Sunday, December 4, 2016

Lo & Sons The Seville in Black Saffiano Review - 13 Inch

I think it’s no secret that I’m a Lo & Sons fan. I own 3 of their bags - the Catalina, the Pearl, and now the Seville. The designs are thoughtful, with utility and style in mind, without compromising quality above all.

With that said, I bought the 13 inch Seville in black saffiano leather about four months ago when it was on sale with the intent to replace my well loved Longchamp Pliage which I used as a work bag. I wanted something a lot more polished and professional since I’m frequently traveling to clients for presentations. One of the features of this bag that appealed to me was the ability to swap out the shell for something lighter weight and travel friendly, a laptop compartment meant to fit a 13’ computer, and of course, a zip!

Receiving the package, its contents included a dust bag, a nylon shell, and a black saffiano shell.

Travel Friendliness
When I bought this, it was a few days before I was going to fly out to Colorado for a short vacation. On a whim, I decided to bring this bag in its nylon shell to keep the essentials on hand. Laptop, cell phone, empty water bottle, various knick knacks, snacks, and a bag of toiletries. It’s really light on the shoulder, stands upright on its own, and the nylon shell has a zippable flap in the back to slide over your carry on handle. The top of course does zip all the way across, which gave me a sense of security as I was traveling. The straps are wide and made of leather, and was comfortable on the shoulder.

When I initially bought this bag, I didn’t think I’d ever use the nylon shell at all. But I definitely see the appeal! I just wish it came in more colors, as I’d definitely snag another pair for a more casual every day.

Switching Up The Shell
When I came home, I was assigned to a new local client, which meant switching from the nylon to the Saffiano shell.  When I initially started doing research on this bag, I was a little hesitant about the ability to switch shells at all. I was nervous that the buttons would not hold under the weight of the bag, and it would snap off easily. However, it is definitely not the case.

In fact, switching the shell came with a bit of difficulty, since the fasteners were so tight. The buttons are a bit hard to snap on, but once they’re on, I could see they were really secure and took some force to snap off.

Saffiano Shell
As for the Saffiano shell - if you’re familiar with the Pearl saffiano, it’s the same one. I bought it in black (because I buy everything in black) so nothing to write home about. Very durable, scratch resistent, and water resistant. the bottom of this shell has four golden feet so the bag can stand upright without touching the ground. Of course, once you start loading the bag up with things, the middle of the bag WILL touch the ground. But the bottom of this shell is made of a durable leather, so I’m not too worried about it. But all in all, nothing of note - a very good looking saffiano leather that is suitable for a professional setting.

The Insides
The organizational features of this bag are a real step up for me, upgrading from the Longchamp Pliage. Going from 0 pockets to all the pockets! I didn’t realize what I was missing from my life!

The main pocket here is the laptop sleeve, and will fit a 13’ laptop. I have a Dell Latitude Ultrabook for work, so this fits perfectly. My Macbook Air also fits with room to spare. For both computers, I still have room to fit either a legal pad or a notebook in the same slot.

Other than that, there's one pocket sewn onto the laptop pocket which has a bit of depth to it. I usually keep my notebook there. On the other side, two additional pockets where I keep a hand moisturizer, wireless mouse, phone, and my laptop charger. Additionally, there is a zip pocket on the same side that I keep smaller things in. I usually keep my headphones and card wallet in this (Ventra pass, license, keycard to office, credit card).

With all of that, there's still room in the middle, which I usually keep my keys on the attached lanyard. Like the Pearl crossbody I have, the lanyard here is long enough to reach the door without struggling too much.

I'm really pleased with the bag overall. As I mentioned, I was looking for an upgrade from my Longchamp, which carried me through college and the first two years of my job. I've since been in a significantly more client facing role with a lot more travel. The Seville in Saffiano fit all of my criteria - water resistant saffiano, laptop compartment, travel friendly shell option, zippered pocket. I did consider briefly the 15" option, but after seeing some comparison photos on their website, decided it would've overwhelmed my frame (5'2").

The Seville right now is on promo at Lo & Sons - several varieties are 40% off which is an additional 10% off of when I purchased in August!


Saturday, December 3, 2016

J. Crew Chateau Parka Review

I recently picked up a new wool coat while I was in Portland as one of my pieces for F/W 2016. This one is from J. Crew and is called the Chateau Parka. I usually don't shop at J. Crew, mainly due to the price and also hearing anecdotes that the quality does not match the price.

I stopped in to actually pick up this coat for my mom, since she's had her eye on it for about a year now. I tried on a couple sizes to gauge what size she might be and fell in love with the fit of the coat. I've always really liked A line or Cocoon style coats. This one in a size 00  hits about mid-thigh. The shoulders across fit perfectly, and the sleeve length ends about an inch up from my knuckles. 

The wool itself is smooth, hefty, and seems resistant to pilling (at least for now!). It's very warm and is pretty wind resistant. The A line shape of the coat does let wind up inside of the coat from the bottom, but doesn't bother me, as it keeps my core warm - just not my thighs. The inside of the coat is lined with a satin poly, and has an inside pocket. The outside of the coat has four pockets - 2 zip up ones big enough to fit a card wallet or a cell phone, and 2 button flap pockets that are much roomier. The hood is faux fur lined, and is the one downside to this coat. It sheds considerably and I find I need to lint roll the coat pretty frequently. It has lessened over time though AND the fur is detatchable. 

Overall, I think it's a good value for what it is if you manage to pick it up on sale. I bought this during a 30% off sale + no sales tax in Portland. Chicago's sales tax is 12.5% within the city center, so effectively I saved about 42.5% from what I would've paid originally.