My Rebecca Minkoff Python Tote Experience

My honest opinion of the fashion purse

After a Rebecca Minkoff leather Python tote found itself under my girlfriend's Christmas tree over the holidays, I felt inclined to offer a real, honest review for those who are on the fence on either buying one for themselves, or maybe as a gift for a special someone - as was my case.

Don't run off just yet - I know what you're thinking: What the heck does THIS GUY know about fashion purses? I'd be asking the same thing, especially when it comes to dropping some pretty significant dollars. I'll be honest, I'm not a fashionista, but I am dating one. A very, very picky one at that. She takes fashion accessories - like purses - to a whole new extreme. When she likes something, there's usually a darned good reason; and if she doesn't like something, she's not afraid to tell me, either.

 So while you're reading it from me, what you're really getting is a review from her, with my little thoughts thrown in for flavor.

Rebecca Minkoff Red Python Travel ToteCredit: Amazon.comThe Good

Rebecca Minkoff, as a brand, has built a pretty solid reputation as an mid-level designer. You're sure to turn a few heads, especially around department store shoppers who inevitably settle for less prestigious labels; but in all fairness you probably won't make a name for yourself at a Yacht Club, either. There are plenty of higher end (and more expensive) totes than this one, but there are also many, many more below it, too.

(This purple version above costs under $150 at Amazon - about $50 cheaper than other retailers.)

While my girlfriend was quick to say that in fashion, sometimes the label is more important than anything else, she said the fine folks at team Minkoff came through with a well-built, good-sized purse that has some really substantial utilitarian function. For instance, it's built tough enough to handle some pretty extreme usage. The nylon and leather are very sturdy, and she was quick to point out that the handle buckles are "solid." (Apparently that's traditionally a weak spot in all purses, even fashion totes). And the size is substantial enough to carry just about anything short of a laptop computer - her iPad fit fine, but I'm not going to lie, it did monopolize a lot of the space; not sure how much extra "stuff" she can squeeze in with a tablet in there, but she's already crammed enough makeup, sunglasses and, ahem, girl stuff, to make me believe that if there's a will, this tote can handle it.

The Bad

Unless you're a one-purse kind of gal, you probably won't find yourself reaching for this one as your "everyday" purse simply because it definitely rides the "chic" or "trendy" line pretty darned hard. It's hard to tell in the photos I've included, but the trim colors are pretty vibrant, which works well for some looks, but not others. Because the tones really "pop," this probably shouldn't be your first choice if you want something more classic, or subtle.

And not to beat a dead horse, but since I mentioned it in the "Good" section above, I should do the same here: Rebecca Minkoff is a very well-noted designer in the mid-level, borderline boutique scene, but these aren't the absolute "best of the best" either (anyone who's seen some of the top-of-the-line Gucci handbags that cost thousands of dollars can attest to that).

 The Stats

(You probably already know - but just in case)

Size: It's about 15.5 inches tall and wide (slightly less wide than it is tall).

Materials: Leather and Nylon, with a synthetic lining.

Strap Length: About 8.5 inches from buckle to buckle.

Colors: Black, with trim color options in Purple, Teal, Red and a few others; all with a "snake skin" appearance (what I'm assuming lead to the "Python" name).

Is A Rebecca Minkoff Python Tote Worth The Money?

Red Rebecca Minkoff Python Travel ToteCredit: Amazon.comMy girlfriend says "yes." But then again it wasn't her money, it was mine. But she assures me that what you get for the price (including the all-important label awareness) is well worth spending a little extra money.

In fact, she says it's actually at the perfect price point, because it's chic and fancy enough to impress other people, but not so expensive that you're afraid to take it out on the town - which is what's happened to several other of her even more expensive purses.

Where To Buy A Rebecca Minkoff Python Tote

Not at department stores, that's for sure. At least the ones around here, anyway. Like I said, the Minkoff label is in that "mid level" range that exceeds most the stuff you'd find at national clothing chain. Macy's and The Bon aren't afraid to sell purses at this price point, but the products certainly aren't on the same "level" so-to-speak.

A couple of trendy boutique shops in my city carry Rebecca Minkoff accessories, which is where my girlfriend first spotted one. The nice thing about retail shops like this is that the service is usually excellent (sales people in these stores work on commission, so they'll bend over backwards for you). But the prices are so darned expensive. Sure, you're not just paying for the purse but for the sales person's salary, and the overhead costs of the business, so if you're all about helping the little guy, then by all means.... but for my money...

The real savings come from ordering online. There are plenty of online retailers that stock Rebecca Minkoff totes with lower price tags than you're likely to find at your local shops. Just be aware of the fakes and counterfeits that are commonplace in the fashion industry. If a something seems too good to be true, it usually is.

That's why I buy on Amazon - not only do they have the lowest prices, but you can be sure you're buying the real thing, and not getting ripped off with a cheap knock-off. And now that they've revamped their fashion store (formerly known as, you can find just about any purse on the face of the planet - trust me, my girlfriend has already bookmarked her birthday "wish list," guess she needs some new shoes to go along with the shiny new Rebecca Minkoff python travel tote I just bought her.