This is the bag I’ve used daily for the last four months. It’s the Cameron Street Teegan bag – my very first Kate Spade.
If you’d like a little more context as to why I’m reviewing this bag, check out The Handbag Experiment.
Alright, let’s get to the review.
What is awesome about the Cameron Street Teegan bag?
Quite a few things, actually.
This is how the bag looks after a solid four months of use. And by “use”, I mean that it has carried stuff many miles all over Seattle. It’s gone to work, dinner, happy hour… It even flew to LA and survived Camp Hollywood.
It’s still pretty nice, right? The color is just as vibrant as the day I bought it.
Size and Shape
The size and shape of the Teegan were pretty darn good. It was large enough to give me some flexibility, but small enough that stuff never got lost in it. Generally, it comfortably fit my wallet, phone, sunglasses, kindle, lip gloss, camera, and shopping bag – with plenty of room to spare. If I needed to really load it up, it also accommodated my teeny tiny laptop, an umbrella, and a light cardigan.
I think the structure is my favorite part about this bag. It retained it’s shape beautifully through daily use and it still appears to have many more months of life in it (if not years). I don’t know how Kate Spade managed to make the leather rigid enough to hold up, but I am thoroughly impressed.
The structure and shape lent nicely to the accessibility. The Teegan is quite rectangular and a bit on the shallow side, making it miraculously easy to see everything in the bag at a glance. I never had to dig around to find anything – it was always visible and easy to reach. This aspect of the bag was heaven.
What was not awesome about the Cameron Street Teegan bag?
Open access top
While the accessibility was a huge bonus for my own personal use, it was problematic when out and about. Since the bag doesn’t fully close on top, I was always worried that people could take anything they wanted – especially when I was wearing it as a cross-body and the bag was behind me. While walking to work, this wasn’t a huge problem since the sidewalks are generally empty in Belltown in the mornings. But any other part of town at any other time of day, I was convinced I was a walking target.
Thin and Abrasive Shoulder Strap
Alright, so the shoulder strap is less than half an inch wide, and as someone who often carries cross-body bags, I should have known better. So I will take the responsibility for the shoulder pains I experienced while carrying the Teegan.
I will not, however, take responsibility for the three items of clothing the shoulder strap ruined. It destroyed a new dress, my favorite tank top, and a beautiful, flowy short-sleeved shirt. How did it destroy them? That’s a GREAT question. I simply wore the bag as a cross-body and walked somewhere. The strap was so stiff and rough that it wore the fabric thin from my right shoulder to below my left breast.
I have never experienced anything like it. Needless to say, I was pretty angry.
Check out this bullshit:
This began shortly after I purchased the bag. When I first noticed it, I immediately took it back to the Kate Spade location for help. They were nice enough to clean off the first round of stains for me… their customer service was great.
…Then they sold me leather cleaner and conditioner so I could clean it myself “if” it ever happened again, because “sometimes, good leather just does that” . Well, it certainly happened again, and by the time I noticed, the stains had already set into the leather.
First of all, I’ve had less expensive leather Fossil bags that did not stain from my jeans or skirts, so I don’t buy that it’s a thing that I should just expect to happen. And considering how much I spent on the bag, I rather expect it NOT to happen. Additionally, who has time to worry over a handbag and clean it multiple times per week? I need a bag that services me…not the other way around.
Anxiety of Carrying an Expensive Bag
I know a lot of people carry bags in this price range and above, but this was my first time spending that much for a bag. The first month, I was so nervous about getting it dirty or damaging it. That anxiety faded the longer I carried it, but it never went away completely. And because of the price point, every time the bag destroyed a shirt or picked up a new stain, I was agitated and angry.
Was it worth it?
While there were many wins about my first Kate Spade bag, the losses were too great. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect a bag not to damage garments and pick up horrible stains.
I’ll probably keep the bag, because it’s too stained to sell, and use it on rare occasions – but I will never purchase another Kate Spade.
The search continues.