Cambridge Satchel have become renowned for colourful leather bags, breathing new life into the classic satchel style. STYLE etc tested the mid-sized Cambridge Satchel Bag to see if it was worth the investment.
The thing which is instantly apparent is the thickness of the leather used on these bags. A few centimetres thick, give or take, the outer offers sturdy wear. There is no lining on the inside, just the underside of the leather, so care should be taken to not mark or stain the interior if possible.
The sides are placed together then stitched when crafted, which means the inch size the description dictates is not reflective of what will actually fit inside. As the seams are set slightly in, this takes an inch or two away from inside capacity, meaning you lose a little room if you’re banking on the specific length. Going up a bag size, by 2 inches, will easily solve this but they do get slightly dearer with size.
The styles come with a variation of closing options can be chosen to suit preference, with a choice of magnetic button press or adjustable buckle fastens. Personally the magnetic one was favoured by us, due to the ease of close and quickness to access contents in a hurry.
The look of these bags are one of the key selling points. They are simply adorable. There is a British charm to the visible stitching, block colour mains and strap options which makes us want every shade.
The pastels are perfect for spring, with lilac, peach and turquoise bringing statement pops to even the dullest of outfits. The classic black and tan hues are always present if you favour simplistic styling and a range of neon colours was also released for more intense and daring fashionistas to covet.
Along with the basic satchel, a more convenient version has been released with top carry handle for added use dubbed the Batchel. There are also backpack satchels available, which have similar shape and appearance with two back carry straps. A smaller poppy handbag and cloud bag are also available for more alternate shapes.
One of the problems found with the satchel is its shape to hold awkward items. The inside can be narrow and as such limits room for fitting some contents. When an item slightly too big is placed inside it tends to stick out at a funny angle as the bag doesn’t give way to lend itself to accommodating anything even slightly wider than itself. A softer leather would give more flexibility to suit use in this way.
Width wise the 13 inch option was fine for holding general bits and pieces such as a purse, keys, some make up and a phone. There are no inside compartments which is a shame as they would make all the difference for storing change or cards to give easy access.
The leather is durable enough to suit all weather types and will see contents dry, there is a slight gap between the top closure and sides but not enough to pose security risk of any concern. Naturally, the buckle fasten version would be more secure against pickpockets but we had no major worries with the magnetic closure.
These bags are truly gorgeous to look at and bring an essence of British charm to your look. For small essentials and basic items it does the job, but if you are looking for a more accommodating bag for work or school this may not be the best choice on the market. Price wise it is reasonable for the construction and materials, so all depends on what your use needs are.