Review: Kate Spade New York Charlotte Street Reena Tote

Kate Spade’s surprise online sale ends tonight (5/15) at midnight. Those of you who follow me on Twitter already know that I gave in and ordered the Primrose Hill Little Kaelin Bag and the Martina Top even though both items were final sale. While a few great items have sold out since my original tweet, beauties like the Bow Bridge Little Kennedy (just lovely in green), the Bow Bridge Helena, Daria Dress, Checkered Myrna Top, Bondi Road Neda, and the Irving Place Little Nadine are still available. 

Get 25% off your purchase at Macy’s with code ICONS. The Michael Kors Selma Satchel reviewed previously is eligible for this discount and is available in large E/W, large N/S, medium, clutch, and flap.

On full-priced women’s apparel purchases at J. Crew, use code LOOK20 for 20% off.

A drawn-out detour later, I finally found my way back on topic. Yes, I want a white bag for spring and I don’t think it’s an overreaching wish. While the Kate Spade Charlotte Street Reena Tote wasn’t the one, it was a step in the right direction (compared to last week’s colorful totes).

Thus far, my favorite bag remains the Michael Kors Large Selma Satchel. Not only is the price more attractive ($358 with the possibility of department store discounts), it also met most of my requirements: long strap, structured body, affordable price, and durable material. In contrast, the KS Reena Tote seems expensive at $478, stiff (crosshatched “Saffiano” leather that looks a little plastic-y at times), restricted in use (handheld or over the shoulder only), and doesn’t stand on its own when empty or near-empty (though pictures of it on KS’s website shows that it stands; the one I got didn’t).

The design is frills-free which bodes well for shoppers with conservative tastes. There are no extraneous charms or random accoutrements on the exterior. The logo is small and appears only on one side.

In many ways, the Reena Tote aspires to be the Prada Saffiano Tote but just isn’t as dazzling as the original. Like the Saffiano Tote, the Reena Tote has one open compartment (with top magnetic snap closure) that expands with side snap closure and two zippered document compartments. The larger compartment has one zip pocket and two slip pockets.

The base of the bag is flat but narrow for its size and the straps are upright so this bag tips over on its own unless weighed down by heavier things.

The bag is 10″ tall, 14.5″ wide, and 5.5″ deep which wouldn’t fit serious laptops but is roomy enough to accommodate everyday essentials. The handles (8″ drop) are long enough for the bag to be worn on the shoulder but the fit isn’t very comfortable.

At a little over two pounds, it is about the same weight as some of the other contenders being considered.

In re-reading this post, I think I am being harsher on this bag than I intend to be. Part of my disappointment stems from having set my bars too high and from having perhaps a different set of priorities than what Kate Spade designers had intended.

If you are looking for a work bag similar to the Prada Saffiano Lux Double-Zip Tote that is around $500, look no further than the Reena Tote. The workmanship is more than adequate but I do worry about the base (the last picture of this post shows that it loses shape easily).

Buy the Reena Tote at Amazon (subscribe to emails to receive a one-time 20% off code good on shoes and bags), Bloomingdale’s (new email subscribers get 10% off), Cusp, Kate Spade, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom’s, Piperlime (sign up for emails and get 20% off your first purchase; BR/Gap/ON cardholders get 10% off on Tuesdays with code TUESDAYS), or Zappos.

Hi, I am Elle!

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