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Singing the Praises of Cuyana Travel Bags

This weekend, I was washing my hands in the Delta Sky Club at DCA when I saw a woman whose outfit restored my faith in humanity.  She looked great in a grey dress and white blazer.  But the star of the show was her Cuyana bag.

Cuyana is a new(er) brand whose slogan is “Fewer, Better.”  They want women to buy fewer pieces of better quality, so that they can “invest” in well-made, classic pieces.  The lady in the Club and I both agreed that the pieces are great for two reasons: 1) they’re the perfect functional basics, and 2) they’re not heavily branded or logo-ed.

I own this Leather Travel Bag ($375).  When I bought it, I thought it was so beautiful and chic.  But I kept wondering, “Was this worth the money?”  And for the first few weeks, I thought I’d made a bad purchase because I almost never take trips short enough to use a weekender-size bag.

Then, I started using it as a plane/laptop bag.  And now, I’m obsessed.  It’s gorgeous, and incredibly functional.  I love the little extras like monogramming, the magnets that hold the exterior pocket closed, the chic hardware.  I can’t recommend it enough.

The other lady was carrying the Le Sud Overnight Bag ($215).  I did not think I’d like this bag when I saw it online.  In person, though, different story.

The mix of canvas and leather looks incredibly chic, as opposed to cheap.  The hardware and detailing looks elevated and expensive.  She was using it as a carry-on plane bag instead of carrying a purse. It was the perfect size for that purpose, not too big, not too small.

So if you want to save some money, this bad is a fabulous alternative to the leather bag.  It also comes in navy.

I truly adore the Cuyana bags.  They’re practical and attractive.  They look expensive, and feel expensive, without breaking the bank.  They also have a strong selection of styles including their new, all canvas Classic bags that are under-$200.

Need something under-$100?  Everlane has a chic Nylon Weekender that many readers swear by.

I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this, but since every time I write a glowing review of something, I inevitably get asked, I probably do.  This post is not sponsored.  I’ve never taken a dime from Cuyana, or even a free bag.  I bought the bag I carry with my own money.  Would I be against partnering with a great brand like Cuyana, no.  But this post is not sponsored or gifted, I just saw a great bag in an airport and thought I would remind readers how fabulous these bags are.

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    21 comments

  1. Kate says:

    I received Cuyana’s work satchel as a gift from my husband (kind of a masters graduation/Mother’s Day/birthday combo) and I love it.

    June 18, 2018/Reply
  2. Leigh says:

    Sometimes I think I love a good piece of luggage even more than I do a handbag. I shouldn’t have clicked on the Cuyana website. It’s probably just as well for my checking account that my Everlane canvas weekender (basically the twill one they have now, but from five years ago) is indestructible, so I can’t justify buying another overnight bag. Both of the bags above are lovely, though.

    June 18, 2018/Reply
  3. M says:

    Those of you with Cuyana bags — how do they hold up? I love the gray color of the Leather Travel Bag and Work Satchel and I’d like to get both, but I’m worried the lighter color won’t wear well and will scratch easily. What have people experienced?

    June 18, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      have the lighter color. it has a small number of dark scuffs on it, that should come off easily at a cobbler. But other than that, through 15 trips, it’s held up so well.

      June 18, 2018/Reply
  4. C says:

    I was just looking at this bag last night as a contender for a new work bag! Do you think it would be good for that, or is it too big? Professional enough for court and big meetings?

    June 18, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Which bag?

      June 18, 2018/Reply
  5. CR says:

    The brand ABLE has bags that look a bit like Cuyana (and also quite a bit like madewell).They’re made by women overcoming global poverty (workers are treated ethically, etc). Could be of interest if you like the mission + look of Cuyana, Everlane, etc. I bought a bag recently and was impressed with the quality and style.

    June 18, 2018/Reply
  6. A says:

    I own the Classic Tote in “Pebbled Leather,” and I must say: this bag has held up beautifully over the last 3+ years that I have owned it. The leather is truly soft and buttery, and the quality of the bag is top notch. At first I babied the heck out of this bag, but after a while, the scars became a testament to the craftsmanship.
    I cannot recommend Cuyana bags enough!

    June 18, 2018/Reply
  7. Kelly says:

    I’ve been eying the Lo & Sons backpacks for my next laptop/travel bag. While lugging my Jansport through LAX last month, I was really wanting that suitcase handle sleeve. I also traded my crossbody travel purse for a travel mini backpack on the trip, and it was awesome.

    June 18, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      They are great bags. Very durable.

      June 18, 2018/Reply
  8. Jules says:

    I really wish I could be a chic, travel bag carrying kind of lady.
    Alas, I will forever be a backpack girl. And no, not one of those stylish, sleek, fashionable backpacks. But the burly, sporty Swiss Gear type.
    I look the opposite of stylish. But man, do they fit a LOT. Keeps your hands free, you can walk for MILES with it comfortably when traveling (even when full).
    Oh well. Maybe in a different life 🙂

    June 18, 2018/Reply
  9. C says:

    @Belle – Reply function isn’t working – but was thinking about either one for a work bag, but leaning toward the leather travel bag. Not sure if it’d be too casual though for more formal settings?

    June 18, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      The full weekender is a little big, but their overnight bag would probably be a good size.

      June 19, 2018/Reply
  10. Sara Harvey says:

    I have loved my basic Cuyana leather tote for some time. I recently invested in the total organization insert and it has been LIFE CHANGING. Check it out! Sara

    June 19, 2018/Reply
  11. Roberta Stewart says:

    Holy cow, those Cuyana bags are gorgeous. Putting some on my wish list.

    June 19, 2018/Reply
  12. Sarah P says:

    Has anyone ever had a luggage/trolley strap added to a leather bag like the Cuyana? I’m wondering if this is something a cobbler could do, but I can’t find any mention of it online.

    June 19, 2018/Reply
  13. Mandi says:

    Thanks for this post. Wondering if any readers have thoughts on the Cuyana leather pouches? I desperately need some durable pouches to organize my bags. I’m open to leather or other materials. The Cuyana look chic but I’m not sure if my money would be better spent elsewhere. I probably need 3-5 pouches so would have to buy two sets of the Cuyana.

    June 19, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I know Meghan at Wit & Whimsy really loved them. I just don’t buy nice makeup bags because I like to be able to trash them and toss them.

      June 19, 2018/Reply
  14. Michelle says:

    Hey! I just got a new tech job and want to look classy and professional. I also like to go away for nights/weekends and have hated carrying my childish backpack.

    I was just about to purchase the classic structured tote from Cuyana with the insert for better organization. My concern with it was that it has no zipper and I didn’t like the shlumpy/soft look of the zippered tote. I then saw the leather travel tote and came across your review when researching more!

    My question is can the Cuayna leather weekend bag be used for work as well? Functionally? (13″ laptop, a notebook/book, hard drives, water bottle, and lunch) as well as aesthetically? Does it look clean/professional or more causual? Price wise they’re almost the same for me because I was planning on buying the insert for the structured tote. (difference of $95).

    Hopefully you can help me out with this as you mentioned you use it as a laptop bag…

    Thanks!

    July 16, 2019/Reply
    • Belle says:

      It could be. I would say it’s a bit big for that. Their new triple zippeer tote might be a better fit. I use it as a laptop bag only when I travel, but it works.

      July 16, 2019/Reply
      • Michelle says:

        Thanks for your quick response! Yes, thats what I meant the triple zipper. So you think that one is a good size during the week for work?

        July 16, 2019/Reply