Dave decided to give me a gift to congratulate me on finishing my thesis, and he hit this one out of the park.
He was trying to think of things that an academic needs, and thought that I needed worn-in leather satchel:
The wearing in process has to be organic, and the lived-with look earned, so he set about finding the same style of satchel, but new. Right now, it's a lovely pink natural leather colour. As I use it, hopefully the colour will darken and the structure will soften in.