splurge vs steal: celine luggage tote

Once when I was but a wee fashion blogger, I bought a knockoff. A fake of Marc Jacobs’ once huge hit, the Stam bag. I was so excited, and was sure no one would know. And I was right – it was a great fake. The only problem was that I knew. And I never really got over it. I carried that bag exactly twice, and it rotted in my closet ever after. I was even too ashamed to take it to Goodwill, so it went in the garbage when we finally parted ways.

All this to say that, as a rule, I’m not a big fan of fakes. I’d much prefer to save up and just buy the real thing already, because there’s something about it that an Asian sweatshop just can’t replicate.

That said, I’ve been craving a Celine Luggage tote since I first spied them a few years ago. That ladylike styling, the functional shape, even the handle placement…this beautiful girl gets me every time. But in this case, it’s never really been about the “Celine”-ness of it…it’s really about loving the bag’s shape and style.

So, imagine my ethical conundrum when I opened J.Crew’s spring catalog to see this:

Not exact – nothing can really compete with that stunning Celine – but I think we can safely call it “startlingly similar”, no? All but the price. The Celine (if you’re lucky enough to find one, as they’re almost always sold out) clocks in anywhere from $1500 for a mini to $2900 for the large size; the Tillary from J.Crew a much milder $328.

Since I was never wedded to the brand-ness of it…and in fact, would even have been less likely to buy because it’s so highly branded (much as I love it, the Celine just doesn’t fit my daily lifestyle, so the splurge would be wasted on me), I was feeling okay about downgrading here. Now that I see them side by side, though…maybe it’s not quite as cut and dry as I’d hoped.

So, what would you do…splurge or steal? And, perhaps more importantly, camel or blue?

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5 comments on “splurge vs steal: celine luggage tote

  1. DL

    well hello ms enabler 😉 you already know that i went for the “steal” and got the blue (FYI to your SMC readers, the blue won’t be shipped until late May, but i think the camel can be readily shipped) and i totally hear you about knock-offs! i don’t care how “good” it is, *i* would know that it’s fake and i don’t like that. if i can’t afford it, i’ll get over it 🙂 maybe it’s rationalization, but i don’t classify something like this as “knock-off,” (something i picture buying out of a car trunk in an NYC back alley) but perhaps an “inspired by” product much like how so many shoes in Ivanka Trump’s line seems to be reminiscent of high-end designer pumps.

  2. shoppingsmycardio Post author

    I’m totally with you, DL – I don’t think of this one as a “knock off” at all. Just something that gives you a similar look at a vastly preferable price point. My struggle is always whether “almost” is close enough for me 🙂 I had the same problem with those Ivanka Trump shoes, in fact – so you’re right on track. Sometimes, though, the “inspired” version can even be an improvement on the original!

  3. Roxy

    So funny…I have been having this exact same conundrum! I mean, there is no way I am buying the Celine (I have a 6 month old so it’s impractical…also, I feel it’s a bit late to get on the ‘it bag’ bandwagon now) but then I saw this J Crew version. Love it, but I have the same misgivings you do (*cough* Gucci knockoff in back of closet *cough*). The navy is so beautiful for Spring, though…I think I may take the plunge, but my only concern is that every other girl will be carrying it too.

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