My Not-so-Lazy Longchamp Sunday.

Posted in london calling by bluewellesleyblue on October 26, 2008

I’ve mentioned my fondness for the Longchamp Le Pliage large totes before. Yes, they are so common on my home campus and amongst the young women of the greater Boston area as to be a cliche. Yes, the only reason why they aren’t as common in central London seems to be because they’re considered to be nothing better than a glorified and pricey grocery bag. Seriously, I was waiting in line at a Waitrose supermarket – an upper end supermarket chain here – only to see the well-dressed lady in front of me pull one out from her purse for her groceries. Still, two years after first meeting the Longchamp Le Pliage tote on many of my college classmates’ arms, I still haven’t been able to shake my vague desire for one. It’s just so elegant in it’s simplicity. If only it weren’t an $150.00 nylon bag. But today, I took the plunge and picked one up – legitimately – for 58 GBP. With the current exchange rate, that’s roughly $92.

I’ve had many handbag crushes, infatuations, even loves since then. Pretty much all of them were even less attainable, dreams all much sweeter, more handsome, and far less likely. Still, all of them would pass like so many of my crushes on this or that celebrity (or acapella group singer on tour from hours away, the two are not equivalent things, but about as likely). Still, like that middle school sweetheart, that old friend from a long way back that you fight with and then push away, but think about occasionally with little pangs of regret years later, that strangely appealing nylon tote was still on my mind.

I haven’t dared to step foot in any stores outside of Uniqlo, H&M, and that sort of place, given the usual premium British clothes pricing includes. Still, following an arduous trek into the sparkling, maze-like interior of the Knightsbridge Harvey Nichols’s cosmetics and perfume section to get my Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion and feeling thoroughly snootied out by the glitz of the store’s design alone – coming from the suburbs as I do, upper-end city department stores always freak me out – I thought of maybe treating myself to a belated birthday indulgence. Since I left teenager-hood behind a mere two weeks before, why not buy myself something I still considered a reasonably sophisticated if conventional workplace bag?

I went into the Knightsbridge branch of a store – London Luggage Co – that also has a location near my housing around King’s Cross, which I knew to carry the Longchamp Le Pliage line. Knowing that most things are marked up in London, I was expecting to be able to window shop only. Imagine my surprise at seeing the price tag: 58 GBP. Even with the exchange rate at its worse, that’s roughly 120 dollars and still a fair bit less than the American price. This was Friday, and I went home and slept on it and didn’t go shopping on Saturday while I thought about it.

This morning, after being woken up early by the fire alarm, I set out for the Oxford Street area to check out the prices at the Longchamp boutique on New Bond Street. It was a bit of a journey because my sense of direction is less than stellar. On the way, I accidentally encountered the “Zombie Crawl” event making its way down Oxford street. I wish I had a camera! It was a moment of excitement for sure. It was then that I found out that most of the chic boutiques aren’t actually open on Sunday afternoons. I also went to the Selfridges – another extraordinarily shiny department store – only to find that they didn’t carry the size I was looking for. Eventually, I made my way back to Knightsbridge and obtained my prize: the Le Pliage large in Graphite gray.

It might not be the best way I will ever use roughly 90 dollars. Even this sort of splurge makes me feel a little strange, though I know its the best price I will ever likely get on this specific product in one of the more neutral colors. It’s also just so… common, which is something a lot of fashion-lovers prefer to avoid when possible? It’s vaguely like Northface fleeces and Uggs: perhaps the only reason anyone wants one is because so many people have them already? Yes they have virtues: warmth in the case of those things, roomy-ness in the case of this taote. Still, I’ve been wanting one and I’m happy with it knowing it is a splurge and the only one I will be indulging in for the rest of the calendar year. Maybe that’s all that’s important.


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  1. fashion tote bags | Bookmarks URL said, on October 27, 2008 at 1:43 am

    […] My Not-so-Lazy Longchamp Sunday. Still, two years after first meeting the Longchamp Le Pliage tote on many of my college classmates’ arms, I still haven’t been able to shake my vague desire for one. It’s just so elegant in it’s simplicity. If only it weren’t an $150.00 … […]

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