Review: Burberry Lavenby Reversible Check Tote

After two unrelated, but equally unfortunate, incidents (involving condiments and a leaky pen) marred my Tory Burch Saffiano Tote (reviewed here), I was eager to find a replacement for it. I suppose I didn’t realize how useful I found large beige-y totes until I didn’t have one. Burberry’s “Lavenby” Reversible Tote (now on sale at Saks Off Fifth in three colorways) caught my eye early on, but I was initially apprehensive about upgrading (as there are many fine bags which serve similar functions that cost much much less).

This bag’s most distinguishing characteristic is undoubtedly the reversible feature: it’ll be attractive to those who like variety, but also enjoy “living with less.” Apart from the reversible aspect, and the removable logo tag, this bag has no other trimmings.

The “Lavenby” is constructed out of grained leather (80% calfskin, and 20% polyurethane) that is somewhat rigid, which gives the bag structure, but makes the “reversal” process difficult. Empty, the bag weighs about a pound.

Burberry Medium Lavenby Reversible Check Tote in “Camel”

The “medium” Lavenby Reversible Tote featured here measures 15″ wide, 10″ tall, and 5″ deep; the bag is spacious, and will hold smaller laptops comfortably.

The bag has no hardware or pockets, to enable the reversible feature. And the open top design allows ready access to the bag’s contents, but the lack of zippered compartments or a top closure make this an imperfect bag for travel.

The top handles have an 8″ drop, which allow the bag to be worn on the shoulder. One indistinct feature I appreciate is the reinforced flat base, which allows the bag to sit without tipping over and also attenuates bag sag.

The medium Lavenby tote retails for $995, which is reasonable for a designer bag, but not a real bargain considering its simplicity (and the fact that it’s partly polyurethane). It’s currently available in six colors on the Burberry website, and also through Nordstrom, Saks Off Fith, Neiman Marcus (black here), and Bloomingdale’s (red).

The “Lavenby” reversible tote is also available in a smaller size ($895; sold at Burberry, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Bloomingdale’s), which measures 10″ tall, 12″ wide, and 4″ deep.

And if you are not a fan of the Burberry check print, Gucci offers a version with its monogram leather (the Reversible GG Leather Tote; also sold here), and Valentino sells a reversible version of its rockstud tote.

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