Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review: J.Crew Biennial Medium Satchel in Calf Hair

The description on the J.Crew website reads:

Featuring the same perfect proportions as the universally adored Biennial satchel, now in a scaled-down version. Crafted in the most exquisite Italian calf hair we could find (we searched three continents), with separate compartments for our wallet, keys, makeup, an iPad and whatever else. We love that it keeps us totally organized and gives us license to go a little wild. Bonus: an adjustable, removable shoulder strap makes it so versatile. 
  • Italian calf hair.
  • Removable, adjustable shoulder strap fully extends to 16 1/2".
  •  5 1/4" handle drop.
  • 8 1/8"H x 11 5/8"W x 7 1/8"D.
  •  Import. 

I have a serious weakness for calf-hair handbags and shoes, so the moment I first spotted this bag in the J.Crew Fall 2012 Lookbook, I knew I would have to check it out in person. Knowing that the bag was to debut at the beginning of September, I placed a pre-order for it through my personal shopper with a promo code for an extra % off that I had received. To my delight, it not only arrived this week, but happens to be quite lovely in person.

The bag is a combination of black/white calf-hair and soft black pebbled leather with goldtone hardware. There are two separate zippered compartments that are both quite roomy.

When closed, the zippers are held to the bag with concealed magnetized snaps. You can see what the outside of the pull looks like when snapped shut on the right side of the photo. The hook in the middle of the bag is part of the black leather removable strap that comes attached to the bag upon arrival.

The bottom of the bag has 'feet' to prevent excessive wear and tear to the leather. They match the studs on the outside of the zipper pulls.

The bag is a nice medium size, which I am very happy about, as the regular size Biennial Satchel is too big for my needs. (You can see a model holding the regular size bag here and the medium Calf hair bag here on the Net-a-Porter site for comparison.)

As many of you already know, I own the Collection Viv Calf Hair Flats (which xoxo reviewed here) and love them. I also like to match my shoes to my handbag, so I was hoping that the Biennial Medium Satchel in Calf Hair would not disappoint in real life. I am happy to say that I think it is even prettier in person than it is on the website. Just like the online pics of the Viv calf hair flats, the images for the bag do not do it justice.

This is just one of the outfits that I have planned to wear with the handbag and flats...
Leopard and Pearls...

Love them together....

**For those of you who may be interested in the Leather Biennial Medium satchel, Rynetta reviewed the Blue Grotto bag here.

***Just a reminder that tomorrow is the last day to take advantage of the Extra 30% off sale at J.Crew. There were some new Promo-priced items and markdowns this week, too. The Women's updated list is here, and the Men's list is here.

Have a lovely day! :)



  1. The bag looks exquisite and a lovely match for your shoes. If you load up the bag does the bottom sag at all? Rose mentioned that the large Biennial did sag so I'm curious if the smaller one does or if it depends what you put in it. The pattern on your shoes is quite different from mine and I must say I like yours better! Tough luck though, they are sold out so I'll keep what I have. Thank you for the blog mention.

    1. Thank you xoxo! Well, I loaded the bag with all of the usual things that I carry on a daily basis, and only noticed a tiny bit of sagging on the bottom. It is barely noticeable though, and definitely not a deal breaker for me. :) Thank you for giving the wonderful review on the Viv calf hair flats, and information about the rubber sole savers. I'm going to put some on my shoes, too.

  2. It looks gorgeous FFM! What a beautiful and classic combo that you'll have for many years to come. An easy way to elevate a simple outfit too. Maybe I'll luck out if the bag makes it to sale. :)

    1. Thank you M! I love the bag and shoes paired with a simple, understated outfit. They really do elevate the look. :)

  3. OOOOOO, this is a great bag!!!! And, thanks SO much for the link love!

  4. Oh my gosh - so elegant! Love your outfit! So lovely! I am going to blatantly steal it!

    1. Thanks WMM! I look forward to seeing you in a similar look. :)

  5. Sometimes J. Crew just hits it out of the park and makes an item so perfect it's a must have. I really love this bag and I didn't think I was going to!

  6. I too saw the bag in the fall collection lookbook and love it!
    Beautiful with the shoes too!
    Thanks for the reviews.

    1. Do the viv flats fit true to size?

    2. Thanks Sue! I sized up a half size in mine from a 9.5 to a 10.