Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Product Review: Ryder Satchel

Ryder Satchel
Click here for product page
Item 20310
Regular $298.00; now $225.00

According to J.Crew's item page:
The ultimate 24/7 bag, crafted in smooth oiled leather that, over time, wears to a unique, one-of-a-kind finish (the more you use it, the more beautiful it will become). The oiled finish also allows the leather to recover—meaning light surface scratches will work themselves out with wear or can be lightly buffed out with a soft cotton cloth. A multifunctional cross between a messenger bag and a sophisticated satchel, with a removable strap and side snaps so you can carry it over your shoulder or as a tote, and it has pockets galore. Top zip closure. Shiny gold hardware. Exterior front-wall and back-wall zip pockets. Interior front-wall split-patch cell pocket, back-wall zip pocket. Cotton twill lining. Part of the J.Crew Collection. Comes with dust bag. Import. Removable, adjustable shoulder strap fully extends to 22". 4" handle drop. 10 5/8"H x 14"W x 5 1/2"D.
I really liked the concept of this bag— messenger bag by day and satchel by night. It was going to move from the office to a night out on the town effortlessly. So when it went on sale, I decided to "take the plunge" and get this bag in the "golden amber" shade.

The leather itself is quite smooth to the touch. Unfortunately, it is prone to scratches. Since the Golden Amber shade is light, the scratches become noticeable in arms-length distance. Not a deal-breaker for me, but something definitely to consider.

The handles of the bag are just long enough to allow me to carry it on my forearm. However, they are not long enough so I could wear it on my shoulder.

The bag looks sharp when the side snaps are closed (as shown in the image above). However, the bag looks a bit weird when it's converted to a messenger bag. (When the side snaps are undone and the leather sides come up for the messenger look, the bag just looks like a plain & weird rectangle.) Moreover, the strap for the bag is super long as the bag hits below my bum (and I am 5'8").

There are not that many pockets. The front pocket is just an empty rectangle space. The inside has the standard back zipper pocket (where it just sags the bag's back wall if you put a heavy wallet in it), as well as the front split open pocket.

I know it's hard to tell from the dimensions, but this bag is huge! Especially when J.Crew fills it up with tissue paper. The interior is extremely spacious. I can definitely see a JCA using it as an alternative briefcase for work.

For my taste, I felt that the bag came off more like a piece of carry-on luggage than anything else. It was a huge turnoff and the sole reason it went right back to the mail for a catalog return. I honestly don't know why the majority of J.Crew's bag tend to fall in the "too small" or "too big" category. Bring back the size of the Jaime Bag! :)

What are your thoughts on the Ryder Satchel? Are you a fan of the style & size? Would you consider getting this bag?


  1. Alexis, ITA on bag size schizophrenia. Campo is another example: I love that bag, but the large is SO large I think I could fit inside it, and my Mini is just a little TOO mini. Large Beacon is also ENORMOUS, I have the Small and it is almost too big for me as well.

    Thanks for the review. I was considering the Ryder satchel and this was really helpful, confirmed my suspicion!

  2. agree with you and as so few stores actually have the bags to see its hard to buy from the web.

  3. Not a fan of JCrew bags at all. Just prefer other brands for size and quality and design and lower price points...

  4. I have a sort of related question if people don't mind me asking ... I recently purchased a bag that's sort of similar to this, and it's previously owned and the exterior needs to be cleaned up a bit. What exactly can I buy to clean light-colored leather? All my other bags are darker colors specifically because I don't like having dirt, etc. show all that much, but I really liked this bag & couldn't resist the price. Many thanks in advance for any recommendations you can offer!

  5. Thanks for the review Alexis! The sizing sounds similar to the Large Metallic Georgie Satchel which is also huge and seems more like a piece of carry-on luggage (or diaper bag). I really wish they would show more pictures of the bags on the models. Net-a-porter does this and it is SO helpful. :)

  6. I agree... lately J.Crew bags have been too big or too small. It doesn't help that they don't provide pictures against a model for size reference and the interior on some bags. So hard to check them out since most B&M don't carry bags.

    Thanks for the review!

  7. Elaine: I have used the lovinmybags (lovinmybags. com) and Apple Care products (leatherstuff. com) with lots of success. Just make sure to read the descriptions carefully when ordering the products because some of the restoration products specify which types of leathers they work best with. Also, you don't want to use a cleaner when a conditioner is necessary and vice versa! :)

    I agree with the nutty JC bag sizes. They would have had me with the large campo but sheesh! It looked like a beach bag on me...I had high hopes for the Parlour Hobo, but alas, I am on bag ban ;)!

  8. I wanted to try the Georgie Tote but on Final Sale I wasn't willing to get stuck with a bag didn't work for me.

  9. ITA about the photos. Even when they do show them with models, the one pictured, for example, has half the bag hidden behind the model.

  10. Thanks for the review Alexis. I was considering the Ryder on sale but I feel ridiculous with a really large bag. I just do not schlep enough stuff around to fill it up. I thought Ryder had potential as a briefcase alternative but if it looks plain and ugly then I'll stick with my Kenneth Cole.

    Overall I find JCrew bags to be really good quality and the styles are usually cute and not overly trendy. I loved the Borge Garveri bags. Still use mine regularly and they are holding up beautifully, really great bags.

  11. I think that this and the Campo are both lovely, but I agree- a too big bag means that you will PUT STUFF IN IT and lug it around like a sad hobo.

    I don't think that J Crew bags are worth the price point, that said, on sale- great.

  12. I really wanted to get this bag but was worried it would be too big. I am not exactly tall and am sure its going to lug around when I use it in the cross body style. Oh how I wish it was just a bit smaller ! Will consider buying it if the price drops further :)

  13. I've never bought a JC bag. I REALLY wanted the Jaime bag but couldn't afford it at the time-just had baby and was on extended maternity leave. I always regret I didn't get it;(

    Now I'm thinking of getting the new metallic Beacon purse or even the tobo. Do JC bags usually make it to sale? Or should I buy one now if I'm interested?


  14. I think jcrew does casual/overnighter/ beach bags well -- the coated canvas cocteau, printed soirée,magazine canvas tote -- but the pricier bags, usually meh or off in the size, I agree! The exception for me is the Frankie -- for $100 the leather, color and shape was a winner. I liked the patent magazine totes last yr and love the rattan clutch from 2009-- both of those were great at close to full price. I wish they'd bring back the Sonia snakeskin clutch.

  15. TBH, I don't buy J. Crew bags. Well, one in five or six years. For the price, I would rather put money aside and get a designer bag on a really good sale. There are forums dedicated to handbags and I go in and out of handbag mode. By the way, Alexis, they know and love your JCA blog over there :). I'm sure there is lots of crossover participation.

  16. OT, the Sweeping Ruffles shirt is now backordered in every size. Has anyone seen it? I haven't received mine yet.

  17. Thanks everyone for commenting! :)

    I am glad to hear that I am not the only one finding some of J.Crew's bags too big (or too small as the other extreme). It's too bad they don't come in a normal size. ;)

    I totally agree with you Ruffles, Audball, & Mrs. John Murphy on the Campo. Such a great looking bag but too big! And the small version is just a tad too small.

    Laura: I am happy to hear that other forums like JCA too. Yey! :)

  18. Baybaybay, for sure I cannot carry the oversize bags either. I tried with the Belle satchel, which isn't even *that* large and it looked ridiculous on me. I will second your comment about the Garveri bags. I bought the cherry Frankie and loved it so much I bought the guava as well. One of my favourite bags of all time. Well-made, stylish, unique and importantly, the full top zipper makes it secure. I was curious about the Ryder line when it first came out but I just never got excited enough about it to really consider purchasing. Thanks for the review Alexis!

  19. I have back issues so oversized bags are usually out of the question for me due to the weight.

  20. I did the same thing, once I saw sale I bought the Ryder in shadow. It doesn't really look like the photo (color and leather texture) and it's much bigger than I'd anticipated. I'm not loving it. It picks up dust quickly and the leather is dull, which makes it look off.


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