Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cambridge Satchel review: Lovely, but impractical

Pin It Now! Possibly one of the most copied bag styles at the moment, I’ve been lusting over an original Cambridge Satchel Company Satchel for I don’t know how long, but I could never decide on a colour or size. When the limited edition pastel satchels were released, I felt the time was right. I chose lemon yellow as I thought it would be the most versatile colour, but I’m honestly wishing I had taken the lilac. In fact, judging by the fact that blue or pink were the first colours to sell out, maybe I should have picked one of those two!
As pretty as this bag is, after using this for a few weeks, I have to unfortunately conclude that this is an impractical bag.
While the Cambridge Satchel is now available on online shops like Asos and Revolve these days, I really like the experience of ordering straight from the brand. Posting was a little expensive, at £12.00 for international, but it was fast. I got my package within the week.
So here it is, the perfectly proportioned and appropriately preppy chic Cambridge satchel. The simple clean design, single thread stitching and silver hardware gives this bag that old school charm. The shoulder strap has heaps of holes so you can customize the length.
Cambridge satchels are made from high quality cow hide, which gives the bag that signature structure. And this is one bag that will last you a long long time, maybe decades, as long as you don’t take it swimming!
IMG_9200I had intended this bag to be my everyday bag, including for work, but for the reasons below, I’ve actually found it somewhat impractical.
Surprisingly not roomy
Being a satchel, you would expect it to be a bit of a carry all. Carry all’s also look deceptively small, but have magically large capacity. But the 13” Cambridge Satchel is the opposite - the appearance of a satchel, but room of a handbag. I can only really fit in the essentials.
Buckle close is tedious
It’s generally a selling point of the Cambridge Satchel that it retains REAL buckles that the original school bags would have. But I actually can’t imagine people having this as a school bag back in the day. Constantly having to buckle it and unbuckle it all day long? How tedious! But then again, remembering my schoolgirl days, I guess you never opened your school bag all that often-take books out, put in locker, put books back in, go home. Using my Cambridge Satchel, I have a new appreciation of how many times I have to open my bag throughout the day…to reach for money. Ouch.
Leaving the bag unbuckled also doesn’t seem like a viable solution. The thick leather, while aesthetically pleasing, doesn’t allow the flap to fall down on its own, so the bag just constantly hangs open. I guess you could sit the bag under some books to train it into shape, but I’m thinking it’s not that great to bend the leather like that for prolonged periods.
Also, with all the buckling and unbuckling, the strap unfortunately starts to get damaged!
What size Cambridge satchel should you get?
After seeing the 13”, I think that it’s a the perfect satchel handbag size, not too big or too small. The 13” is already a respectable sized satchel, so I think 14” would be too big for an everyday bag, but should A4 files for school or work. The 11” is a whole 2” smaller thane the mid size, so it’s truly a handbag, and would look more like a cross body bag than a satchel. I wouldn’t mind getting a 11” size at some stage.
In conclusion, I think the Cambridge Satchel is a super pretty bag that is quite versatile, but is surprisingly impractical, and maybe would not be worth the £105.00 to £115.00 price tag (and £12.00 shipping cost). However I do note that you can pick up the Cambridge Satchel with free shipping at Asos or Revolve.

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