Looking for a work/travel tote can be tough. This isn’t because there are a lack of options but more so finding the combination of options you like. For me I’ve always wanted a large tote with a zip top so when it’s under a seat in an airplane or traveling in a car stuff just doesn’t fall out. So in my long search for the work/travel tote I found by chance one day the 3.1 Phillip Lim Large Pashli Satchel at Saks off 5th (read about buying experience here). And after a few months of use and some trips I can say…the search continues.
The way I see it the bag has two main things going for it. The first is the material. The bag is a heavy leather that seems to have a coating on it that really toughens it up. The Pashli has seen some pretty dirty floors and rough commutes but maintains it’s new look – I think this is really thanks to the materials. Second, the bag is really well thought out. The zippers for the sides expand, allowing the bag to hold a ton, including a 13″ laptop, a small purse, and notebooks! Also you can see from the pictures below that stitching on the bag and the lining on the bag (thank you Phillip for actually lining your bags) are top notch. Long positives short – you buy this bag it’s going to last.
Oh where to start? I want to love this bag so much but feel I may sell it. Part of the reason for this that I find it to extremely heavy empty and full. I’m sure this has to do with the excellent leather but OMG I feel like I’m carrying rocks! Last time I used this I packed fairly light and the next day found a big bruise on shoulder from the bag. Even my husband a fairly strong guy commented on the weight when I asked him to hold it for me. This weight problem is a big issue for me especially traveling.
The cross body strap, while well made for the bag is really to thin/weak to take on the weight of the bag full. On a recent business trip while walking to the plane the bag fell off my shoulder because the hook just unhooked itself from the bag. I was really lucky not many people were around/I recovered quickly.
Finally, I also think the closer needs improvement. I have the same push-lock deal on my Louis Vuitton but not nearly as much trouble closing it. I think the hardware is to dinky for the size of the bag. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve thought my bag was closed to look down and have it hang open. Because of the crappy strap, most of the time I’m hand carrying it out of paranoia and so the flap is down but open. However, imagine your walking using the strap it falls off and you think the bag is closed and it isn’t, then bursts open – you catch my drift on this issue I’m sure.
Don’t waste the money on the “large” Pashli. That said, I think for a lower-end aka under $1,000 luxury brand Phillip Lim makes some damn fine handbags. The look and quality of the bag is amazing so I would encourage you to invest in smaller versions of the Pashli or consider another Phillip Lim bag. You won’t be disappointed with the quality but may have one really big muscly arm as result of hauling all your stuff in this already heavy bag!
Where to Buy – Phillip Lim