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I loved it while it lasted...
Ted Baker Bowtote Bag
Member Name: helenc72
Ted Baker Bowtote Bag
Advantages: Great size, large capacity, comfy to carry, wipeable, looks nice
Disadvantages: Poor quality, broke after a few months, handles snapped and patent covering came away
I bought this bag last summer after using my sister in law's similar one which I had been borrowing for a few days while staying with her. I liked it as it was practical to take to law school because it was a good size for A4 folders and notes. Since there is a Ted Baker shop near where she lives, I decided to go in and get one of my own before I left and I was really pleased with my purchase at the time. Unfortunately my bag has now been languishing in a corner for months, as it ended up breaking and didn't last more than about six months!
The bag does look nice, as it is a simple and classic design in shiny black patent. It has a shiny cream patent bow in the middle as you can see on the picture, and bears the name Ted Baker London on the lower part of the bag. The handles are also patent and at first glance they appear to be very securely stitched onto the body of the bag (although I later found this is not the case!) Down the sides of the bag you find the words "no ordinary designer bag" on one side, and on the other there is a list of the cities in which you can find Ted Baker shops. Inside the bag by the handle the words "you've really got a hold on me" are printed.
The shiny material is easy to wipe clean. I have dripped coffee on it before and this did not stain or mark at all - I simply wiped it with a tissue and it completely disappeared. This makes it very practical as you don't need to be too precious about where you put it or leaving it where kids could touch with sticky fingers and so on. Although it can be wiped clean, it is slightly prone to scuffing on the bottom but mine has not scuffed severely.
The handle is long enough for the bag to be worn on the shoulder, which I found a practical way to carry it. Alternatively you can carry it with the handle in the hand, but I sometimes found this annoying when it was quite full, as it would bash my legs if I was carrying it somewhere busy such as going on the tube.
The capacity of the bag is very generous. It is like a large shopper or sturdy tote style which is bigger than A4 in height, meaning A4 folders and notebooks fit in. The base of the bag measures 3.5 inches deep but you can fit in items of more than 3.5 inches thick, as the sides are quite malleable and the top can be opened quite wide to easily fit in more. I could comfortably fit my small netbook, a couple of plastic folders, paper notepads and a textbook in there with no problems. I also used it as a weekend bag a couple of times and it easily carries a couple of changes of clothes, toiletteries and all my basic essentials. The fact I could fit a lot in it was really the best thing about this bag and what attracted me in the first place. It is ideal for college or uni where you need to have quite a lot of stuff with you which is often A4 size or bigger and I can imagine it would also be great for mums who need to tote around lots of various bits and bobs for their kids.
Unfortunately my bag broke as the patent material covering the handles completely cracked on both sides, revealing the white material inside. I was really disappointed by this and felt that it must have been quite poor quality for this to happen. A while ago I read another review on Dooyoo complaining of the same problem with broken handles and that Dooyooer had managed to have their bag repaired by Ted Baker at a small cost. Unfortunately I could not find my receipt so when I went to Ted Baker at my local House of Fraser to ask if they could get it repaired they said I couldn't without a proof of purchase, which I suppose was fair enough. The girl there did mention that they had seen quite a few people bringing these Ted Baker bags back with faults, so it does seem there is some kind of problem in the design or the way they are manufactured.
I haven't thrown it away because I still wondered if I could somehow repair it, but I haven't got around to sorting anything out for it yet so it is currently gathering dust. If a tailor reattached the straps I think they would have to be slightly shortened to get rid of the snapped part of the patent, which would then make it less comfortable to carry as it would be tighter on the shoulder. I also feel a bit annoyed about the prospect of paying to fix this bag as it was not the cheapest in the first place at about £30 if I remember correctly, and I expected it to last longer.
This has slightly put me off the Ted Baker brand as I felt the quality was a let down. My sister in law has about three of these bags in different designs (there is a lovely teal one with a bird cage) and hers have not broken, but as the House of Fraser lady said a lot have had this fault I know it is not just down to me mistreating the bag (which I didn't particularly!)
I would love to get a replacement as it was so handy but I just don't think it is worth it if it will only break again.
Summary: I loved it but I just wish it had lasted longer!