in Reader Favorites, Review, Wardrobe

The Mulberry Bayswater: 3 1/2 years later

The Bayswater is one of Mulberry’s most iconic bags. According to Mulberry it “is a timeless and classic style that celebrates the very best of understated and exquisite leather craft. It proudly features the signature postman’s lock closure, and has a soft, brushed interior, showcasing the exceptional level of leather quality”. Sounds good, right? I bought mine, a black buffalo leather version, in the summer of 2011 from Mulberry’s flagship store on Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris. It’s an investment piece, and if my calculations are right the price has increased by over 30% since 2011, so it’s even more of an investment if you were to buy one today. Which raises the question: is it worth it?

The brand new bag

This is a photo of my bag that was taken right after I returned home from my holiday in 2011. The bag is brand new and has yet to be worn. As you can see the leather is soft, but it still has a structure to it. The buffalo leather has a shine to it that their “natural leather” doesn’t seem to have, and I also think the natural leather is more structured. I could tell that the Buffalo leather would be more likely to soften and wrinkle with age, which was what I wanted.

Before and after photos and comparison of the buffalo leather Mulberry Bayswater 3 1/2 years down the road: how does it age?

 

3 1/2 years later

And here it is today, 3 1/2 years later. It has to be said that I haven’t worn the bag daily since I bought it – if you have seen my handbag collection post you will know that I rotate quite a bit – but I think I can safely say that I have worn the bag for 2 years if you add it all up, and that’s in all kinds of weather. As you can see it has turned considerably more wrinkled and floppy with age. It doesn’t stand up on it’s own when it is empty anymore, and the leather grain is a lot more prominent.The hardware shows a few scratches here and there, but nothing too bad. This was what I was after. I’m not a girl for structured everyday bags. I like them a bit laid-back.

Before and after photos and comparison of the buffalo leather Mulberry Bayswater 3 1/2 years down the road: how does it age?I treat the bag with leather polish a couple of times a year, and I also go over all my bags with waterproofing spray every time I polish and treat my shoes. It holds up perfectly in the rain, and I love that the opening is completely covered by the flap. When I don’t use the bag I stuff it with paper and keep it upright in it’s dust bag. I never use the little padlock, but I still keep it attached to the handle.

Before and after photos and comparison of the buffalo leather Mulberry Bayswater 3 1/2 years down the road: how does it age?

Here’s a shot of the side to show you the creasing and texture of the leather. Personally I love it: I like that it looks like my bag has lived a little. I haven’t been precious about it at all, but treated it just like I would any other bag. As both my Mulberry bags are buffalo leather I can’t compare it to their other leathers, but more than three years down the road I have not regretted that I chose buffalo.

Should you make the splurge?

So is it worth it? I suppose that’s not something I can decide for you. The natural leathers currently start at £900/$1,500, and most people will never consider it “worth it” to spend that kind of money on a handbag. It will get battered, scratched and bruised with daily wear, and the price tag does not make it immune to aging. However, if you are in the market for a classic, timeless bag then I can definitely vouch for the Bayswater. It is “designer” without being ostentatious, and it has no flashy logos and no blinged out hardware. It’s a practical everyday workhorse, and I know I will appreciate it until it falls apart. It is as appropriate for a 20 year-old as it is for a 60 year-old, and personally I am very happy I chose the Bayswater as my first true investment bag.

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14 Comments

  1. A very interesting post. I always wonder how the expensive bags hold up and if the owners actually use them, because you can’t say much about the quality if the bag just sits in a closet. Your bag looks still lovely! I think good quality leather should age well. If it doesn’t, it wasn’t good quality (or has been seriously mistreated).

    • I have never really thought about it before, but you rarely get to see aged bags very often in fashion/style blogs – they’re all brand new. I thought a post like this might be useful :)

  2. I’ve actually been thinking about investing in this bag, its good to know that it can withstand a few years of wear and tear from someone who owns it and uses it regularly. My first (and only at this point) investment bag was a black Clare Vivier messenger bag, its held up and looks as good as it did when I bought it 2.5 years later.

    • I had to visit your blog to snoop at the bag, it looks lovely! And the Bayswater really does hold up well – it has aged, but overall it is as good as new. Perfect stitching, perfect lining, all zippers and hardware in great condition. I have no doubts that it will still look beautiful in 10 years :)

  3. AftrDrk did a post about her well used Celine and how slouchy it got. She has some interesting comments in there.

    My big bag purchase was ps1 and it slouched in an ugly way that made me sell it.

    My fav bags are made by campamaggi, and they age beautifully.

    Its so good to see you embracing the wear and tear of the bag. I read way too many comments about how bags should look new forever or be babied to last long. A bag doesnt wear you but you wear the bag.

    Do you carry a laptop in this bag ?

  4. This is such an interesting post! While there is now way I could afford an investment bag at the moment (yay for being a poor uni studnet), I do know that one day I would like to be able to invest in a bag as beautiful and classic as the Mulberry Bayswater, and seeing how it has aged had definitely made me think that this could be a very worthwhile investment one day! Also – the new blog design looks lovely :D

    • Thank you so much Bonnie! Not many people have commented on the design yet, but I guess the biggest change is the front page, and most people land directly in new posts via social media or bloglovin’ :)

      I remember what it was like being a poor uni student, I had to plan every. little. expense and could afford pretty much nothing except necessities. I think I spent five months saving up for my Bayswater while working my first full-time job in a call center. Didn’t regret it for a second though, I had done my research and knew the quality would be great, and I knew I wouldn’t get tired of the design :)

  5. It’s always reassuring when you invest that much in a bag and are still using it so many years later. I bought my PS11 satchel almost four years ago now, and while it looks worn (it’s endured relentless rain), it’s still getting a lot of use.

    Surprisingly, my best bag purchase I think to date has been the Cuyana tote I picked up after seeing it on Atlantic Pacific. It’s become a throw around everyday bag which I have been using most days for work. I kinda wish the PS11 was a little larger as while my iPad fits, I stopped popping it in as it was distorting the shape of the top flap (whoops…).

    Anyway, great post!

    • I just spotted a black PS11 in town this weekend, it is such a beautiful bag. I couldn’t justify getting it for myself (that ship is long gone), but I will admire it from afar whenever I get the chance!

      Tote bags are brilliant, I had no idea how much I would use the Diesel one I got this summer. It goes with nearly everything and FITS nearly everything.

    • Hi L, sorry for the super late reply! I can comfortably fit the Bayswater over my shoulder, the handle is about 48cm from start to end – hope that makes sense :)

  6. Hey! Thank you for posting this it is so helpful for those of us looking to buy the Bayswater! I have a question, is the hardware on your bag the brass or soft gold type?
    Did it scratch easily? I am leaning towards brass because I think it ages better but would love your input.

    TIA =)

    • Hi Amanda! I think my hardware is soft gold (it is shiny and not matte), and I think it has help up quite well. It has scratched and aged a little bit, but not terribly at all. Still going strong :)

      Can’t compare it to the other classic as I don’t own any bags with that kind of hardware, but I can tell you that the nickel hardware (for me) has held up even better than the brass. My Alexa has nickel hardware, and years down the road it hardly looks worn at all!