My current *tiny* backpack is a Sherpani Access LE. It's the perfect size (mostly) - it carries a small lunch, my wallet, two phones, a bunch of keys, a handful of business cards, and some chapstick. It's small enough to keep from destroying my back, yet it has padded ergonomic straps and it's held up well to almost ten years of daily use.
The problems are a) it's falling apart, and b) it looks like something a nerdy elementary school kid would wear. As I step up into a management role at work, I desperately need something more professional. But, I want something that isn't going to destroy my back in the process. I need padded straps, small but well organized carrying capacity, durability, and style.
I bought and returned a Sherpani Nova - crappy thin straps, not comfortable. It looked okay in all-black and was the perfect size but it lacked the features I want.
I bought and am debating keeping an eBags junior slim laptop bag - excellent quality and lots of organization panels & pockets, but it's about twice the weight of my current sherpani and I worry it's going to kill my back once I inevitably cram it full of stuff. It sure looks nice, though!
I bought and am awaiting shipment of a Sherpani Camden - it appears to be more lightweight than the eBags junior slim, though with decreased organizational options and a possible ugly-90s-mom vibe (have to see it in person to assess more accurately).
At Ruffhaus, we had a walk-in closet. I installed wire-rack shelves on the back wall and everything was neat and tidy out of sigh. At the new house, we have a much smaller closet. Currently, our folded clothes are stored in the wire rack shelves in the bedroom, and they look hideous. It's like I'm back in college, ugh! So, time to purchase a nice dresser.
I particularly like the mid-century modern vibe, so I was excited about some of the dressers I found online at West Elm, like this mid-century 6-drawer option. But thankfully I visited a brick & mortar store to check it out - it turns out it's remarkably poorly constructed, with no drawer slides to speak of. The drawers just slide in and out of a thinly constructed housing, with some teflon spacers to keep them centered. Pure crap! I also checked out Wooden Duck, but all their furniture is a bit too bulky / rough-hewn for my tastes, and the hardware only a minor upgrade over West Elm.
We're probably going to buy something from Fenton MacLaren. They stock, and custom-order, high-end wood furniture made by Amish craftsmen in the US. We will pay a pretty penny for a dresser (upwards of $2500 for the nicer models) but that will get us something with high quality soft-close drawer slides, well-finished drawers, and very nice hardware.
Still, a recommendation for solid wood furniture that doesn't suck would be most welcome.
It occurs to me that James' QA-mindset is rubbing off on me. Two years ago, I would just buy the backpack that was close enough and sorta ugly, and the dresser that looked nice but didn't work quite right, and then grumble about how they didn't function the way I wanted. Now I'm willing to devote some significant time and money to finding the *exact right* solution that will work the way I need.