$79 Yoox Leather bag review (Prada Saffiano tote look for less)

**As most of you already know, the Nordies Anniversary sale has begun! My attempts to find riding boots and a not-too-trendy leather jacket early on were unsuccessful, but here are a few picks if you’re shopping the sale. As always, free shipping and free returns on everything.
– 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.
prada bag for less3

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?”

Parentesi bag review2

 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…

Parentesi bag review4
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.
Parentesi bag review3
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.
prada bag for less1

There are two large zip compartments on each side, which I haven’t been using:prada bag for less4
Size comparison to my other favorites Longchamp Planete large tote and J.Crew Edie bag:

Parentesi bag review
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.
prada bag for less2
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.
Prada bag for less
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!
Parentesi bag review1
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!

Leave a Comment


  1. OMG love gushers too.. not sure about the new packaging though… seems like there is less per pack.

    Posted 7.26.13 Reply
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    i ordered the burberry trench you mentioned from the nordstrom sale. i have been looking for a burberry trench with a hood! thank you! hopefully i picked the right size on-line. thank you!!

    Posted 7.26.13 Reply
  3. Mel wrote:

    Jean! If you want to sell yours, I am more than happy to be the proud second owner of the bag!

    Posted 7.24.13 Reply
  4. Yep, got the nude. And totally agree about the name…I was hesitant to order b/c it sounded rather tweeny!

    Posted 7.23.13 Reply
  5. Thank you for your kind words! I got the taupe color so the straps don't cut off my legs as much.

    Posted 7.23.13 Reply
  6. Love what you picked up! Was eying the tweed skirt as well but wasn't sure about the fit since it started in sz 2.

    Posted 7.23.13 Reply
  7. Hi Mel – I bought the goyard back when I had a 15" laptop and sadly haven't used it much since I switched to a smaller one. It's held up well with no signs of wear in the corners or base, but I was more careful with it. The price has gone up significantly since I bought it (nearly doubled?) so I don't know if it's worth that much now. I still love the look of the St. Louis smaller tote and thought often about selling mine and getting that one, but I've seen a few St. Louis totes around town that look just so beat up in the corners…

    Posted 7.23.13 Reply
  8. Hi MizzJ, yes I have been wearing it on my shoulder to work, mostly. The base shaper keeps the look intact.

    Posted 7.23.13 Reply
  9. Hi there – I carry one bag/day and try to rotate amongst them all. I also love Longchamp and reach for it often, because you cannot beat how light it is and how much it holds. There's no shame in using it for work every day if it meets your needs!

    Posted 7.23.13 Reply
  10. Great option for those looking for a smaller size, and pretty colors too!

    Posted 7.23.13 Reply
  11. Hi Stephanie! I have not done so in the past, but it's not a bad idea.

    Posted 7.23.13 Reply
  12. Hi there – it's an hp elitebook issued by my office … it does it's job for my daily work. Technology really isn't my realm of expertise so I can't give a recommendation unfortunately!

    Posted 7.23.13 Reply
  13. Hi Jingjing – I had an extra made for my Prada and it fits decently but not perfect. If you get one made, I'd suggest doing the ole cardboard process of cutting one out, trying it inside for fit, then measuring the board.

    Posted 7.23.13 Reply
  14. I totally forgot about the Nordie Anniversary sale. Thanks for the reminding!

    Posted 7.23.13 Reply
  15. roey wrote:

    Great find! I have a larger Cole Haan with a strap that doesn't adjust either. I just knotted and it seems to help, but what I did to help take the excess length off was to choose a spot, somewhere not in the exact middle of the strap, but offsetted a bit.. so the knot wasn't on my shoulder but more towards the back of my shoulder. I folded the strap at that point and then knotted about 3-4 fingers below the fold, that helped me control how long I wanted the strap. I hope that makes sense. The knot was still sensible and not huge, so it looked like it belong. Taking it to get professionally done is an option, but I feel like knotting it is a quick and easy fix.


    Posted 7.22.13 Reply
  16. If you are a PC user, I recommend Lenovo Thinkpad. This branch was originally under IBM and it has some of the highest quality of durability I have ever seen. I have two… Speaking from experience, if you travel a lot, and don't mind small screens I would go as small as 12.5 Inch. But if you do photoshop or other high image processing related, I suggest a 14Inch is big enough. I have Thinkpad T420 (14inch) (which i think the newest is T430) for home and business, and X230 (12.5 Inch) for travel. If you are a mac user, not too much choice there, mac or mac-air, they are all pretty good.

    Posted 7.22.13 Reply
  17. Hi Jean, what was the measurement for your base shaper for the Yoox bag? Did you custom order it?

    Posted 7.22.13 Reply
  18. Elizabeth wrote:

    Hi Jean,
    Thanks for the review! I'm looking for a new laptop. I'm curious to know which one you got. Are you happy with it?

    Posted 7.22.13 Reply
  19. Stephanie wrote:

    Thanks for the review Jean! Can you comment on whether or not you treat/spray your bags before use?

    Posted 7.22.13 Reply
  20. Anonymous wrote:

    DKNY Saffiano Leather tote is another cheaper alternative – although admittedly not as cheap as the one you have shown here. That being said, you can't beat the sturdiness of Saffiano leather!


    Posted 7.22.13 Reply
  21. absolutely love this review! And so much more chic than the Tumi beast I carry around for my 15" daily laptop. Carrying a laptop seriously is the bane of any chic woman's existence.

    Posted 7.22.13 Reply
  22. Thanks for such a thorough review! Your reviews are always so helpful, especially when there are many good summer sales going on (like the Nordstrom Anniversary sale)and I need to pick and choose what I should be investing money into! 🙂


    Posted 7.22.13 Reply
  23. Anonymous wrote:

    Hi Jean, you mentioned that you carry your designer bags to work. May I ask if you carry both a "nicer" bag and a longchamp on a regular basis? As much as I want to carry my nicer bags, I find myself always reaching for my stupid longchamp everyday because it big enough to schlep around all my junk .. including my lunch.

    Posted 7.22.13 Reply
  24. MizzJ wrote:

    Thanks for the detailed review! I'm curious to know if you've worn it on the shoulder with the handles when there is stuff in the bag? It looks good in your photo, but I'm assuming that's when the bag is empty?

    Posted 7.22.13 Reply
  25. Mel wrote:

    Hi Jean,
    I was wondering how your goyard bag was doing… I really love it, but I do not know if it is worth the price. Since I do not see you with it anymore, it worn out quickly, or not very useful? I was thinking to use it for work too and if you could update about this bag, I would really appreciate it!

    Posted 7.22.13 Reply
  26. Anonymous wrote:

    I enjoyed your feature on the Anniversary Sale. Being a Nordstrom cardholder, I shopped the fall collection a couple of weeks ago, and these were some of my finds for my business casual wardrobe:

    Hinge Tweed Skirt (great for petites)

    Vince Camuto Colorblock Tee

    Nadri Long Station Necklace

    Posted 7.22.13 Reply
  27. Anonymous wrote:

    Thanks for the wonderful review! You ALWAYS look so stylish. If you don't mind me asking, what color did you get in those flats?

    Posted 7.21.13 Reply
  28. Anonymous wrote:

    I tried it an it doesnt work for the glitter pink flats, but it does for nana and another pair of shoes I am purchasing. I wonder why?

    Posted 7.21.13 Reply
  29. Hi Jean~ Just wanted to let you know that your favorite Stella¨ gold arrow necklace is now available! 🙂 http://www.stelladot.com/shop/en_us/p/jewelry/necklaces/necklaces-all/on-the-mark1

    Posted 7.21.13 Reply
  30. Hi Kat, I haven't had to wipe it clean yet as I've only been using it for a week, but I imagine there should be no issues!

    Posted 7.21.13 Reply
  31. Hi Effa! I think both the PST and GST are acceptable on a 5" tall frame, and it depends on how much you need to carry inside on a regular basis. I did not consider the GST for myself because my laptop bag usually takes a beating, which I can't imagine with more delicate (and pricey) lambskin or caviar leathers. My other designer bags that I use for work are of coated materials, so I'm not too worried when I get caught in the rain (which is quite often here in Boston). For those who don't carry a heavy laptop or have an outdoor commute, I think the PST/GST could be a more practical bag. I do still have my PST because I can't let go of it. It is too cute and a classic – and who knows, could possibly get more wear down the road when I get to chuck my laptop forever.

    Posted 7.21.13 Reply
  32. Anonymous wrote:

    i like it. 🙂 they are all nice but i think im leaning towards the ivory. the flats look nice too .. too bad i'm not in the market for flats.. already have too many. 🙁 but if it was, i'd def try those out too. They're sleek, and not too busy with too many straps. Did you get a pair of nude? Lol @ the name "glitter pink". hehe

    Posted 7.21.13 Reply
  33. Love gushers! Except when they get flattened by other things in my bag and are already pre-gushed upon opening : )

    Posted 7.21.13 Reply
  34. Hi there – the flat sandals did come in all sizes but looks to be sold out in several. I got a 5 and 5.5 in them and both fit (the 5's are tight across the toe straps) and I got a 5 in the Nana sandals, which look to be currently sold out across all colors. I usually wear between 5 to 5.5 and the Nana sandals in 5 fit, but with no extra room to spare.

    Posted 7.21.13 Reply
  35. Amazing deal, Jingjing! I wonder if the code is account specific, because I couldn't get it to work for me.

    Posted 7.21.13 Reply
  36. Thanks! I did the knot for a crossbody bag as well but there's too much length to be taken up on this one, plus the weight issue you mentioned. I wonder how hard it is to add a buckle clasp and break the one strap into an adjustable one.

    Posted 7.21.13 Reply
  37. I got the Khaki (worn here http://instagram.com/p/bq_KQoF3o-/ ) and really like them! Please be warned the back of the ankle straps are not entirely comfortable for me (could be just my heel/ankle shape and placement) and I hope they will be after breaking in. I kept the shoes because the rubbing wasn't too bad, and I loved the lengthening look.

    Posted 7.21.13 Reply
  38. Anonymous wrote:

    ooh interesting!! thanks for the review. what color did you get for the nana heels? those are gorg!

    Posted 7.21.13 Reply
  39. Anonymous wrote:

    Having your cobbler adjust the long straps is probably the best and most professional-looking solution. I recently picked up a mini crossbody and just made a simple knot on both ends and reclipped to the bag. The two knots shortened the strap significantly and don't seem to bulk up the strap too much. Of course this is a more casual and lighter-weight bag. I don't know how that would work on a larger bag that you fill with heavy things, but it is a quick, simple fix.

    Posted 7.21.13 Reply
  40. Joy wrote:

    Wow very tempting. I wish it came in black! I still want to hold out for the Prada one in black, but I'm bummed the price rose not too long ago.
    Thanks for reviewing and sharing!


    Posted 7.21.13 Reply
  41. Thanks for this excellent review. I had no idea they offered real leather bags.

    Posted 7.21.13 Reply
  42. It is 25% off today 7/21/13 on Yoox with code ACCESSORIZE. I bought it @ $59 + $10 shipping!

    Posted 7.21.13 Reply
  43. Karen wrote:

    Thank you for the excellent review! I have the same laptop and I'm always in constant lookout for a versatile lightweight bag with a zipper, that I can carry around the city.

    Posted 7.21.13 Reply
  44. Anonymous wrote:

    Hi Jean!
    I noticed that the shoes do not come in 1/2 sizes. Did you order up or down and how did it turn out for you?
    Thanks for the informative post.

    Posted 7.21.13 Reply
  45. Michelle wrote:

    Alannah and Jean — THANK YOU for the bra tip! I just bought 17 bras (not even kidding) in 30C. Hopefully at least one of them works out. What a great price too!!!!

    Posted 7.21.13 Reply
  46. Ann wrote:

    What a thorough review! I love the bag, and it's a wonderful, less expensive alternative to the prada bag. Your boss and colleagues sounds so easy-going… well except for that last one haha.

    And GUSHERS! *___*

    Posted 7.21.13 Reply
  47. Hi Jean! The measurement of the bag reminds me of Chanel GST. Any particular reason why you're not considering GST (other than the price)? Just curious! I remember you mentioned that PST wasnt that practical for you. Do you still have it? We have similar height below 5" and I'm currently debating between Chanel PST and GST. :/

    Posted 7.21.13 Reply
  48. Like this tote bag very much and seems very conveninent!
    Thanks for these information!
    Jul from Le monde des petites

    Posted 7.21.13 Reply
  49. I appreciate your wonderful view. While I would love to own some of the luxurious brand name bags you have I am happy to see a more affordable, but still great quality bag. Definitely thinking about purchasing this bag or others from the website for job interviews when I graduate from school.

    Posted 7.21.13 Reply
  50. Katherine wrote:

    I have a very hard time spending money for white bags so this is a great option. The leather also looks like it'd be much easier to wipe clean! Has that been your experience?

    Posted 7.21.13 Reply

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