Bag Review: Tod’s Signature Tote

One of the first ‘good bags’ I bought with my own money was this Tod’s Signature Tote in dark black-bluish-grey. I got it a few years ago at an outlet mall in Spain (and no, I don’t discriminate against outlet shopping haha), I think it was around 50% off.

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On a side note, I think getting older styles at discounted prices is a good way to try out a certain brand’s products first before committing to them for real :)) That way, if they turn out to be shite, you won’t feel as bad as if you’d purchased at full price

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Here is the bag as featured in Tod’s hero shot

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This bag actually wasn’t my first experience with Tod’s. My sister bought a grey Tod’s shade bag (her first investment bag bought with her own money as well) back in 2010 when we were in Rome. Her bag, apart from some minor dirty areas from use, is still in great shape. I bought mine in 2014, and it’s still in great shape as well. We also got a cream-coloured box tote, a wallet-on-chain, and a micro sling D bag, all of which have held up quite well.

What I love about our experience with Tod’s is that the bags are not ridiculously priced (they’re priced somewhere in between Lancel and Gucci), the quality is good for the price point, and the brand is not too ubiquitous.

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Detail of chain strap

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I wasn’t too crazy about the colour at first, because I felt it was a sort of off shade–not quite black, not quite grey, and not quite blue. The more I used it though, the more that ambiguity of colour helped in my pairing the bag with more outfits. I wasn’t too sure about that plasticky sheen, either, at first, but because of it, the bag can be used somewhat in the rain, and it protects the leather against spills and dirt and whatnot, so I find that I don’t mind the sheen so much anymore :))

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And the size (I’m the type who usually carries a giant tank of a bag) is really good too. Great for layering your stuff–like if you’ve got a bunch of stuff at the base of the bag, then you throw more stuff on top of it, and then you throw a scarf or cardigan on top of everything

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I also like the design–how it’s a tote but kind of like a bucket bag. Kind of more mature but not old. It’s casual but not too casual (it’s work friendly).

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The shape and size can fit a lot of stuff, and it folds flat so it’s actually good to take with you for travel.

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And now for a bag maker’s in-depth scrutiny of the bag’s make and materials:

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The only complaint I have with the bag is that I wish the straps were a bit longer to be able to wear it on my shoulder more comfortably–the current length, although very slightly adjustable, seems more fit for a really petite person. The length is ok for hand-carrying, but a bit awkward to carry over the shoulder, especially if the bag is full of stuff.

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This shiny material, although I wasn’t too keen on it at first, is actually really practical. It basically laminates the leather so you can use it as an everyday bag without fear of dirtying it up, spilling liquids on it, or whatnot. I’ve stored mine in humid weather, and used it in both cold and tropical climates, and the laminate on the leather is still intact. I half expected it to melt off or warp or something, but it survived the hot and humid Philippine weather.

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Stitch quality is good for this price point. Machine-sewn (you don’t really find a lot of hand-sewn designer bags at this price point) but consistent and no skips or uneven stitching.

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Hardware is branded with their logo, and is nickel-plated brass, which is the standard for luxury/ designer handbags.

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I interned for a short while at a bag factory in Italy, and because of that I’ve become extra meticulous when it comes to inspecting bags. I was already pretty finicky about it before, but after the internship I’m an absolute CSI-level inspector! Even more so with bags that I myself make, or bags that I intend to purchase.

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Inside, there is a large zippered pocket, as well as some open pockets for hand sanitisers and whatnot. The lining is not leather, but practical enough and at least it doesn’t get dirty easily.

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So there you have it–a bag maker’s perspective bag review. I hope these reviews help highlight the details of bags–the great and the shoddy–and I also hope that they help people distinguish between a good bag investment and a poor one! I have a few more bags in mind that I want to write up reviews on, so hopefully I can make this a more regular thing, and put my quality-control-learnt insights to good use 👍

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Tod’s site is http://www.tods.com/it_it/

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