Quest for a work tote: Goyard St Louis bag vs Marquises

For the past few years, I’ve been a happy user of the thicker Longchamp tote for work and travel. It’s lightweight and water-resistant (a must for Boston), perfect for hauling around my daily burden of clunky work laptop, heels, wallet, small makeup baggie, and snacks. Refer to my old Longchamp post for a review on these bags in all sizes. 

Lately, however, I’ve been looking for something new. The Longchamp is undeniably functional (and I still highly recommend it), but is more casual, and is seen on the arm of most college girls and working women in Boston.
20080411goyard Enter, Goyard. I first learned about this French company while interning in northern CA. Goyard was founded in 1853, one year before competitor Louis Vuitton, and has a rich history of award-winning luggage and bag making for royals. The only Goyard boutique in the US is in San Fran (though they can also be found in 3 Barneys and at Bergdorf’s).

Their coated canvas with leather products are all handmade in France, and their signature chevron pattern is hand-painted (goodness!) onto the canvas. Owners of Goyard pieces can get them personalized with initials, graphics, and stripes.

Although I was enamored by this lesser-known company and it’s striking chevron, I didn’t buy for a few reasons:
– The price
– A very limited pre-owned market. I don’t mind pre-owned items and like to browse resale markets.
– Their most popular bag, the St. Louis shopping tote, seemed impractical for me.
– Their more structured bags (a better value) were not exactly my style.

Alas, for years I admired these colorful bags from afar, and pointed them out with interest every time I saw one on a stranger (this happens maybe twice a year here in Boston). When Nick surprised me with this blue St Louis PM tote last month, my heart skipped a beat.

Same outfit as from this post, Tote: St Louis PM (medium sized, 19″W x 10″H)

After the initial excitement, I regained my senses and started evaluating the bag. Designed as a shopping tote, the St. Louis has thin handles and no zipper. The canvas was thin to me, and did not hold it’s shape very well. I put my 10lbs of laptop and other crap inside, and wasn’t sure if this tote would be able to sustain that kind of weight long-term. Although I was immensely touched that Nick came up with this gift, I wasn’t sure if bag was practical for my lifestyle…

During our trip to Barneys to return the St. Louis, I caught sight of a very polished woman with a red Goyard tote on her arm. I had never seen this style before. It looked smaller in size than the St. Louis PM, had a structured frame, AND a zipper. What could this be? Turns out it was a relatively newer style – the Marquises tote. And even better? This lady had just returned her black on black one.
The SA pulled this tote out from behind the counter, and I just loved it. After asking if it’d be ok, I unloaded all of my junk from my Longchamp tote into this purse, and carried it around the store in a test run. At $1560, it was about 50% more than the St. Louis. The Marquises is still light like the St. Louis, but felt sturdier, and bodes features I need like a zip closure, structured base, and metal feet. I felt the overall look was strikingly clean and classic, with over a century of embedded history.

Goyard Marquises Tote, black on black, 15″L x 11″H x 5.5″ W, with a 7″ handle drop

The size of this bag is borderline too big for a 5 feet tall gal, but it’s necessary to fit my daily haul. In comparison, my Lonchamp was similar in size, measuring 18″ across the top, 11″ across the bottom, and 11″ in height. In an upcoming post, I’ll show more photos of this bag against a shorter frame and the different ways it can be carried. Also, since Goyard is often compared against Louis Vuitton, I will be sharing some of my thoughts on how their coated canvas products stack up against each other.

Readers – Please share any recommendations for sturdy and nice-looking work totes : )

144 thoughts on “Quest for a work tote: Goyard St Louis bag vs Marquises

  • Sarah November 21, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    I agree that the bag looks very clean and classic. I think that how a person spends his/her money is up to him/her, and if you thought that the Goyard was a worthy investment, then there you go; people may agree or disagree w/ you, but your purchases aren't up to them.

    For what it's worth, I really enjoy reading your blog — it's fun seeing how you style pieces, and the way you write is really personable, too.

  • lpng24 November 21, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    @pepper – assuming you have any friends.

  • chachi November 21, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Thank you for writing about work bags! I have been on a 5+ year search for the perfect work bag. My perfect work bag is structured enough to hold my laptop, files, and other items, has wide enough handles to comfortably sit on my shoulder, looks professional and stylish, and is relatively lightweight. I have not been able to replace the Coach tote that I received from my company for my five year work anniversary. It's outdated and a bit worn, but it is a workhorse! I love leather, but I cannot find a large tote that doesn't feel too heavy to me. Congratulations on finding a very attractive work bag! Please be on the lookout for other options for me. 🙂

    @pepper is correct (but lacking class in her delivery) that purchasing a handbag will, in most cases, not create a monetary return on investment. The term 'investment' is commonly misused (by many, including myself). when referring to purchases of 'luxury' goods, like high-quality handbags and shoes for personal use. However, in this situation and obvious context, everyone 'gets' how the term is being used. Assuming that the product is not only expensive, but of higher quality, I argue that there are 'non-monetary' benefits that must be factored as well.

    For one, as the owner, you are more likely to take very good care of this item, extending the life of the product. Second, you are more likely to be purchasing an item that is not ultra trendy and will stand the test of time, which again, will allow you to enjoy the item over a longer period of time. Finally, consider the possibility that an investment purchase could allow you to avoid purchasing lower quality products that have to be replaced more often. These non-monetary benefits are not easy to calculate, but they are certainly worth considering when making a large purchase.

  • myhanh November 21, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Shirly November 21, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    Jean, I read a lot of blogs but none of them keeps me coming back like the way yours do. You are very sincere in what you write and you are honest with your readers as well. I'm sure that most people buy clothes only to realize months later that it's something thy'll never wear. What I love about your blog is that you show your readers why you like or dislike an item you've bought and return those you don't like. This helps us reader to always reevaluate the things that we buy before we let them sit in our closet only to realize later that they're collecting dust in our closets. I believe that spending money on bigger ticket items with high quality and more cost per wear is a smarter choice than buying a lot of clothes/items at low prices just to find that they are hardly worn/use.

  • myhanh November 21, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    (I copied the wrong link above- hence the deleted post. oops!)

    Jean, how about some more posts from Nick like this one!
    I don't have a topic for you guys though. Hope you have a nice holiday.

  • May November 21, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    Hi Jean, I think that's the first Goyard bag I've seen that I've actually liked. I personally couldn't spend that much money on a canvas bag, but it seems necessary in wet/snowy Boston where you commute by T. Congrats on finding a great work bag! Also, thank you for sharing the personal financial details – it helps me think about the pros/cons if I'm considering a similar purchase. You seem financially responsible so it's your personal business how you want to spend your disposable income.

  • Anonymous November 21, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    @Pepper. Your tone has opened you up to a lot of criticism and it is well deserved. Jean shares her items so that we as petite wome (and non petite!) may learn from them. Will I be purchasing this type of bag? No. Frankly I don't care for the design. I don't care for the majority of LVs either. But Jean seems to have a good handle on wha she likes and what she can afford. Can I afford her new purse? Yes. But as I stated before I don't aprticularlt care for the style. If Jean has shown me anything it's how to have a discerning eye with everything I own. Will this last years or will I replace it in a few months? Just because it's cheaper doesn't mean it will last as long. Will I love it so that I will not try to replace it.

  • Anonymous November 21, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    Also pepper perhaps instead of being worried about Jeans post and your daughter reading it, you should be worried about sounding like a bully online. You weren't very nice to someone who simply wanted to share something with others. No one is forcing anyone to buy anything and there are plenty of people who didn't like the bag and have said so.

  • Angel November 21, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Luv ur new Goyard purse! Btw, Amrita Singh Jewelry is having a 50% off sale site-wide! Use code "BLACK11" + 5% Cashback on Ebates! Ends Friday 11/25 @ midnight! *Minimum order $50*​BLACK11

  • M November 21, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    It's great to see that you found a great work bag that's functional in the way you need it. I hope to one day find mine as well.

    In regards to @pepper's comment, that's just foul. Her comments were absolutely disrespectful. If you're going to disagree with someone, there's a constructive way to go about it. As for your bag having no investment "value", value is not just in monetary terms. I'd strongly encourage @pepper to read a book on basic economics before making such rash and mean comments towards another on "value".

    And back to my lighter points.. I live in NY and see the St Louis everywhere and love it. It's got such a great understated elegance to it. You definitely made the more practical work choice though and I look forward to your future posts featuring this bag!

  • Anna November 21, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    I loved that article on being jugdemental of other's spending habits!! I think it really speaks to fact that money is a personal thing and there's never one way of handling it. Same thing goes for style; there are infinite combinations out there to make something right for you. This choice of bags clearly screams Jean — unique, classic, well thought out and very functional! That's what I love about it. As much as fashion is about personal style, there is also some element of fitting in that we have to account for. You wouldn't wear a suit to work at a construction site (it'd be too expensive to dry clean every day!) and you have to wear professional clothes if you work in a financial district. If a certain item boosts your attitude and confidence, makes your clients relate to you, improves your organization, etc., I think it will honestly improve the quality of your work and get you farther in your career. I'd also argue that some of the most successful people have been those who took risks in the things they believed in/loved. I'm pretty sure Jean is one of these people. 🙂

  • kileen November 22, 2011 at 1:23 am

    i'm just now getting caught up on posts and am shocked at the statements some people can make. i really love this bag that you picked out and think it suits all your needs that you listed out perfectly. i also think that shoes are bags are worthy splurges as they get lots of wear. i wouldn't take these negative comments too personally. people will always judge other on their spending regardless of the situation. stay strong, Jean and don't let them get to you!

  • Susan November 22, 2011 at 1:57 am

    Besides Pepper's comment, I didn't think the comments were that bad? I've seen much nastier comments on other blogs. And it looks like you have a wonderful group of people who will stand up for you and support you. 🙂

    Thanks for posting. This sparked a great discussion on saving/splurging as well. 🙂

  • Sandy November 22, 2011 at 2:25 am

    Hi Jean! As for the comment that you dress too old, I'd rather see women in their twenties dress the way you do (classy) than see them dress in see through shirts, too short skirts with massive heels, and cropped shirts that barely covers their belly.

  • SewPetiteGal November 22, 2011 at 3:27 am

    I would have never anticipated that this post would ignite such controversy.

    @Pepper: Good grief! I generally take the diplomatic route but your rudeness is uncalled for and I feel the need to address it. Learn some manners. Did you not see that Jean had already explained she saves well over half of her paycheck every month? Do you? Think about that before you start lecturing someone on fiscal responsibility.

    Jean – Don't let some random internet stranger get you down. With the hundreds (thousands?) of people who visit this blog, at least one of them has to be a bit wonky but many more appreciate your thoughtful posts and find them very helpful. It's your money and you should be able to spend it as you see fit. You should not have justify anything to us readers. Period. End of story.

    On a lighter note, enjoy your new tote! It's a beauty and I'm glad that it can be worn in multiple ways. Big hugs from me and the little ones 🙂

  • Kiwi November 22, 2011 at 3:41 am

    Your choice was definitely more suitable for you. The style of the bag is better than the St. Louis style.

    Funny how I went to the mall after reading this post and then I saw someone wearing on of these bags haha

  • audrinajulia November 22, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Great final choice!I'm also looking for a tote bag and do some research. I love the canvas of lv damier neverful and goyard st louis but I think I will never be satisfied in purchasing them for the same reasons you've tell in your post.

    So making further research I'm coming to consider Goyard Sac Hardy Pm measures 15.5, 12 height and 6.5 base and with zipper too!So she's on my list now. Maybe if I'm decided that's the time to consider the color.Thanks for sharing!:)

  • sarahp November 22, 2011 at 9:03 am

    I am not fond of logo bags, so my view is biased on whether this bag worth the money or not. 🙂 How do you like carry laptop on any shoulder bag everyday? It would give me back pain (from years of carrying) no matter the bag is $10 or $1000. I carry laptop in a laptop bag and bring anther bag for other stuff.

  • Beautifulnoir November 22, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    I am in love with the Marquises tote. Seeing the Marquises tote made me change my mind on getting the LV Neverfull tote. Well, just for a second,then I remember its way… over my bag budget. Its going on my wish-list for sure:)

  • Beautifulnoir November 22, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    oh, can it fit over your shoulder?

  • Anonymous November 22, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    I agree with what a few others have said: 1) I think it's way too much money, even for an "investment tote" 2) I think it makes looks too old and matronly.

  • Russian Chic November 22, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    I agree with what Kelly of AN said. I feel the same way about the subject.@Alterations Needed

  • CC November 22, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    I like both bags Jean and feel that the one you finally settled with fits with your style/lifestyle best. My go to bag is my LV Neverfull MM Monogram for work and etc., but for laptops, I just carry my backpack for comfort and convenience.

  • Anonymous November 22, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Handbag is the easiest target for people to make judgement on. If she is making the $, she has the right to spend it on whatever she likes. She can burn it for all your care. People voicing concern on how she is savings and investments should pay attention to their own accounts instead.

    That being said, I don't like the Goyard print. I don't care if it's hand painted. The print does nothing for me. And a handbag is not an investment, once it's bought & used it loses its value in the re-sell market. If you are talking about cost per wear, that's a different story.

    I love handbags, I don't think of it as an investment though. It can make an outfit (just like shoes!)

    Nothing wrong with dressing your age sometimes. You are young and pretty. Embrace it. You know that saying "Youth is wasted on the Young."

  • Carla Krae November 22, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    I like the look of the Goyard better and it's definitely better to have the zipper.

    I would echo a few other posters about carrying the laptop in a backpack, though. Ergonomics are important and you don't want to spend a fortune at a chiropractor later to fix your spine from the off-balance.

  • Anonymous November 23, 2011 at 12:20 am

    Love love love your blog!

    @pepper, you are one bitter woman

  • Gracie November 23, 2011 at 2:10 am

    At the moment, I think the bag is just a tad big on you, and shrinking your petite frame further. The handles don't look very sturdy, but having read that you did a careful inspection, that's negated.

    I'd be really interested in seeing it in action with several other professional outfits when you get the chance.

    I do think you should be careful, as another reader noted, with your shoulder (and I'd add wrist). I lost a lot strength in my right wrist from putting on and taking off my shoulder bag. The angle the wrist was in did some damage. I couldn't push a door open for the longest time. =/

    Financially, I think inputs and worries are nice from readers, but it's pushing the line when said readers feel the need to dictate your life. You clearly work very hard, why shouldn't you indulge yourself in life's joy?

    Do what makes you happy. We're here just to enjoy the ride, and maybe live vicariously through you with things we didn't know existed. =)

  • Anonymous November 23, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    ditto the other numerous comments already – you work hard for your money and can spend it as you see fit. everyone has their own splurge-worthy items – whether it's bags, shoes, trips, etc.

    that being said, i'm definitely guilty of overspending on bags/shoes/clothes. i'm not as good about reselling as some people (hmm – perhaps a 2012 new years resolution? 🙂

    over this past year, i've really evaluated my purchases and stopped impulse shopping as when i look in my closet, i feel a bit like carrie bradshaw and see $$$ that definitely could've been better spent elsewhere or saved.

    in any case, you know what you are doing when it comes to your own spending/saving habits and shouldn't have to defend your purchases.

    love your blog (definitely one of my faves!) & styling tips.

  • PetiteLittleGirl November 23, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Yesterday, I had a design meeting with the client for the first time. I typically just sit behind my cube and code all day. I was freak out in the morning because I didn’t know how to dress. Then I thought about you and this post. Knowing how to create a good first impression is just as important as your job.

    No one has the right to judge other people’s purchases in anyway, shape or form. You work hard for your money. There is absolutely nothing wrong with spending your money on things you really want. You deserve it! Don’t let those haters bring you down. Keep up the great work! Wishing you and Nick a wonderful Thanksgiving <3!

  • grace November 24, 2011 at 11:01 am

    I agree with everyone who says that it's your money and you work hard to enjoy it. I'm sure you'd rather purchase a very nice purse/bag for your needs than splurge on a TV – everyone has different priorities. I mean, look at all the people who own tons of Apple products. Those are just as expensive, and more of a premium cost than other brands, but people still buy them. I don't think people should tell you how to spend your money, and I know you spend your money very wisely =)

    On a style note, I do think the purse looks beautiful and I hope it can withstand all the stuff you'll be certain to put in it on your daily commutes to work!

    There sure are a lot of Graces out there =) do you ever get confused ? 😛

  • fashionforteens November 26, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    I've always loved Goyard bags, ever since my very stylish cousin's girlfriend carried one. She had the St. Louis ,which I loved the look of, but when I went to Barney's to look at it, it seemed way to flimsy for the 4-digit price tag. I do love the Marquis that you got (I didn't even know it existed). I was wondering, I've never bought a high end bag before, which one would you recommend? I love Goyard, Chanel etc.

  • pendragoney November 26, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    I'm echoing a question others have asked: Does the 7" handle fit comfortably over your shoulder? I recently returned a tote because its 6" handle wasn't comfortable on me (though my own measurement showed 6.5").

  • Sydney November 27, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    This is such a gorgeous bag and a much chicer choice for work compared to the first bag. I do not know how I could ever spend that much on a bag though, even for a life time investment. Do you have any other good recommendations (besides Longchamp)?

  • Elsie Jael November 29, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Jean, the Marquises tote is absolutely a winner! I live in Manhattan and actually see the St Louis fairly often. I have NEVER seen the Marquises before and now it is on my list of bags that I MUST own! This is the first time I have ever seen that style. So GORGEOUS! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • Anonymous December 1, 2011 at 2:42 am

    "…and is seen on the arm of almost every college girl"

    lol, I work at the University bookstore on campus. A girl came in with the same Goyard bag! I chuckled to myself as I thought of your post. Hopefully college girls don't take to them en masse!

  • Anonymous January 6, 2012 at 2:53 am

    Just out of curiosity, why can't one leave their blog information here?

    I have several Goyard St. Louis GMs and love them all. I've become addicted to them, and need more like you would a potato chip! 🙂

    I've seen people call them incredibly overpriced for flimsy feeling bags. The bags are all hand painted, don't for a second think they are overpriced.

    I love that you can reverse the bag as well. The bag isn't meant to carry laptops or heavy items. You read about a few people complaining quality, I'd say they are much better made than any of the designers I've kept in the back of my closet. On par with Hermes in my honest opinion.

    I would rather pay more and keep it exclusive. It's what makes the brand more desirable while they already do a fantastic job with exclusivity.

    IE Coach, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, those design labels are all over the place and become tiresome. The appeal is lost when a bag is carried by so many. When you see advertisements and
    magazine ads trying to entice you over to their fashion house, you know Goyard has done something right. Goyard has a loyal following with 0 dollars spent on spreading the word.

    It's next to impossible to see the bag In Real Life if you aren't in San Francisco area or near Barney's and Bergdorf that carry Goyard.

    Goyard doesn't have catalogs to view their products and you can't find them online showing their merchandise. The only way you can learn about their products is visiting a store or searching the internet.

    I think you have to be a real committed person to the brand, because they certainly don't make it easy. I'd say after working so hard to learn about the label, you do feel a sense of being in a secret club that many want to get into, but either don't have the patience, time or money that is required.

    I would highly recommend this style to those that are in a casual business environment. However, I'm an attorney and have had people stop me in court and on the street inquiring about the mysterious purse, tote.

    I love that I can go from court to court (tennis) and the bag instantly transforms into gym wear. It does depend on what colour you purchase. A classic colour combo is what works for business and pleasure. Whereas the fun colours ie green, limited colour pink, yellow, orange, blue, baby blue, are more of pop and wow shades that get you noticed!
    Those hues are reserved for either play or school.

    I love that you can put so much into the St. Louis and it always looks smart yet elegant at the same time!

    Extra Petite, you look beautiful with both the St. Louis and the Marquises. I'm glad that you found a style that works for you. You have a very sweet man by your side. All the best of success, health and love for 2012!


  • Pat Gorham January 7, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    The Goyard is beautiful! Here is another lightweight beag that is LOCALLY MADE in Boston from remnant boat canvas… and water resistant!
    The Savorii New England Nautical line has fabulously fashionable bags for work.

  • Ann January 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    This is my first visit to your blog via the Goyard post. I have a Navy St. Louis that I purchased two or so years ago and use it everyday. Goyard may not look the most durable, however I can attest it is. Either bag would have been a winner. I love mine, and I know you will continue to love yours as well! P.S. My husband is a CFP and we maintain a strong balance between saving and spending….and my Goyard was a treat well worth the money. Enjoy!

  • Rola February 24, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    I was doing research on the Goyard St. Louis bag and came across your blog. Thanks for sharing your own experience and opinions. I picked up a red PM and absolutely love it! Impeccable workmanship and I think it looks stylish for everyday.

  • Anonymous February 27, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    What a sweet boyfriend you have! I love the Marquises Tote you have. It suits you and looks great.

  • Anonymous June 21, 2012 at 1:57 am

    Sorry I did not like Goyard bag when I first saw my mom carried this to her yoga class, and I gasped on how much she spent what I thought an ugly looking bag. But after readng this post I started to appreciate it a bit more, it is indeed very light weight, but still I probably will spend my money on other bags

  • Leslie November 5, 2012 at 12:17 am

    Hi Jean–I love this post as there are so few about the Goyard Marquises bag. I've been eyeing one for some time and wanted to know how it's held up over time? I'd likely carry about 5-10 pounds in it day to day and don't want to worry too much about having to "baby" it. What are your thoughts now that you've had your bag for a while now? Thanks so much!

  • Yi December 10, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Love this bag! Apparently they have increased the price to $2250 this year…

Comments are closed.