Madewell Small Transport Tote DUPE

I love Madewell. I own several bags from them, including the iconic Transport Tote (in both the original leather & the canvas version) & the Medium Transport Tote (in canvas). When the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale came around, I was excited to see a small version of the Transport Tote with a beautiful stripe of suede down the middle. I quickly ordered it & picked it up in store (who can wait for shipping?). It honestly was gorgeous, the leather felt smooth, the suede was perfect, and I loved the size. <Insert a shocked face here> Yes, I, Anna, lover of the biggest bags known to man, found a smaller bag to be the perfect size. However, I quickly learned that the suede stripe, though gorgeous, was going to be impossible to shield from the Chicago rain, sleet, & snow. One quick rain storm & the suede was out of commission. I do not need a high maintenance bag at this stage of my life & that’s just what that tote was… temperamental & high maintenance. Thanks to Nordstrom being the gems that they are, they took my return of the bag & I took my money back. I was sad to see this piece leave my collection but happy to not have to worry about a bag getting ruined by the weather.

I won’t say I never thought about the bag that wasn’t meant to be, but I wasn’t actively seeking a replacement. One day I managed to wander into the accessories section of Target and sitting on the end cap was the Rowan tote. I immediately thought of the Madewell bag and when I saw the price, it sealed the deal.

Madewell Small Transport Tote

Madewell Small Transport Tote

Image Credit: Nordstrom

Specs: $148

  • 10″W x 9 ½”H x 3″D. (Interior capacity: small.)
  • 3 ½” strap drop; 20″ – 23 ½” convertible strap drop.

Universal Thread Rowan

Universal Thread Rowan Tote

Image Credit: Target

Specs: $24.99

  • 11 inches (H) x 10 inches (W) x 4 inches (D)
  • Maximum Crossbody Strap Drop: 52 inches

The Rowan tote is slightly taller and deeper than the Madewell tote, which I love because I’m a big bag type of gal and it truly meets all my handbag needs. However, the tote is small enough for those who don’t love carrying around a big bag. The bag is made mostly of PVC and comes in a variety of colors. The camel color I chose is so much more vibrant in person than in the stock image. I even added a fun tassel from Amazon to make it look more festive. The material does not feel like leather or even imitation leather so don’t expect that. BUT don’t think this bag feels cheap, especially for the price. The inside is well-constructed with an inside zippered pocket and two small pouch pockets.

What fits inside?

Lots and lots of things fit in this seemingly small package. I don’t do small bags (usually) and I don’t do small wallets and in this bag, I have two HUGE wallets. Currently in my Rowan tote:

  • Sunglasses case
  • Glasses case
  • Glasses cleaner in case (it’s seriously amazing)
  • Two reusable grocery bags (keeping them in my purse is the only way I will remember & use them)
  • Keys
  • Earplugs (misophonia is real, y’all)
  • My All About the Benjamins Wallet from Thirty One
  • My Olivia wallet from Project Free 2 Fly (filled with all the things)


I’m super impressed with this bag. I haven’t wanted to change bags since getting the purse last week, which is huge for me. I rotate bags every other day sometimes. If you’re looking for a cute tote to get you through the fall and beyond, can’t stomach the price of a Madewell bag, or want a low maintenance bag, add the Rowan tote to your collection!

Do you have a favorite bag? Let me know all about it in the comment section!