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For years, I relied on my parents to supply my luggage when traveling. In college, I made the ~very grown up~ decision to treat myself to some discounted suitcases from T.J. Maxx. Fast-forward to 2020, and I’ve amassed quite a few nice bags from luggage brands like Away and Béis, so I feel I’m more than qualified to deliver a Target Open Story luggage review. ICYMI, Target recently launched its very own in-house luggage brand, with everything from suitcases to weekender bags, plus packing cubes, travel wallets, and a few other fun accessories. In the name of a good review, I treated myself to a mini staycation here in New York City, so I could properly give my picks a test-drive. Or a test-pack, if you will.
Out of the brand’s entire 10-piece lineup, I decided to try out the Commuter Backpack, available in Black and Olive, the Weekender Bag, available in Black and Taupe, and the star of the show, the Hardside Carry On Suitcase, available in nine shiny hues, from which I chose the Champagne option. As a former daily commuter from New Jersey into the Big Apple (the struggle was SO real), the Commuter Backpack interested me most of all. I recall having trouble finding the perfect travel bag back then (Goldilocks style, everything was either too big or too small, never just right!), so I really felt like this could be The One.
That said, I know most people will be interested in the suitcase, so let me start there. At $149.99, the Open Story carry-on is a bit more affordable than the offerings of competitor brands Away, Calpak, and Béis, though not nearly as cheap as the under-$50 carry-ons I once scored at my local TJ Maxx. That said, those affordable pieces never quite stood the test of time, and Open Story’s version is, for lack of a better description, sturdy AF — and it comes with a 10-year limited warranty.
The polycarbonate shell feels a little thinner than some of the luggage’s high-end counterparts, but that only made it all the more lightweight, so I had no complaints. As an over-packer, I need my suitcase to be light when empty, so I can load it up worry-free! The suitcase also features a TSA-approved security lock for additional protection, which wins it major bonus points in my book. Personally, I bring all my most important items in my carry on luggage, for fear they might disappear in a “lost checked baggage” fiasco.
The overall aesthetic and quality of the suitcase get an A+ from me, and when it came time to actually packing it, I was just as pleased. I’ll spare you a photo of my stuffed-to-the-brim-for-just-one-weekend packing job, but know that this baby fits a lot more than meets the eye.I love the zipper compartments and pockets for storing the small stuff separately, too!
Moving right along, I was excited to test out the Weekender Bag because I have never come across one that actually fits all the things I need without making me look and feel like a pack mule. Again, I’m an over-packer, and while I like that smaller bags limit me from doing the most, I still want them to accommodate my (perhaps unnecessarily) excessive skincare and makeup products. Plus a curling iron, plus a few pairs of shoes, plus, duh, my clothes!
The water-resistant nylon material isn’t just practical, it looks and feels luxe compared to the grubby tote bags of my worn-traveler past. I honestly wanted to take a photo with this thing, whereas I’d normally drop my tote and pose sans-baggage while traveling. It really looked great! The detachable shoulder strap is a must, and the trolley sleeve allows you to easily secure the bag to the handle of your rolling luggage, should you be doubling up for a particularly long trip. Another A for the aesthetic and practicality! Overall, this ended up being my favorite bag of the bunch. It’s big enough for a trip, but low-key enough that I could tote it around the city without feeling like I was carrying ~luggage~. Highly recommend.
Last but not least, let me wax poetic on the Commuter Backpack. As a Fashion Editor, I love a fancy purse, but even I know sometimes you just need something practical. My previous backpack was an oversized black monster that stuck out a full foot from my body and made everyone else standing on the subway hate me, so I especially appreciated this bag’s more narrow design. It’s still wide enough to fit my laptop and DSLR camera plus a water bottle on the side, but it isn’t the kind of thing that requires me to take up the space of two people on a crowded subway.
I used this bag while running around town one day, bouncing from meetings to cafés to events, and in addition to my MacBook placed securely in the laptop compartment, I was able to fit everything I needed and more. And yes, that included a full makeup bag, hairbrush, and reading material! And honestly, I could’ve fit plenty more, had I needed to. I decided to keep my wallet in the front exterior pocket for easy access, and while bougie me thought I’d be carrying this baby by the top handle all day, I ended up really loving how cushy the backpack straps were, and I didn’t feel like a grown-up kindergartener with this thing on my back. 10/10, A+, cannot wait to use again.
My final thoughts? Don’t sleep on Open Story, y’all! I know the suitcases aren’t exactly ~inexpensive~, but they’re definitely affordable when you factor in the high level of quality, which definitely stands up to that of the brand’s pricier competitors. If you’ve already got some luggage you love, you don’t need to throw it away just to justify giving Open Story a go — the travel bags are just as great as the suitcases, and I for one know I’ve got two new front-runners for busy days and quick weekend trips. If you’re reading this, get the Weekender! You deserve it! If you’re interested, you can shop the entire Open Story range online and in-stores at Target now.
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