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Monday, March 9, 2009

Recession Shopping: Gryson Tutu Convertible Satchel vs Olivia Harris Patch Satchel

Before anyone entertains the notion that the designers behind one of these handbags could be guilty of trademark infringement or other similar charges, just know that both bags were created by the same group of designers spear-headed by Joy Gryson. As you may have already guessed, Olivia Harris is the more economically-priced offspring of Gryson handbags. So for those of you that love designer bags, need to be frugal during the recession and are not ready to start shopping at Target just yet, read on.

The Gryson Tutu Convertible Satchel and Olivia Harris Patch Satchel are both eerily similar. They share the same shape and measurements as well as features including a front, zippered pocket and detachable shoulder strap. However, there are a few notable differences that set these bags apart and puts one of them ahead of the other in my mind. The Gryson bag has an open top with magnetic snap closure while the Olivia Harris design has a zippered top. Score one for OH. The OH bag has a small top handle drop of 4" making it nearly impossible to carry on the shoulder without the attached shoulder strap. The Gryson design has a more convenient 7.5" top handle drop so carrying it over the shoulder is more than possible even for women with thick upper arms like me. Score one for Gryson. Both designs are neck-n-neck.

Now I'm ready to decide the winner in this battle. While the Gryson Tutu Convertible Satchel has a lovely suede-lined interior and boasts goldtone hardware with nail-head accents, I can't help but recognize that the Olivia Harris Patch Satchel is more appealing to the senses. Whether it's the supple leather exterior (as opposed to the more distressed leather on the Gryson bag), toned down bronze hardware or side patch accents, the Olivia Harris bag is just plain prettier than its' more expensive counterpart. Which leads me to the OH's best feature - its' $495 price tag. That's right, ladies, the Olivia Harris Patch Satchel is the better-looking bag and costs half the price as that of the Gryson Tutu Convertible Satchel. Another battle has been decided and the consumer is the winner. It's great to see yet another moderately-priced handbag line provide stiff competition for its' expensive designer predecessor.

Gryson Tutu Convertible Satchel available in charcoal or purple for $955 via Saks

Olivia Harris Patch Satchel available in black or cognac for $495 via
Neiman Marcus


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