The Tic Tac Tote - Gem of the Vera Bradley Collection
The company known as Vera Bradley was founded more than 25 years ago in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Named for the mother of cofounder Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, the company claims a loyal following of customers addicted to their quality luggage, handbags and accessories.
The mainstay of the Vera Bradley product line is the cotton quilted handbag. Made from quality fabric, with patterns that change seasonally, each bag is sturdily constructed and amazingly durable. Many Vera Bradley bags have removable baseboards to allow for machine washing and drying, allowing them to retain their attractiveness and outlast similar products from competitors.
The beauty and affordability of Vera Bradley handbags makes them highly attractive to smart consumers. While many designer handbags can run into the hundreds, and even thousands, of dollars, most Vera Bradley bags land in the $50 - $100 price range, making them easily collectible for fans.
My Favorite: The Tic Tac Tote
Of the dozens of handbag styles available from Vera Bradley, my personal favorite is the now retired Tic Tac Tote. Available in both large and small sizes, the tote isn't filled with dividers and pockets. Rather, a couple of simple pockets are provided to keep track of small items, and the rest is just functional, open space.
Vera Bradley Tic Tac Totes
Small Tic Tac Tote in Mediterranean Blue
The Small Tic Tac Tote
I really like the small Tic Tac Tote, which I have in Caffe Latte, for evening or weekend errand running, or trips to the mall. The inside is roomy for a small-ish bag, and features a pretty contrasting fabric. With a double flap pocket in the interior, perfect for cell phone and lip products, I can keep the little stuff handy. The main part of the interior is large enough for my wallet, checkbook, keys, sunglasses (in matching Caffe Latte case by Vera Bradley, of course), and a bottle of water - all of the things I need to have with me on a normal outing. The tote features a pretty toroiseshell toggle closure, which is helpful for when I slam on the breaks in the car and the bag goes flying (I am a woman driver, you know). The closure is just enough to keep the contents of the purse contained.
The dimensions of the small tote are 11¼" x 9¼" x 2½" with a 10½" strap drop.
Original retail price $55.
Large Tic Tac Tote in Yellow Bird
Classic Black (retired)
The Large Tic Tac Tote
My other favorite, the large Tic Tac Tote, which I have in Classic Black, is every bit as functional as its little sister, if not more so. This is the bag that I carry to work with me every day. The interior pocket situation is similar to the smaller tote, but also features a nice side zip pocket, with the majority of the bag being wide open space in a pretty fabric that contrasts with the Classic Black exterior. On the average work day, the bag easily holds my sleeved laptop, a standard college-ruled notebook, my big fat Day Timer, my lunch (in a Vera Bradley Out to Lunch bag), a couple of water bottles and a can of soda, my wallet, and quite frequently, an umbrella. The bag gets heavy, but after months of this kind of abuse, the handles are still attached just as tightly as they were the day I bought the bag.
This bag is also wonderful as an overnight bag, and I use it nearly every time I travel.
The dimensions of the large Tic Tac Tote are 15¼" x 13¼" x 4¾" with an 11½" strap drop.
Original retail price is $69.
For all of Vera Bradley's handbags, there are many color options available.
The Part Vera Bradley Doesn't Want You to Know
You'll notice above that I indicated "original" retail price. You don't often have to pay this much for Vera Bradley products, unless you're looking at a brand new style or pattern and aren't willing to wait.
Every year Vera Bradley retires some of their older styles and patterns. It's very easy to pick up these older versions for prices much lower than the original retail price. Often, Vera Bradley offers retired handbags and other products on sale for up to 50% off of their original price.
Other great bargains on Vera Bradley products can be found at eBay, but buyer beware! I've purchased four Vera Bradley handbags via eBay for myself and others. Three of the four were perfect. The fourth, unfortunately, was obviously a counterfeit. Yes, just like with popular designer brands like Coach, Vera Bradley bags are highly marketable for counterfeiters. If buying any designer bag on eBay, be sure you are buying from a reputable seller by reviewing their customer feedback.
Another great place to obtain retired Vera Bradley products for less is Amazon. The selection seems to vary, but I've found some great items for great prices.