Here’s a funny thing about being the mom of bigger kids: You get your handbag back. Once your kids are school-age (mine are in third and fifth grade this year), you’re no longer responsible for carrying all their junk around all day — that’s what school bags are for! Plus tweens just don’t seem to need so much junk; my kid who always, always had to take eleventy toys with him on the road when he was little (seriously, he carried a pile of I don’t know what all stuff with him every time we left the house, all the way through kindergarten, you all) now carries nothing. In fact, he doesn’t even wear a coat most of the time, which is a whole other thing that I am refusing to think about. I’m just glad it was warm here this winter.
But the point is, my bag is my bag these days. Not the bag I carry to hold all of the boys’ things. And it is delightful.
Because of this change, I find that a whole new world of handbags has opened up for me. I can carry a clutch for day, which I love to do because it’s easy and chic — but it also means that if I’m going any place where I want to bring my iPad, I have to lug that separately. And that’s a pain. But I’m also really over my huge tote bags, the ones that were big enough to carry extra diapers and sippy cups and changes of clothes and superhero action figures and LEGOs and … you know the drill. I don’t need that bag any more. I need the perfect Goldilocks in-between bag.
And you all, I have found it! And it is beautiful.
This is the Joni Hobo, from Ellington Handbags. I’m a huge fan of Ellington’s bags; they are beautifully crafted and thoughtfully designed, and the materials are always lovely. The Joni is a pebbled leather that just a little big rugged; it works perfectly with the metal hardware and visible stitching on the bag’s front.
But as much as I love the look of this bag, it’s the function that really won me over. The Joni is a sleek, structured hobo — nothing slouchy about this bag. It has a single strap, which makes it easy to carry (nothing is falling off your shoulder when you’re wrangling groceries or an umbrella, for instance). It also has plenty of well-organized space for all the things you need to go from the office to karate or little league or a dinner date with the girls. I use the two outside pockets to hold my phone and my sunglasses; the other exterior side of the bag has a long zippered pocket that’s perfect for storing cash or receipts — anything you’re putting away on the fly but don’t want to drop to the bottom of the big bag.
The inside of this bag has three slip pockets that are just the right size for my wallet and keys and lip gloss. And because those inside pockets are high up, near the bag’s opening, there’s no more fumbling around in the bottom of my bag for my debit card. That right there makes this bag a winner.
The Joni is the perfect size for my iPad (it’s a little small for my MacBook, although I can make it work in an emergency — but this is not the bag for you if you’re carrying a laptop everywhere). It has a fairly slim profile (it’s only 4 inches deep) but there’s enough interior room for everything I need during the day (small makeup pouch, tissue, hand lotion, scarf, bottle of water). The pebbled leather makes this bag casual enough to be an everyday mom bag, while the sleek styling makes it appropriate for work. It truly is the perfect day bag.
The Joni Hobo comes in tan (pictured), red, brown and black; it’s made of Ellington’s Pebbled Eco Leather and lined with their signature printed cotton. The Joni retails for $229, but Ellington is currently offering free standard shipping for a limited time.
And during the month of April, Ellington will donate 20% of the purchase price of every Joni Hobo to the Sierra Club. Excellent.
Photo: Susan Wagner