Whenever I feel the urge to buy a new designer bag, I usually start by browsing Michael Kors for similar options. Like its direct competitors Kate Spade and Coach, Michael Kors is fairly nimble at creatively replicating a new “it” bag as it emerges on the scene. And as the quality of Michael Kors handbags is often satisfactory and the price reasonable, I get to dabble in a trend/color without incurring a huge cost. Furthermore, if I ever decide to “upgrade,” many MK styles also have a decent resale value so I am not saddled with too many similar-looking bags.

Designer chimeras aside, Michael Kors also introduces handbags every season that are fairly utilitarian and functional. One of my favorite new designs is the the Mercer Tote, which has been positively reviewed and is available in two sizes: medium and large.

Michael Kors Studio Mercer Large Convertible Tote in Brick

QUALITY/CONSTRUCTION The material used, a pebbled full-grain leather, is sturdy but not rigid. The piping along the edges lends the bag structure, the even stitching throughout indicates rigorous QC, and the plated hardware is polished. Also important: the zippers work smoothly.

DETAIL The Mercer is fairly minimalist: Apart from the (removable) hanging lock charm, the shield-shaped handle bracers, and the unassuming Michael Kors logo, all the other details are useful. The top handles (~6″ drop) allow the bag to be carried by hand or in the crook of your arm, while the adjustabe long strap lets you wear the bag on the shoulder or as a crossbody. And having protective metal feet is always a plus.

PRICE The large Mercer Tote (pictured here) retails for $298 and the medium Mercer costs $228. You probably won’t find a better value in a similar style from a brand comparable to Michael Kors. And, as the style is relatively new and in demand, it has been excluded from most promotions (including MK’s store-wide sales).

CAPACITY The “Large” Mercer Tote measures 12-1/2″W x 10″H x 5-1/2″D; it’s a manageable size for even small women. Though, at a little over two pounds empty, this bag can become moderately heavy if you fill it to capacity (it’ll easily accommodate a wallet, sunglasses, a planner, keys, a small cosmetics bag, a snack, an iPad, headphones, and a phone). There are two major compartment in this open top style, divided by a smaller zippered compartment (which has a zippered pocket and a slip pocket on either wall).

Mercer Medium Leather Crossbody || Mercer Large Leather Tote

Buy the MICHAEL Michael Kors Studio Mercer Large Convertible Tote at Nordstrom, Michael Kors, Macy’s, Zappos, Bloomingdale’s, eBags, Shopbop, Net-a-Porter, Selfridges, and Dillard’s.

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