Ask The Bagaholicboy #101 – A Small/Sturdy/Stylish Tote For A Guy And Other Bits

Q: Dear Bagaholicboy, I’ve been given SGD500 to spend and I’m considering getting a tote that’s sturdy and stylish. I also have a small frame so the bag can’t be too big as well. I hold your taste in the highest esteem and hope that you’re able to make me a few suggestions that won’t break my bank (nothing more than SGD700). Thanks so much and I look forward to your response.

A: Dear Ben, there’s nothing better than receiving cash for as birthday gift which basically means you can get anything you want. Let’s be honest, your budget ain’t really much, so let’s just stay well away from the really expensive brands. For starters, have you checked out Jack Spade? I know I sound like a broken record, but there is nothing more affordable and well-made than a Jack Spade bag, it is indeed the perfect entry-level brand.

Another brand that you can check out is Porter (located within Wisma Atria) which hails from Japan. They have a wide variety of bags (totes mostly) that are suitable for work or play and most importantly, within your budget. Try the Coach boutique as well at DFS Scottswalk Galleria, which has a small selection.

Honestly, if I were you however, I will take my time and wait for the upcoming Great Singapore Sale. Who knows what will be up for grabs at greatly discounted prices, and it’s a great way of stretching your budget. Meanwhile, get yourself the Filson Rugged Twill Tote Bag (shown above). Measuring 35 cm by 35 cm, I like how the handles are long enough to be shoulder carried. And at just SGD150 or so before shipping, it’s actually quite a good buy too.

And Damone, if you are reading this, this post applies to you too.
Love, Bagaholicboy

And other bits:
1. Susan, never go for the bigger size just because the larger one costs just a little more. It’s a common mistake and one that’s often regretted. If you think the Neverfull MM suits you just fine then stick to it.

2. Patrick, as far as I know, the colours available for the Agnès b. Voyage Nylon Duffle now include Black, Red and Olive. There was one in Purple but I am not sure if it is still available.

3. Jeron, rule of thumb, if one is in leather, and the other is in canvas/denim, but the prices are almost the same, I say leather anytime. Makes more sense don’t you think?

4. Melissa & Marilyn, most 2nd hand shops I know in Singapore take the bags on consignment, which also means you get cash only after the bag sells to another party. The only shop I’m aware of that pays you cash upfront is Interesthing Shop.

5. Carey, try the largest Fendi Peekaboo Satchel (40 cm across) first at the boutique and make sure it is proportionate before you commit. Otherwise it’s fine, even if you are guy.

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  • cari says:

    hi bagaholic, im a passerby who stumbled onto your blog… great varieties of nice bags which you had introduced.

    i would like to ask you a question, do you know if there are any other places which sells porter bags in singapore? or have the wisma outlet one relocated to else where? this is because the porter shop at wisma no longer seemed to be there.

    i would like to get a porter bag as a gift, so i have been searching high and low on the places where i could get it. hope you could help me. thanks!

  • theknees says:

    hmmm. it seems like most of my friends choose the miu miu too! why!
    but the one i want is the small one and in the cream colour.

  • From The Bagaholicboy That Hails From Singapore says:

    Things I learn everyday! Thanks for your input guys!

  • Tobi says:

    Designs from Porter International (as in Taiwan’s licensed items) may be similar to Porter Japan (aka Yoshida Kaban) as in the former tends to carry more popular/saleable series like 1980’s Tanker and HEAT, and they do design their own series as well. Note that in Japan, almost 5 new series are introduced every quarterly.

    Porter International’s prices are considerably lower by an average of 30% BUT materials used are definitely inferior. Other than the main distinctive difference of cloth logo tag used on the bags, Porter Japan is known for using only YKK zips but the International items uses China-made zips. The other materials used are also affected. By 30% cheaper, International certainly still make more profit.

    Just last year, the Japanese finally ‘made peace’ after years of ‘fake Taiwan Porter’ debate and allow licensing of their designs… sad to say, this does not change the fact of inferior materials used.

    Just to share the info here.

    Avid Porter fan,

  • dejiki says:

    There's actually a few PORTER brands and most confusingly, they share similar designs.

    The PORTER at Wisma is PORTER INTERNATIONAL, based in Taiwan. They have the license to use the name (and designs apparently) and manufacture the bags themselves. Most of their items carry the PORTER INTERNATIONAL label (which actually has a silhouette of a porter in the background).
    Their web:

    PORTER purists prefer the "real" PORTER TOKYO or HEADPORTER that's Made-in-Japan, with the "YOSHIDA & COMPANY" label on their products. Quality is supposedly better.
    Their web:

    The Wisma store brings in items from Japan sometimes which is totally random and confusing.

    That's what I know from my research.. decided to get something else other than Porter in the end. haha..

  • From The Bagaholicboy That Hails From Singapore says:

    So they ain’t 100% authentic? Care to elaborate?

  • dejiki says:

    From what I heard, the PORTER at Wisma is a licensee from Taiwan and isn’t really related to the Japanese one at all, in terms of design and product quality.

  • From The Bagaholicboy That Hails From Singapore says:

    Of the 3, I say Miu Miu…

  • +avec amour:: says:

    hey bagaholicboy,
    just a quick question, if you have to choose between the Miu Miu Gathered Leather Bag, Louis Vuitton Trevi PM or the Tods Pashmy Messenger Bag, which would you choose?

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