Friday, August 08, 2008

reader questions: belstaff colonial canvas bags

James from California writes:

Dropping you a line about my experience with the ever popular Colonial line. I have a couple large shoulder bags, and a couple of the smaller ones. Really looking hard for a "body bag" but dont have my hopes up as they dont make them anymore. According to the website it looks like our color choices this year are Mountain Brown and "Kaki" as they spell it, thats all I have seen. You can see examples on the website now. Although after placing a call to the store in London, I know black is available too. Not sure why im writing you, except that I am interested to hear how your bag repair went, and to say I share your affinity for this particular mens accessory!

While you may not be sure why you wrote, I'm glad you did! Finding a bag that's "just right" is frankly damned hard, and the Belstaff Colonial Canvas bags are just perfect for hard daily use. I put a lot of stock in being able to carry around the stuff that you need to be productive wherever you go. As Buckaroo Banzai said, no matter where you go, there you are.

Actually, Thomas a Kempis wrote that back in the 15th century in Imitation of Christ, ca. A.D. 1440. You may have heard this quote some other places as well.

As you've indicated, Belstaff has pared down the Colonial Canvas line over the last year by reducing both the number of styles and colors available to us. Two casualties were, I believe, the Body Bag and the Marsupium. Thankfully the colors they've kept are the two best, and the remaining bags are all good with the exception of the travel bag, which looks like utter rubbish. I've not heard of black being available, and frankly, unless I was pottering around in biker leathers - which I do not - I wouldn't really care fot it.

The repairs were successful, thank you for asking. My kaki shoulder bag has been joined by a mountain brown shoulder bag I purchased, which I actually prefer over the kaki. It seems to be made of a much tougher, yet softer sort of canvas. And the mountain brown will be better at hiding, shall we say, the indignities of daily usage.

My general guidance is that any competent luggage shop could do the sort of repairs that are required for the shoulder bag - mostly reinforcing seams, sewing in patches and some spot cleaning.

The bag I'm hoping to acquire some day is the large man bag, as it has the same rough dimensions of the shoulder bag, except in portrait format as opposed to the landscape format of the shoulder bag. Plus I find the side pockets Not All That Useful. Perhaps next year.

Youngsang writes:

My search for a good bag led me to your blog. Your excellent post about Belstaff Shoulder Bag makes me confident on the end of my search. However, I live in Bloomington, IN. The places where I can have an experience with the bag are far from here. Alas...

I'm carrying my laptop, Apple's MBP (14.1 x 9.6 x 1) time to time. So, my bag should be able to hold the laptop in it. However, I do not look for a laptop bag. The bag doesn't have to provide a spacious room even when it holds the laptop. I think that it's OK if it can have the laptop in it and provide some space for a few documents or a fairly thin book, and laptop's power adaptor. Some small devices such as iPod, Cell Phone, and others can be put into outside pockets.

Do you think that Belstaff Shoulder Bag provides enough room for those? I guess that it would do if its width and height allow the room because its depth is 4 inch. (the depth would be enough.) If you're negative on this, I got to consider Belstaff Large Shoulder Bag. However, it seems to be a bit big as an every day bag. I'm not sure, though.

If you have a time to share your opinion with me, I would appreciate it although I've already been pleased to read your post in your blog. Anyway, I've contacted to L'Uomo in NYC in order to inquire the availability of the bag. They said that after the end of August, the stock would be available. I asked them the same question. However, they just said that the laptop would fit to the bag, but I would be limited. They couldn't provide more useful info. or experience.

The Shoulder Bag will accommodate the laptop you have and some other stuff. My concern is that the Large Shoulder Bag will be too big for your laptop, whereas it is snug but not tight in the Shoulder Bag. The power brick, cord, and other bric-a-brac of your computing life should fit nicely in the front and side pockets.

For computer schlepping purposes, the Shoulder Bag is a better choice than the Large Man Bag. You will actually need those side pockets.

If you're interested in buying the bag you should also add the Belstaff Showroom in NYC to your list of possible sources. I think they may actually be able to source more stuff for you than L'Uomo. I had a really great experience dealing with them.


sog said...

Just a tip. I spoke the guys at the showroom, and they recommend Barney's, Ernest Sewn and The Scoop for finding the bags.

I'll see if they still have them when I'm next in NYC in a month, but I'm not optimistic.

Wish there were a San Francisco source as I'll be there this week, but oh well. Best of luck to those of you looking for them.

Anonymous said...

I just bought the 556 shoulder bag in mountain brown. I love it! Belstaff bags can be had from a store in MI called Peasant. Go to I called and talked to Karissa and she sold me the the 556 and I had it the next day on my doorstep. Price was very good compared to NY shops. $370 and change. Great review by the way.

sog said...

just an update: Bloomingdale's in San Francisco no longer carries the bag, and thus far I haven't had luck getting ahold of the folks at Peasant.

any and all suggestions appreciated.

Anonymous said...

You can find Belstaff products at HOTOVELI in NY.

212 206 7722