• Petite-friendly sale work / laptop bags and tall boots

    MK tote

    Michael Kors Jet Set Travel Tote in saffiano leather – (also in black, red, blue and more)
    Outfit: LOFT top, NY & Co skirt (waist taken in – will do post soon), Talbots sandals c/o

    Happy Monday! Just wanted to share a few quick reviews of sale handbags and boots I tried on (as a reminder, prices go back up August 4th). I’m always getting questions on where to find stylish work bags that can fit a laptop and more. I’ve heard many good things about Michael Kors’ durable saffiano leather (a coated leather with almost a vinyl feel, intended to be more scratch and water resistant) and the price points are quite a bit less than Prada and the like.

    This Jet Set travel tote was my favorite out of all sale items tried on. It’s roomy inside, but the measurements are just 12″ wide x 11″ high, so it doesn’t look disproportionate on a shorter frame even with flats on. Since the base is narrower than the top opening, this will probably only fit smaller laptops unless you put it in vertically. There’s zippered compartments inside, and a handy outer compartment for those items you need to keep on easy access. The straps fit comfortably over the shoulder, plus are adjustable (always a plus for ladies of various heights!). I prefer the tote without the large gold medallion which is thankfully removable. I’m also not a fan of the logo jacquard lining, but that’s nitpicking. This bag comes in a luggage brown (shown), red, black, bright blue, pink, and gray, so check the item page for restocks if interested. This was a serious contender for me in either black or luggage, but in the end I didn’t purchase as I already have a black Longchamp and a brown Prada saffiano.MK saffiano
    Next up, I had noticed these Rockport boots online for their narrower than usual calf measurement, but thought the shaft height would be way too tall. I tried them on and were pleasantly surprised by a few factors. The calf area grazed my legs (my calf measurement is about 12″) and the suede material could stretch to fit an inch or two wider in that area. The low wedge was barely noticeable, and the inner footbed was so darn comfortable. I noticed later that these boots use Adidas technology inside which probably explains why they felt like well cushioned running shoes. Sizing-wise, my usual sz 5 was a good fit.
    rockport boots

    Rockport “Total Motion” suede wedge boot (also in wide calf), sz 5 – 11

    The issues with these boots, however, lies in the ankle area as well as shaft height for me. Although the calves fit, the ankles were roomy and resulted in a little bunchiness as you can see above. Not sure if this would be better with thicker socks on. Also I am definitely on the shorter end of the spectrum at under 5 feet tall, and these hit awkwardly right at my knee caps (although much better than I had expected). For anyone with longer calves, or even an inch taller, this shouldn’t be an issue. I did not get these for those two reasons, but would recommend as a comfortable, everyday boot for those who can fill the ankle part more.
    rockport boots1
    Back to the work bag department – Dooney & Bourke doesn’t get too much attention in the handbag world, but I loved their full leather, vintage styles back before the onslaught of candy colored vinyl logo bags in my high school days. It seems they’ve now reverted back to their core offering of quality leather items. This nubuck leather tote is classic and could easily fit a laptop, with marginally bigger measurements (13″w x 12″ height) than the MK shown above. suede tote. I liked the material with the reinforced bottom and protective feet, however want to note the shoulder strap was unfortunately not adjustable and the weight of the leather felt heavy for me personally.

    d and b tote
    I went looking for this Rebecca Minkoff work-friendly tote to review but there were none to be found at my local stores. The moto-inspired design could be a good “conservative” option for Minkoff fans who want more than a plain tote. The M.A.B. tote comes in two sizes – the petite-friendly medium which is 14″ across and the regular which is 16″ across.

    Rebecca Minkoff M.A.B. totes (several colors in med vs. reg sizes, sale price starts at $177)RM tote

    This handbag below is a Nordstrom exclusive from Kate Spade. At 14.5″ width x 10″ height it’s more rectangular in shape, and I would say this is probably the widest I’d go for someone my height to still look in-balance. The leather was nice and soft, but unfortunately the overall bag just didn’t do anything for me. A reviewer also made a good point that the bag does not have protective metal feet, so the soft leather could easily get scuffed up.

    Kate Spade Branton Square – Healy tote (3 colors)

    kate spade tote
    Lastly, this was also a Nordstrom exclusive from the same collection, but I thought the design and satchel shape were cuter than the one above. The shorter handles looked better proportioned, and the adjustable strap could be worn cross-body or just on the shoulder. Unfortunately if you need to carry any sort of laptop, it probably won’t fit here. Interior is one large zipped compartment in the center and two side snap compartments. Reviewers were positive but also lamented the lack of protective feet here…not sure why all designer bag makers don’t just include that feature!

    Kate Spade Branton – Mills satchel (4 colors)

    kate spade tote


    39 thoughts on “Petite-friendly sale work / laptop bags and tall boots

    • Anonymous July 21, 2014 at 11:19 am

      did you buy the jet set tote?

    • Anonymous July 21, 2014 at 11:23 am

      Hi Jean! As a fellow compact petite girl, I actually really liked the Cedar Street Medium Harmony tote from Kate Spade. It is also made of Saffiano leather like the Michael Kors and Prada purses, but has feet and comes in some really cute colors. Sure, it's a little wider than the ones you showed above, but I loved being able to put my 13-inch Macbook and more into it.

    • BEAUTY MD July 21, 2014 at 12:47 pm

      I like the Michael Kors one.

      Health, Beauty, Lifestyle Tips : http://doctorbeautymd.blogspot.com/

    • Anonymous July 21, 2014 at 5:12 pm

      Can the Michael Kors bag also fit a laptop comfortably? Thanks for the reviews!

    • Jos July 21, 2014 at 8:01 pm

      I know everyone has MK now,but I still find it the best 🙂


    • Miss Hot Couture July 22, 2014 at 12:01 am

      Yes it's sad that a lot of handbags do not have the protective feet anymore!


    • Louise July 22, 2014 at 6:19 am

      I love the Michael Kors bags, so chic and elegant, but still far more affordable than other designer bags.

    • Anonymous July 22, 2014 at 10:14 am

      Clark and Mayfield makes great ladies laptop bags in different sizes. I've had mine for over 1 1/2 years and it's still going strong. It carries everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. I can fit my laptop, cords, all my purse contents, shoes, lunch umbrella, etc. into the bag without any problems at all. They are sold on ebags.com if you want to get a discounted price.

    • Carol from Petite Style Online July 22, 2014 at 1:45 pm

      Thanks for sharing your photos. The first bag is my favourite.


    • A Golden Tulip July 22, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      Love the last Kate Spade one, always love a cross-body feature. Too bad about the lack of protective feet. Helpful reviews.


    • Anonymous July 22, 2014 at 7:38 pm

      I saw this abstract print pleated dress on F21 and immediately thought of you and your style. Fit and flare with pretty black and white print. http://www.forever21.com/Product/Product.aspx?BR=f21&Category;=dress&ProductID;=2000105172&VariantID;=

    • Joanne July 23, 2014 at 2:31 am

      Just discovered your blog and it's great! Love the Kate Spade bag!

    • on gala July 23, 2014 at 5:42 am

      You are such a cutie in this look! Love the skirt and the bag is adorable 🙂


    • Anonymous July 23, 2014 at 5:46 am

      Hi, Jean. So beautiful bags and boots. Here is my choice from Finnish design:http://www.palmrothoriginal.fi/Palmroth_collection_product5.html
      Happy summer days — Anu from Finland 🙂

    • ellec July 23, 2014 at 11:06 am

      I love your style, but alas I am no where near super petite!


    • Julie July 23, 2014 at 11:16 am

      I love that Rebecca Minkoff tote. Been on my wishlist for a while now.

      Style by Joules

    • Florence July 23, 2014 at 2:46 pm

      I just ordered that Rebecca Minkoff tote and 3 others to choose from. It's so nice!

    • Anonymous July 23, 2014 at 3:14 pm

      Hi Jean!

      This has nothing to do with the post, but I wanted to perhaps request a topic for a blog post! Could you do a handbag collection and talk about if you could have only have a select few, which kinds of bags would be the most versatile/essential to have in a collection? I can only splurge for a bag every so often and find myself wondering the best styles/colors– especially since high end bags ought to be classics that can last for years.

      Thanks and I love your blog! I will be graduating in a year and so I'm beginning to transition my wardrobe with more work appropriate and classic pieces that will last. You are so helpful and I appreciate you sharing so much of your style with us <3

    • Anonymous July 23, 2014 at 8:41 pm

      Hi Jean, I really like the Halogen jacket in the previous post. I can't believe how fast the small sizes go. I'm waiting for the XXSP … hopefully it's restocked. I want to let you know that I really appreciate your blog and I am in love with your blog, your blog is very helpful to me, practical and stylish.

    • Anonymous July 23, 2014 at 9:44 pm

      Hi Jean! I got the halogen jacket and would love styling ideas. I know its still pretty warm out right now but please post some outfits with it when you can!

    • D D July 23, 2014 at 10:33 pm

      I second this! I too would be interested in reading this. If you could do a blog post on this, that would be great!

      I would also be interested to see a blog on how you budget and tips you would give given your finance/Asian background. 🙂


    • Anonymous July 24, 2014 at 10:40 am

      Hi Jean. I discovered your blog quite by accident, but I absolutely love it! Could you show how you tie your scarfs. I especially like the way the floral one from H&M; is tied. Thanks.

    • Jean July 24, 2014 at 11:05 am

      Hi there – I didn't buy it. Luggage was my favorite color though and I would've purchased if I didn't already have a brown saffiano tote.

    • Jean July 24, 2014 at 11:13 am

      Thank you for your recommendation! I just looked it up and they have a small too – am interested in the white! Glad to hear you like yours and it does have protective feet ; )

    • Jean July 24, 2014 at 11:14 am

      Hi there – I read all the reviews online and several said they carry laptops in it, but I guess it all depends on what size your laptop is!

    • Jean July 24, 2014 at 11:16 am

      I've never heard of this brand before, so thanks for sharing your recommendation!

    • Jean July 24, 2014 at 11:24 am

      So cute! Thank you for thinking of me : ) Will have to keep an eye out for it next time in in F21

    • Jean July 24, 2014 at 11:29 am

      Hi Anu! That boot looks so comfortable and well-made…thanks for introducing a bit of Finnish brands here : )

    • Jean July 24, 2014 at 11:41 am

      Hi there – that is a great suggestion! Off the top of my head I would say my most worn items that I'd recommend for any wardrobe is a durable, clean-lined tote like the Ann Taylor faux leather tote, a carry everything light travel bag like Longchamp, and a dressy small bag that's nicer but can also be worn different ways like the Chanel wallet on chain. I love those pieces so much and found them to be worth every penny. Best of luck to you in your last year of school and I hope you'll have fun building up your wardrdobe and honing it to fit your lifestyle : )

      DD – I honestly don't do too much to budget. I would just suggest evaluating annually (since income and personal needs are always changing) what items you'd really like to add to their wardrobe, and what % of your total pay it makes sense to spend annually on building that wardrobe. My own approach is to have a savings goal as a % of annual take-home income. That goal is based on short and long term needs and wants, and will of course vary for everyone. After that, my wardrobe spending can really differ from month to month (could be >$1k purchases in one month, or <$50 the next) but I just make sure that at an annual level it stays in check.

    • Jean July 24, 2014 at 11:45 am

      Thank you for your kind comment! That means a lot to me. I will keep an eye out for restocks, but FYI – reading through reviews, it seems that there's a cotton version of the Halogen jacket that's "much better" quality (and currently sold out , of course).

    • Jean July 24, 2014 at 11:46 am

      Sure thing!

    • Jean July 24, 2014 at 11:49 am

      Hi there – thank you so much! : ) Have you seen Wendys Lookbook's scarf tying videos? It's the "braid" at minute 3:26

    • Anonymous August 4, 2014 at 2:51 pm

      Oh my goodness, thank you so much for your reply!! Those are great suggestions. I am currently looking for a bag similar to the Ann Taylor faux leather tote and the Michael Kors one in this review! Do you think that the luggage color is okay for professional workplaces? I am not too sure for interviews and while I do think black looks more professional, I like that brown luggage colors can be worn more casually as well.

    • Vicky Gu August 12, 2014 at 5:50 pm

      Hey Jean – I personally have the Cedar Street Small in black, and I love it! It's the perfect classic tote, roomy enough to hold a sizable amount of items, and zips at the top as well (another feature that sets it apart from similar bags). The feet are also an extra plus haha 🙂

    • Anonymous September 20, 2014 at 7:47 pm

      Hi there! Long-time lurker, first time commenter. Just wanted to add my love for the Rebecca Minkoff M.A.B., especially as a work tote. I have the medium in Port and it fits my 13" Macbook Air in a slim Built sleeve, along with my ridiculous assortment of notebooks and train reading material etc. I'm 4' 9.5" and the tote doesn't look too bulky on me.

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    • Ruchi December 24, 2015 at 10:25 pm

      Hi Jean! I know this is quite an old post at this point, but I've come across a new bag by Jack Georges in the Milano Collection (I think it's called Alexis, but a slightly different version than this – http://www.jackgeorges.com/collections/totes/products/chelsea-collection-alexis-tote-2). My biggest problem with laptop friendly totes has been that the laptop compartment is always placed on one side of the bag, resulting on the bag flopping over on that side. Other than adding weight to the bag (which no one ever wants to do intentionally, and I generally travel fairly light) do you have any recommendations on how to balance the bag when carrying a laptop inside it?

      The only solution I've seen so far is to completely ignore the laptop sleeve and place the laptop directly in the center of the bag, but that's obviously not ideal either!

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