Most readers have probably seen their fair share of Longchamp “Le Pliage” totes. I usually avoid buying stuff that everyone and their mom has, but I was pretty sold on these versatile totes. They are made of very lightweight nylon with thin leather straps, and easily fold into a pocket-size rectangle. Although a bit overpriced for the material and craftsmanship, I do like them for the following 2 purposes:
1. Hauling books, laptop, food, extra pair of shoes, or anything else that you wouldn’t want to stuff into a nice handbag.
2. Keeping inside a nice handbag in case it starts precipitating. Then you can take it out, unfold, zip your nice bag inside the water-resistant tote, and carry onwards.
Because I’m about as muscular as a fly, the key feature of these totes is “lightweight.” I needed an everyday bag that would add zero weight to my clunker work laptop. Longchamp totes come in a spectrum of sizes and handle lengths (and you can even mix and match to form a custom bag online) so why was it so darn difficult to find one suitable for tiny petites?
1. First up – every student & working woman’s favorite, Le Pliage Large, $145.
Measurements: 19″ across the top, 13″ across the bottom, 13″ height, and 10″ shoulder drop.
Almost all my female coworkers have one of these. It’s roomy enough to carry all of the aforementioned items – laptop, makeup bag, lunch, plus extra shoes. But when I tried on my coworker’s bag, the 10 inch shoulder drop and 19 inch width were overwhelming, to say the least:
I look like I’m smuggling a small child in that bag! Note the 5’5″ female silhouette from Saks’ website and how normal the bag looks on her. I really like this feature from their online handbag department as it helps me judge the relative size of each handbag. Crazy how big of a difference 6 inches in height can make!
2. Next, one size down: Le Pliage Medium, $125.
Measurements: 14.5″ across the top, 10″ across the bottom, 10″ height, and 7.5″ shoulder drop.
For some reason, this is the next size down from the Large in the Le Pliage line. I couldn’t believe how dinky it was in comparison! The handle straps were a good drop height for me at 7.5 inches, but the bag was so small that only half of my laptop would fit inside…boo.
3. Longchamp Le Pliage rectangle tote, $88.
Measurements: 15″ width, 11.5″ height, and 4″ shoulder drop.
I was only able to find this size option online via Longchamp’s website (credit above pic) and my local Longchamp store. I haven’t seen this option in person at stores like Saks or Bloomies.
The bag size is perfect for my 15 inch laptop plus makeup/snacks/wallet, but 2 major issues: the handle drop is not long enough for wearing on the shoulder over jackets, and there is no zipper! Argh! The frustration… I felt like Goldilocks, except none of the choices were “just right.”
Alas, I ended up settling for the above rectangle bag and have been using it since for over a year. On rainy days, it sucks, but on dry days I am pleased with it. The corners are starting to wear down a little (why oh why does a nylon bag at this price not have reinforced corners?) and the material shows some scratches. I am constantly on the lookout for a replacement tote that will do the same job but without the aforementioned problems.
UPDATE: Recently, I happened to find myself in a handbag department and decided to try on two styles outside of Longchamp’s standard “Le Pliage” line. They both actually worked surprisingly well. I am leaning towards getting # 4 after my current one wears out, but am unsure whether it is too large.
4. The “Planetes Tonal” tote in Large.
The material of this tote is a stiffer, more water-resistant PVC-coated nylon. I was intrigued by the size … still generously sized, but for some reason appears sma
ller on my frame than the Le Pliage Large.
Measurements: 18″ across the top, 11.75″ across the bottom, 12.25″ height, and 9″ strap drop.
Only an inch or two smaller than the Le Pliage Large on each measurement, but looks much better, no? The stiffer material also holds its shape, versus the nylon which droops lower whenever heavy items are piled in.
5. Longchamp Ballet Slippers Tote, $260 (only on www.Longchamp.com).
Here’s something else that I tried on just for kicks. This must be limited edition or something because that price is rediculous. Nevertheless, what a lovely bag for dance class – crisp white color with delicate print, and roomy enough to hold slippers, pointe shoes, a change of clothes, and more. Reminds me of dance classes back in the day … however, those days of flexibility and gracefulness are loong gone, hah.
Measurements: 18″ across the top, 12″ across the bottom, 11″ height, and 4″ handle drop. Cute size on petites for toting around town … similar in size to the one I own, but with a nicer trapezoidal structure and zipper.
Forgive the slouching…told ya my ballet days were over : )