- More rugged/utility style trench option: Burberry Brit trench coat w/ detachable hood
- Conservative work staple: Halogen seamed pencil skirt starting in 00P and 7 color options
- Absolutely love my Stella & Dot arrow necklace that is now sold out. Similar option in gold or silver.
- Basic bras starting in a harder-to-find 30 band size. I have not tried these, but they came recommended by reader Alannah: "I gotta shout from the rooftops about Nordstrom's new BP Undercover juniors lingerie line. All bra styles come in a 30D and other 30 sizes, and the quality is FAB."**
On to today's review... after a slow search for a light-colored work bag, I’m happy to have found a winner (an affordable one, to boot). I first stumbled across this purse on Yoox while searching for a “similar” recommendation for my cobalt blue satchel. Their huge selection of genuine leather bags and small-sized shoes on sale is almost overwhelming, so it took me a while to browse before placing an order.
Parentesi leather tote via Yoox (3 colors - love the blue), vs. Prada saffiano double zip tote (review)
For me, shopping for work bags has always been a struggle between finding something that could fit a large laptop (the bane of my daily commute), yet doesn’t overwhelm my 5 feet tall frame in size or weight. This bag met all of my needs at a very fair price for genuine leather.
I tend to gravitate towards the same few styles, and didn't realize how similar the general look of this bag was was to my Prada tote. The first day I had it sitting on my desk at work, conversation from passerby traffic went something like this:
- #1, very keen male boss (who likes to go shopping): “Ooo, a knockoff of your camel bag!”
- #2, semi-keen female colleague: “Is that a new Prada? Oh wait…it looks similar, but cheaper no offense.”
- #3, female colleague: “Wow, you got the same bag in a different color?”
Wearing with: DIY skirt (last seen here), LOFT blouse, J.Crew Everly pumps (on sale, runs very small)I won't say the bag is a dupe given noticeable differences in quality, however it is a similar style for less. Continue reading for my review...
Ways to wear it: 1) Over the shoulder (short 6" handle drop, so this won't work for everyone), 2) hand-held, 3) on the crook of the elbow, 4) cross-body, or 5) slung on the shoulder. The strap is unfortunately not adjustable, and is too long for me to wear it the last way as-is.
Size: I now have a smaller laptop (12" x 9") at work and wanted a bag that could contain that, plus a wallet, shoes, makeup pouch, and snacks without any excess bulk. This bag measures 13" wide x 10" high x 5.5" deep (1" taller and wider than Prada BN2274). Handle drop is 6" and shoulder strap is 41" long. It fits all of the aforementioned items, and I feel still looks acceptable against my frame. The leather is thinner and more pliable than the Prada's, which allows the bag to hold more stuff, more easily.
Material: I wanted something semi-stain, water, and scuff resistant, but with more structure than my usual Longchamp tote. Since I haul so much on a daily basis, the bag needs to be lightweight on its own (I’ve tried on so many empty bags that felt like bricks!). I was open to treated leather, coated canvas, or even nylon in a more structured frame.
Th material of this bag is pebbled, pliable coated leather. The website lists this as real leather, but unfortunately I could find no other details on the material or how it was treated. The color in-person is ivory with grey-ish tints in the pebbling (not stark white) and is very easy to pair. I also use a base shaper for this bag, since the softer leather will probably sag with more weight.
Quality: I think the quality is very fair for the price, and in my opinion comparable to mid-tier bag brands like Michael Kors. One thing that cheapens the look of this bag a little is the rippling of the leather when there are weighty things inside (you can see this in the above photos where I am carrying it). This happens with the Prada tote too, but less so due to the stiffer and thicker saffiano leather.
Since I had the Prada on hand for comparison, I noticed other quality differences include the lack of finished/waxed edges, the lower-quality hardware, the lack of side clips for the shoulder strap (a biggie - they have to clip to the handle hardware instead), and the un-adjustability of the strap. I’m thinking of taking the strap to a cobbler to shorten – any DIY ideas are appreciated!
Customer Service: This company is based in Italy but has a distribution warehouse in NJ. Shipping is free for orders $195+, and returns (need to be made within 20 days of delivery) using their UPS label are a flat $6. My packages arrived quickly - within two business days each time. A few days after placing an order, I saw that the price of one of my items went down. I contacted Customer Service, and they responded within 1 day with a price adjustment.
All in all, I recommend this bag as a basic, everyday satchel, and am tempted to also pick up the bright blue one (my current one doesn't fit a laptop). I'm holding off on the duplicate purchase to see how this one holds up over time. I also ordered several pairs of leather shoes from Yoox (keepers were these flat sandals and these ankle-strap sandals), and was very pleased with the quality. Will be doing a review shortly!