I resisted (and am still resisting, to a point) for a really long time. Up until a couple of years ago, my bag of choice was a backpack or messenger-style bag that I could fit everything I needed for class or whatever I was studying at the time. When I stopped studying, I kept using my messenger bag until it fell apart. I bought a very basic cloth bag while we were in Malaysia in 2010 - not a handbag, per se, more a sack-style bag. When that wore out (which happened fairly quickly - it *was* a very basic bag), I had to find a new bag, and the replacement was the most handbag like of bags I've had to date - a tan, embossed, fake leather zip-top bag with a long strap that I could wear across my body messenger-style. It was a cross between a messenger bag and a handbag, I suppose - still casual enough that I could wear it with my every day jeans and t-shirt outfit, but nice enough that it wasn't *too* out of place if I dressed up a little. Sadly, it was cheap (and fake) and also didn't last particularly long. As it was on its last legs, I started hunting for a new bag.
I carry around a lot of stuff, just like Mum - toiletries, notebooks, a Kindle, a purse, a mobile phone, keys, glasses, pens, an umbrella, sometimes Dave's stuff too...A remarkably similar list to Mum's! But a business-style handbag just isn't me. It would be out of place with my every day outfits. I prefer to wear my bag messenger-style so my hands are free but the bag is secure and can't be snatched. I started looking at satchels as a possibility, and when I saw this post by one of my favourite Australian fashion bloggers I made my choice - a satchel from The Leather Satchel Co.
I ordered my bag on 13 November and it arrived on 30 November, less than 3 weeks later - pretty impressive for a bespoke order, I thought. I chose their largest basic size, the 15 inch, in chocolate brown. I also customised it by asking for a wider and longer strap and removing the address window pocket. The service was really fast and helpful and the shipping was with DHL so was easy to track.
When I opened the box, the bag was in it's dust cover:
It came with an envelope that contained important care information (and had a neat Lewis Carroll quote on it!):
The bag is deep, rich chocolate brown and smells fantastic. There are no pockets or anything inside, just the plain leather, but it's tanned to a beautiful smooth finish.
The leather isn't too stiff but still feels sturdy. The wide strap and strap-buckle, the rivets, and the stitching all feel very strong. The buckles on the main flap do feel a little bit light to me, but I'm sure they'll still last for ages and can be easily replaced. The pocket on the front is big enough for my Kindle and a journalist-style notebook.
All my stuff, including my umbrella which somehow escaped this photo, easily fits inside it with room to spare for extras if I need to fit in anything else. It doesn't feel overly heavy and is really comfortable to carry. All up, including the custom options I chose and the shipping, my bag was £112. I ordered directly from the factory because it meant I could choose my own options, although ASOS also sell pre-made bags from the same company.
I realised when I went to use my new bag for the first time today that I should have specified I was left-handed and wear my bags on my left side, because they way the shoulder strap is attached means the buckle is on the front. I actually don't mind it, I think it looks neat, but I'm a little concerned it will wear out faster that way. Still, I love the bag and know that I'm going to get many, many years wear out of it. In fact, I'd like a mini one, in red or another bright colour, for special occasions!