Longchamp Le Pliage Large Tote – First Impressions and Review.

When it comes to designer bags, I think I’ve invested wisely in particular brands/styles. If you’re curious about the pieces I’ve bought, then please take a while to look through my Neverfull review and Speedy review posts. However, recently I found myself at a bit of a loss when it came to deciding between my two Louis Vuitton’s. Due to the ever-changing nature of British weather, I needed a tote bag (for University and workimg_4073) that wouldn’t be as open as my Neverfull, but was both waterproof and smart. I also needed something that could double as an overnight bag, but wouldn’t look too oversized.
Through my research, I kept stumbling upon the Longchamp Le Pliage bags, and was intrigued by all the positive reviews that I found. For the price point (around £75) this line of bags has had devotees from the Duchess of Cambridge to It-Girl Alexa Chung, and was on the rise in popularity in my town.

So, after deciding upon a colour (Blue Mist – currently in stock for anyone curious) I had my sent from Selfridges to my work address, and I instantly fell in love with the practicality of such a well-constructed bag.

Made out of water-resistant Nylon, with a wipe-clean exterior and interior, this bag is incredibly roomy. I can easily pack my laptop, University books, change of clothes and my everyday essentials for a night away, and still have room to spare. With only a small inner pocket (big enough for some loose change and cards for ease of access) it is a real tote bag in all senses of the word. The Le Pliage also comes with beautiful cowhide snap closure and straps. At the moment, these straps haven’t lost their rigidity, so I do find that they can slip off my shoulder as I’m carrying it, but I’m sure that once they get a little more worn in, they’ll be fine. The straps are a lot thicker than that of the Neverfull, but I don’t find this an issue.

With a zip along the length of the entire bag, along with the snap closure, I feel quite safe carrying belongings in here as I think it’s quite secure. I’ve used this bag as a day-to-night bag, and even from University to date night, which is something I’m pleased that it can accommodate with. So far, it’s proved quite durable, and has dealt with some pretty horrific weather without anything getting wet, which also impressed me.

The Longchamp also has this nifty trick of being able to fold up to the size of a paperback book, which will be useful for the travelling that I intend on doing in the next week.

img_4069All in all, I’ve found no faults with this bag so far, apart from the slight grievance about the rigidity of the leather straps. However, I’m not sure over how durable it’ll be in the long run, but we shall have to see. For £75, I would definitely purchase again.

I bought my bag via Selfridges, and found the delivery and packaging quite satisfactory (you get a tracking number and necessary documentation) and my bag is in the colour Blue Mist – a choice so I could transition this bag from winter to summer without any clashes.

But if you’ve got a Longchamp or anything similar, I’d love to hear from you! Leave me a comment!

Longchamp’s Website

Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM – First Impressions and Review.

As stated in my Louis Vuitton Speedy Bandouliere blogpost, I was saving up for my next Louis Vuitton bag. I knew that this bag would be the fruits of my worklife, and would take a lot of saving and time on my behalf, but I was excited for the opportunity.

Whilst shopping for my Bandouliere, I was shown a Neverfull as a comparison piece, and became enamoured. The structure of the tote bag was something I was sorely missing from my handbag collection, and I wanted this bag to be something that meant a lot to me.

Louis Vuitton Handbag Choices.

Now, like with the Speedy Collection, the Neverfull has different sizes that can make choosing the right bag quite difficult. With three concrete sizes:

  • The Neverfull PM (Smallest of the lot with dimensions = 11.4 x 8.7 x 5.1 inches
    (length x height x width)img_3488
  • The Neverfull MM (Middle size – Dimensions = 12.6 x 11.4 x 6.7 inches)
  • The Neverfull GM (Largest size – Dimensions = 15.7 x 13.0 x 7.9 inches)

The size you choose is all dependent on what you would use it for and what you would pack in it.

From what I can tell, the PM size seems to be quite dainty, the MM seems to be a good day tote/everyday bag, and the GM seems to be a monster of a bag, perfect for luggage/weekend away/hefty office work. However, I knew myself that I didn’t want or need the GM. I’m sure that in the future I’d love to purchase a GM as my definite oversized tote, but for my first Neverfull, I was happy with the smaller MM size.

Also, like with the Speedy Collection, there are a huge amount of different colours, interior and exterior design and personalisation options. I decided to go for the Damier Ebene print (the darkered checkered print) with the Red interior lining. Only a few weeks ago, Louis Vuitton did release the Ebene print with the beautiful Rose Ballerine pink lining, which is a gorgeous mixture, but due to hearing issues with the lining marking quite easily, I wanted to go for something hardier.

For the MM, I paid £835. Louis Vuitton had just done a price increase, which boosted the MM up from £795, which was unfortunate timing on my behalf, but luckily I had saved extra.

Shipping 

I bought the bag online via the Louis Vuitton website, which actually was bit of a palaver, but a phone call to customer service eased my mind. I found that with a bank transfer, Louis Vuitton didn’t confirm when the received the transfer, nor when it cleared. I had to physically ring up and check.

For a UK resident as myself, the bag took a good week or so to arrive from door to door. The shipping was free, and they did give you a tracking number. However, the UPS courier didn’t specify what time they would arrive, so I had to have it shipped to my work address rather than home, as I wouldn’t want it to be delayed or without a signature upon arrival.

The bag came with all receipts, letters and a dustbag, but not in a branded LV box which surprised me. However, I was thrilled when it turned up, and couldn’t wait to use it.

The Review.

As I’ve had this bag for over a month now, I’m comfortable enough to write a review on how it has fared, and what I use it with.

Firstly, the bag is plenty big enough for what I usually carry around. I was really wavering between the MM and GM, just because I couldn’t visualise how big it was going to be (my memory of the size I saw in shop is fairly bad). In my bag I can fit:

  • A Macbook Pro 13inch laptop with charger
  • An A4 notebook
  • Wallet
  • Keys on a large fluffy keyring
  • iPod
  • iPhone
  • A full size deodrant
  • A bagged lunch
  • A scarf
  • A fiction book
  • A 750ml waterbottle
  • A micro umbrella.fullsizerender-1

(Actual image of my Neverfull with everything inside)

Before you ask, yes this makes the bag very heavy. However, it never makes it dreadfully uncomfortable, and I don’t necessarily use the bag for long periods of time when I pack this full. In this brief time I’ve had it, I’ve not noticed any fraying of the straps or any wear to the bag due to how heavy I weigh it down by. This could all change over the years.

Unlike my Speedy, I chose the Damier Ebene print. This choice comes with the treated dark leather straps which are very different from the Speedy’s vachetta leather, that will patina over the time. The Damier Ebene straps won’t change colour, unlike the Speedy. The straps started out initially very firm and stiff, however I am confident that they will soften over the years of use.

Like with the Speedy, the Damier Ebene is a special canvas mix that is waterproof and easily wipe clean, so it’s pretty durable.

The interior of the bag is a gorgeous dark red with black piping, and comes with an deep interior zippered pocket and detachable pochette, that is attached to the bag with a D-ring. The pochette is in the Damier Ebene print and fairly spacious, but can bulge if you stuff it with bulky or circler items. I’ve found that it holds its shape with a compact mirror, small lipstick and tissues. I’ve also used the pochette as a clutch for evenings out, and is plenty big for my cards/iPhone/keys. The pochette can be also used as an extra pocket if you were inclined to keep things in pouches.

The bag also comes with a clasp at the top to offer some security and keep the bag partially shut.

Drawbacks 

The only drawback I’ve properly noticed with this bag is the lack of zip across tfullsizerenderhe whole bag. As the tote is open, all your belongings are on show constantly, which can deter the more safety conscious of us. It’s also a risk for rain. What I’ve done to combat this is I usually layer a thick scarf across my belongings, which can be used to keep some of the rain and eagle-eyed snoops off your possessions. You can also invest in a zippered bag organiser from retailers if you’re so inclined.

Also, as the bag isn’t particularly structured, there can be a deal of sag at the bottom. I’ve had to invest in a base shaper for mine, as I didn’t like how it looked and worried how it could damage my bag. I’ll be doing a review on that when it arrives in the post.

Conclusion

The minor drawbacks are the only issues I’ve had with this bag so far. I think it’s a beautifully designed bag, and spacious enough for my over-packing but couldn’t appear too oversized or out of balance. I love the Damier Ebene print, and I’m happy I chose the red interior. With the base shaper, it’ll help it in shape, and I love using this bag on my heavier workload days, and keep my Speedy for the rainy shopping trips.

However, give me your opinions? If you’ve got a GM, let me know and we’ll have a big handbag discussion in the comments.

 

 

 

 

Louis Vuitton Speedy Bandouliere 30 – First Impressions and Review

So, after a good 10 years of pining, making scrapbook pages and just lusting hopelessly, I finally got to get my dream handbag of a Louis  Vuitton Speedy 30 as a graduation gift. And now, after a month and a bit of using it virtually everyday, I think I can finally write a review on it as being an investment piece, and as an everyday handbag.
So, which handbag did I pick?

The Speedy collection ranges in different sizes – from the teensy Nano through to the 25-40 versions, and with a variety of prints and colours at your disposal:

  • The Monogram – traditional LV printed monogram.
  • The Damier Ebene – brown checkered print.
  • The Damier Azure – cream and blue/grey checkered print.

There are plenty of options for your personal taste. With the addition of the crossbody strap, the Speedy evolves into the Bandouliére design, which in turn also has the Monogram, Damier and the Empreinte design (a embossed leather finish in a variety of colours).

So, as you can see, there is a lot of different colours, styles and choices to make. I chose the Monogram print, as I’ve always loved the LV print over the checkered brown, and I like the idea of the pale patina leather (more of that down below).

Now, I’m a girl who carries the world and its kitchen sink in my bag. As a reader, I always have to have a book with me, and usually there’s chargers, cardigans and just an assortment of crap that gets shoved in the bottom of my bag in case I need it. So I prefer handbags that have a crossbody strap, as it bears some weight off my wrists and has that added security bonus. So for me, the Bandouliére was the perfect design.

But what I get most asked is’how much was it?’, and the answer is very simple. It cost £790. And don’t get me wrong, I appreciate how lucky I am to own this bag, and to be given it as a gift was incredibly generous of my family. But for a designer bag that has been tried-and-tested to be long-lasting, and virtually indestructible as a everyday bag, I think it is worth every penny. Another interesting fact I was told is that the pale calfskin colour of the strap, handles and side would darken in time due to the use and exposure to the elements, which I personally cannot wait for. I love that the bag changes as the years go past, as it shows that I’ve been using it.

So, how does this bag fare? Well, whilst I was at the shop, I was allowed to test out both the 30 and 35 size, as I wasn’t sure how big and deep the bags were. And for me, as a big-bag lover, the 30 was the perfect size. It has plenty of room inside for everything I need, and I’m sure that if I needed to, I could turn this into an overnight bag.

If you detach the shoulder strap, the 30 still retains that capable and comfortable handbag feel, whilst to me, the 35 would have looked a little oversized. However, you need to be mindful of the openings of both bags. The zip opening of the 30 is fine for me, but I do find myself sometimes slotting things in at an angle to actually get them into the bag. The 35 may also have the added room so you can completely overfill your bag with every possible necessity, and it not appearing fit to burst. But, it’s entirely up to you and your personal preference.

The bag is brown canvas inside, so there is no worry of scratching any soft leather if you shove your life into this bag, and it has one inside pocket. The inside pocket isn’t the most open or widest pocket ever, so usually I just stick something flat inside there,such as train tickets or keys. The bag also comes with the added security of a lock and key.

I also chose the Bandouliére over the traditional Speedy due to the added shoulder strap, and security that it brings. The Speedy’s handles are notoriously small, so really it can only be held in the hands or in the crock of the elbow. And sometimes, when you have a lot of stuff in your bag, or you just want to have it out of the way, that can feel a bit overwhelming or heavy. Also, despite the Classic Speedy having flaps for a possible strap, these are just punctuared holes in a piece of leather, so if you overburdened your bag, and had a strap holding it up, it may rip and completely disfigure the shape of your bag.

With the Bandouliére’s reinforced side panels, hooks and having actual measures put in to make sure a strap is a viable option, I chose that one. The strap is also an interesting piece of workmanship, as it’s
not just one long piece of leather with an adjustable slide, but actually two straps that buckle together. So this can be switched up to be either a crossbody bag, for those times when you just want to sling it across and forget about it, or a fashionable shoulder bag. The straps also have three different lengths, so you honestly can mix it up so many ways. However, you must be warned. The Bandouliére is +£200 more expensive than the Classic Speedy in the same size. So there are positives and negatives to that.

So how is this bag boxed, and how was the customer service? Customer service was exemplary. As I went into the New Bond Street’s Louis Vuitton, I was greeted by a host of store members who cooed over the fact that this was my first LV. My server was a lovely Asian lady called Grace, who brought out every bag I asked for, gave me all the information I could ask, and brought over some complimentary drinks which really added to the vibe. She explained everything to me, and let me have a look around the shop as she got my bag ready.

Now, how was the boxing? I must say, the packaging for these bags is well done. I got dustbags, boxes, ribbons and all the bells and whistles. Even the receipt was on plush paper and inside a little envelope. But the actual boxing? For ease of transporting, size and whatnot, your bag is folded up and flat-packed into the box. And some people may like that. But for me, it was a bit of an ‘oh…’ moment. Because you are paying quite a lot of money (in my mind anyway), and to see your bag being folded up is just a bit odd. I guess if you were buying a more expensive bag, it wouldn’t get manipulated that way, but who knows. So afterwards, the bag did need a few days being padded out and warped back into shape. The Monogram Canvas bag isn’t actually full leather (a fact I didn’t know) so it can be moved into those positions and squished without too much damage. But I guess that is why it lasts. I can be tossed around, and it will last.

But all in all, I love my bag. I know some people find the Monogram print a bit tacky, and copied. And I was torn between the Speedy and the Neverfull (which is going to be my next splurge), but this is me getting my lifelong dream bag. I use it all the time, it’s a perfect transitionary piece between all the seasons, night and day, and it just screams class in my opinion. I am so happy with it!

But if you have any questions on this bag, please let me know below. I hope this is enough of a review.

But let me know if you’ve got a Louis Vuitton, and whether you think it’s worth it!