DC and I looked at the messenger bags at REI, but they were all too sporty or campy. My brother had a very nice bag, compact with all the necessary pockets and compartments -- but it was made of green military canvas. I looked into the LeSportsac and Timbuk2 lines, but they ended up being too casual, too. We tried the local Ross, with no luck, either. And with the Internets being so overwhelming, I decided that the best way to "shop" for a new bag was to see what people around me were carrying.
I approached a lady whose bag I'd been eyeing for a couple of days. She gladly opened it to show me its innards, and totally raved about it. Then she told me she got it at the Container Store. I would never have thought to look there! Remembering that they are having their annual Travel gear sale, I headed over to my nearest store to hold it and play with it in person, and ended up buying the last bag they had in stock.
And now, let me introduce you to my perfect big-girl-Metro-commuter-friendly bag: the Baggalini Milano.
It's made of lightweight nylon, but the grey color matches the hardware and the shape of the bag is not sporty. In fact, I find it quite unique. Timbuk2 bags are trapezoidal, too, but I didn't like that it narrowed towards the bottom.
In addition to the loveliness of the yellow contrast lining, there are two inside zippered pouches, on on each side -- hooray! Plus, a pocket panel for pens and the "S" hook which I often use to keep my lap free. The elastic band for stashing something horizontally is a neat idea, but practically, items tend to slip out.
The wallet is detachable! There is even another shorter cord for keys. Genius.
The small slip pouch between the zippered outer compartments has a magnetic clasp. There is also a magnetic clasp on the other side's slip pocket. I love magnets.
Turns out that Bagallini was started by flight attendants, so the bags are designed with lots of practicality in mind. I'm looking forward to being able to try it out on a weekend trip or even on the plane. I promise I'm not advertising, but as a big fan of form+function, this bag totally meets all my needs, and I just wanted to share the great find. Hooray!