Above all, the Steven Alan tote is more expensive. We love SA’s design sensibility, but he’s cunningly priced his wares just out of our reach, making them exclusive and desirable. His signature tote is the perfect size for city life, comes in great colors and has brass hardware.
The Gap tote also has some brass hardware and is of similar size. Besides the army green pictured, it only comes in black and sand— dullsville. They’ve tried to kick it up with lining in striped material that looks like it was left over from baby bibs a couple seasons back. At $44, its half the price of the Steven Alan tote.
Although we usually go for a bargain, we’re opting for the pricey Steven Alan tote. We love the navy blue and the construction and materials are way better. We’ll just have to survive on Top Ramen noodles this week.
Although we always love an iconic original, the L.L. Bean Boat ‘n’ Tote has its limits — only one optional pocket, limited color ways and a size range that goes from too small to too big. On the positive side, they are the original (based on a bag for hauling ice) and they are virtually indestructible.
The J. Crew Amagansett Tote has it all going on — great color ways and patterns, optional critter embroidery (we like a green whale) and a softer construction that makes for an easier carry. Not nearly as sturdy and a bit more expensive, too.
Its a tie. We’d never abandon our beloved Boat ‘n’ Tote, but the Amagansett makes for a nice summer fling.
For the low-low price of $115, the obviously talented (sarcasm alert) Jaye Hersh at Shop Intuition will take a $5 Mexican plastic mesh market bag and paint your monogram and stripes on it. Never mind that we could do this ourselves in a matter of minutes, but haven’t we seen this before?
Lesson learned: if you sell it on the street, its a knock-off; if you sell it in a shop, its “inspired by.” Miuccia Prada taught us that.