Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Petite Quest - Shopping for a Longchamp Tote

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!

Click "Read More" to see more Champy Champs.
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 smaller 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 : )

35 comments:

  1. I've tried those Longchamp bags as well. I have the #1 in red and it fits my 14" laptop. Although it does look big in the pictures, I think it's ok in real life.

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  2. They are large but as you said they carry everything! It has been my travel companion, lasted me through my university book carrying days, and even is now good in and out of the office and on the weekends!

    Designing my own online with monograms added that extra touch where although everyone and their moms have it - this one's mine all mine!

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  3. Ps- cute are they tory burch flats?? If you are small shoe sized like me- I fit the largest size for kids and for $99. The color choice is limited, but I got black patent leather. For the price- that's a steal!

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  4. Yes there is no denying that they fit a lot of stuff ... I am thinking of getting a large for traveling. If only the corners were reinforced!

    Lauren - I've seen the girls Revas on the TB website and have been tempted by the price...but the biggest is a girls size 3! The size chart shows it is for feet 8.5 inches in length which is itty bitty. Do you mind sharing what shoe size you are and possibly the length of your flats from heel to toe? My TB flats are size 5 to 5.5 womens so I'm pretty sure I won't fit kids, although that'd be awesome!

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  5. I am just thinking to buy a longchamp bag. Your article is post at the perfect timing for me. :)

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  6. Everyone and their mothers have Longchamps these days. They're so functionable though.
    Out of all the ones you modeled, #4 is the best. The handle drop is the perfect length. #1 looks really overwhelming on you. And I think that #5, although cute, is fairly impractical because of the color. Go for #4 next! :)

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  7. I am a size 4.5 - 5. I fit most 5's with an insole. I would only suggest going to the TB store to try it on (I am from Canada and had to go to the states) but it's worth it because the kid's pairs have less "give" than the adult leather revas.

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  8. love your site! i'm a fellow asian petite'er (4'11, 95 lbs.) and have the hardest time with tailored coats more than anything else. they just swamp me completely, which sucks because i love how nice they look on other (taller) people!

    i'm also a fan of longchamp bags...i 'm originally from california, where everyone is more into trends than classics, and where the longchamp automatically relegates you to granny-ville. butmi discovered how practically chic they were while attending grad school last year in boston! can't beat waterproof nylon when it starts pouring at a second's notice like it does in boston!

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  9. Annie - I'm right about your size, and I agree tailored coats are so hard to shop for. Not to mention they cost the most to alter! I think I only own coats from 3 places (the first 2 don't really sell tailored): H&M sz 2, A&F kids sz M or L, and Burberry sz 2 (many alterations required).

    I am not a fan of the spontaneous rain in Boston. The nylon is actually only water-resistant and not waterproof, which is why I'll def be going for #4 next time. The PVC felt much sturdier, without adding much weight, and it's supposed to be practically waterproof.

    Lauren- you have tiny feet ... I definitely won't fit kids if you wear a 4.5-5 : )

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  10. I just got the "Planetes Tonal" tote in Bloomingdale's for $128. :) It is on sale this week.

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  11. lol nobody wears Le Pliage's in Vancouver! It's all about LV here baby. Thanks so much for this guide though, this is perfect for me! I'd never heard of the Planetes Total, but this one looks great for someone our size.

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  12. M_M - thanks for the tip! I stopped by my local Bloomies today, where the lady insisted that bag was not on sale. Surprisingly, it rang up as $100 even with an additional 15% off with the Bloomingdales card. Good thing you told me since the store associates didn't even know.

    MizzJ - Le pliage's can't compare with true designer bags : ) But I could never throw junk like shoes or lunch into my LV.

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  13. $100?? really?? Maybe I should get price adjustment. Umm..

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  14. Yep, $100.80 down from $168. Ended up being only $85 with my Bloomies card. I got the pewter "Black Pearl" color, but that shouldn't make a difference price-wise. Good luck!

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  15. It was marked $117.60, but with NYC's notorious tax, it ended up $128.04. $85 is definitely a steal!!!!! I paid $43 more!!! It is too bad that Bloomingdales was closed already when I got there today. :( However, I will try to get price adjustment again after Christmas.

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  16. Btw, I got the pweter black pearl color too.

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  17. I used to have one of the Le Pliage large totes (and I was so devastated when it was stolen on campus this past semester) and it never seemed to hold its shape right. I've seen the Planetes on a friend before, but I had no idea that the material was better at holding its shape!

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  18. Just got my black one ^_^ And I love it! So light weight compared to all my other bags with metal hardware.

    Only problem is that us petites have tiny shoulders, so the straps are always falling!! >_<

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  19. Thank you so much for this post! I am trying to decide which size to go with that won't dwarf me and the pictures and your analysis really helped! Many thanks!

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  20. which one did you get?
    im 5'3 and i'm debating over Longchamp Planetes Tonal and Planetes Medium ShortHandle. :)

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  21. Mike- I got the planetes tonal and I've been very happy with my choice. The material is much sturdier than their regular nylon. It is a *tad* big on me, but since you are 3 inches taller it should be perfect.

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  22. I've been thinking about purchasing the Large for grad school (laptop, text books, etc.) I was wondering if the straps can hold all that weight comfortably? The straps look pretty thin, wouldn't want them cutting into the shoulders! Thanks for the review! I love this blog! -a fellow 5' and under

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  23. this will be a very hard choice for me! haha.
    i love the "constructed" shape compared to the "slouchy" vibe of the regular nylon.
    LOOKS GOOD ON YOU! doesn't look too big though :)

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  24. Awesome post and pics! I'm also petite, 5'1, and I can't decide which Longchamp to buy that wouldn't overwhelm my frame. I'm leaning towards the Planetes but I'm not sure if it would fit my 13.1" laptop since the measurements are 12¼" x 12" x 7½". Were you able to get your laptop to fit w/out it jutting out strangely near the bottom?

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  25. I am a big fan of my herve chapelier tote. Same sort of product in comparable price point but very petite friendly.

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  26. I have a Le Pliage Large long handle, but for some reason it has shorter handles and a smaller pocket than the actual 'large'-- its size/design is like the Planetes bag.. does anyone know why the variation?

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  27. Jean, are you sure the planete is smaller than the pliage? on Longchamp's (american) website it seems that the measurements are exactly the same...?

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  28. thanks for this review. im contemplating this for my upcoming extended trip... so informative for a fellow petite chick! it can be impossible to judge relative size of bags online. really helps to see these next to you since you are the same height as me.

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  29. Baby E is wide awake and I'm now trolling through your archives :) Holy crap, that 1st bag is huge!

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  30. I wish I could pack like this! But I don't see any makeup/hair products, and that is what takes up all my space! How did you handle that? (You have great skin and hair, so maybe you don't need all that stuff like I do!)

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  31. Very useful post! Been struggling to decide between a large/medium Longchamp bag... think I'm gonna settle with a large :)

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  32. Questions: I have a 13" MacBook Pro - I'm guessing that it would not fit in the large Planetes Tonal???

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  33. Lookie! The new Large Le Pliage seems to have a different (smaller) size! http://www.saksfifthavenue.com/main/ProductDetail.jsp?FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374306418049&PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524446470156&R=671194165563&P_name=Longchamp&N=4294912180+306418049&bmUID=jyXpYQw

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  34. I'm still confused. I'm a 5 feet girl, 43 kilograms and I'm confused on what to buy. Will the medium short handle overwhelm me? Need help in here.

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  35. What is the difference between the Planetes Tonal and the regular Planetes Tote? I've been dwelling for years to get the Pilage and after I found your blog, I've changed my mind and plan on getting the Planetes tote instead.

    Or any else that can help =)

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