Wednesday, November 19, 2014

L.L. Bean Totes Sizes and Monograms

The other day I absentmindedly looked at sale items on L.L. Bean and found a couple things I found interesting, but ended up loosing interest and leaving the screen behind without making a purchase. Later, when my wife said "I just looked at the computer and saw something disturbing," I knew she had opened up to the page I left behind… A picture of a hunting knife. I laughed, because it certainly was outside of my usual window shopping style, but she continued, "I saw that you're looking at more of those L.L. Bean totes."

It's true -- I have amassed a bit of a collection over the years. I find them to be ever useful, and can always find something that can be corralled easily into one or another. I use them for travel and for storage, and one even became a dog bag for our pup. I have a few different sizes and colors, and while most of them are plain, I've also tried out a few monogram styles.

The monogram sizes vary quite a bit based on the font chosen. The blue bag and the red bag are both size medium, but the "MRM" in Times Bold monogram is 1.25" high by 3.75" wide, while the "B" in Heirloom single letter is huge at 2.5" high by 3" wide. The yellow bag is a size extra large, and the three letter monogram in style Classic monogram is just the right size at 2" high by 1.75" wide.

The sizes of the bags are shown in a couple pictures on L.L. Bean's site, but they are from the front, so hopefully this view also helps show the sizes in a different way. In this picture, the red bag is size medium, the blue bag is size large, and the yellow bag is size extra large. They all have the regular length handles, but as can be seen here, the handles vary in size because they are all proportional to the bag size.

I use the extra large bag mainly for carrying large items. It is perfect for taking Christmas presents on the train, or carrying items which would otherwise be awkward to hold. It is also the bag I always bring to events such as benefits or parties when I'm involved in setting up -- not only does it hold everything I need, but thanks to its open top, no one else helping to set up feels uncomfortable going into it for tape or scissors. Once the event gets underway, I can toss my sneakers and anything else in it and easily shove it into a corner. For this size, I find that the regular handles are just right. If it isn't packed full, I can still put it over my shoulder, but if it is overflowing, the handles aren't too long to hold at my side.

The large size is the one that I sometimes travel with, as it is the right size for either sheets and towels or food and wine. The zip top makes it easy to keep things inside, and actually adds just a little bit more room above the top of the bag if I've got a lot to stuff in. While at home, the zip top versions come in handy for storing things like fabric for sewing and off-season items -- the ability to close them makes it easier to stack them in a closet.

The medium size is the one I used to make the dog bag, and the long handles are necessary for carrying him on my shoulder. This red medium has a zip top and regular handles instead, and in this size the handles don't go over the shoulder easily. As shown in the picture, they're just a little smaller than the handles on the larger bags. In the long handle style, I've used both the small size (not pictured) and the medium size as summer purses, and both sizes work very well either with or without the zip top.

They come in so handy that mine are rarely empty, but if they are, unlike rigged storage or travel options they can be folded down and tucked away into a drawer or even into another bag while traveling. As many as I have, I don't regret having any of them… And I'm still always tempted to get a couple more.

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"There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- God damn it, you've got to be kind."
-Kurt Vonnegut