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In praise of the XL


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Jun 19, 2012, 10:42am   #1
i
Thread Starter
in paris
Member
I've been looking into getting one of these for quite some time, dithering about price and colour, etc. I knew this was the size I wanted because I needed it to, at the very least, carry my 15" MacBook Pro for travel.

So I had to get a black, non? I mean, it was a computer bag, after all, and was going to be dragged through all the elements -- rain, hail, sleet, snow, mud and, if lucky, a little sunshine to boot… What other colour could stand up to this abuse?

But there was this price issue thing -- how much money was I willing to pay for what was essentially going to be a travel computer bag? (Ignore the fact that I could have gotten a fantastically perfect that would carry my computer and all my lenses for less than a quarter of the price -- I'm a girl and wanted my work bag to be decidedly different.)

On the way to realising black was my only choice, I turned down other colours at decent prices and missed out on the one black that Erica (HG Bags) had at a price I could swallow… sigh. It just wasn't meant to be.

Fast forward a few months when I had just traveled with a truly loathsome computer bag (trams, trains, airplanes, and endless walking as my gate always seemed to be the furthest away) and HG Bags had another sale… I was to leave in two days to go visit my father in Hawaii and was dreading lugging my computer and lenses once again when voilà, there it was… Not black, mind you, but another colour I had been eyeing -- Smoke.

Would Smoke hold up to the elements? Was it really a grey or that putrid colour I'd seen on countless websites? Would I get it in time? Was I mad to spend so much money? The answers: Yes, if you're not fussed by perfection. Not that I could see except the edges, though much better a taupe than I saw on the internet. Yes (have I mentioned how much I adore Erica?). Yes, but no (keep in mind there was an element of retail therapy to this as well).

What I didn't realise at the time was that this bag, this monster heavy XL, would be my trusty companion for a lot more than just travel… Though for travel, it exceeded expectations and then some.

If I'd gotten the black, I doubt I would have done what I did, but my brand new to me (and barely used) Smoke was carried around in Hawaii. There's nothing I hate more than have my hands full of shopping bags when I need them free to photograph if something takes my fancy. The XL took care of this and I was truly amazed at the amount I could pack into it whilst still being able to find my essentials.

Back in L.A., I thought my bag would languish… Wrong. I ended up having to lug my computer and/or hard drive with me to the service bureau several times and was then stuck carrying it the rest of the day. The XL (and, dare I say, also the fact it wasn't black) was brilliant for this because it never once looked like a computer bag. I never felt silly carrying it, even when I had to take it into an expensive restaurant.

In fact, I even started carrying it even when there wasn't a computer to lug -- it was just so functional! I was in love. And everywhere I went, my bag was commented on (including, lol, next to the PS display at Neiman's). My bag, less than a month old, looked as if it had been with me always. It has character beyond belief.

Travel back to Paris, and then two weeks across the UK, it was always by my side. I do not think I have ever had a more useful bag in my life! And that lovely little pocket in the back for quick access to boarding tickets and passport, wow! At first I was a bit mistrustful of things falling out but, no, they stayed in place and made for easy access.

Now about the weight... There is absolutely no way to lie -- it's heavy. Heavier than I usually care to carry, to be honest. Strangely enough, you can put a lot into it, though, and it never really feels all that much heavier... And, on the plus side, it is so sturdy and well made that I never worried about needing to protect whatever was inside -- be it computer, lenses, camera, or whatnot. It could withstand heavy knocks and the elements.

And the colour? I love Smoke and it goes with everything I own -- it's just so neutral. Would I have preferred to be more grey (like the colour I saw in the display)? Yes and no. The colour I have is just so unique that it can go with both warm and cool tones in my wardrobe, winter through summer. A true grey, not so much... On the negative side, after two weeks of non-stop rain (I got off the plane and immediately went on a road trip and so didn't have a chance to change bags), the colour is finally turning. It's getting browner (which I don't mind) and a bit yellower (which I'm not so fond of -- anyone know of a conditioner that will darken the bag or take the yellow out?)... Whatever. I am sure it has many more shades it will go through before I'm done

Excuse my babbling, but I know a lot of people want to know about the XL and yet few people get it (or talk about it much)... It's brilliant! Perhaps it's a bit much as an every day bag but, as I can't afford to get all the sizes, I couldn't have asked for anything more.
Jun 19, 2012, 11:20am   #2
Elliespurse's Avatar
Elliespurse
TPF Moderator
Great review!! I also have the XL and I agree on everything, I love that it's sturdy and has large pockets especially the back pocket for quick access to boarding tickets etc. I have the black but I can imagine your smoke looks really special now.
Jun 19, 2012, 12:22pm   #3
ehemelay's Avatar
ehemelay
Member
I totally agree with you, one of the best features of the XL is that it can "double" as a regular bag, even when you're carrying your laptop. It's definitely restaurant-appropriate.

I used to own an XL and had to sell it because - I'm almost embarrassed to admit this - it was too small for my work needs (I often have to carry two laptops, a 13" MBP and a 15" Dell).

So glad you are enjoying your beautiful bag!
Jun 19, 2012, 12:42pm   #4
i
Thread Starter
in paris
Member
I guess it was more of musings or babblings, but... there were so many times I wanted to scream that I love my bag whilst using it that I just had to share

And you (Elliespurse), more than anyone, know the angst I went through on the colour, lol... Black would have been safe, would have been elegant, would have been all the things that I am not.

You, more than anyone, convinced me of the usefulness of the XL (I guess that's why it always stayed at the back of mind), but I needed to get it and really use it to understand just how perfect it is... And, since it's already been rained on incessantly, I guess I'll just keep on using it that way (much safer than my B Bag to protect my Leica). There is a charm of well-worn leather, imo, when you get it in a colour that can really show it!

ehemelay, I understand. I've carried my 15" and my boyfriend's 11" MBA (and iPad) on occasion, but I think that additional Dell would have done me in as well. I'd seen that you had sold your burgundy and almost cussed you out that you hadn't sold it to me (never mind that Smoke was my perfect neutral, I didn't know it at the time).

Thank you, anyways, for showing me that I wasn't too short (5'3") to carry this bag. That really helped. And you knowledge (and computers) as to which size fit what (I would have been miserable with a large for travel purposes).

Oh, that reminds me of another plus I forgot to mention of the XL -- it fits under the seat in front of you, even when travelling in cattle class. I've had other bags, filled to the brim, that couldn't be stuffed in. The XL, because of it's shape and size, fits like a glove even when filled.

(And a con -- it was too small to use to carry my prints from the service bureau. For that, I'll be bringing my Weekender in Bordeaux that happens to look lovely next to Smoke.)
Jun 19, 2012, 1:45pm   #5
schadenfreude's Avatar
schadenfreude
really
Fabulous review! Your writing style is delightful - you make your review sound like such an adventure. :)
Jun 20, 2012, 6:47pm   #6
T
Trail7
Member
This was a really helpful review- thank you for taking the time to tell us what your experiences have been with an XL. I was sure- but not quite- now I am sure.
Jun 21, 2012, 11:22pm   #7
M
MarikoUSA
Member
Originally Posted by in paris
I've been looking into getting one of these for quite some time, dithering about price and colour, etc. I knew this was the size I wanted because I needed it to, at the very least, carry my 15" MacBook Pro for travel.

So I had to get a black, non? I mean, it was a computer bag, after all, and was going to be dragged through all the elements -- rain, hail, sleet, snow, mud and, if lucky, a little sunshine to boot… What other colour could stand up to this abuse?

But there was this price issue thing -- how much money was I willing to pay for what was essentially going to be a travel computer bag? (Ignore the fact that I could have gotten a fantastically perfect that would carry my computer and all my lenses for less than a quarter of the price -- I'm a girl and wanted my work bag to be decidedly different.)

On the way to realising black was my only choice, I turned down other colours at decent prices and missed out on the one black that Erica (HG Bags) had at a price I could swallow… sigh. It just wasn't meant to be.

Fast forward a few months when I had just traveled with a truly loathsome computer bag (trams, trains, airplanes, and endless walking as my gate always seemed to be the furthest away) and HG Bags had another sale… I was to leave in two days to go visit my father in Hawaii and was dreading lugging my computer and lenses once again when voilà, there it was… Not black, mind you, but another colour I had been eyeing -- Smoke.

Would Smoke hold up to the elements? Was it really a grey or that putrid colour I'd seen on countless websites? Would I get it in time? Was I mad to spend so much money? The answers: Yes, if you're not fussed by perfection. Not that I could see except the edges, though much better a taupe than I saw on the internet. Yes (have I mentioned how much I adore Erica?). Yes, but no (keep in mind there was an element of retail therapy to this as well).

What I didn't realise at the time was that this bag, this monster heavy XL, would be my trusty companion for a lot more than just travel… Though for travel, it exceeded expectations and then some.

If I'd gotten the black, I doubt I would have done what I did, but my brand new to me (and barely used) Smoke was carried around in Hawaii. There's nothing I hate more than have my hands full of shopping bags when I need them free to photograph if something takes my fancy. The XL took care of this and I was truly amazed at the amount I could pack into it whilst still being able to find my essentials.

Back in L.A., I thought my bag would languish… Wrong. I ended up having to lug my computer and/or hard drive with me to the service bureau several times and was then stuck carrying it the rest of the day. The XL (and, dare I say, also the fact it wasn't black) was brilliant for this because it never once looked like a computer bag. I never felt silly carrying it, even when I had to take it into an expensive restaurant.

In fact, I even started carrying it even when there wasn't a computer to lug -- it was just so functional! I was in love. And everywhere I went, my bag was commented on (including, lol, next to the PS display at Neiman's). My bag, less than a month old, looked as if it had been with me always. It has character beyond belief.

Travel back to Paris, and then two weeks across the UK, it was always by my side. I do not think I have ever had a more useful bag in my life! And that lovely little pocket in the back for quick access to boarding tickets and passport, wow! At first I was a bit mistrustful of things falling out but, no, they stayed in place and made for easy access.

Now about the weight... There is absolutely no way to lie -- it's heavy. Heavier than I usually care to carry, to be honest. Strangely enough, you can put a lot into it, though, and it never really feels all that much heavier... And, on the plus side, it is so sturdy and well made that I never worried about needing to protect whatever was inside -- be it computer, lenses, camera, or whatnot. It could withstand heavy knocks and the elements.

And the colour? I love Smoke and it goes with everything I own -- it's just so neutral. Would I have preferred to be more grey (like the colour I saw in the display)? Yes and no. The colour I have is just so unique that it can go with both warm and cool tones in my wardrobe, winter through summer. A true grey, not so much... On the negative side, after two weeks of non-stop rain (I got off the plane and immediately went on a road trip and so didn't have a chance to change bags), the colour is finally turning. It's getting browner (which I don't mind) and a bit yellower (which I'm not so fond of -- anyone know of a conditioner that will darken the bag or take the yellow out?)... Whatever. I am sure it has many more shades it will go through before I'm done

Excuse my babbling, but I know a lot of people want to know about the XL and yet few people get it (or talk about it much)... It's brilliant! Perhaps it's a bit much as an every day bag but, as I can't afford to get all the sizes, I couldn't have asked for anything more.
This was a really helpful review. I have had my eye on an XL PS1, but someone at Proenza Schouler told me that you cannot use ANY conditioners or waterproofing on their PS1 satchels. This makes me nervous. I like character in a bag, but I don't like it to look really, really beat up. I want to have the option of babying it a little ( it's such a great bag, why not !!) I love the easy access pockets, they're SO SO useful !! PS told me to buy a black one, but I don't want a black one, I like the smoke color. I definitely wouldn't want any yellowing. How are others with this bag finding the leather, in terms of it holding up in bad weather? It's a big investment I would gladly make if I could trust the leather. I totally agree with you it can go from work to restaurantsetc. So versatile looking. Also, can you take the know in the strap out, to make it longer? I like straps longer, like the Mulberry satchels, 44"-50". Great length.
Jun 21, 2012, 11:23pm   #8
M
MarikoUSA
Member
Originally Posted by in paris
I've been looking into getting one of these for quite some time, dithering about price and colour, etc. I knew this was the size I wanted because I needed it to, at the very least, carry my 15" MacBook Pro for travel.

So I had to get a black, non? I mean, it was a computer bag, after all, and was going to be dragged through all the elements -- rain, hail, sleet, snow, mud and, if lucky, a little sunshine to boot… What other colour could stand up to this abuse?

But there was this price issue thing -- how much money was I willing to pay for what was essentially going to be a travel computer bag? (Ignore the fact that I could have gotten a fantastically perfect that would carry my computer and all my lenses for less than a quarter of the price -- I'm a girl and wanted my work bag to be decidedly different.)

On the way to realising black was my only choice, I turned down other colours at decent prices and missed out on the one black that Erica (HG Bags) had at a price I could swallow… sigh. It just wasn't meant to be.

Fast forward a few months when I had just traveled with a truly loathsome computer bag (trams, trains, airplanes, and endless walking as my gate always seemed to be the furthest away) and HG Bags had another sale… I was to leave in two days to go visit my father in Hawaii and was dreading lugging my computer and lenses once again when voilà, there it was… Not black, mind you, but another colour I had been eyeing -- Smoke.

Would Smoke hold up to the elements? Was it really a grey or that putrid colour I'd seen on countless websites? Would I get it in time? Was I mad to spend so much money? The answers: Yes, if you're not fussed by perfection. Not that I could see except the edges, though much better a taupe than I saw on the internet. Yes (have I mentioned how much I adore Erica?). Yes, but no (keep in mind there was an element of retail therapy to this as well).

What I didn't realise at the time was that this bag, this monster heavy XL, would be my trusty companion for a lot more than just travel… Though for travel, it exceeded expectations and then some.

If I'd gotten the black, I doubt I would have done what I did, but my brand new to me (and barely used) Smoke was carried around in Hawaii. There's nothing I hate more than have my hands full of shopping bags when I need them free to photograph if something takes my fancy. The XL took care of this and I was truly amazed at the amount I could pack into it whilst still being able to find my essentials.

Back in L.A., I thought my bag would languish… Wrong. I ended up having to lug my computer and/or hard drive with me to the service bureau several times and was then stuck carrying it the rest of the day. The XL (and, dare I say, also the fact it wasn't black) was brilliant for this because it never once looked like a computer bag. I never felt silly carrying it, even when I had to take it into an expensive restaurant.

In fact, I even started carrying it even when there wasn't a computer to lug -- it was just so functional! I was in love. And everywhere I went, my bag was commented on (including, lol, next to the PS display at Neiman's). My bag, less than a month old, looked as if it had been with me always. It has character beyond belief.

Travel back to Paris, and then two weeks across the UK, it was always by my side. I do not think I have ever had a more useful bag in my life! And that lovely little pocket in the back for quick access to boarding tickets and passport, wow! At first I was a bit mistrustful of things falling out but, no, they stayed in place and made for easy access.

Now about the weight... There is absolutely no way to lie -- it's heavy. Heavier than I usually care to carry, to be honest. Strangely enough, you can put a lot into it, though, and it never really feels all that much heavier... And, on the plus side, it is so sturdy and well made that I never worried about needing to protect whatever was inside -- be it computer, lenses, camera, or whatnot. It could withstand heavy knocks and the elements.

And the colour? I love Smoke and it goes with everything I own -- it's just so neutral. Would I have preferred to be more grey (like the colour I saw in the display)? Yes and no. The colour I have is just so unique that it can go with both warm and cool tones in my wardrobe, winter through summer. A true grey, not so much... On the negative side, after two weeks of non-stop rain (I got off the plane and immediately went on a road trip and so didn't have a chance to change bags), the colour is finally turning. It's getting browner (which I don't mind) and a bit yellower (which I'm not so fond of -- anyone know of a conditioner that will darken the bag or take the yellow out?)... Whatever. I am sure it has many more shades it will go through before I'm done

Excuse my babbling, but I know a lot of people want to know about the XL and yet few people get it (or talk about it much)... It's brilliant! Perhaps it's a bit much as an every day bag but, as I can't afford to get all the sizes, I couldn't have asked for anything more.
his was a really helpful review. I have had my eye on an XL PS1, but someone at Proenza Schouler told me that you cannot use ANY conditioners or waterproofing on their PS1 satchels. This makes me nervous. I like character in a bag, but I don't like it to look really, really beat up. I want to have the option of babying it a little ( it's such a great bag, why not !!) I love the easy access pockets, they're SO SO useful !! PS told me to buy a black one, but I don't want a black one, I like the smoke color. I definitely wouldn't want any yellowing. How are others with this bag finding the leather, in terms of it holding up in bad weather? It's a big investment I would gladly make if I could trust the leather. I totally agree with you it can go from work to restaurantsetc. So versatile looking. Also, can you take the know in the strap out, to make it longer? I like straps longer, like the Mulberry satchels, 44"-50". That's the best length.
Jun 21, 2012, 11:54pm   #9
Elliespurse's Avatar
Elliespurse
TPF Moderator
Originally Posted by MarikoUSA
his was a really helpful review. I have had my eye on an XL PS1, but someone at Proenza Schouler told me that you cannot use ANY conditioners or waterproofing on their PS1 satchels. This makes me nervous. I like character in a bag, but I don't like it to look really, really beat up. I want to have the option of babying it a little ( it's such a great bag, why not !!) I love the easy access pockets, they're SO SO useful !! PS told me to buy a black one, but I don't want a black one, I like the smoke color. I definitely wouldn't want any yellowing. How are others with this bag finding the leather, in terms of it holding up in bad weather? It's a big investment I would gladly make if I could trust the leather. I totally agree with you it can go from work to restaurantsetc. So versatile looking. Also, can you take the know in the strap out, to make it longer? I like straps longer, like the Mulberry satchels, 44"-50". That's the best length.
For PS saying you cannot do any treatment on the bag, I compare this to LV and the light colored vachetta leather. Both PS and LV say you can't do treatment and both leathers will darken and get waterspots in rain/humid weather, at least the smoke color (some PS colors are ok in rain).

My smoke has been ok but I use an umbrella when it's rainy though.
Jun 22, 2012, 5:24am   #10
i
Thread Starter
in paris
Member
Thank you, schadenfreude!

The situation was such that I spent a lot of time with my new bag and ended up keeping a running commentary in my head, lol!

Stay tuned for the next adventure, coming soon


Glad I could help, Trail7. It really is an extraordinary bag and by far the best I've had for travel and/or lugging the old computer around with grace. The only PITA was during the last road trip, there was no way I was leaving it in the car at rest stops and so ended up taking it out every time (alas, mostly in torrential rain, sob).

If you have any questions, holler! (Oh, and I can say that my shoulder wasn't any worse for the wear -- which, again, was due to the extraordinary design.
Jun 22, 2012, 6:09am   #11
i
Thread Starter
in paris
Member
Originally Posted by MarikoUSA
This was a really helpful review. I have had my eye on an XL PS1, but someone at Proenza Schouler told me that you cannot use ANY conditioners or waterproofing on their PS1 satchels. This makes me nervous. I like character in a bag, but I don't like it to look really, really beat up. I want to have the option of babying it a little ( it's such a great bag, why not !!) I love the easy access pockets, they're SO SO useful !! PS told me to buy a black one, but I don't want a black one, I like the smoke color. I definitely wouldn't want any yellowing. How are others with this bag finding the leather, in terms of it holding up in bad weather? It's a big investment I would gladly make if I could trust the leather. I totally agree with you it can go from work to restaurantsetc. So versatile looking. Also, can you take the know in the strap out, to make it longer? I like straps longer, like the Mulberry satchels, 44"-50". Great length.
Glad I could help.

You saw what Elliespurse (our resident) expert had to say about treatment... Most people do baby their bags and they hold up quite well.

I was in a situation where I couldn't (think endless almost horizontal rain and such where even an umbrella wouldn't protect it). Honestly, if I'd had a black as well, that would have been my choice to bring in such inclement weather... As it was, I could only afford one bag, and I chose to use it... I mean, what is the use of getting something like this to be a work horse if you cringe at every mark?

Honestly, though, before it braved rain every day, the colour really held up well and there wasn't any colour change. The leather just softened a bit and it was developing a character of its own (it never looked beat up, nor does it now).

Being subjected to rain every day (torrential and constant for over a ten day period) is what made the difference... And when I say there is yellowing, it is a bit like old velum books and pages and the most noticeable part is the bottom where it sat in the rain... A bit more babying on my part (hello, lap), and I'm sure it would have fared much better.

And I think some people here *do* use conditioners for water-proofing and protecting lighter bags here (check the reference section) regardless of what PS says. It's your bag, your choice.

When I was looking to get a black one it's because I knew that what I just experienced on that road trip would not be out of the norm. I'm based in Belgium where it seems to rain most every day and we often travel to Scotland where, again, rain is the norm... I got the Smoke because I had always been somewhat drawn to its unique colour and, well, it was available at the right price at the right time. (When you're dealing with leather, good untreated leather, you have to accept the consequences of use. It doesn't fuss me in the least... Then, again, I bought this bag to use!)

Whilst black does make more sense if you're going to subject it to endless rain, I'm glad I took a chance on the Smoke... Whilst black would have remained endlessly elegant, my bag will be unique and very much my own.


P.S. Oh, and about the strap -- it comes with two, neither of which is knotted. One is more for over the shoulder, the other (adjustable) for cross-body wear. This is honestly the most versatile PS1 bags in that regard!
Jun 22, 2012, 7:10am   #12
tatertot's Avatar
tatertot
¨*♥Deck the Halls♥*¨
I have an XL as well and love it to bits! It has been the perfect size for me with a young son and I always have plenty of room for anything I need to carry and the divided pockets make it very easily organized. It is a bit heavy but I don't find it cumbersome in the least like my Alexander Wang bags can get after a while. I have it in the Lilac shade and it's worn beautifully so far with no fading/color spots, loss I can see. I've only carried it once when it started to rain but it fared just fine and no marks were left. I have not treated it either. The only con I can think of is that the sealant along the handles started cracking almost right away due to the weight (it's not noticeable though, I'm just super picky). I do love that it has so many different carrying options and overall I absolutely adore it.
Jul 1, 2012, 7:49pm   #13
seoul's Avatar
seoul
Member
Do you guys think the XL is too big for a school bag?!
Jul 1, 2012, 10:32pm   #14
sheanabelle's Avatar
sheanabelle
pugs for life.
great review! i LOVE my smoke!
Jul 3, 2012, 8:38am   #15
schadenfreude's Avatar
schadenfreude
really
Originally Posted by seoul
Do you guys think the XL is too big for a school bag?!
My first thought is that while the size is perfect, it might get too heavy for school because of all the books... but then I realized college kids might not carry books around anymore.
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