Monthly Archives

August 2016

Fashion, Home

Celine Trapeze Review

The Trapeze was my first love out of all Celine handbags. That is impressive because I literally like every single handbag from Celine: luggage, box, trio, belt, knot, and the list goes on and on. Yet, without a doubt, the Trapeze was on the top of my list. I love love the clean lines, the classic “briefcase” shape, the distinctive wings from Celine, the sleek silhouette, the simple lock and the large curvature of the top handle.

I’ve had the Trapeze for over a year now and would like to share my thoughts! As much as I love the Trapeze, there are some flaws and points to consider before you make your purchase.

The Trapeze I purchased is in the small size with drummed leather and gold hardware. The color is called indigo which is a bright blue in the sunlight but a darker blue indoors.1a. Celine Trapeze_Front1b. Celine Trapeze_Back1d. Celine Trapeze_Clasp1c. Celine Trapeze_Bottom

Sizes – Mini, Small and Medium
From my knowledge, the Trapeze comes in 3 sizes: mini, small and medium (there might have been a large size at one point). Honestly I think the small is the best size unless you are tall and the medium won’t look overwhelming or you carry around a lot of stuff. The small Trapeze measures 10.5” x 8” x 6”, these are the measurements excluding the wings. At its widest wingspan, the small Trapeze measures 17 inches. Out of all my bags, I bump into people and things the most with the Trapeze due to these wings.

The mini is really cute but I haven’t seen them in Celine boutiques recently. If you are looking for a mini bag, I think the nano luggage beats the mini Trapeze hands down (although the nano luggage costs significantly more). I actually think the medium size looks better proportionally; however, I purchased the small in the end due to my height, the minimal amount of stuff I carry and I think the small has the best chance of preserving its beautiful shape the longest.2a. Celine Trapeze_Sizes

Tri-Color vs. Solid Color Trapeze
Celine is known for its beautiful tricolor combinations. Although I have to say for the past few seasons, none of the tricolor combinations have been that great. Tricolor is very “Celine” but it’s not very “me” and I wanted to stay true to what I like and what I will use so I went with a solid color Trapeze.

I do like some color combinations but it’s very rare and even rarer for me to find the specific tricolors at the boutiques. Either case, you can’t go wrong with a tricolor or a solid color. The pro of a tricolor is you can pair it with any outfit that has a single matching color or similar color. The tricolors makes the bag much more edgy and fun. However, I think in the long term solid colors will last longer on the “fashion timeline” and on my personal timeline. I don’t know if tricolors will be “in” in 10 years but I know for certain I would prefer a solid color bag 5, 10, 20, and 30 years from now.

For the solid colors, black, dune, indigo, and vermillion are all in Celine’s permanent collections. I love the black but the indigo was just more special and I think the color is very versatile for all seasons.2b. Celine Trapeze_Diff Combos

Leather: Smooth vs. Drummed
In all other Celine bags I like the look of the smooth leather but because the design of the Trapeze is so simple, I think the textured drummed leather makes the bag more interesting, especially if you are getting a solid color Trapeze. The smooth calfskin leather is beautiful but prone to scratches. In general, I don’t mind scratches but I think they will be more pronounced on the Trapeze, again because the bag is so simple.

The interior and the wings can be leather or suede. Personally, I wanted an all leather bag because suede is harder to clean. However, solid color trapezes only come with suede wings, which I actually learned to appreciate later. Even though the leather and the suede of my Trapeze are both indigo color, they are actually different tones of blue. The suede is a slightly darker and richer blue than the leather so in some ways I got a two-toned Trapeze. Overall it was the indigo color that took my breath away in the stores, so I signed onto the suede wings.

Other alternatives include pony hair, croc stamped leather, saffiano leather, full suede, nubuck calfskin, canvas, felt, and exotics. Overall, I highly recommend the leather; smooth or drummed, Celine’s leather is heavenly!

Practicality – Lock / Opening & Closing
The biggest drawback to the Trapeze is it’s difficult to get in and out of the bag. First, you have to open the square clasp, then you have to turn the lock horizontally, then open the flap, then unzip to get your content.

  • You can try to cut down a step and keep the bag unzipped; however, if your bag is stuffed, the second you open the flap, your contents are very likely to fall out
  • If you want to cut down a step and just have the lock on horizontally, the clasp won’t close properly and an SA told me it will damage the hardware overtime

So there are no real shortcuts. To access goodies from the bag, I have to either use both hands or do a one-leg stand, have the bag sit on my leg then take out the content. As a result, I only open the bag to grab larger items. For my wallet, I would leave one of the wings unbutton so I can simply slip my hands through. The exterior zipped pocket is also extremely useful, you can slip your most used card or phone in the outside compartment.

Is it a pain? Yes.
Do I wish it was easier? Definitely.
Does it prevent me from using the bag? Maybe 10% of the time.
Do I regret buying the bag? Not at all.

If anything, the “bulkiness” of the bag and the wings prevent me from reaching for this bag more than the opening / closing. By bulkiness I mean the amount of space this bag takes up due to the large base and the wings. The base will make the bag stick out more and you are bound to bump into something with the wings. If I am heading somewhere with a crowd or I want to be more “agile” then I would not reach for this bag.3a. Celine Trapeze_Clasp

Continue Reading

Fashion, Home

Top Designer Totes for Every Budget

Without a doubt, every girl needs a tote bag in her handbag collection. A tote is a handbag at the most fundamental level: an easy-to-use, carefree and functional instrument to help carry day-to-day items.

With great popularity comes great selection. There are endless options for totes and I want to share some of my favorite totes in various price ranges!

1a. Top Designer Totes for Every Budget (Under $200)1b. Top Designer Totes for Every Budget (Under $200)

Cuyana Classic Leather Tote
The Cuyana tote has a big fan base due to its simple design and affordable price point. Current owners of the tote also tout the quality of the Italian leather; buttery soft and light. The leather is also pebbled so you don’t need to worry about scratches and wear and tears showing up easily. Cuyana is also handcrafted in the USA, which I interpret as the leather is imported and then the actual bag is made in the USA. This is pretty cool because I can’t list that many bags that are made in the US. You can also add personalization to the tote for $10, which I think goes really well with the simple tote. Lastly, Cuyana is co-founded by Karla Gallarda who grew up in Ecuador, worked at Goldman Sacs in Investment Banking and graduated from Stanford Graduate School of Business. Pretty amazing right?

Longchamp Le Pliage Tote
Without a doubt, the Le Pliage tote from Longchamp needs to be on this list. I’m sure you know all about the nylon canvas tote with leather straps that can be folded into a neat rectangle. However, did you the bag was inspired by Japanese origami and “Le Pliage” in French means “the folding”? I never knew that but it makes a lot of sense. Also the brand name “Longchamp” is because Jean Cassegrain (founder) used to pass by a famous horse track in Paris called Longchamp everyday. This is an abbreviated story – see the whole story here.

Okay back to the bag. The durability, lightweight and affordable price point all add to the popularity of this bag. The Le Pliage is perfect for school, work and travel. I personally use a Longchamp bag for work and after 3 years the only wear is the holes at the four corners of the bag. I also love the waterproof nylon, which helps to keep my work documents and phone safe when I got caught in the rain way too many times. I know a lot of people don’t like the bag because it’s ubiquitous; however, there is a reason why so many women love and use this bag! If all my bags were to magically disappear one day, my first purchase would be a Le Pliage tote. Last cool fact: apparently Longchamp is run and managed by the 2nd and 3rd generation of Jean Cassegrain’s family.

Madewell “The Transport” Leather Tote
The Transport tote from Madewell is another popular favorite and is made of vegetable-tanned leather. Vegetable-tanned leather is basically the process that uses vegetable tannins to convert the animal skin into leather. Vegetable tannis are from trees such as oak, chestnut and mimosa.

The tote can also be personalized for $10. The leather is also textured so you don’t need to worry about scratches and scuffs. Overall, this tote directly competes with Cuyana’s tote. Based on the dimensions, the Transport tote is supposed to be a square while the Cuyana tote is supposed to be more rectangular. Although they both look rectangular to me.

Madewell is a workwear manufacturer founded in 1937 and was acquired by J Crew in 2004.

 

Other designers with totes under $200 include Coach, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Rebecca Minkoff, Dooney & Bourke, etc.

2a. Top Designer Totes for Every Budget ($200-$1000)2b. Top Designer Totes for Every Budget ($200-$1000)

Tory Burch Perry Tote
I have been keeping my eyes open for a red, brown or light blue Perry tote. I have seen certain colors of this bag go on sale (~$100 off) so I am waiting for a color I like to be on sale. If you are also looking at the Perry tote and your heart isn’t set on a specific color, you should wait for the sale as well!

This full leather tote is very simple with the small T medallion logo. The leather is pebbled and soft and some bags have contrast-color interiors which are always fun. I think if you can get the bag for $295 on sale, it’s a great deal!

Mansur Gavriel Tote
I love Mansur Gavriel’s tote, the contrasting interior color, the simplicity of the design and the thinness of the leather (don’t know why I like that but I do). The Mansur Gavriel tote comes in two sizes, large and small with a price difference of $60. Both sizes also come with the detachable wallet / clutch. The totes also come in 3 materials: smooth vegetable tanned leather (smooth, more structured and easily scratchable), tumbled leather (pebbled, soft and unstructured) and canvas (structured and likely easy to get discolored).

Mansur Gavriel is notorious for its waitlists and out-of-stock bucket bags, but I have found the tote is generally available when I check on its website. Also for other MG fans out there, the company is called Mansur Gavriel because Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel founded it in 2012.

Saint Laurent Large Shopping Tote
This large shopping tote is recent addition to the SL line up and I have to say it is beautiful. Again, I love the simple design and the thin leather. This bag is very similar to the Mansur Gavriel tote but costs twice as much. I don’t have either of these bags so I can’t judge on which one has better quality. However, it is probably safe to say MG offers better value for your money. Yet, price tags aside, I personally like the SL shopping tote better. I don’t know if it’s the colors or the slightly different shape but the SL shopping tote feels more feminine and sophisticated to me. Yet at almost a $1,000, the SL shopping tote would be more fittingly compared to the next few bags.

Other designers with totes in the $200 – $1,000 price range include Burberry, Mulberry, Miu Miu, Chloe, Gucci, Prada, etc.

3a. Top Designer Totes for Every Budget (Over $1000)3b. Top Designer Totes for Every Budget (Over $1000)

LV Neverfull
A top designer tote list cannot exclude the LV neverfull. The neverfull was introduced in 2007 and has since become one of the most popular bags from LV. The neverfull was my first designer handbag purchase like many other handbag lovers. The biggest appeal to the neverfull is the simple design, durable canvas, lightweight, and its entry-level price tag for a designer bag. Also the fact that the bag and straps can hold up to 200 pounds is pretty cool – although the thin shoulder straps will hurt way before 200 pounds.

The Neverfull comes in three prints: the monogram canvas, Damier Ebene or Damier Azur (also comes in the epi leather currently). The bag also comes in 3 sizes: PM, MM and GM. I love my neverfull in Damier Azur in the GM size; however, if I were to repurchase the bag again I would go with Damier Ebene in the MM size.

I don’t like how the bag comes with the small pouch now, which raises the price of the neverfull substantially. I purchased the neverfull GM excluding the small pouch in 2011 for $840 and the same bag with the pouch is now retailing at $1,340. I remember when LV added the pouch, the price tag jumped substantially. I know a lot of people like the pouch and find it useful but I think customers should have the options of getting the neverfull alone for a lower price.

Goyard St. Louis Tote
I have been lusting after the Goyard St. Louis tote for some time, especially the blue and yellow totes. I never pulled the trigger to get a St. Louis tote because I have the neverfull and because of the price premium.

For the longest time, I never knew Goyard used to hand paint the dots that make up the famous chevron print. However, since 2006 they have started using stencils to paint the bags faster. Personally I would have preferred if the bags were hand painted that way every bag is different and unique. However, if that was still the case the price would be significantly higher.

Compare to other luxury brands, Goyard is very “secretive”. So much so that it’s hard to information what bags the company offers or the prices unless you physically go to a store that carries Goyard. Anyways Goyard’s canvas is made from 3 plant fibers: hemp, linen and cotton. Also three of the chevron patterns combine to make a “Y” which is the central letter in Goyard’s family name. In that sense Edmond Goyard is signing his name on the canvas like an artist on each painting. Such a clever guy!

Valentino Rockstud Tote
I’m throwing the Valentino Rockstud tote on this list because this bag has recently caught my attention. For full disclaimer, I would not purchase this bag unless I won the lottery; the reason being I think there are other totes that offer much better value for your money. However, it is on this list because I think it’s a very unique and definitely an eye-catching bag. I love Valentino rockstuds and by adding the studs to a tote, you instantly get casual + edgy.

Other designers with totes over $1,000 include Celine, Givenchy, Chanel, Prada, etc.

 

As always thank you for reading! Hope you found this post helpful / interesting. Let me know in the comments below which tote bags are in your collection or which ones you are lusting over!