Fashion & Beauty

How to Save $10,000

TotesWebONE OF US (ahem) owns an Hermes “Birkin” bag, and some women who’ve never seen one in person, so to speak, ask if they might hold it for a moment. Their initial reaction is always the same: This thing weighs a ton!

Not exactly a ton. According to the Pitney Bowes postal scale at the office, more like 2 pounds 6  ounces, empty. And, prestige factor aside, it’s basically a tote bag, a case of the sometimes prim-looking closed-flap Kelly bag being morphed into an open-top tote (on the Birkin, the flap can fold in) for modern women’s daily lives. So we thought we would weigh a couple of other tote contenders and see how they matched up.

First up was a Marc by Marc Jacobs “Domo Arigato” tote (and not a particularly attractive one, we’re afraid). Stuffed with newspaper, it stood tall and weighed 1 pound 41/2 ounces (empty, it lost 21/2 of those ounces). Cost: $178. The other contender we found was the Lululemon Carry Me Om tote bag, whose trapezoidal yoga-mat-holding shape has inspired so many of the fashion handbags for spring 2014. It weighed  2 pounds 1/2 ounce when stuffed with newspaper (so it would stand up) and 2 pounds empty. And it has zippered compartments for sweaty things, pouches to protect your other stuff. The mega-popular style, for some reason, is not available at the moment, but at the time cost $180 at Hmmm, $178 or $180 against approximately $10,000. That’s a savings of, let’s see, $9,820.

So the results are clear, although it’s Olympic-ice-dancing-type judging: Hermes for incredible craftsmanship and longevity and instant recognition among fashionistas; just about any Lululemon bag for convenience and a certain on-trend cachet.

(But, just for the record, we’re not about to relinquish our Birkin.)

–Nancy McKeon

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