Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sylvia Steininger Totes

The New York tote by Sylvia Steininger. I love it!

I first came to know about Sylvia Steininger Totes through my friend Adrienne of The Rich Life (on a budget). I had seen the Paris tote she has, which I admired for its unique fabric pattern and colors. When Sylvia offered to send me her New York tote to review my first reaction was, “Yes, please!”

I don’t know about you, but I am pretty picky about my bags. They have to be big, but not too big, they have to have pockets, but not too many, they have to be able to be secured when I am riding the train back and forth into Manhattan, and if they can be something other than the same totes I see all over the city, even better.

So Sylvia’s New York tote could not be more perfect for me, from the name to the bag itself.

I love the colors and the pattern of this fabric.

The bag, handcrafted in California (finally, a bag made in the USA!), is 18.5 inches long and 13 inches high. The depth is approximately 5.5 inches and the drop on the sturdy double straps is just over 10 inches. The tote easily and comfortably fits over my black down coat, the biggest coat I own.

The pattern on the New York fabric is so unusual and gorgeous, with its dark purple base (which looks black from far away) on which are swirls and waves in different shades of pink, gray and white. Sylvia designed the textiles of her totes using her own photography and the pattern on the New York tote, which originated from her photograph of a mural, is wild and mysterious.

It zips all the way across the top, keeping your belongings secure!

The tote zips across the top and the interior is lavender, which compliments the outside colors so well. There are two small patch pockets on one side and one large patch pocket on the other side, big enough to hold an iPad. I don’t own an iPad, but I do own lots of books and magazines and the pocket can hold a hardcover with room to spare!

Two small patch pockets on one side are perfect for a phone, wallet, keys, pens and sunglasses.

There is also a large patch pocket on the other side, plenty of room left over even with a book inside it!

Detail from the bag’s bottom. This two-sided construction means no sagging when the tote is full.

My cat Tippi decided to jump into the tote when I was taking pictures of it, making herself comfortable immediately and taking a bath. Tippi is about a year and a half old and I think she weighs somewhere between 8 and 10 pounds. After she jumped in I lifted the tote to see how it would hold up with her inside. Here’s my assessment: you would not be able to tell from any outside angle that there was up to 10 pounds of cat nestled in that tote (doing her DIY kitty manicure, of course), it is that sturdy, from the handles to the bottom. There was no sagging! I have to say, I was even more impressed with the bag. Do you know how hard it is to find a tote that doesn’t sag once it’s full? I believe the split seam at the bottom, as shown in the picture above, is what gives the tote its fabulous strength.

This tote has been approved by Tippi, who literally jumped right in and got comfortable.

Sylvia offers eight different totes, all named after some of the most glamorous cities in the world—New York, Paris, Capri, Vienna are just a few—and all using Sylvia’s photography as a starting-off point for the beautiful textile design. You will have a hard time picking just one to love!

Tippi would love them all.

Check out the entire collection at

Disclosure: Sylvia Steininger sent me the New York tote for review. All opinions expressed here are my own.


hostess of the humble bungalow said...

Sylvia is onto a good thing with her line of totes. I like the Milan as it looks like black and white which make up a good portion of my wardrobe....if I was looking for a summer tote I would opt for Capri.
It always surprises me that our cats like to jump into things like grocery bags and boxes. Your cat looks at home in your tote!

Kathy said...

I have the Capri tote and I love it - I use it for a knitting bag right now, but will transition it towards summer into a more going out of the house bag. A great line of totes!

Jennifer Connolly said...

I like the Milan tote. What an interesting way she has of designing her fabric! I love that's it's made in the US too.

Adrienne Shubin said...

Wonderful write up, Jill. You mentioned everything I love about Sylvia's bags and more!
I managed to fit a ton of stuff in my tote on an overnighter including a bottle of wine and a big book. It's very sturdy as well as beautiful and unique.
xo, A

BODECI body said...

The New York is my Sylvia S bag and I love it to absolute death! I have traveled all over with it and I never lose anything inside it's roomy interior. Another feature is that I know I am carrying a truly unique bag: made in California and designed by Sylvia.

Anonymous said...

My requirements for a handbag are a) a zipped top, and b) pockets for the tech gadgets. And if a kitty should happen to be a bonus gift with the bag, all the better!

Bags are such an important component to a woman's wardrobe as they serve a critical function but also attest to the personality and preferences of the woman carrying it. I'm reviewing my handbag outlook for the next few years and making adjustments to my current ones. The consignment store will be receiving a visit from me soon.