My reviews are raw, honest, real, and unbiased. I don't sugar coat and if there's anything I don't like, you'll hear it. I am an elite yelper and avid amazon reviewer. So much so, I'm constantly getting free books and game offers sent to me to read, test, and review. LOL
I've been dying for this bag since its release because I'm a commuter and thanks to my 9 to 5 job, have also been doing some traveling. This is not a cutesy purse by any means. This is a serious tote bag that boasts three large sections.
The two outer sections are closed by a strong snap button closure. The center is a zipper closure. This is a VERY deep and wide bag but compresses nicely when not filled to capacity. Each section has multiple pockets. Zippered, gartered, meshed, and a thermal pocket. I love the multiple pockets. Now, keep in mind, for any bag that has a zillion pockets, you WILL still lose things. I don't mean lose as in physically lose it forever. I mean, if you don't adopt a system on where you put things, you will go crazy trying to remember where you put it.
The straps are cotton webbing, sturdy, and wide. It sits nicely and is comfortable on your shoulders. You don't feel that "dig" that most nylon straps give you. Even with this bag filled with my macbook and a ton of other items, the wide strap helps distribute the weight nicely on your shoulder. There are clasps on the outside for those that prefer to use the adjustable shoulder strap it comes with. I personally don't feel the need for it. The length of the attached straps are perfect. When the bag is resting on my shoulder, the top of the bag makes a great arm rest.
The construction of the bag feels very strong and durable. I like that it can stand on its own and isn't floppy. It makes it easier to load and unload. Although the bag is a little bulky, it fits nicely in your lap without invading other peoples space. I ride the bus and I hate when other peoples stuff creep into my personal space. For a large bag, it is very lightweight. Unlike most $1000 designer bags I've owned in the past. So, most of the weight you bear is from the items that are in your bag. Not from the debt you owe and all that dead cow skin. LOL. I kid.
Now, in regards to pockets. The outer section of the bag has pockets for your cell phone, ipod, etc. Thirty One perfected pocket placements in this bag. It's not too low where you have to shove your whole arm down into the bag. It's high enough that you can see your items and don't have to dig for it. But not so high that you worry that it may fall out if the zipper is open. The pocket width and height fits my blackberry, ipod, and mytouch phone perfectly.
The next section with button closure, has 2 wide gartered pockets and 3 pockets for pencils, pens, and other tools. There is a small lobster clasp tether to attach your keys to. The padded laptop area is complete with a gartered velcro closure. I put my macbook and a catalog or two in here.
The center zippered area is the largest compartment. Its the deepest and widest section. I use this for my wallet and other personal belongings that I want most secure. This area houses a nice big zippered pocket and 2 slide in pockets.
The last sector of the bag has a large zippered pocket with thermal lining. YES, THERMAL. Now, this thermal pocket is not extremely deep or wide. So it will not hold a full lunch in there and I don't recommend shoving a sandwich in there either unless its a pressed panini in a very strong ziploc bag. What I do use this for is to put my makeup, lotions, creams, or other items that could possibly leak. My girlfriend is planning on using this section to hold her insulin.
There are also two gartered DEEP pockets on the sides. Good for holding bottles of beer, water, etc. It looks like it can easily hold a 12 oz green bottle. I have yet to try. On the opposite side of the thermal pocket are two large mesh pockets at the bottom of the bag. You could put your stinky socks or dirty baby bibs in there.
The outer pocket closest to your body (the side not embroidered if you choose to get it personalized) serves two purposes. First, as a wide and deep pocket. Second, when traveling, it converts into a open flap (so don't put anything in there) that you can use to put over your luggage handle. It securely sits on your luggage. Not only is it snazzy and eye catching. But it sits on the bag nice and strong. No more wobbly bags while running through the airport.
This bag is a hostess exclusive. In order to be able to purchase this, you must host a party. Whether it be an online party, catalog, party, or physical house party, as long as your party hits $200 in volume, you qualify for this bag plus credits, half off items, and other perks.
So in a nutshell, this bag rocks. Of all the bags I've ever used, this by far is the most functional with the least amount of cons. My only gripe is the small thermal area. It would have been more useful if it was a little bigger with a gusset so you can fit real food in it. Not just a box of apple juice and a bagel. You know, unsmashable food? I can just see my pop tart get obliterated in there.
Overall, this bag is a 9 out of 10, thus far. I use the crap out of my bags. So in about a month or two, I'll probably post a review update on how the bag is holding up. It only comes in two designs. This denim pattern and a black and white polka dot print. (large dots).
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As of the end of December 2013, I went through two of these bags. After about a month of use the two button snap closures on the outer sections of the bags broke. The buttons themselves have a very strong snap. It's the base of the buttons that bend and warp and eventually break off.
I returned the first one and got a replacement bag. After a month with the replacement, it happened again. This time I was very careful about how I was using the buttons. Still, they warped and broke. They need to use stronger buttons with a snap that's not so tight. After the second replacement, as much as I LOVED this bag, I opted to get a refund instead. I was frustrated that my favorite bag kept breaking on me. I could've continued to use it without snapping it shut. But I'm a heavy packer. The bag would just sit wide open all the time. Not safe.
If they were to fix the button problem, I will definitely host another party to get this bag again. Please fix it Thirty One!! :)