm glad I ordered it well in advance of my trip in November.  Whenever I get new bags, I usually just put a dryer sheet inside for a couple of weeks before using to get rid of the "new" smell.  I also wanted to note that this bag does have some structure but not enough to always keep it's shape.  I don't mind it because having less structure makes it more comfortable to wear cross-body.  I think it'll also make it easier to shove in to overhead compartments on the plane.
Overall, I'm pleased with my first Sole Society purchase.  I got my bag for $64 instead of $80 because you get 20% off you first order if you join their email list (shipping is free for all orders over $30)!  The quality of the bag is pretty good for faux leather but I would still recommend taking advantage of the 20% off first order discount or sales rather than paying full price.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Stitch Fix #6 (September 2015)

I received my 6th Stitch Fix today!  Stitch Fix is a mail-order personal stylist service.  Here's how it works:
  • You decide when and how often you want to receive a shipment.  
  • You fill out a detailed style and sizing profile and leave a note for your stylist so they have an idea of what you're looking for.  I also provide a link to my Style board on Pinterest to better demonstrate what I like to wear.
  • There is a $20 styling fee for each shipment but you can use the fee towards purchasing items that you receive.  However, if you decide not to purchase anything you lose the $20 styling fee.  
  • Each delivery includes 5 items which can include clothing, handbags, jewelry, and others accessories.  Delivery and return shipping is free.
  • You have 3 days after receiving your shipment to try on and decide what you want to keep or return.  You indicate which items you are purchasing and returning on your online account.  You also have the opportunity to provide feedback on each item.  If you take longer than 3 days to indicate your purchases or returns on your account, Stitch Fix will assume you're keeping everything and charge you for everything so don't forget! There is a pre-paid shipping bag in your box to return the items you decide not to purchase.
Here is the note I sent to my stylist Jennifer for this fix:
"Hi Jennifer! I really liked the fit of the Papermoon Waters Ikat Maxi dress in my last fix but would like to try it in a different print or a maxi with a similar cut & waistline. I'd also like to see some casual work tops. A pair of olive green jeans/pants would be nice too if available. And the black Urban Expressions Lyla Woven Crossbody Bag, pretty please!!! Thanks!
... and here is a look at what I received: 

Styling Suggestion Cards

Papermoon Waters Printed Maxi Dress ($68) - KEEP!

Market & Spruce Aaliyah Terry Knit Dolman Top  ($54) - RETURN

Kut From The Kloth  Siena Cropped Pant ($58) - RETURN

Papermoon Camilla Pencil Skirt  ($58) - RETURN

Urban Expressions Richie Asymmetrical Clutch  ($48) - RETURN

Price Breakdown

Cost to Keep Entire Box:  $286 - 25% discount - $20 styling fee credit = $194.50
Cost of What I Kept:  $68 - $20 styling fee credit = $48
Impressions:  I'm very happy my stylist Jennifer sent another version of the Papermoon Waters maxi dress!  I like the minty green and navy color and the interesting chevron pattern.  I have a navy blue chain wallet that goes well with the navy in the dress.  I also really like the tank style straps and the arm holes that aren't too low which make this dress bra friendly!  I don't wear dresses that often but this dress is really comfortable, and although the end of summer will be here soon, I will still get a lot of wear out of this dress this year because I live in a relatively warm climate.  I think the outfit with the denim jacket, nude sandals, and scarf on the styling card is cute and will be a great way to extend the wear of this dress in to fall.  This version of the Papermoon Waters maxi dress does seem to be made of a slightly lighter weight fabric and an inch or two shorter than the one I received in my last Stitch Fix but I think it's still a good length.  And the fabric isn't sheer considering it is a lighter colored fabric.  I like the dolman sleeves and navy stripes of the Market & Spruce top but I found the band of terry cloth fabric across the chest and underneath the arm quite weird.  First of all, it's like wearing a dish towel across your chest.  Two, it draws attention to the chest which isn't something I aim to do.  The terry cloth fabric apparently snags easily as well, as seen by the loose threads, so this sweater would be a disaster if laundered with anything with a hook or zipper.  The line up of the stripes and the bottom hem all seemed wonky as well.  If this was just a simple navy striped dolman top, I probably would have kept it but I'm returning this one.  I need to replace my old, fading pair of olive green chinos so I'm glad my stylist was able to find a pair for me to try on.  I really liked the olive green color of the Kut From the Kloth croped pants.  They would have been good for casual everyday wear and for casual work wear but unfortunately they were a little too small.  If they were a size bigger I would have kept them.  I didn't ask for a skirt but I'm assuming Jennifer thought the Papermoon pencil skirt would be nice to throw in since I asked for work tops.  My dress code for work is casual because I often have to venture in to horticultural research and production facilities, so pencil skirts and heels are not very sensible.  I love the burgundy color but it was too form fitting and I didn't like the lace edging (it made the skirt look like a slip instead) so I'm returning it.  I asked for a specific black crossbody bag but unfortunately it wasn't available at the time but I do like the teal green color of the Urban Expressions clutch Jennifer sent.  The size is good but the asymmetrical clutch design and gold chain (to wear crossbody) seem a little to dressy or "girl's night out" for everyday wear for me.  Although I really like the color, this is a clutch/bag I know I would rarely use so I can't justify buying it.  I'm going to continue looking for a crossbody about this size but in a more relaxed style and neutral color.

Overall, I like the variety of items my stylist selected and appreciate her efforts to get the maxi dress and olive green pants I requested.   I do wish she had included another top rather than the pencil skirt.  But the colors and patterns she chose for this fix are right up my alley!  Aside from standard neutrals, I really like jewel tones, blues and greens, and stripes which I'm pretty sure she has picked up on from my style profile and my Pinterest Style board.  I'm very happy with my maxi dress purchase and look forward to my next Fix!