Saturday, March 16, 2019

Bag Review: Dagne Dover Ava Bucket Bag (Discontinued)

I originally posted this review to an old blog of mine on 4/27/17 and wanted to substantially update it now that a couple of years have (nearly) passed.

Sadly, I have learned that the Ava has been discontinued—Dagne Dover does not plan to release new colors or re-stock this bag in their core colors. If you're interested in purchasing an Ava in a color other than Bone, you will likely need to purchase it second-hand. 

  • Ava Specs: L 10” x H 12” x W 7.5”, 10 ½” handle drop, 1.6 lb weight
  • Colors/Patterns: Onyx, Bone, Bone Onyx, Steel Gray, Steel Gray Suede, Oxblood, Rust Suede (personal favorite!), Jasmine, Blush Dusk, Sand, Sultan's Windowpane, Slate

Unlike the Simone Satchel or the Charlie Tote, the Ava wasn't a "must-have" bag for me at the start. I already had a bucket bag that I liked, and the slouchy top/structured bottom didn't particularly appeal to me for some reason. The silhouette quickly grew on me after I started using it; it gives off an 'effortless' look, in part because it's effortless to carry. I now own seven Avas (I sold the Bone Onyx Ava from my original review), and as you may have guessed, it's one of my favorite Dagne Dover styles ever.

One thing I love about this bag is that when I push it behind my hip to do something like load groceries from my cart to the conveyor belt, it actually stays there. Based on my experience so far with the Ava, you can squish this bag against your body, hold it comfortably between your legs on the seat in a car, and tilt it to rest against your lower back when you need it to be out of the way. Also, the Ease of Pulling Over Shoulder is a 5/5; you can do it one-handed and in one swift motion, which is great if you don't have another hand to spare.

Smaller items (i.e. my Dagne Dover card case, phone, pen, and keys on the key leash) are incredibly easy to get in and out of the Ava. On the other hand, larger items (such as pouches and mini notebooks) may require some special maneuvering to remove. There are two slip pockets (one for the card case and one for a phone), and the lack of zippered pockets seems a little unusual.  The interior is a light-colored camo print fabric that isn't stain-proof, so consider using a small pouch to hold things that might potentially leak, break open, or melt.

Key Leash Tip: When I first started using the bag, I was worried that items in the half of the bag containing the key leash might get scratched up by my keys. If you own a Dagne Dover tote with a water bottle holder, put the holder in that side of your Ava. You should be able to drop your keys into the water bottle holder (even alongside a standard plastic water bottle) using the key leash, thus protecting the contents around it (see above pic).

Can the Ava fit a laptop? Even with the sides snapped, the Ava fits my 12" Macbook perfectly!

One issue I've noticed is that the bottom rim of the Ava bags tend to slouch. All but two of mine have this problem, and I'm not optimistic it can be corrected once it sets in. The smooth leather along the bottom also seems more prone to collect scratches and other signs of wear.

A more extreme example of aforementioned slouching and wear
If pick-pocketing is a problem where you live or where you're going, the Ava's "open" design isn't ideal. Even if you use your arm to pin the opening against your body, it still may not be enough to stop a thief from reaching in and swiping something with the right distraction. Because there are no zippered pockets, smaller items have a higher risk of being stolen—you may want to consider keeping some of them inside a large clutch or pouch that can't be easily removed while the bag is against your body and the snaps are still closed.

A Few Extra Shots

Fit Test

Accordion Card Case / Accordion Travel Wallet / Small Lola

Original Clutch Wallet / Small Elle Clutch (both discontinued)

Slim Wallet / Large Elle (discontinued)

Large Lola

S / L Scout

XL Scout

Hunter (S, L, XL)

Small / Medium Andra


I had a few colors on my wishlist that I'll have to DIY now that I know the Ava has been discontinued, so please hit me up if you have a cheap Bone Ava in poor/fair cosmetic condition you want to sell!

I couldn't get the pink and violet shades quite right, but you get the idea!

I also had my fingers crossed for a Mini Ava, but alas. Maybe they'll release an equivalent neoprene bucket bag some day.

My original post about the Mini Ava idea from the Dagne Dover "Wishlist" page, which will now live here: A Mini Ava with no central divider would be awesome. If the body were more narrow than the full-size Ava and had a long strap, it could be the perfect way to carry a water bottle in addition to other every-day essentials. (I try to bring a bottle of water with me when I go out, so my smaller bags like the Andra tend to go unused for that reason.) Bonus points for a central neoprene water bottle holder and zip or slip pocket compartments placed around the interior of the bag.

I believe the Ava is an above-average bag that, while perhaps not as revolutionary as the Charlie Tote, strikes a great balance between function and aesthetic. (In fact, I think it's one of the least unwieldy shoulder bags I've ever owned!)

Please let me know if you have any questions or requests for additional comparison photos—I'll do my best to help. If you decide to make a first-time purchase through Dagne Dover, please consider clicking this link for $20 off your first $100+ purchase! (If you make a qualifying purchase, Dagne Dover will gift me $20 in spending credit as part of their new Dagne Rewards program!) The link will take you to Dagne Dover's home page, where a unique $20 off code should pop up after a few seconds. 

If you're looking to buy used Dagne Dover items, please consider using my Poshmark, Mercari, Tradesy, and/or thredUP referral codes to receive sign-up bonuses for yourself AND to support me and my shopping habit. Your support is greatly appreciated!


  1. In love with your last two posts, especially this one for its extremely detailed report. Thank you so much for the awesome body scale pic. It helps so much (and you're really pretty!...sorry not trying to sound weird). Seeing all your bags and the colors in real light is an incredible help. DD's pics tend to be overexposed. Dune was a tough one to explain to others...a moody, dusky lavender that can skew slightly towards either lavender or beige depending on the light? I used my large Landon and medium Hunter last weekend for the first time. I realized that I need to get a large Hunter! Wish I knew when the whole color line went on clearance!

    1. That's so kind of you to say! I completely agree about DD's pictures...shots of Dune in particular often seem lightened to the point of looking like the Quartz color from an earlier season! I'd say consider signing up for DD's emails if you haven't already—they send out emails when there's a sale or important discount code. There's also an unofficial group on Facebook called the Dagne Dover Handbag Appreciation Society where people will post current coupon codes/sales/restocked item alerts (and helpful information about the brand and bags in general).

  2. Yes! thank you for this post. Great bit about the keys and water bottle holder AND answering my question about if my laptop would fit, with pictures! I really appreciate this & will be on the hunt for other colors.

  3. Do you know what retail was for the Ava? Just scored my first second hand one 🙌🏼