The Best Beach Bag for Under $25

Oahu XL Mesh Beach Bag

With summer around the corner, many of us are optimistically planning some time in the sun. So today, I thought I would share one of my favorite finds – the beach bag to end all beach bags.

We are planning on a social-distancing-friendly trip to the beach once virtual learning wraps up, to give the kids and us a much-needed breather.

Because it’s going to take us 10 hours by car, I’ve been throwing myself into preparing for not only the week away but a long drive with cranky kids.

I plan on bringing only the essentials, but with a teenager, a ten-year-old, and a toddler, we don’t travel light.

As I started to pull out all of our summer gear, I realized my heavy boat and totes were going to take up too much room in the car. So I went off to find a solution and landed on this incredibly affordable option.

The Best Beach Bag for Under $25

Oahu XL Mesh Beach BagRead All of the 5 Star Reviews Here

At first, I was looking for something both stylish and practical – Instagram-worthy, if you will. Then I landed on this oversized, mesh bag with zipper compartments and outside pockets and was sold. 

There is a lot to love about this, and I will eventually update this post with a video of everything it holds, but for now, if you need a beach or pool bag, pick this up. 

First off, it’s huge. You can fit about eight large beach towels rolled up, and the outside pockets fit everything from flip-flops to magazines, to small beach toys.

There is an inside zip top pocket to keep your keys, phone and wallet dry and save. 

The bottom is waterproof so no worrying about your things getting damp. 

And the best – it folds up. So it doesn’t take up any room at all. 

I bought two, one for towels and essentials and one for all the baby beach toys. 

 


Our Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist View Post and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

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We Love Lo & Sons

Lo & Sons

American small businesses are in dire straits. Many will feel the economic fall out of our current health crisis for years to come, and some will never recover.

And while we should be staying put to keep our most vulnerable and healthcare professional safe, my heart crumbles for the losses business owners and entrepreneurs are facing.

Because for every business that fails, there are far reaching, devastating consequences. One business represents thousands of families, all dependent on that income.

These families are worried about putting food on the table, paying their mortgages, and just surviving. On top of that, the actual fear and anxiety they are experiencing creates equally severe physical and mental health risks. 

Yesterday, Lo & Sons, creators of some of our favorite travel and work bags, shared with their customers that, for obvious reasons, their sales are on a steep decline.

Listen, I don’t have the biggest following, but I do have engaged platforms. So I pulled today’s scheduled post in hopes that maybe our little community could help. 

Lo & Sons 

 

Lo & Sons

Lo & Sons has been in business for ten years, created by a mother and her (you guessed it) two sons. I’ve carried their bags for almost that entire time.

Over the years, it’s been like being part of a secret club. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run through the airport and found someone smiling at me, because we had the same OG bag.

When I was in Croatia a few summers back, I ran into a girl with the identical Pearl I was carrying. We didn’t speak the same language but managed to acknowledge how much we loved it just the same.

I truly believe that things crafted out of love evokes a sense of pride, and unite us in beautiful ways.

I don’t actually know anyone at Lo & Sons. I’ve just  promoted them over the years because I very much believe in their product, especially for busy, professional, and/or on the go women.

I’m so saddened and frankly, angered, to see a decade of tireless work and sacrifice threatened by something no one could have predicted. As business owners, we’re accustomed to risk – but this was never part of our wildest dreams.

I will not and have never received a commission, kickback of free products of any kind when I mention them. 

Their entire site is currently 40% off with an additional 15% off using the code SUPPORTSMALLBUSINESS.

So, today, I’m using whatever leverage I have to help spread the word. If you have wanted a Lo & Sons, now is the time to buy one.

Buying a bag now will give them a much-needed cash infusion and send a message of hope. This is unsponsored, not paid for, Lo & Sons doesn’t even know I exist. 

The O.G. 2

Lo & Sons The O.G. 2

The O.G. 2 – Nylon – Black / Gold / Lavender

The O.G. 2 is the updated version of the original O.G., which I have carried for an astonishing amount of years. You can run this thing over with a truck, and still be able to carry it like nothing happened. 

It is the ideal airplane bag: durable, simple, incredibly organized. It slips underneath the seat in front of you with no problem, and sits perfect on top of your carry on, keeping you hands free. 

The Pearl 

Lo & Sons The Pearl

The Pearl – Nappa Leather – Sienna / Gold / Camel

The Pearl is the perfect crossbody bag. It’s slim yet fits everything you would want, like a full size wallet, phone, keys, some makeup. 

It’s chic styling goes with everything, you can see me carrying it here on Instagram. It’s great for travel or a quick dinner out with friends, that’s where I’m going below. 

The Catalina Deluxe

Lo & Sons The Catalina

The Catalina Deluxe

For a quick weekend away – something we will all need when all this is over, the Catalina Deluxe is fantastic. It fits an outrageous amount of clothes, shoes, and toiletries without being overwhelming.

When Bri and I sneak away for a few nights, I like packing as light as possible, so I spend less time getting ready and more time enjoying the downtime away from kids.
With the discounts provided this gets marked down to $70. 


 

* This is not the site for political commentary, so I will not approve any politically charged comments one way or the other. This is simply an opportunity to support a hurting business that many of us know and love. If you already have a bag, the best thing you can do is forward this to a friend who might like one for herself. Again, I do not receive a penny from any of the sales. 

5 Professional Headbands for Women

Headbands you can wear in the office

Over in our private Facebook group, we had a discussion about hair accessories. Specifically scrunchies and headbands for women. Can we wear them? What are the rules? Are they age-appropriate?

So let’s unpack this and start first with the easiest.

I’m not one to speak in absolutes, but I feel confident in saying that scrunchies on grown women are a “no.” We’ve been there, we’ve done it, arguably better than it’s being done now.

There’s nothing sophisticated about a scrunchie, and they do nothing to enhance your look. So let’s leave them to our tweens who think they are as awesome as we did back in the day.

Headbands, on the other hand, are not as straightforward

My Late 90s Idols

I grew up wearing them, just like Cher Horowitz, one of my first style icons. But now, I’m 40, with three daughters, and two of them (10 and 12) wear headbands all the time. 

Which leads to the question: On us, do they look dated? Immature? Try-hard?

My simple answer: you can wear them (you can wear whatever you want!) but to keep them chic and modern, and not teetering in tween territory, simple is the name off the game. 

Headbands for Work or Play

Professional Headbands for Women

For this post, I went out a bought this leopard print headband at Nordstrom. It’s the most expensive on the list ($26), but I wanted to make sure I was trying out a made-for-an-adult option. 

I’m surprised how much I like it. It’s a nice alternative to a ponytail, which has become a go-to style for so many of us. It made me look more polished, and elevated a simple outfit of a cashmere turtleneck and black pants.  It’s also comfortable – so it’s easy to wear all day long without getting pinched behind your ears. 

I feel strongly that, because headbands are inherently sweet, I wouldn’t wear them in a traditional business formal setting. 

In casual, creative, and workplaces that embrace a more low-key dress code, you’re good.

Outside of work, they can be a fun accessory to incorporate in your weekend wear.

For good measure, avoid overly embellished options, covered in lace and pearls, they’ll feel too costumey and formal.

I would also skip inexpensive ones from the drugstore. Not only will they break easily, but they will hurt your head after just a few minutes of wearing them. 

5 Professional Headbands for Women

Professional Headbands for Women

Leopard, $26  |  Tortoise, $16.50  |  Puffed Velvet, $19.50  |  Black and Gold Set, $22  |  Braided, $18

Leopard, $26: This has a wide band that sits flat on your head. The print has texture to it, so you’re getting a little bit of depth as well as pattern. I haven’t stopped wearing it since I bought it. 

Tortoise, $16.50: A classic neutral tortoise print is an excellent place to start since it will work within any personal style. 

Puffed Velvet, $19.50: The “puff” of this headband from LOFT will add some height to the top of your head, so it works best with long hair with lots of volume. 

Black and Gold Set, $22: For a chic and sophisticated look, pull your hair back into a styled pony and add one of these shiny bands, it tames flyaways and gives you a polished, finished look. 

Braided, $18: For something a little better than basic, take a look at this slim braided option, also from Nordstrom in black or gold. It will subtly pull your hair back and add a bit of texture but will also disappear into your look. 

Related: How to Dress Age Appropriate 

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Our content is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers in any way. Recommendations are based on personal experience and my time working with women as a stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram for even more free tips, and join our Private Facebook Group for access advice in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

Affordable Earrings that are Work Appropriate

Affordable Earrings that are Work Appropriate

Finding appropriate jewelry for work that is affordable and wearable is a challenge. Many options are either so expensive they lay outside of most budgets, or they are cheap and flimsy feeling.

So I thought rounding up a few costume options at a range of prices (but under $100) would be helpful. 

I’m calling this post “office appropriate” since so many of us are in the workforce, but you can wear these whether you’re looking for a simple, classic piece for the office, something fun for the weekend or anything in between. 

Earrings for the Office1. Hoops, $55  |  2. Pearl Studs, $18  |  3. Pearl Chandelier, $34  |  4. Pearl Hoops, $12.50  |  5. Huggies, $68  |  6. Tortoise Hoops, $29.50  |  7. Bar Studs, $38  |  8. Diamonique Studs, $99 |  9. Hoops, $68 |  10. Spike, $55 

 

1. Hoops, $55

Right now my favorite brand for affordable yet chic costume pieces is gorjana. I love so many pieces. Each one has something a little different while staying classic and really easy to wear. 

Since I have a one year old at home who loves to grab everything, I was reluctant to pick up a hoop. I also haven’t worn hoops in ages. But I adore these. 

They are lightweight, add a bit of texture and under $60. 

Affordable Earrings that are Work Appropriate

2. Pearl Studs, $18

A simple glass “pearl” stud is a timeless classic. This one is made modern by it’s oversized shape. Shopbop is an excellent resource for budget friendly costume jewelry. Simply search within your price points and you’ll be amazed at your options. 

3. Pearl Chandelier, $34

Another Shopbop option, these pearl chandelier earrings are unexpected but work if you wear your hair down. I like an earring this style with a simple, clean lined dress, with a boat or v-neckline.

4. Pearl Hoops, $12.50 

Even when LOFT is regular price, their clothing and accessories are incredibly reasonable. So when they have a sale, I often joke that they are giving things away. These $12 pearl hoops are so sweet and a size that are easy to wear in your day to day. 

5. Huggies, $68

Like Shopbop, Anthropologie is worth the search. Pick a max price point and start scrolling because here you will find a variety of trendy, artsy pieces that work within any style. These huggie earrings have a modern twist that still comes across as subtle. I would wear them as if they were stud earrings, and let them fall into the background of your look.

6. Tortoise Hoops, $29.50 

I’ve yet to meet a tortoise accessory I didn’t like, so these J.Crew earrings (under $30) are a winner in my book. J. Crew jewelry can feel very “J.Crew Like” and no one wants to look as if they just stepped out of a catalog. I try to look for pieces here that don’t have that specific feel, and always mix them with items from other stores and brands. 

But these earrings with a black turtleneck sweater and your favorite jeans is the stuff “everyday” uniforms are made of. 

7. Bar Studs, $38 

These Bar Studs by Argento Vivo are a super cool alternative to your basic stud earring for a great price. Keep an eye out for this brand, available at Bloomingdales. They are a similar price point to gorjana, with a slightly more traditional style, and many of their pieces are available in gold and silver. 

8. Diamonique Studs, $99 

These studs by Diamonique, an in-house brand at QVC, are my everyday earrings and have been for over a decade. Here’s what I can tell you from my brief career at the “Q,” they’re commitment to quality is top-notch, and they are genuinely focused on balancing that quality with value.

They use 14K gold, which is important since I tend to have reactions to anything other than silver or gold and offer a vast variety of styles and sizes. 

9. Hoops, $68

Kendra Scott is anther brand that I love, but after a while starts to look the same. So I was delighted to come across these faceted hoops (available in multi, gold and silver) for under $70. You can easily dress them up or down, and if you like color, the multi is a fun and fresh take on the rainbow trend we’re seeing. 

10. Spike, $55 

If you want something with a little edge, these “spike” earring will elevate your look while providing movement. They might be too much for a traditional office but for something less conventional or a night out, they are perfect. 

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 Our content is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers in any way. Recommendations are based on personal experience and my time working with women as a stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram for even more free tips, and join our Private Facebook Group for access advice in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

The Best Tote Bags for the Office

The Best Bags for Work

If you have a hard time finding a tote bag to get you to and from the office, you’re not alone. Women are particular about them since we carry our lives (figuratively and literally) on our shoulders.

They can’t be too big or too small; they need to fit all the things just right.
And because all of our needs are so different, there is not one universally perfect option.

So today I rounded up seven tote bags to get you to work, or wherever your day may lead.

The 7 Best Tote Bags for Work

 

The Best Bags for Work

Top to Bottom: Everlane, $175  |  Dagne Dover, $265  |  Matt & Nat, $135  |  Gigi New York, $375  |  J. Crew, $188  |  Cuyana, $195  |  Barrington Gifts, $190

These are traditional tote bags, to use for daily life. Most fit a laptop, but double check measurements against the size of your laptop to be sure.

If you are looking for a more durable bag for work travel, I still love Lo & Sons. They have the best options out there in an array for styles, though my personal favorite is still the O.G., now called the O.G.2. 

Let’s dive in …

Everlane: The Day Market Tote $175

The Best Tote Bags for the Office

I’m having a bit of a love affair with Everlane. Their quality is top notch and I’m all about their approach to transparent pricing. This tote is made of high quality Italian leather, and comes in five gorgeous colors.
 
Color Pptions: Black, Cognac, Light Taupe, and Red
No Zipper
 
Perfect for: The Minimalist. For those who prefers clean lines, no-frills and want to buy from a company focused on transparency and high quality production. 
 

Dagne Dover: Signature Legend Coated Canvas Tote $265

The Best Tote Bags for the Office

Dangne Dover was a client favorite for years, and for good reason. It’s an ideal work bag. I like that it doesn’t over-compartmentalize so you can use it however you see fit. The quality is outstanding, the price is fair, and the design is timeless.

Color Options: Bleeker Blush (Light Grey), Graphite (above), Black 

Zipper Top 

Perfect for: The Commuter. If you swap out shoes, bring your work home with you and pack a lunch, this bag is for you. 

Matt & Nat: SCHLEPP $135

The Best Tote Bags for the OfficeLooking for a leather alternative? I love my Matt & Nat tote. I have an old version of this in black, but this one is a lovely update. It comfortably fits a 13″ laptop with room to spare and an inside zipper pouch for added security. We featured it in Garnet which is such a nice neutral this time of year (and 25% off). For something more year-round I’d go for the Chili or Shadow

Color Options: Black, Chili, Shadow, Cosmo, and Garnet (some colors are 25% off) 

No Zipper

Perfect for: The Eco Advocate. Matt & Nat is vegan, and sustainably and ethically sourced.

Gigi New York: Tori Tote $375

The Best Tote Bags for the OfficeMaybe you want something utilitarian, a true tote you can take anywhere. This Gigi New York tote has enough structure to help it keep it’s shape. The craftsmanship is well done, and, you can have in monogrammed – always a plus in my book. It’s strikes a nice balance of casual and professional.

Color Options: Bordeaux, Camel, Navy, Black

No Zipper

Monogram optional 

Perfect for: The Uptown Girl. If you have a closet full of classic, well made, better basics, add this to the mix. 

J.Crew: Devon Zip Top Tote $188

The Best Tote Bags for the OfficeSimilar to the Gigi New York tote, but a little more polished, this option from J.Crew is my favorite. It’s lightweight, which is great because you’ll fill it up fast. It fists a laptop and all your essentials for a long day. Also available in black and you can monogram it. 

I ordered this in black for a better, yet casual bag. Even though my office is in my home, I still have to go to meetings, etc. I love how simple and roomy this is. I am going to pop my favorite purse organizer inside to give it some extra internal structure

Color Options: Saddle (above) and Black

Zipper Top 

Monogram Optional 

Perfect for: The Old School Prep. Because it pairs with your stripped shirts, your classic trench and dark jeans perfectly. 

Cuyana, Classic Zipper Tote $195

The Best Tote Bags for the Office This classic and timeless tote comes in seven super wearable colors and can take you to the office, meetings at the kids school, grocery shopping – everywhere. It’s the biggest of the bunch, with the option to include a custom insert to keep you better organized. 

Color Options: Black (choice of gold or silver zipper), Blush, Burgundy, Carmel, Navy, Peal Grey, and Stone

Zipper Top

Monogram Optional

Perfect for: Moms. You can lug your work papers, diapers, granola bars etc. You might have to carry everybody’s everything with you all day long, but you can look chic doing it. 

Barrington Gifts, St. Ann Zipper Tote $190

The Best Tote Bags for the Office

Finally, I just bought this for myself (not sponsored). All of Barrington Gifts items are completely customizable, from the body of the bag to the handles to the stripe that runs down the front. I went with the St. Anne Tote. It’s lightweight, and slim, but fits a surprising amount of stuff. Since I work from home 90% of the time, I don’t need anything too complicated. But I like this for trips to a coffee shop to write, or a day out sourcing new content for the site. 

Below is a better look at it in real life: 

The Best Tote Bags for the Office

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Our content is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers in any way. Recommendations are based on my experience working with women as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram for even more free tips, and join our Private Facebook Group for access to in-depth conversation and advice with other like-minded women.

5 Chic and Functional Bags for Work

Office-Ready Bags for Spring - The Well Dressed Life

If you’re on the hunt for a new work bag this season, we’ve got you covered, in fact we have five chic and functional bags for work . Admittedly, I am sick to death of the usual suspects. (I’m looking at you MICHAEL Michael Kors, Kate Spade, and Coach.)

For today’s post, I wanted to showcase bags specifically designed with working women in mind rather than a mainstream designer’s tote-of-the-moment.

It’s exciting to see companies take a narrow focus and provide actual solutions to the challenges women face trying to stay organized and looked pull together.  Many of these bags are not only gorgeous but thoughtfully designed by companies that are actively rewriting how retail is done. 

From price transparency, ethical manufacturing, and women owned and operated, it’s nice to know you’re doing good and getting more than what you need.

5 Chic and Functional Bags for Work Top: One, $465  |  Two, $265  |  Three, $475  |  Bottom: Five, $165  |  Six, $175

The Main Squeeze Tote and Chief of Staff Organizer Insert

I geeked out so much for this genius, albeit expensive, concept.  First, select the style bag you like. I featured the Main Squeeze Tote in gray; it’s also available in dusty rose and a deep navy.

It features a comfortable top handle, adjustable shoulder strap and full zipper closure. It’s crafted from Italian pebbled leather and is scratch and weather resistant. That’s amazing.

The inside is lined fully with durable nylon. But that’s not all.

You may also purchase an organizer customized for your bag in several options allowing you to decide how many, if any, compartments and slots you need to best manage your day-to-day.

I like the Chief of Staff; it has just enough dividers without micro-organizing. You can choose from the Chief of Staff, the Momager or the Senior Associate.

How great are the names?

What I like the most is that this bag and its inserts are available exclusively on the Etsy shop Sofia Fima. So you’re getting quality craftsmanship, created by hand in Maine and you’re supporting a female owned business. I don’t know if it gets better than that.

Dagne Dover

Dagne Dover was recommended to me by a former client years ago.   It’s pretty much everything you want in a simple, straightforward, yet chic work bag.

I featured the above bag because it’s a non leather option, while still having shape and structure. This one, in particular, is the largest size available. It will fit your 15″ laptop, a notebook, your water bottle and even a pair of flats.

Don’t need so much room? The same style is available in small sizes here and here.

Available in three other colors.

Cuyana Work Satchel 

Cuyana is like the handbag equivalent to the Container Store. You know you really don’t need so many things to put other things in, but gosh does it look pretty.

They have everything from a leather case to keep a single lipstick, to the “femme pouch,” which is just a fancy name for a pocket to hold a tampon. You can also get just about anything monogramed.

But what Cuyana does best, aside from hiding my OCD in blushed colored leather accessories, is gorgeous, structured handbags, like this work satchel.  It’s sophisticated in it’s shape and function. 

Going back to my must haves for an office bag: top handle, adjustable shoulder strap, zip closed center for added security and enough (but not too many) pockets and compartments.  Bonus points for the feet on the bottom of the bag.

Everlane Day Market Tote

Everlane is one of my new favorite brands. It’s like the grown-up version of J Crew, leaning a little more classic and a little less trendy. Their clothes and accessories are streamlined and straightforward, like this everyday tote. I have something similar and use it all the time, I take it to the gym, run to the grocery store and can throw my laptop in it for a quick, casual meeting.

What I like the most about Everlane is their ethical approach to labor and price transparency. There is no reason for a tee shirt to cost over $100.  Everlane tells you the exact costs, markup, and profit.  It’s also important to know that the people making your clothes are being treated well and make a fair living.

It’s a win-win all around.

KNOMO Mayfair Backpack

Last month, we featured our favorite backpack for work, the Tumi Voyageur Halle Backpack. Tumi is a high quality and sophisticated option but is definitely an investment.  KNOMO is a London-based design company that focuses on style, organization, and technology at reasonable prices.

This backpack is just as streamlined as the Tumi, made with durable nylon and features RFID technology, which help prevent identity theft for about half the price.

Weekend Inspiration: Straw Circle Bag

Weekend Inspiration: Straw Circle Bag
Weekend Inspiration: Straw Circle Bag - The Well Dressed Life

Given a choice, I would rather have a handful of high-quality handbags than a closet full of inexpensive “disposable” ones. But now and then something novel comes along and it’s too cute to pass on. Such is the case with this straw circle bag.

If you haven’t already, you’ll see these in stores this season. They are a popular and wearable trend. This bag by Sole Society is a step above the rest. It’s small in scale, so it’s ideal for spring and summer occasions. It could get a lot of use in the warmer months.

I have multiple beach weddings and this would be ideal for at least one of them.  Going to a summer concert? Pair this with shorts and a tee shirt and enjoy your night hands free. And take it on vacation for a casual night at an outdoor bar, or even sightseeing.  Thinking about my trip to Croatia last summer, this would have been perfect.

I love the faux leather piping and tassel on the zipper. It’s subtle details like these that elevate an accessory and look. Bonus points for the crossbody strap.

Weekend Inspiration: Straw Circle Bag

Bag, $45

Of course, with all trends, designers take full advantage of what I eloquently call “stupid pricing.” So we are clear, I don’t care how much disposable income you have, there is no reason to spend $300 on a straw circle bag, even if it’s larger and doubles as a tote. Loeffler Randal thinks you should, but I think if you like that style, you can go with this $50 version at Bloomingdales.

I found a few others all under $50 that let you try the trend without spending your entire budget. This option from Nordstrom’s B.P. line has a shoulder strap, which I like for beach or pool days.  Gap did a similar bag with a top handle and removable strap.  Finally, ASOS did a sweet Nantucket style occasion bag, with similar faux leather details that feels both polished yet casual.