I’ve had The Row Park 3 three medium tote for about three months now and I’m finally ready to put my thoughts down and properly review it. If you saw my latest ultimate designer bag list: ‘bags that fit your work laptop’ edition, you would know that I was looking for a new work bag and this was the top contender. Considering my absolute top 4 criteria (big, practical – not delicate, versatile, timeless / simple) – I really couldn’t think of a better choice. The Row Park 3 really seemed like the perfect choice for what I was looking for.
Surprisingly, however, my love for this bag has been a really slow burn – it really wasn’t love at first sight at all. If anything, I really considered returning it (many, many times). I honestly wasn’t sure if I actually didn’t love it enough or if I was just being extremely picky because I wanted the ultimate work bag that I could love and cherish for the years to come.
In the end, I decided to keep the bag (and this was partly due to my indecisiveness). But, I have to say, after using it for a while now I’m actually glad I kept it and I’ll explain why below. With this review, I’d like to take you through my detailed thought process and hopefully give you a bit of insights as to what fueled my indecision. At the end of the post I’ll also share a link to my TikTok where I did a first impressions on the bag and you can see it live!
Hope this will help you!
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First things first, about the Row’s Park 3 Three Medium tote:
This is a classic tote bag made in 100% grained calfskin leather (and somewhat of a suede / untreated leather lining). This is a fully open tote with no “real” closing method besides the two leather ribbons that you can tie together to keep it a bit more closed. But, it does come with an interior wristlet (with an adjustable strap) for the things you want to keep a bit more tucked away. The handles are flat and, personally, quite comfortable.
The size details as taken from mytheresa (as they always have the best and most complete sizing details):
- Height 29cm-11.5″
- Min. width 25cm-10″
- Max. width 48cm-19″
- Depth 25cm-10″
- Length of handles 54cm-21.5″
- Clutch height 15cm-6″
- Clutch width 21,5cm-8.5″
with that, let’s start with what I saw as “cons” / i.e. the 4 main things about The Row Park 3 Three Medium and why I considered returning it:
tag: row park 3 medium tote review cons
1. the tulip like silhouette
This is such a silly reason but I honestly didn’t expect the bag to have such a tulip like shape. The bag’s silhouette was one of the first thing that really struck me when I first saw it and I really struggled to fall in love with the overall shape. Basically, because the Park 3 Medium tote has a structured, stitched, square bottom but a longer, thinner, more rectangular top—the bag naturally has this tulip like shape. If we’re being technical, “Trapezoid”, might be a better term for it, but I really only see tulips when I look at the bag. Am I the only who sees this!?
I don’t think this is really a con, especially if you had expected this, but personally, I felt quite taken aback. Somehow, I expected it to look different and I didn’t expect this much of a tulip shape. That’s honestly all on me. All the retailers incl. The Row themselves had been pretty clear with what the bag looked like—I just somehow expected it to look different. In short: In short: as much as I wanted this tote because of the square bottom and the slouchy look, I just didn’t really love the overall shape when I saw it in person.
2. the square bottom makes the bag look huge even when it’s empty
Look, big bags are definitely a vibe on its own and I knew this was a big bag going in. But, something to keep in mind, because the Park 3 Medium has this semi-structured square bottom—the tote does often protrude outwards (like in the photo below) and it can feel unnecessarily big sometimes. Because of that, the bag also doesn’t rest super naturally against my body (but that’s honestly something I got over pretty quick).
I don’t think this is fully a con but I really wasn’t prepared at how huge this bag can feel because of the square bottom. It’s such a double edged sword, cause I love how the square bottom creates this beautiful, slouchy, triangle shape when you view it from the front. But, the square bottom can also make the bag look huge from every other angle. Empty or not, the shape of the bag mostly stays and it kind of gets to me sometimes. I find that it’s so unnecessarily huge when it protrudes outwards.
Definitely something to keep in mind, especially if you’re looking for something sleeker and more minimal.
3. The square bottom & its unintentional tetris effect
I honestly feel so dumb for not realizing this, but obviously the square bottom restricts the way you place your objects in the tote. For starters (and most importantly), my work laptop can’t fit horizontally like it would in a regular tote—I have to fit it sideways or vertically. This is honestly not bad at all cause it rests comfortably against me, but it does protrude out. I live in Amsterdam and it rains a lot. If I don’t have an umbrella or a separate laptop cover, putting it vertically simply puts me at risk of completely drenching my laptop.
Besides that, because this bag is a big and open bag, I find that if you don’t strategically place your objects, the shape of the bag is just “off” and it won’t feel as comfortable when you hold it. With that, I find myself needing to be quite mindful and intentional with how I place the objects in the bag. They either need to be stacked/arranged properly or it just wouldn’t fit or feel comfortable. It definitely takes a bit of a practice and it’s not as simple as I thought it’d be.
At the end of the day, I think all big bags have this – so, it is what it is.
4. The leather’s quite malleable and there are “marks” that gets formed quite fast and never really went away
The first case in point is the huge crease / fold mark in the leather. Look, this might be a specific Net-a-Porter issue. But, I basically received the bag folded in its dust-bag and because of how it was packaged there is a deep crease on the leather that never really went away. I’ve had this bag for about 3 months ish now and while I don’t think the fold mark is as deep as it was before, I can definitely still see it. I mean, I’m not too bothered by the crease alone but it definitely made me wonder if the leather’s more on the delicate side. Ever since that fold mark, I just notice more how the objects in my bag really dents / marks the outside leather and I don’t really know how I feel about that.
I’m fine with marks and if the shape’s not exactly the same as when I first got it, it’s normal wear and tear. But, at the same time, I just don’t want it to happen so soon if that makes sense. Also side-note: the lining is suede like (probably untreated leather) and it does mark no matter what you put in. Personally, this doesn’t bother me that much cause it’s completely natural with this type of lining, but I’m including this so that you are aware.
But, with that, here are 5 reasons why I decided to keep it and why it’s become a staple in my closet:
1. The leather
I honestly have never felt anything like this. The leather feels so sturdy and so good. I almost get reminded of suede when I touch it. Like, it’s honestly so soft and suede like. I know it’s not suede, but it makes me think of suede cause it’s so soft. I think the leather quality is just so insane. I’m trying to find something comparable but I really can’t think of anything right now. Literally, nothing compares to how this bag feels. I just love the leather so much and I feel so impressed. It’s literally perfect and I can’t stop touching it. I mean the leather feels sooo good. It’s so thick and like incredibly soft (reminding me of suede – like, how’s that even possible?)
Another big thing about the leather is that it is so thick. I don’t think I’ve ever felt a single piece of leather, that is not lined or padded with something else, that is this thick. They really went all out on the leather. I’m honestly so in love with it. Like, the leather is so crazy soft, crazy thick, and sturdy yet, still, it’s this beautiful floppy unstructured mess. It’s just perfection in that sense and that alone made me feel like it is 100% worth the price tag.
2. THE SLOUCH
UGH. If you know me, you know I love slouchy bags. The Row Park 3 Three Medium tote is perfect because of how incredibly slouchy it is – you can probably tell from the photos in this review. If there’s nothing in it and you don’t make it stand, it’ll just slouch and flop. I get so happy when that happens cause I find the slouch so perfect. I just feel like this tote will age really well from all the wear and tear, even with the marks that will probably form over time. But, I still think it’ll still age beautifully. I’m pretty excited for this to be this super floppy tote that will just look so worn in.
Look, despite my pickiness above this really is a functional tote. It is so huge that it can carry everything, but still feel incredibly light. I’ve used this quite frequently now (to the office, traveling, dutch lessons). And, each time, I just appreciate it so much. I feel like this is the perfect tote for the occasion. Honestly, this bag is the perfect carry-all and it feels so liberating to be able to carry anything I want. I just by instinct grab it when I know I need to carry a lot.
The Row Park 3 Medium tote is just so simple. Honestly, it’s perfect for what it is despite my pickiness in this review. I really love how simple it is and I can match it with everything that I want. Honestly, I’m not anti-branding at all and I’m not striving for quite luxury. I can be quite a maximalist and I can love logos. But, for the purpose that I need this bag for this is just perfect. There are days where I just want to be muted and favor functionality over making a statement, you know? It’s just such a luxurious bag while it’s so understated. I just don’t think twice when I carry this bag and it’s the simplicity that I really appreciate and crave. It’s so easy to grab this bag, it’s simple and literally so easy to match.
5. The square bottom is actually a smart design
Look, I know I listed so many cons with the square bottom, but in all honesty, it’s actually a pretty smart design. The more I use it, the more I appreciate it. First things first, a square bottom just centralizes where your things are because the overall base is square. With a rectangular tote, your stuff’s kind of everywhere. Also, because it’s wider at the bottom and leaner at the top, when you hold this bag, the opening just naturally closes and leans against each other. This is even more amplified when I put my laptop in leaning against my side. The position of everything somehow closes most of the gap in the opening. I really think it makes the bag feel way more secure. I honestly don’t know if all of this was intentional, but it’s definitely a huge win for me especially when I’m commuting.
This tote isn’t perfect by any means and it really wasn’t what I fully expected it to be. However, the more I use this bag, the more I appreciate it. I genuinely think that if I only had a day or two to decide, I probably would’ve returned it. But, I’m glad I stuck through.
For me personally, the construction of this bag and the leather quality is just unmatchable. For that alone, I simply don’t want to return it. The leather is my number one pro, I genuinely love mine so much. It feels so luxurious without it being outright extravagant and it’s such an underrated feeling. Plus, this bag is so beautiful. I love the slouch and the floppiness that it has. It’s so mushy and unstructured and it works well for me. Plus, it’s so, so simple. I just can’t get over how functional it is. Looking back, this bag really does meet all the criteria that I have set so I can’t really complain.
Personally, I think this is one of those totes that I’ll just have in my closet forever. It’s not perfect, but this bag has become more of a functional tote rather than a fashion statement. Having used it regularly now, I just grew to love and appreciate it so much.
And, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this mess of a roller coaster and can see where I’m coming from. This bag genuinely became a staple in my collection and I can’t even think of not having it. It’s so functional and the leather, ugh <3 <3 <3. I genuinely don’t regret keeping this for now. I love this bag and I hope that I continue to love it. Fingers crossed that it stays hard wearing and that it can last me forever. In case I change my mind, I’ll definitely update this but I hope that day doesn’t come.
tag: the row park 3 three medium tote review