Thursday, February 04, 2016

Not So Sensible Tote

That'll teach me to finally be brave and spend money on something I think would be perfect...

The objective was to buy a handbag that would look smart, yet pretty, be big enough to hold A4 and have a long strap so I could carry it on my shoulder or even cross body. As I am a big fan of my Strathberry MC Midi, I ordered myself a gorgeous Strathberry Tote in burgundy. It arrived and I was over the moon. It was so beautiful I wanted to cry

I then had a closer look and found one small detail that would turn it into a complete deal breaker...


Very well wrapped and packed: 

 big sturdy box,

 another lovely box for storage.

Wrapped and stuffed with plenty of silk paper.

 And, as you'd expect with a bag of this value, it comes in its own branded dustbag.

The leather is a gorgeous colour, the burgundy is a very rich and lovely tone.

The bag is nice and light (so much lighter than my Bayswater).
Good size (fits A4 and/or my Macbook and has enough space in the bottom, due to the depth of the bag and provides enough space for my purse, Planner etc. 

The strap length can be altered at either end, which is much nicer than (how Mulberry do it) with a buckle in the middle, which might dig into your shoulder.

As I already expected/knew: uncluttered design, nice quality, understated, good balance when holding by the handle, not overly fiddly to open, inside zip and slip pocket, though roomy not too bulky.

This I knew but was ok with: 

Manmade fauxsuede lining; at £475 I would maybe argue that for a brand that builds on "no brand name but high quality" I'd expect suede
Very light lining, I would possibly be worried about marking it, only small zip pocket (not big enough for even the smallest purse)

And now the dealbreaker:
Due to its uncluttered and sleek design, the d-rings are attached right between the top bit, i.e. the clasp will sit slightly between the bits that are supposed to close snugly (with the aid of two magnets).  

And now (for me) the big no-no: any sort of weight in there (I know on the pic it has my Macbook but I tried this just my purse and planner) and the long strap will pull the sides outwards. As this bag is not only styled but "statically" designed around its structure (i.e. it's hard and doesn't bend or slouch), I'd expect the sides to be bent outwards eventually and become "ears"

If I was to redesign this bag I would move the the d-rings somewhere, where a the attached clasp will no longer sit between the top lip. As they fold down I would just move them up enough so - when folded up - they are clear of said lip. I understand why they were positioned where they are but for me this was a decision of looks over function. Good design ought to encompass both.

If I was happy to carry the bag just by it's grab handle, I would have put up with this but as I generally want a long strap on my bags. Also, the handle is so short you won't get it on your shoulder at all. I'm not one for just "holding" my bag.

Anyway. I'm absolutely gutted to have to return this bag. May the search for a smart, practical and pretty work bag continue! Any suggestions?


  1. it's such a pretty bag! may i ask if you had to pay duty and tax for shipping it to canada?

    1. you do have to pay a small amount of duties which I believe is roughly $20 per a midi tote for shipping to Canada.

  2. Thank you for your sharing!
    May I ask what is the size of your mac? I am also planning to buy a midi, but I am afraid if a 13" mac can fit into the purse.

    1. Hi :) It's a 13" Macbook Pro from 2011, so probably a tad thicker than the new ones?

    2. Thank you so much!


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