Options: Backpacks. We discuss quite a few of these styles in the podcast, and I truly like every one of them. They’re fairly unisex, but ladies, if you want something a little big more feminine, Herschel does a collection for Madewell in poppier colors (I bought one last fall). Also: if you are A. fancy and B. loaded, The Row has a collection of gorgeous leather backpacks, starting at $3,900 and available at Barneys. —LS
Clockwise, from left:
1. Rucksack, $75, Polerstuff.com. We like Poler because it’s outdoorsy but a little bit hipper than the standards (North Face, etc.). This bag is big and complicated enough to take on camping trips, but can be streamlined for day by removing the outer pouches.
2. Daypack, $139-$149, Topodesigns.com. We first learned about Denver-based Topo Designs via meticulously sourced e-commerce site Of a Kind, but unfortunately their special edition daypack sold out before we could buy one. For Christmas I got Dan this style in army green.
3. Sandqvist “Lars Goran” backpack, $234, Shopwittmore.com. Made in Sweden, Sandqvist bags are perfect for someone who’s really into Scandinavian design. This isn’t a simple style, but it’s not obnoxious, either. (Another interesting note: most of the bags we’re featuring are produced locally, which is nice.)
4. Rucksack No. 21, $170, Fjallraven.us. I love Fjallraven’s tiny backpacks that you see on kids (and overgrown kids), but this style is a little easier to pull off. It’s the smallest version of the label’s rucksack, but still big enough to carry more than an iPad mini.
5. Roll top, $220, Store.archivalclothing.com. Made in the USA by the fantastic brand Archival, this bag is great for camping but sleek enough to use every day. If the colbalt blue is too crazy for you, it comes in black and off-white, too. (PS: most of these bags come in multiple colors, so make sure to click through to get a real idea of the offerings.)
6. “Pop Quiz” backpack, $69.99, Shop.herschelsupply.com. You can find Herschel backpacks at plenty of mass retailers (including Urban Outfitters, and as I said before, Madewell). I think they’ve become so popular for three reasons: affordability (most are under $100), compactness (they’re in no way combersome), and cuteness (while the look is pretty low-key, the insides are usually lined with an adorable, vintage print). Dan and I both own one. —LS
We spend a lot of time on the show discussing brand collaborations—check out Episode 6 for our in-depth analysis—but I just can’t stop thinking about them. Last week, I wrote a piece for Ad Age about some current collabs (Target x Neiman Marcus and Starbucks x Rodarte), and what they’re doing for the retailers’ bottom line. It nicely bookends a story I did for Forbes.com exactly six years ago, when the focus of these partnerships had yet to be sharpened. —LS
This gift guide includes things we like, things we want, and most importantly things we think you should you want.
Clockwise, from upper left:
Paris, I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down, $17.16, Amazon.com
We both read this book before visiting Paris in the fall, and got a real kick out of it. Best bits include the wonders of Picard–a shop that sells nothing more than frozen appetizers—and revelations on Sofia Coppola.
Buffalo Check Jacket, $48, Billywolfnyc.com
Ralphred, our new maltipoo puppy, received this as an early Christmas gift. Billy Wolf’s selection of doggy accessories is probably the best we’ve seen, and it’s not crazy expensive.
The Wire: The Complete Series, $99.49, Amazon.com
Not owning this is a crime against the Frommers.
Maison Kitsune Cardigan, $230, Yoox.com
Lauren’s really into French record label-turned-clothing line Kitsune, but their pieces can be prohibitively expensive. Fortunately, discount site Yoox.com has a nice selection of off-season Kitsune merchandise.
Leather Case for iPhone 5, $38, Jcrew.com
Available in six subtle-but-not-too-subtle colors (including colbalt blue and cranberry), this sturdy case works beautifully for men or women.
“I Love You More Than My iPhone” Letter Press Card, $5.95, Etsy.com
Designed by our friend, Elizabeth Weil of Paperwheel Press, it may not be a traditional holiday card. But to the right person, it’ll mean more than any other.
Nike Fuel Band, $149, Nike.com
Our friend Elizabeth Monson of Move Slightly just introduced us to this new, more stylized version of the Nike Fuel band. Listen to Dan’s commentary on the inaugural band in Episode 2 of The Needle and the Mouse.
Wool Parka, $230, Bridgeandburn.com
Dan discovered Portland, OR-based label Bridge & Burn on a recent trip to San Francisco. We like this wool parka in particular because it’s pretty affordable for a warm coat, it’s lined in chambray, and it looks really good.
Happy Holidays from The Needle & The Mouse! Love, LS and DF