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Cheryl Shops: My Luxurious Celine Cabas Phantom Tote in Paris

CEO Tinh Phung
Cheryl Shops tote bag in the small size - too small for her You, my dear readers, have shown a great interest in my honest reviews, and I promise to bring you more in 2021....

Cheryl Shops Cheryl Shops tote bag in the small size - too small for her

You, my dear readers, have shown a great interest in my honest reviews, and I promise to bring you more in 2021. Luxury items seem to pique your curiosity, so let's start with my biggest splurge of 2020 - my beloved Celine Cabas Phantom tote. Now, I must confess, I'm not usually a bag person, but this particular tote caught my eye, and after much contemplation, I decided to treat myself. Join me as I share my experience of purchasing this exquisite bag in Paris, why I chose the medium size, and how I truly feel about it.

How to Buy a Celine Bag in Paris

Before we dive into the details, let me assure you that buying a Celine bag can be done in any boutique worldwide or even online. However, being the savvy shopper that I am, I knew that purchasing luxury items in their home country can often be more budget-friendly. With that in mind, and with a trip to Paris planned for my birthday, I devised a plan.

In Paris, there are several Celine boutiques to choose from. I opted for the flagship store on 53 Avenue Montaigne, a street famous for its couture houses. I wanted the full boutique experience and ensure that I found the exact bag I desired. The salesperson at this location was hospitable and not at all snobby. After a brief discussion, I chose the medium size tote and completed the purchase in just 20 minutes. To enjoy the added benefit of a VAT refund, don't forget to bring your passport for registering the purchase with Global Blue.

Once the transaction was complete, I received my Celine tote packaged in a ginormous shopping bag, nested safely inside a thick satin dustbag. Now, accompanied by my alluring purchase, I could stroll along Champs Élysées and relish in my very own "Funny Face" moment. For a celebratory cocktail, I recommend visiting the bar at the Four Seasons George V.

Cheryl Shops Cheryl Shops with her Celine Phantom tote bag

When you register your purchase with Global Blue, you receive regular updates via email, including reminders to submit your receipt before leaving the country. Returning to the US via London, I was still able to process my refund at Heathrow due to the pre-Brexit circumstances. However, please ensure that you check the current regulations. I received my Global Blue refund exactly one week later, making my grand total $1391.31, which is approximately $725 less than the US retail price after tax. Remember, if you spend more than $800 per person per household while abroad, be sure to declare it at US Customs and pay the applicable taxes.

Medium Cabas Phantom Tote vs. Small Cabas Phantom Tote

Now, let's discuss the hardest decision I faced during this process - choosing between the medium and small sizes. As someone who has experienced shoulder pain from carrying larger bags in the past, I was initially inclined towards the small tote. However, with my work laptop in mind, the small size proved to be too snug. Comparatively, the medium-sized tote, measuring 11" wide x 14" tall and 8" deep, offered the perfect balance of practicality and style. Despite its size, the bag remains sleek even when carrying my 15" Macbook Pro, leaving plenty of room for essentials like my makeup bag, wallet, and phone.

Cheryl Shops Cheryl Shops showcases her medium-sized Cabas Phantom tote bag

Remember, your height and proportions also play a role in determining which size suits you best. For instance, being on the taller side at 5'7", the medium tote appeared more proportional to my body. Conversely, my petite coworker finds the small tote to be the perfect fit. If visiting the store is not possible, I recommend creating a paper cutout to visualize the bag's dimensions and help inform your decision-making process.

My Honest Opinion

Ironically, after months of research and anticipation, I only had the opportunity to carry my Celine Cabas Phantom tote for a week before the world shut down due to the pandemic. For the past nine months, it has mostly sat on a chair, waiting for its time to shine. Yet, as the famous Edith Piaf once said, "non, je ne regrette rien." I truly adore this bag. Its quietly luxurious presence, with its buttery soft leather and flawless stitching, brings me joy. The timeless design exudes elegance without drawing unnecessary attention. Carrying this tote makes me feel like a fancy lady, not in a show-off kind of way but rather in a proud self-accomplished manner. It serves as a reminder of my blessings, including the incredible birthday trip that led me to its purchase.

Although I eagerly await the return to the office and the resumption of travel, giving me ample opportunities to showcase this bag, I find joy in finding reasons to utilize it presently. Whether running errands or featuring it in an outfit shoot for this very blog, every occasion to carry my Celine tote feels special. In many ways, my patience in waiting several years to acquire this bag allows me to patiently await the moment when I can fully revel in its everyday use.

Thank you for joining me on this adventure, and please feel free to ask any questions you may have or share topics on which you'd like my honest opinion. Your readership is truly appreciated!