to shop / {sale alert} clare v la tropezienne in white and black

My favorite Clare Vivier style after all of these years is still the La Tropezienne (previously reviewed). There are two colors (white and black) in the short handle length (the OG) that is currently on super sale. Rare, considering CV’s own site no longer carries them.

Note: If anybody else loves the original La Trop luscious, thick, durable leather as much as I do, they refer to it as “Old Fashion” and I think “Rustic”. They are using this leather in the new Le Big Sac on Clare V and Anthropologie. They also used it for the black Frances shoulder bag, which is now sold out (Edit: Found it here). I got both bags in black in late 2017 and they had both sold out quickly. Le Big Sac just came back in new colors. I may eventually post a review of both. If you see either sold on Garmentory, proceed with caution.

Without further ado, a mini ode to the white La Trop:


Images: Clare V’s blog and Instagram

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to shop / {high and low} celine small vertical cabas tote vs mark and graham italian leather crossbody tote

I bought the Celine small vertical cabas tote in black grained calfskin (FR link) a few years ago and promptly sold it as it was an unplanned purchase in Paris due to using up expiring credit. I don’t regret it, the timing was off. Lately I’ve been wanting the same bag again, but I couldn’t find it in during my last trip to Europe. I’m guessing this style and color is hard to find outside of Paris, which has an abundance of Celine stockists. Celine has updated their website since so now you can easily search for availability online.

I came upon Mark and Graham and their Italian Leather Crossbody Tote looked very much inspired by the Celine. (Note: this site is owned by Williams-Sonoma and will put a monogram on everything.) M&G has some good looking bags but it’s hard to find reviews of them. I have one piazza zip pouch from M&G made of Italian leather and the leather is very nice. I would say it’s a similar leather as this bag.

(Images: Celine, Mark and Graham)

The M&G comes in navy, brown, and cream. Of those three colors, I think Celine’s only ever made it in cream. I like the navy and the brown, but would’ve preferred it in black. I ordered a monogram-less brown and navy when it was initially marked down.

(Image: Mark and Graham)

My photo of the actual item

Notes: 

  • Dimensions were very similar.
  • Leather grain was noticeable smaller and more delicate on the Celine.

What I didn’t like:

  • Hardware: There’s a round piece of hardware on the sides of the bag. It distracts from the sleekness. You can see it the clearest on the blue bag above.
  • Edges: The vertical edges are very round and nowhere near a 90 degree angle and as a result didn’t appear to be straight edge (as seen above). Also distracting from the sleekness. I think this comes from the stiffness of the leather and don’t see it going away or softening up with usage.
  • Hard to adjust strap: I’m not sure if it’s that hard to adjust the strap length on the Celine but it was impossible to adjust on this bag. If you’re shorter end of petite, you would need to get extra holes punched.

Verdict: I didn’t expect the M&G to match up to the Celine at ~10-20% of the price. The M&G sale price is a steal (I didn’t think it’s worth its retail) and a good buy for someone who wants this style and doesn’t mind the lack of defined edges. I am still waiting to encounter the Celine again.

Note on Mark & Graham shopping experience:

  • If you want to be able to return it, don’t get it monogrammed. I have gotten stuff monogrammed before and some were done poorly. They were good about sending replacements. 
  • The returning process was slow compared to most other e-tailers. It took them almost 2 weeks to process the return after receipt during the summer and maybe it’s because I sent an email to inquire on the status. They also charge you for the UPS label (which is fine given the size of the boxes). 

to shop / l.l.bean boots & totes

After spending time in rainy weather wearing non-waterproof Repettos (don’t worry, they are fine) and returning home to more rainy weather, I decided I needed durable boots and logically looked into L.L.Bean “bean boots”. It also didn’t help that I’ve been wanting a custom boat tote and L.L.Bean sent a targeted 20% off e-mail a few days later…

L.L.Bean has a great ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ story and I love that every item is still lovingly crafted in Maine. I definitely need to make a trip to the Freeport, Maine store the next time I’m in the area.

Bean Boots


Continue reading “to shop / l.l.bean boots & totes”

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.