“ Brand: Mulberry / Type: Shoulder Bag „
===First things first, who or what is Mulberry?===
It's a kind of bush that you can go round, early in the morning, if the notion takes you.
Alternately, it's an iconic English fashion label. Now, I'm not the kind of girl who's wont to bandy words like 'iconic' and 'label' around lightly, because I am not an arse, but in this instance it's appropriate. Mulberry really is a very well known and quite exclusive brand. Mainly they're famous for their leather handbags but I believe they also make travel bags, laptop cases and the like as well as clothing for men and women.
===Where did you get it?===
I got mine from Mulberry's outlet store in the Cheshire Oaks outlet centre. If you're considering getting a Mulberry bag, I would strongly advise you to buy only from one of their shops, a branch within a department store like John Lewis or Debenhams, or from their online shop. These bags are VERY expensive and the market is flooded with fakes. The last thing you want is to spend your hard-earned pennies only to find it's not the real deal. If you do buy one second-hand, I'd suggest asking to see the receipt and checking that the serial number inscribed on a tag inside the bag is verifiable. There are other indications like the quality of the lining and the logo on the front, but these can be convincingly faked.
===Which bag and what does it look like?===
Mine is the Oversized Alexa, which translates into a large, satchel-style leather bag that has both a handle and a shoulder strap. The colour is 'conker': a deep, rich red-brown shade which goes well with the majority of outfits and is unlikely to look dated any time soon. All the clasps and buckles are highly polished, gold coloured brass which compliments the look of the leather well. The carrying handle is plaited leather and the shoulder strap is plain leather and can be detached. The satchel-style buckles on the front are decorative; the bag actually closes via means of magnetic clasps and a postman's lock inscribed with the Mulberry logo.
===How much stuff can you get in it?===
It's a pretty commodious bag, with one main large compartment, a small zipped pocket at the back and a pouch in which to put a mobile phone. I'm the kind of girl who carries a ridiculous amount of stuff in her bag and it easily accommodates everything I need for the day. Without struggling, I could fit in my iPad, purse, keys, phone, paperback, perfume, hairbrush and make up bag and still have plenty of room left for incidentals. That said, it's worth remembering that this isn't a rigid bag and so I'm very cautious about not over-filling it - I'd never try and fit my laptop in there or anything - as too much bulky stuff could cause the leather to lose its shape.
===Why did you buy it?===
Pure indulgence on my part, I'm afraid. My boyfriend knew I'd wanted one for ages so we agreed that we'd each each treat the other to a luxury gift before we bought our house and had to start being sensible with our money. My best friend, who's a boy, was horrified when I told him and it could be argued that he has a point: it cost a huge amount of money and I probably should feel a little guilty, but I really don't. Keats was right when he said that a thing of beauty is a joy forever and this bag makes me happy whenever I see it. It instantly adds a touch of class to any outfit and, as daft as it may sound, gives me a bit of added confidence when attending meetings, interviews and the like. The buffalo leather is absolutely sumptuous: buttery soft, slightly glossy and with that glorious aroma that you get with a really good quality product. Pleasingly, almost a year down the line I can still smell it which is the hallmark of a properly tanned hide.
There is also a practical element, too. Prior to this, my most expensive bag was a Matthew Williamson one that I bought as a reward for quitting smoking. It came in at around a hundred pounds but five years down the line it's only really suitable as an everyday, casual bag. The straps are fraying, the buckles are dulled and the leather has lost its shape and sheen. By contrast, I expect Alexa to be a bag that lasts me a lifetime and which I will eventually pass down to my niece. The style and colour are timeless and although I was initially captivated by a watermelon green one, I'm glad I went with the conker shade as it won't look dated in a couple of years' time. Other than occasionally treating it with water-stop spray and not being careless with it, I shouldn't really have to do too much to maintain its longevity. When looked at from that perspective, the price doesn't seem *that* unreasonable.
If I was going to be really picky, I'd say that I'd like the inner part of the bag to be subdivided into two, smaller sections as it would make it easier to organise my stuff and find things. I also wish there were feet on the underside to prevent the leather from getting scuffed if it's set on the floor. So far, though, if there hasn't been enough seating to allow me to put my Mulberry on a chair, I've simply insisted that my boyfriend sits on the floor and Alexa gets his seat.
===Finally, how much will one set you back?===
Mine came in at £647 in summer 2012. The same colour is no longer available as Mulberry tend to only release a few shades per season but the 'oak' shade can be bought online or in store for £895. Mulberry don't keep making the same style of bag indefinitely so this range will be discontinued eventually at which point the resale value will increase slightly. Given the variety of leathers and colours Alexa is available in and how popular this style has been, I think it will be a while before it's retired.