2018 thoughts on bags

Updated: Bao Bao Issey Miyake added

Every year I intend to write ‘year in review’ posts. Somehow time escapes me, so let’s see if this works this year. I plan to write on different topics. First up: bags.

I go through periods of times of buying no bags and then bam! I get a few. I bought a few recently, mostly black bags.

($$$$ to $)

  • The spendiest purchases were driven by Hedi’s takeover of Céline. I couldn’t get myself to Europe soon enough, so I managed with duty free shops in Seoul. Prices are comfortably below US prices and the # of stores are somewhat plentiful. I went to 4 duty free boutiques – 3 in Seoul and 1 in the Incheon airport! For the most part, what I purchased is what I have wanted to purchase for years but the opportunity and urgency never arose. I have no regrets with my purchases, although I have yet to use all of them. I have invested in Samorga inserts for most of them.

I am hesitant to buy Céline secondhand online. It’s hard to assess the structure of a non-super structured bag on the internet. Or for example, the Trio was quietly redesigned in recent years where the straps that connect to the purse were reinforced. This isn’t apparent in most online listings. I wouldn’t want to buy an older Trio. I haven’t sold any of my Célines, but the resale of some of them look roughly the same as duty free. It’s a no lose situation, in my opinion. Some of the classic Phoebe Philo designs are still around but now don the new Celine logo (no accent over the é) and new colors.

Image: Celine

  • (Updated: Can’t believe I forgot to include Bao Bao!) My friend Pam got me into Bao Bao Issey Miyake bags. At some point, they were super hard to buy in Asia. Almost everyone and their mom has one, it seems. They are popular with the older crowd. The brand is Japanese, but I found these bags much better stocked in the US and sometimes on sale/discount! I have four of the totes in different sizes (Prism or Lucent) and got the last one when I was in Tokyo. I highly recommend these for its lightweight, low maintenance, easy to pack (flattens), and uncommon style (at least outside of Asia). I think I’m done for now!

Prism Tote in a Japan-exclusive color

  • The APC Meryl in quilted black leather is a nice APC alternative to my favorite half moon bag. Slightly smaller, softer yet not delicate. Compact enough to throw into a tote. The strap is also thick and comfy. I really like wearing a crossbody to work when I don’t have too much to carry!

Image: APC

  • I purchased the Mansur Gavriel tumble small tote in black during the first online sample sale. It took me almost half a year to unbox it. I love the size, the slouch, the light weight, and the price. I find the “large” MG tote to be way too big. Tumble leather is very nice and different than the more popular vegetable tanned, calf leather, or saffiano. I wouldn’t have given tumble a second glance if I hadn’t seen it in person. It gives a different vibe for the same style in another bag. The only thing that is slightly off-putting is the smell of the leather. Most of it has aired out but there is still a whiff (and this happened to my new Céline bags too). I sometimes use this bag for work and throw the Meryl in when I don’t have time to switch bags. It’s perfect for papers, but I wouldn’t weigh it down with a laptop.


Image: Mansur Gavriel

  • Clare V perf/perforated leather. I really like most of the items in this leather, especially the SLGs. The patina on this simple tote is incredible, but I rarely use something that big nowadays. I need a key wallet and really want one of the Clare V perforated wallets in a lighter brown (cuoio), but they seem to sell out so fast. I got the Bruno sans strap. It’s a nice, casual summer/fall bag. Slightly bigger than a crossbody. It’s CV’s 10 year anniversary, by the way.

Image: Clare V

  • J.Crew has these super affordable camo print everyday totes and you can monogram them! (Thanks to the stranger sporting a bag at EWR arrivals.) I’m typically not one to personalize things, but I couldn’t resist ordering these with an orange monogram over Cyber Week — the 50% off promotion applied to the bags and monograms. Great for gifting. Do note their processing time, I’m still waiting for my order. (Similar is the LLBean Hunter tote, however no monogram. Previously mentioned here. Mine is going strong and so practical.)

Image: J.Crew

  • The Momofuku Milk Bar book pre-order came with this tote for free. I love their cake and the tote is perfection. The tote has since sold out but it’s available in this set. (Sidenote: the book is surprisingly OOS on Amazon. I don’t plan to bake cake, I got it for the eye candy.)


Image: Twitter

I sold some bags this year – bags that no longer spark joy (like the MG saffiano bucket bag and the Ecco Derna lady bag) and plain ol’ shopping regrets (such as the another MG sample sale purchase and the Clare V Le Big Sac!). Resale value is something I think about when I buy a more expensive bag. There are some more bags to clean out once I have time!

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review / want les essentiels mini ohare leather tote



Want Les Essentiels has been tempting me for a long time with their leather products. I picked up the Mini O’Hare mini leather tote in black. It comes in various colors and the black was certainly the hardest to find on sale.

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to shop / {purse diaries} lotuff small leather tote with strap in natural

I’ve always admired Lotuff bags from afar. They are made in USA, kind of pricey, on the boutique circuit, and hard to find on sale. Eventually the right sale came along in the form of a retirement sale. I got this Lotuff small leather tote with strap in a natural color. I also ordered the small leather tote without strap in chestnut brown. That was returned — the chestnut brown shade wasn’t caramel/rich enough for me. And please note that all sales are not final, which was a driving factor in placing an order sight unseen.

The leather quality is amazing — I find that leather smell to be intoxicating. The 14″ x 10.5″ x 5″ size is big enough to hold a good deal of belongings but small enough not to overwhelm. I was having it sit on the sidelines until I figured out how to treat it, but the more I read about pebbled leather, the more I’m convinced it doesn’t need much babying. The corners are a bit soft, so I am thinking of getting a purse shaper/insert/organizer to hold them up. I love the look of the small tote (without straps) and do wish the strap could be removed. The weight of the bag is not lightweight, but it’s not bad.

to shop / {purse diaries} apc greenwich bag review & comparison with half moon

Part I: A.P.C. Half Moon (Demi Lune) Bag Review
Part II: A.P.C. Greenwich Bag Review and Comparison with Half Moon

Note: these are not all mine!

The half moon doesn’t look that big, but when you lay out the measurements or compare it with other bags, it’s quite large. I recently checked out the Greenwich. The Greenwich is a classic turnlock crossbody bag that comes in Brick red or Navy blue (almost black) in a calf leather with a glazed finish. It’s pricier than the half moon.
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to shop / {purse diaries} apc half moon bag review

 Stockists last updated on July 7, 2017

Part I: A.P.C. Half Moon (Demi Lune) Bag Review
Part II: A.P.C. Greenwich Bag Review and Comparison with Half Moon

The half moon is A.P.C.’s signature style and returns every season in different colors and leathers. Both of mine are in embossed/textured saffiano leather — I like longevity. The caramel brown one was from late 2014 and the bordeaux wine red one was from early 2016.
Continue reading “to shop / {purse diaries} apc half moon bag review”