Caraa Sport is one of my favorite brands for athletically-minded, luxe bags and accessories. I totally fell in love with their dance 2 bag, then I lucked out and found a pre-owned studio bag for sale. The price was too good to pass up so I decided to give it a shot! My bag features gunmetal hardware, but there’s also a version with gold hardware that’s equally attractive.
I’ve been using my studio bag for about 3 months; it’s currently my main go-to bag both for work and general use around town. Some days my bag is jam-packed, and other days I just carry some essentials. I love that the bag looks great whether if it’s packed to the brim or mostly empty. Here are some more detailed thoughts and notes on Caraa’s studio bag.
Side note: my studio bag is an older generation and there have been a few tweaks to the design since then, like additional pockets.
The studio bag is split into two main compartments: one that goes around the perimeter of the rectangular side of the bag via a double zip, and one that goes around the bag’s dome with a single zip. Depending on whether you’re carrying the bag as a crossbody/tote or as a backpack, one will be the top compartment and one will be the side. The double-zipped rectangular compartment is a bit larger.
Either compartment is large enough to fit a pair of shoes. The larger compartment zips open all the way down, but has “wings” on the sides that keep your things from falling out. Typically, I keep my lunch for work, wallet, and other small essentials in this compartment, and my water bottle and sunglasses in the other compartment. Note only the larger compartment has the clasps at the zipper for extra security.
Inside the main compartment, there are two pockets: one zip pocket and one open mesh pocket. Both are roomy enough for things like a small notebook or toiletries. The only downside of using the large pocket is that the zipper takes two hands to coax it around the corner of the rectangle. The zipper itself isn’t sticky, it’s just the fact that it’s going around a hard right angle that necessitates both hands.
The back of the bag has a zip pocket for a small tablet, documents, or other mostly flat goods. The back of the bag is also lightly padded, so if you’re wearing it as a backpack, it’s cushy against your back.
The pockets are tough to photograph in action, but Caraa’s website has fabulous photos showing where the pockets are and what they fit.
Like all Caraa bags, the studio bag has lots of thoughtful design elements. The body of the bag is made of a durable nylon material, with accents in leather. The leather does add a bit of weight to the bag, but it’s not unreasonably heavy. The metallic hardware accents add a nice bit of flair as well.
There are subtle mesh vents tucked at the top of the bag that provide some air flow to the main rectangular compartment if you’re hauling gym clothes with you.
One of the best details is that you can wear the studio bag in several different configurations. The bag comes with two backpack straps as well as a longer crossbody/tote strap. They’re quick to clip on and off when you’re in the mood for something different. There’s also tote handles (with a snap to connect them), and one short loop handle on top that I’m constantly reaching for. I prefer to wear mine as a backpack to keep the load light on my shoulder. Sometimes I clip on just one backpack strap since I often only sling it over one shoulder anyway.
My bag features an ivory liner, but the newer models of the studio bag have a pretty rose lining instead. Caraa bags also come with shoe bags to help keep your the inside of your bag clean.
The studio bag vs dance 2 bag
I reviewed Caraa’s dance 2 mesh backpack a few weeks ago as well and wanted to note some of the similarities and differences between them.
The studio bag offers a lot more storage options than the dance 2. The dance 2 only has a couple of pockets, while the studio has a few more. The dance 2 is much lighter, weighing in at around 1 lb versus the 2.2 lb weight of the studio bag. The weight difference is definitely noticeable.
The studio bag is a bit larger and roomier, but the bag is split into 2 medium-sized compartments, whereas the dance 2 has one main compartment that is slightly larger than either of the studio’s. On that note, the studio bag has more pockets overall than the dance 2.
I’m definitely a fan of both bags. Although they’re somewhat close in size, they’re definitely very different bags.
The bag really suits my style since it’s polished enough to bring to work, but sporty enough for me to feel good about taking it to workouts too. In that sense, the style-meets-sport promise definitely delivers for me.
Besides being my daily work bag, the studio has served other purposes nicely, too. I used it as a travel bag for my trip home in May. The backpack configuration is great for hauling through the airport, and I love having all the pockets to keep my traveling goods organized. I’ve even worn the bag in the backpack configuration for a casual 3-mile hike after work, since it was an easy way to carry water and my camera without needing to bring a second bag.
Although the studio bag is on the expensive side for a sport bag, it has a ton of unique details and multifunctional capabilities you won’t find in other bags. I’m thrilled I got mine for a nice discount by buying it secondhand since I’ve been really happy with the bag.
P.S. Insider tip: if you’re planning to place an order from Caraa, send me an email and I’ll send you a little something to save $$.