I think I'm becoming known as a Cuyana expert both on Instagram and YouTube...and I'm not mad at it.
I've done a handful of blog posts about Cuyana pieces as well as some videos - and ya'll DIG it. I actually got some DMs specifically requesting I review Cuyana's newest tote, so I ran out to my local store to pick one up and test out.
Let's do this.
I always like to start off any review by breaking down the specs of the bag. You can find all the measurements in the graphic here, but can also reference all the model shots in this post as well - I'm 4'11" tall and approx 136 pounds. Petite, but with some curves!
The most helpful comparison here is comparing the Small Tote to the Classic Structured Tote. In comparison to Cuyana's Classic Structured Leather Tote, this Small version is approx 3" shorter, 4.5" less in length, and 0.75" less in depth. I think Cuyana did a great job scaling their Classic tote down, to be honest - you as a customer are getting the reduction in height and length, but still get almost the same amount of depth (plenty of room to fit your stuff!). The handle drops are also almost nearly the same between the two sizes, meaning there's plenty of room for the bag to sit comfortably on your shoulder.
The obvious pro to the Small Structured Leather Tote is the portability and the size. I often find myself using large, giant totes OR mini bags - so I really do love that I get the benefit of the small size with portability and less weight, but still have the space inside to take the things I need to take.
Cuyana gets brownie points in this category for every single piece they design - their pieces are endlessly versatile. The Small Structured Leather Tote is appropriate for both casual daytime and after work drinks. The shape and colors are classic and timeless. Cuyana's tagline is "fewer, better" and boy do they live into it.
The other obvious pro of the Small Structured Leather Tote is the reduced price from the Classic Structured Tote - a -$40 difference to be exact. This "savings" isn't huge, so if you need the extra space I would seriously just go for the Classic. However, if you think you can live with a little less wiggle room, I'm thankful Cuyana reduced the price appropriately.
I was actually really excited when I saw Cuyana offered a crossbody strap for the Small Structured Leather Tote...but now I'm just sort of confused. I love the idea of being able to wear this bag across my body or even a little lower on my shoulder...but now what the heck is happening with the original shoulder straps? They just sort of flop and sit weird and honestly it bothers me. This bag was not sent to me in PR - my sales associate swore to me the original shoulder straps will soften and look/feel less weird hanging there when worn crossbody.
I remain unconvinced.
Which brings me to my next con - the fact that you have to pay extra for that crossbody strap. $55 extra! WTF. Most bags just COME with that strap.
The strap isn't the only other extra $$$ add on - if you want a beautiful organizational insert you have to buy the one made specifically for this bag. The strap I was a little peeved about, but the specific insert actually made me downright mad because I already own a tote insert from Cuyana for my original tote.
WHYYYY could we not just have ONE insert for BOTH bags - even if it means the sizing is a hair off?
Between the strap ($55) and the specific small tote insert ($86), you're looking at an excess of +$141 for all these accessories. Which sucks.
I did splurge for the strap because I wanted that crossbody option, but passed on the insert (for now) primarily because I was enraged I'd have to buy another one.
If you've stumbled across this post, you're probably here with two questions:
I own both of these bags (and purchased them both myself) - and I honestly think there is room for both in my wardrobe. I like to pick up the Classic Tote when I'm headed to work and need all my gear (laptop, coffee tumbler, lunch, etc). I gravitate towards the Small Tote on lighter work days (no laptop, lunch is being provided) or on weekends.
Do you need the extra room? Do you have loads of stuff to carry? Are you comfortable having a more medium/small sized bag vs a giant one? All super valid questions to ask yourself before making the plunge.
The Small Structured Leather Tote from Cuyana itself YES I think is worth the cost. We're looking at an all leather, classic style tote bag that is well made and will stand the test of time.
That being said, the accessories are annoyingly overpriced and I'm frustrated Cuyana didn't at the bare minimum either include the crossbody strap OR make the insert compatible with both totes. I feel like on the insert front, they really went against their motto of "fewer, better."
At the end of the day - I dig the tote. I love the style, love the size, and even though I'm a little salty about the insert...I'll probably still buy it.
Questions? Comments? Hit me up in the comments below.
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