Splurge versus Steal

Ann Taylor Gallery Tote vs. Louis Vuitton Lumineuse PM Monogram Empreinte

Ann Taylor Gallery Tote ($98), latest version here


Louis Vuitton Lumineuse PM Monogram Empreinte (current 2013 price: $2800)

Ann Taylor Gallery Tote in black

Ann Taylor Gallery tote in black ($98)

You can see the bag on me here

(Pillow covers from Etsy)

I first saw this bag on Kate during the Birch Box and Ann Taylor event about a month ago and I really liked the simple lines. I liked the bag even more when I saw it in stores and tried it on but I really wasn’t supposed to get another bag (explanation to follow) so I waited for it to go on sale. My patience paid off because I ended up getting the bag for $51.77 + tax during Ann Taylor‘s recent promotion for $50 off full-priced purchases of $100 or more. The bag was shy of $100 so I threw in a pair of socks (a tip I remembered from a resourceful sales associate) for $8. To get free shipping I also threw in a couple of dresses on sale. Needless to say, the dresses didn’t work out but I was able to get the bag for a great price.

Ann Taylor is currently having a promotion for 40% off two or more items (no code needed). Here are the measurements for those interested in snagging this functional bag at a great price:

16″ width (I prefer to wear it with the gussets zipped)
11″ height
13″ length (base)
5.5″ width (base)
9″ drop handles

The bag is very lightweight which is a plus but it only comes with one small zipped pocket and the base does not have a shaper.

Louis Vuitton Lumineuse PM in Infini

Louis Vuitton Lumineuse PM Monogram Empreinte in Infini ($2800)

My fiancé gifted me the Lumineuse PM on my 30th birthday this year. The Lumi filled my black bag void (the Infini color is a very dark navy) and it had been on the top of my wishlist for two years but the caveat was that I wasn’t allowed to buy another luxury bag for a very long time. I enjoy looking at bags as much as the next girl but I said that I would try my best to abide by his wishes. Unfortunately, what surprised me most about this bag was the weight. I’ve tried it on countless times prior to purchasing it but once it was mine I quickly realized how heavy it becomes when you put everything in it. If you’re interested in getting this bag please note that it weighs 3 pounds with nothing in it. I usually wear it without the cross body strap and I removed the little brass lock since every little bit helps to lighten the weight and prevent shoulder pain and discomfort.

Comparison of Louboutin Simple 85 and J.Crew Sloane patent pump size by side. Both size 7.5z As you can see the CL's run smaller by half a size which is why I'm trying to sell them. :)

Christian Louboutin Simple 85 ($625) in nude

J.Crew Sloane Patent pumps ($238) in soft desert – currently on sale for 25% off (similar here)

I’ve owned a pair of Simple 100s in black for a few years and they’ve held up surprisingly well so last summer I made the plunge and purchased the Simple 85s. I’m usually a size 7 but I had to go up half a size for the Simple 100s for comfort. Naturally I assumed I could do the same with the Simple 85s but they run a full size smaller on me. Other online reviews differ so please note that this is just my own experience and every foot is different.

I’ve been trying to sell my Simple 85s because they are too snug so once again I had a nude pump void to fill. I was very excited when StylishPetite told me about the nude patent Sloane. Sloane is a new style this year and it reminds me of the Prada almond toe nude pumps that I pinned last year. To my delight, Sloane is the first pair of J.Crew pumps that seem to agree with my feet/arch. Up until a few years ago I lived in heels and but I ended up with Achilles tendinitis which was a very painful recovery. Thank goodness for flats. Anyway I’m digressing- there was a 25% off sale so I ordered both the cap toe and nude pairs in size 7 (following Amber’s review) but I personally had to go up half a size in the patent version. The cap toe version ran true to size.

3.1 Phillip Lim for Target vs. Similar full price top found at Neiman Marcus

3.1 Phillip Lim for Target Ruffle Tank ($26.99)


Full price asymmetrical top ($495 at CUSP by Neiman Marcus)

I remember hearing about the 3.1 Phillip Lim and Target collaboration from Jenny a while back but I forgot about it until last weekend when my Instagram feed was flooded with pictures of early morning hauls. I went into Target to run some errands last Saturday afternoon and there were no more bags but I did find this cream colored ruffle tank in size XS. The arm holes are a tad big so I still need to try it on again with a cardigan or blazer to see if it works. Note that the navy color is still available online in all sizes. I was curious about the price of the designer pieces and I wasn’t shocked that to find a similar top (pictured above) for 18 times the price.

Thanks for stopping by!



  1. Jess L
    September 25, 2013 / 3:00 pm

    The AT tote is amazing! I've been using it since I received it Friday and I haven't had any issues. I did see at least one product review about the handles falling apart so that made me worried but the handles seem sturdy/thick enough to me. It's also gotten a few compliments and one of my colleagues and a friend are both getting the bag in black too so I guess we'll all be carrying the same bag. 🙂 I wasn't looking for yet another bag but the little yellow one you got is so pretty. I'm supposed to keep an eye out for that bag for another friend in black. I think it's safe to say that Target collaborations' apparel will never be petite friendly so we shouldn't even bother. I'm still stuck with a Prabal Gurung dress too.

  2. JessCai
    September 26, 2013 / 3:57 am

    Great comparison of the splurge versus steals! At this point I'm still focusing on the steals, because I prefer variety over using one piece everyday (to make up for the price). Thanks for sharing these great pieces with us, Jess :)www.stylizedluxe.blogspot.com

  3. Hanna
    September 26, 2013 / 6:50 pm

    Great post! Very informative 🙂 Love the Louboutins!www.speakstyleandrock.com

  4. Stephanie
    September 28, 2013 / 5:36 pm

    I love how informative and thorough your reviews are! The Lumineuse doesn't look that heavy, but bags can definitely be deceiving. I'm stuck with a nice bag that's too heavy to use very often, haha. xx.Stephanie | fashion and tea

  5. Kelly
    October 2, 2013 / 11:12 pm

    LOVE the Ann Taylor bag! What a steal! It looks like SO much more!xoxoKellykellyinthecity.com

  6. Stylish Petite
    October 9, 2013 / 3:45 am

    Great post Jess! I really like your Lumi bag and what a great b-day gift that was. Too bad the Phillip Lim ruffle top didn't work out but you have many other cute tops:) Love the sloan pumps…wish they came in more colors!

  7. Jenny @ stuff-i-love.com
    November 7, 2013 / 4:04 am

    I'm really impressed by the Ann Taylor Gallery tote. I didn't even know Ann Taylor made bags, and when I saw it on your instagram I thought it was Tory Burch at first. It looks a lot more expensive than it is. Your J. Crew pumps look amazing as well. Great purchases! It's soooo sweet of your fiance to give you that LV bag. The Gallery tote can be your workhorse bag and the LV can be your special occasion black bag 🙂

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