“ Brand: Marks & Spencer / Type: Satchel „
I've waited a long time to use that famous quote as a review title and given my Dooyoo ID, it seems appropriate although, strictly speaking, this bag isn't so much a handbag but more of a shoulder/tote/satchel.
I first spotted this on a trip to Marks & Spencer the other week but thought that at £69 it was rather pricey. However, after a week of deliberation, I decided that wasn't too much to spend on such a good quality, leather bag which was likely to last a lifetime and besides, I wanted it. I duly returned to the store the following week to buy it only to discover, to my dismay, that the colour I wanted was gone! All was not lost, however, and I eventually found one draped over the shoulder of a display dummy and got an assistant to wrest it away from the dummy and give it to me to buy. Result!
As you'd expect from a Marks & Spencer product, this is a very well made item that screams quality. It's made from a beautifully soft leather but not so soft that it won't retain its shape and it comes complete with that wonderful new leather smell. As you can see from the photograph, it isn't a fancy style but is designed along classic lines which hopefully won't date and although it's described by M&S as a slouch bag, personally I think it looks more along the lines of a messenger bag. The colour options are dark tan (called chestnut on the label) and black and I opted for the dark tan which I felt would go with everything and is a bit less boring than black. The bag is sold complete with its own storage bag which I've found is generally an indication of good quality merchandise.
The front flap has a decorative brass buckle but actually fastens by means of a magnetic popper which needs some effort to open and the reverse of the bag has an open pocket, again secured by a magnetic popper. My shoulders are fairly narrow and I always have problems with double straps on shoulder bags as one of the straps invariably ends up dangling off my shoulder unless I hunch up on one side (which isn't a good look). This bag has a single, broad shoulder strap which is secured by squared brass rings. (I know that's an oxymoron but I don't know any other word to describe them).
The strap is adjusted via secondary straps stitched onto the sides of the bag which loop back on themselves and have four punched holes on either side to allow the strap to be lengthened or shortened and secured by a brass stud. Although there are four positions for the strap, only three of these are actually viable for use, with the fourth being there merely for show, I assume. However, as these holes are on either end of the strap, there is quite a deal of adjustment available allowing the strap length to vary between roughly 76cm (30") and 91cm (36") Even on its shortest setting, there is enough strap to wear this bag across the body for added security, although it would be more comfortable on a longer setting and would also sit better on the body.
Inside the bag, the lining is made of good quality polyester/cotton in a toning shade of brown (I assume the black version has a black lining). There is a good sized zipped compartment for valuables with a leather pull tag attached to the zip, as well as twin pouches one of which is large enough to hold a smart phone such as a Blackberry and the other designed for a more normal sized mobile.
The label says the bag is wipe clean although as both colour options are dark, I can't imagine it showing much dirt. I'm more concerned about whether the leather gets scuffed or not but imagine any such damage can easily be touched up by a small amount of leather polish.
Like most women, I carry just about everything but the kitchen sink in my bag and this one could definitely be described as capacious offering plenty of room for not just the normal things like purse, make up, credit cards etc, but is also big enough to hold larger items. There is plenty of room for everything I carry around, including a pair of shoes and my lunch on walk to work days. At a push, there's room for an A4 folder, though there wouldn't be much space left for much else, it has to be said.
The dimensions are 28cm (11") high by 38cm (15") wide with a depth of 13cm (5"). These are fairly approximate dimensions, measured with a tape measure and they differ slightly from those quoted by the M&S website. It's actually much bigger than it looks in this photograph. On the M&S website there is a photo of it with a model which gives a better idea of size.
The dark tan colour makes it suitable for use throughout the winter months and well into Spring. Though it could be used during the Summer, it's really a little too dark and heavy looking in my opinion, to go well with lighter Summer clothes or colours.
I'm absolutely delighted with my purchase. This is a great addition to my daytime wardrobe and I anticipate it will last for many years to come. In fact, it might well outlive me!