A new black tote bag has been on my to-buy-list for ages now. I used to have one almost constantly ever since I was 16, but back in the days I lived in oblivion and repeatedly bought my tote bags from H&M or other fast fashion stores. As they wore out so quickly it was time to invest in something a bit more durable and ethically made.
You may have noticed I love designer bags, so I searched for a black tote bag in the luxury department first, where I was doubting between the Neverfull from Louis Vuitton (which is obviously not black) and the Saint Laurent shopping bag. But spending over € 795 on a bag that has to endure some heavy tasks was just crazy. So I went in search of a more affordable and sustainable option that would also give me that luxury feeling when using it.
I came back to this particular one from Everlane that I’ve been eying for a couple of years now. Since they rarely shipped internationally I never actually got to buying one, until now. Everlane has changed it’s shipping reach and that means great new for us European buyers, they now ship internationally for all orders over $100!
About the bag
Everlane has so many amazing bags to choose from, but this particular style is called The Day Market Tote and I can see why they’ve called it like that since it fits so much, you can use it as a shopping bag. After some research I found out this bag went viral when Meghan Markle was spotted with it. Have to say, she wears it with such class I’m tempted to buy one in the brown color as well…
For those who haven’t heard from Everlane yet, they are a brand that produce clothing ‘the ethical way’. They promise transparency in the production process and their price markups. A mission we can only sheer for!
The Day Market Tote is a semi-structured tote bag made out of 100% leather. If you are more into a tote bag that will keep its original shape throughout the years, you’re at the wrong address, but if you are looking for a tote bag that you can use every day and that will develop some personal character, keep reading!
Quality and material
Everlane states that this bag is made out of 100% Italian leather, but what does this mean exactly? Since I couldn’t find any extra information about the material on the Everlane website, I did some research on the web. From what I found Italian leather is made from cowhide which is treated by traditional techniques. Natural methods are used to color the leathers, which makes it more resistant, elastic and smooth. The term Italian Leather is trademark protected, to ensure this particular way of producing. Please, do correct me if I’m wrong on this subject, since I’m not an expert but would love to learn more about this.
I found the leather to feel very supple, yet it still feels sturdy and durable. The look of the leather is very smooth, but there is a very subtle grain to it, important to resist scratches of course. Yet, I did found this bag to mark quite easily in comparison to some of my other bags. It does give some life to the bag, making it a very personal piece, but I did expect a little more durability. I baby my bags a lot – none of my bags are put on the floor or thrown into a corner when I come home.
The purpose of a tote bag is to get a lot of things in it, so it’s normal that we’re talking about quite a big bag here. You may have seen that I mostly wear smaller cross body bags, but sometimes they just don’t do it – like when I have to bring my laptop or lunch to work. The measurements of this bag are quite large; 48cm width x 33cm high. The bag is semi-structured which means it won’t keep its original shape. Yet, since the bottom is structured the bag won’t become a ‘sack’. The base will keep its form and after all that’s the most important part.
Inside the bag you find one big space with on the side a compartment to store your smaller goods or to make it easy to reach your phone. The inside is unlined, which shows the beautiful, supple leather. I did find the inside to mark easily, but you can quickly wipe it down as well. You should be careful carrying things that can mark your bag, like make-up, food or drinks. Especially when you buy a lighter color bag.
The stitching on this bag is done with such craftsmanship, you can’t see any flaws in it and it is perfectly aligned. I do have my doubts in how much weight the handles can carry. I couldn’t find any weight limits on their website or in any other reviews, so do be careful with how much you put in there – an overstuffed bag isn’t healthy as well. The handles do seem to be beautifully stitched into the leather of the bag, so I don’t see this as an issue for daily use.
These particular tote bags are hand made in Italy (you can see the factory here) and you can see the craftsmanship put in this bag. The stitching is absolutely amazing and I can’t spot any flaws in this bag. You will see a little corner wear in some of the pictures, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
To be fair with you guys, I wasn’t really wowed with this bag when I opened the package. First of all, I’m not the biggest fan of larger bags and most of the time I feel a little overwhelmed by a bag of this proportion. But looking past this personal opinion at that moment, I found this bag to be everything it states to be. A large tote bag made out of premium leather, and for that it gets all its points. The one thing I found quite annoying was the big stitching on the bag where the inside compartment is. Personally, I would’ve loved a plain back more. But you can’t have it all I guess.
As I said before, the leather does mark quite easily but not in a way it would make the bag unusable. Au contraire, it gives some more edge to this bag making it a very personal piece. After the first wear I had some scratches at the handles from wearing it with my leather jacket, as you know, leather jackets tend to have a lot of rough hardware. And after a week using this bag, I do have some corner wear which really is such a shame. So I don’t see this bag standing the test of time. I haven’t used it for heavy tasks yet – but just to bring my essentials, lunch and an extra scarf to work.
Pro’s and cons
- Marks easily
- Unlined on the inside
- Very supple and smooth Italian leather
- Ethically made and very well made
- Amazing design
Is it worth it?
At first I was doubtful and I have to admit there are still a lot of issues with this bag, but that doesn’t take away that I am completely smitten about it now. No, this bag won’t stand the test of time, yes it will look worn out sometime but I bought this kind of bag to be used daily and get the heavy duties away from my designer bags. So in this matter it is actually really worth it for me.
This bag costs $175 without shipping. In the end I paid €205 for it including shipment. So this isn’t the most budget bag, but it isn’t the luxury price range either. For this price you get a bag that is ethically produced, is 100% Italian leather and is made with such craftsmanship. A price I am willing to pay to slow fashion down. I do believe this bag will last longer than my budget versions did which makes it more durable as well.
What do you guys think about this tote bag and what are your main demands when buying one?