Drop Length: Everything You Need to Know About Tote Handles

If you're ordering your first KMM & Co. leather tote bag, you're probably asking yourself, "Should I go with the standard handles? Or do I need some extra length?"

Choosing the right drop length for a new leather tote can feel complicated. But it's actually simpler than you'd think -- especially if you're handy with a ruler or measuring tape! Here's what you need to think about.

1. How tall are you? What's your body type?

Many people think that if they're tall, they'll *definitely* need longer straps. That's great logic! But we've found that the drop length that will be most comfortable for you is actually a function of personal preference -- as well as your body type and the kind of outerwear you wear in the winter -- more so than height alone.
Having a more athletic build or wearing a larger size doesn't necessarily mean that you'll want longer handles. But that can definitely be a factor in what's most comfortable for you. The size of your arms and the amount of space you need to get a tote onto your shoulder will be the most helpful numbers to think about. 

2. How long are the handles on your current tote?

Unsure about whether you need the extra length? Then the easiest way to get an idea of which drop length would work best for you by measuring a bag that you already own and find comfortable to carry over your shoulder. (All of these numbers seem a little abstract until you have a ruler in hand!)
Even if your current tote is a little snug for your taste, measuring the drop length of the handles can still give you an idea of what would work best for you. While our standard drop length is the one that's been with us the longest – ever since KMM & Co. made its first leather tote bags in 2011! – we've added more lengths over the years to offer more options for everybody.

3. What is drop length, anyway?

With all this talk of drop length, it's probably a good idea to learn the correct way to find this crucial measurement! For reference, we measure the drop length from the top of the handle to the top of the tote.
Just remember to hold your ruler or measuring tape perpendicular to the top edge of the bag when you measure. And note that we don't stretch the handles of our totes when we measure the handle length. (Stretching the handles just makes it more difficult to measure the exact same way every time!)

4. How much space do you want or need?

Some people want their tote to sit close to their body, while others want more breathing room. Thinking about which one you prefer can help you decide on the perfect drop length. (A shorter drop length makes it easier to keep your tote close, while a longer drop length will swing more freely.)

As you can see in the photos of one of our staff members below -- she's 5'3", for reference, pretty close to the average height of 5'4" -- choosing a longer drop length can make a big difference in giving you more space to maneuver.

5. What does everyone else choose? And what drop length is in the photo?

When we photograph a new leather tote for our website or social media, we typically photograph the tote with our standard drop length. More than half of our customers choose the standard drop length and find it comfortable for everyday wear, and the majority of totes in our production workflow at any given time are ordered with standard handles. 

That said, we offer four different drop lengths because everybody's preference is different! Some people need or want some extra space, and we offer longer handles as a custom order so that everybody can find a leather tote bag that's comfortable for them.

Still have questions? We're always available to help at hello@kmmco.com! If you're ordering a scratch-and-dent, branded, or ready-made tote, please select your drop length carefully, as we are unable to make alterations to final-sale items, as per our alterations policyCheck out this behind-the-scenes look at how KMM & Co.'s leather totes get made!
May 14, 2019 — Jess Bolluyt