Celine Cabas Tote Review

Celine Cabas Tote, H&M coat (sold out, similar here and here), H&M knit, Gucci belt, Scanlan Theodore skirt, Tony Bianco mules (similar here and here)

This blog post uses affiliate links.  
Read the disclaimer about affiliate links & PR products here

I’m no stranger to a black Celine bag. They make up the majority of my handbag collection. And after almost six years of use, I figured it was about time I shared my thoughts on my Celine Cabas Tote. It is a bag I’ve used countless times for both work and play over the years.

I purchased the bag on a whim over six years ago while browsing through David Jones after work – it was love at first sight and it had to come home with me. (Ahhh – the days of ‘accidental’ purchasing pre-kids…) It was my very first Celine bag and the start of my love affair with Celine (or Céline as it was then known… when the É was still around).

I have the small cabas in black grained calfskin. The bag comes with an adjustable (and removable) leather strap and can be worn cross body or just using the top handles. The bag has also been known as the Vertical Cabas Tote as Celine previously released a horizontal version of the bag. Today, Celine’s range of totes come in three sizes, and I elaborate further on those later on in this post.

In this post, I take you through my thoughts on wear & tear, the different sizes it comes in and my verdict on the bag.

So let’s get into it.

Celine Cabas Tote, H&M coat (sold out, similar here and here), H&M knit, Gucci belt, Scanlan Theodore skirt (sold out, similar here), Tony Bianco mules (similar here and here)

Wear and tear

The bags are all made of grained calfskin which I personally find to be very durable. The leather isn’t too thick with the tote maintaining a relaxed structure when it hasn’t been filled to capacity. The bag isn’t lined but the leather is strong enough for the bag to sit up on its own.

As I said earlier in this post, I’ve had the bag for almost six years and it is in fantastic condition. There are some minor imperfections on the leather, mainly minor scratches which is to be expected with general wear, but you really need to be looking for them to notice them.

The same can be said about the interior of the bag – it’s in great shape with surprisingly little scuff marks given I’m pretty carefree in the way that I throw things in the bag and go. I’ve never used a bag-liner for this bag (after some trial I’ve come to realise I’m not a bag-liner type of person) so all my daily essentials, including my wallet, keys and diary, are just kept in the main compartment.

When not in use, the bag sits on my shelf with the stuffing inside to help it retain its shape. While Celine recommend to keep their bags in the dust bag provided, call me a rebel but I don’t typically do this as I like to have them on display.

celine cabas tote review


Unsurprisingly, the prices have increased over the years and current dimensions and prices are below:

celine cabas tote review, wear and tear and sizing
Clockwise from left: Small Cabas, Small Phantom, Medium Phantom – Photos from Celine website


22cm x 29cm x 10cm | 9” x 11” x 4”

Handle with 5” (12cm) drop
Inner zipped pocket
Removable and adjustable strap with 19” (48cm) drop

$1,650 AUD | $1,300 USD | £820 GBP

Small Phantom

27cm x 31cm x 17cm | 11” x 12” x 7”

Handle with 9” (22cm) drop
Inner zipped pocket and double flat pocket
Functional leather belt to tighten around bag

$2,300 AUD | $1,850 USD | £1,300 GBP

Medium Phantom

28cm x 36cm x 21cm | 11” x 14” x 8”

Handle with 9” (22cm) drop
Inner zipped pocket and double flat pocket
Functional leather belt to tighten around bag

$2,500 AUD | $1,950 USD | £1,400 GBP

Prices current as at July 2020. 

What fits inside

The bag is compact (perfect for my petite frame) but the interior is spacious, with more than enough space to hold my essentials. Its functionality and simplistic design means the bag works for both work and weekends – and for the first 3 or so years, it was on high rotation for me on weekends. Though now that kids are in the picture, the bag now forms part of my rotation of work bags on days when I’m not carrying a laptop.

celine cabas tote review - what fits inside

I love this bag and would love to add another Celine tote to my collection. If money was no object I would look to adding a medium phantom cabas in either taupe or tan so that it could fit a laptop.

The verdict

I selected this bag over others because of the minimal and classic style. I like to keep things simple in the accessories department and for day-to-day use, the less logos the better – so I truly consider this bag to be timeless and I have no plans of selling it in the future.

At the time, I found the price point to be incredibly reasonable for a Celine handbag – it was $1,399 AUD at the time I purchased it and it has since increased to $1,650 AUD. Even with today’s price, I still consider it to be a well priced bag for what I consider to be a classic piece.

Shop the bag

You can shop the bag here. And if you’re looking to go down the pre-loved route, the bag pops up every so often on Vestiaire Collective so you should keep your peeled. (Meanwhile, here are some great pre-loved options currently available here and here)

If you prefer to physically store shop, I like visiting the Celine concession at David Jones, Parlour X and the Celine boutique in Westfield Sydney. I believe all three are currently open and would need to have appropriate social distancing measures in place.

As always, thanks for stopping by and I hope you found my Celine Cabas Tote review to be helpful.

P.S. Like my Celine Cabas Tote review? See my other comprehensive bag reviews here. I’ve reviewed the Celine Mini Belt Bag, Celine Trio and Prada Saffiano Double Tote.



    • September 9, 2020 / 12:33 pm

      Thanks Katherine! Sure thing – happy for you to share the link to my review on your site ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. Rain
    December 13, 2020 / 2:05 pm

    I am contemplating between this and the phantom cabas but is leaning towards this because of its shape and that it gives a more “work” vibe than the phantom cabas, given I am shopping for a work bag. I do need to carry a laptop sometimes which may be why it is not a 100% go for me at the moment. So I am wondering in your opinion, will you go for a phantom cabas straight away if you were to want to buy it at this moment (post-kids, cuz I am a mom of a 2-year-old), or would you still have gone for a small vertical cabas?

    • December 13, 2020 / 3:44 pm

      That’s a good question, considering I bought this bag pre-kids and pre-laptop carrying days. If I were choosing between the small vertical cabas and the phantom cabas today, I would opt for the phantom cabas as it can fit a laptop and is generally a bit more versatile with its increased capacity. The phantom cabas has been on my wishlist for years but I haven’t been in any rush to get it as I have other bags in my collection that can hold a laptop. That said, if one were to pop up on the pre-loved market at the right price, I’d most likely pounce!

  2. Ee Vee
    March 16, 2021 / 10:48 am

    I’m looking at the medium phantom and i know it fits a laptop but are the straps and overall structure of the bag strong enough to hold a macbook air 13″? I have a goyard saint louis and thats obviously too soft to carry my laptop on a daily basis so I’m looking around for another bag. Btw I am also Vee! Thanks so much.

    • March 17, 2021 / 7:58 pm

      I haven’t had much personal experience with the medium phantom other than trying it out in store but I know of lots of others who use the bag to carry a laptop for work purposes. The bag is certainly on my wishlist to buy for that very reason. And it’s always great meeting other Vees! x

  3. Nete
    June 12, 2021 / 12:26 am

    since this review, do you still use the bag? is it still in good condition? considering searching for one too.

    • June 20, 2021 / 9:14 pm

      Yes! Though I don’t use it as often because I’m not going out as much but it is still one of my go-tos. It’s still in great condition, I keep it stuffed when stored which I think is very important for these sorts of bags with less structure ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Carol Lawrance
    July 19, 2021 / 12:13 am

    I’m looking at the Medium Cabas Phantom in Light Khaki but prevaricating between this and the Small Cabas Phantom in Amazone as I’m worried it’s too big for me – I’m 5’4″ (163cm) and medium frame, so not too petite. I do have to lug a laptop around (14″ work-issued Lenovo) so while the Medium may be a little big, the Small might not take my laptop. How tall are you Vee and would you recommend the Medium or Small? Thanks!

    • July 21, 2021 / 11:47 am

      I’m 5’2″ so I understand your dilemma! I’m all for bags that can be as functional as possible so I’ve got the medium on my wish list because it can hold a laptop. I do love the look of the small though. And I love the two hues you have in mind. I would also add taupe to the mix – it looks lovely in person x

  5. Joy
    November 1, 2022 / 11:06 am

    Love your style. I just got the same bag, but trying to see if itโ€™s authentic. Can you tell me where your serial number is placed? And the positioning of it? Mine is on the bottom left corner. I flip the pocket, and itโ€™s on the bottom above the knob, not upside down. Iโ€™ve been doing some research and Iโ€™ve seen Numbers upside down.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Where I can, I’ve added affiliate links, where you can support whatveewore.com by clicking through to featured items.
Click here to read my disclaimer on affiliate links and PR products.