Forgotten love… MBMJ

Many years ago, or maybe it wasn’t so long ago… I used to really like stuff by Marc by Marc Jacobs because of its quirkiness. Back then, there was often a regular update of their designs by a new mascot that they would use, whether it’s a Miss Marc or Mr. Actually, I’m not sure if it’s Miss or Mr, but I thought sometimes it looked like it could be a male. That was what drew me to the brand anyway but after some time, I dropped off. It probably isn’t sustainable for my wallet anyway haha, and to be very, very honest, I don’t need so many bags / earrings / pouches / accessories / what-have-you.

Some time back, I got to know that they are going to discontinue the line, as in this sub-line would be consolidated into the main Marc Jacobs brand. I am not a big Marc Jacobs fan simply because I don’t follow it and am generally not a fan of any single brand. It’s about affordability, one thing, and of course, I prefer diversity and variety. It’s more practical anyway. It was only recently that it became clear to me that this quirky brand is going to be no-more, and of course with most of such occurrences it means existing products become sought after since they will no longer be produced. It’s not about it becoming a collectible (these are not Chanels or Hermes) but rather this quirky brand would just disappear. And the most important thing, the remaining products are typically sold at discounted prices! Call me a cheapo but if you can get the same authentic thing at a fraction of the original price, why not? Savings are always good. Not thinking about the ‘savings’ from if I don’t buy them at all. That’s another perspective.

So after what seemed like a long time, I decided to splurge on bags again! I can’t remember but the last time I bought a bag was probably last April when I went to Tokyo? And it was an Agnes B. tote that wasn’t all that pricey. Compared with what I used to buy, that was really a fraction. With MBMJ this time, I bought two at a go, from different sources though – one online because there was a further promotion from the website I got from, and another from Isetan as they were also offering it at a discount.

Check out both my buys, pictures taken courtesy of Nordstrom.com.

MBMJ_bags

The one on left is fruit-print canvas tote with lemon/lime prints all over. I really liked this when I saw it online, although what caught my attention in the beginning was the white/cream version that carried cherry prints instead of lime. I decided to get the black version because we all know how white or cream based canvas bags are a disaster waiting to happen over the longer term.

On the right is similar to something that I already have, a cushion-y tote that’s so soft and comfortable to carry, not to mention light. I was told that this is a bit more fragile as compared to the one I currently have so I was advised to not overload it for example, with a laptop. I had wanted to get the medium-sized tote for this but as I was carrying it, the sales assistant told me the smaller version compares better with my current piece and the medium would be a little too big because of my size. Well, I won’t call myself petite or anything but tend towards a thinner frame now so probably the medium-sized tote would overwhelm me.

The combined prices of both of these bags probably add up to just 10 percent, or definitely below 20 percent, of what one of those past bags cost. Of course neither of these are leather so that explains the lower price tags, but leather bags are much harder to maintain and heavier to carry. Also, with these it just means I won’t feel as much heartache when they become worn with use and they are more utilitarian and versatile for my daily usage!

heartbreak

I was searching under one of my pages that was “dedicated” to posting pictures of the bags that I own, a used-to-be hobby of sorts, but I was unable to find any pictures of the only Miu Miu bag I own, taken in its past glory before the effects of wear-and-tear and climate set in. Maybe I will be able to find a past picture somewhere in my pictures archive I don’t know, let’s see.

But it has been some years since I bought it, and during a certain period I used it pretty frequently. The laziness bug that is deeply ingrained in me causes me to use a bag repeatedly, even though we all know that bags, like shoes, and perhaps even clothes, need rotation. We can’t keep wearing the same pair of shoes or carrying the same bag, expecting that they will last us for a long time.

I put away the bag for a while, maybe forgot about it, and when I took it out again one fine day, I realised that it had suffered from some mould attack. After another long time interval, I finally got over my procrastination and sent the bag for cleaning. They told me that they won’t be able to get rid of the black spots totally because they had already stained the leather, so if I wanted to I should consider dyeing the leather to a dark shade like black or brown. The reason I got this, which is a light baby-blue/grey shade (can’t really describe it properly) was because I liked this colour back then, even though I guess black and brown were also available then. Of course, going forward now, I will err on the side of caution and be unimaginative when it comes to colours for bags and just choose dark colours.

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From afar, it still looks decent to a certain extent, even though you can tell that the bag has definitely seen better days. 😦

But up close, the spots are still rather visible, and of all places, they will definitely be in the most visible place, since this is also the area that comes into contact with me/my skin or rain/shine, etc. most.

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Someone just asked me if I did a lot of shopping since I was in Paris. Well, no, I told her. This is one of the reasons. I can’t take care of them well, so I think I should minimise more of such future heartache and heartbreak.

Wow, I certainly do sound like a reformed or rehabilitated shopaholic/bagaholic don’t I? WIthout even going through any therapy sessions or the likes!

small spot of Parisien shopping

There were hordes of summer holiday-makers in Paris at this time, and needless to say many of them were Asians. From the speech, they were of various nationalities, Singaporeans included, forming queues outside the luxury boutiques like Louis Vuitton and Chanel. I wonder if we Asians are only aware of these brands that when we travel overseas these are the only shops we go to, or we want what everyone else has. I went to the Chanel flagship at Rue Cambon, took a walk around and decided to come out. Granted, I used to and still am pretty enamoured with pretty leather pieces that I see because the smell of leather can be so intoxicating at times I wish I could own more leather bags! But it is quite senseless to put my hard-earned money on a leather product that because I am unable to devote absolute TLC to in our climate that can be really unkind to leather, money spent just goes down the drain. I don’t even call it an investment like some would say, because if I am unable to take care of it, what investment value does it have, say 10 years down the road? I have witnessed the wear and tear and gradual deterioration in condition of my bags and sorry but money really comes by tough. Unless you don’t have to work for your money then maybe it’s a different story altogether. Unfortunately I am no heiress privy to a multi-million inheritance.

Still, I did do some shopping while out at Paris during the weekend there. Weather was fantastic because the rain held up and it was bright and sunny, yet not too hot. It was pretty scorching on Sunday when I was out for hours under the sun without the benefit of much cloud cover in the sky, but Saturday was good. These were my spoils.

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I know, Zara and Longchamp is so predictable but Zara is cheaper in Europe! I was in Zara a couple of days ago and a price tag that read 39.95 Euros was somehow costing S$79.90, which totally baffled me. I bought that item by the way, which I didn’t see when I was in Paris, otherwise I’d just have killed myself. I am pretty unadventurous when it coems to shopping for clothes, so my usual places to buy clothes from are Zara, sometimes Mango, and what else? Someone please bring me shopping!

And Longchamp… ok I wouldn’t say that prices are great but for the price I paid for the Le Pliage canvas foldable bags and my heavy use of them, I think they are indeed great value for money items! I have a few of the Le Pliage items bought from some previous trips but a medium long-handle that I carry in Singapore to yoga and abroad for my business trips showed that 65 Euros I paid for it was totally worth it. There was this Longchamp bag that was introduced sometime ago that I was lusting after for a while but never really made the plunge to buy, a full-leather bag in the same shape as the Le Pliage canvas tote, but with short handles and a long strap that can be used for cross-body slinging for the medium sizes and above. I thought of getting the small but then the strap is too short so I thought the medium made more sense. Colour-wise, I really loved the mustard yellow and red that they had for summer, but red seemed a bit too much for me for daily wear, and yellow would show up dirt more easily. Considering that I am one of the worst persons when it comes to taking care of bags, I decided to stay on the conventional route and chose a dark classic colour instead, dark blue. Was deliberating between camel and blue, but eventually settled on the blue. 20130626-090134.jpg

The lighting was amber, which explained why the bag looks like it’s black instead of blue. But I’m glad I got it, so now I can finally stop thinking about it. I was actually thinking of getting another medium long-handled Le Pliage in mustard and thought I could get it at Charles de Gaulle airport, but unfortunately they didn’t have that colour in the outlet that was in Terminal 1 of the airport. Oh well, perhaps the next time then.

Color Wash

I first got to know this place many years ago, and remembered sending some items for professional cleaning. In my case, I always waited till I was desperate for some help that I stopped procrastinating and sent some of the bags for cleaning at Color Wash. Of course, by that time, what they could do for me is also limited, e.g. stains from oxidisation remains and the unsavoury odour of mouldy leather still lingers, but definitely, there was a marked improvement in how the bags look.

Unfortunately, I have not taken before and after pictures to compare how the bags that I have sent for cleaning look, but somehow maybe it’s just psychological that they look better and acquired a slightly more pristine look than when I first brought them in to the cleaners.

Price used to be S$50 for a bag I think, many years back when I sent a Celine Bittersweet for cleaning. Imagine all that amount of leather, I would think more than 95% of the bag is covered in leather at that price, it’s definitely worth it. I paid an additional amount for water-proofing too, but that I couldn’t recall. Since then I haven’t really used the bag so it actually still remained in the plastic cover that they used to contain the bag when I collected it. I just knew recently, based on what the lady at the shop told me, that I’m supposed to take it of the plastic cover immediately and put it back into the dust bag, so… hmm, I hope I haven’t done further damage to it.

Prices have since gone up of course, that is only to be expected. Just this year, I have sent in another 2 bags for cleaning, one because of mould and another because of oxidation. My takeaway from this is that I should really refrain from buying bags that are of a light colour, because the sky-blue (or a little greyish) Miu Miu that I had acquired a slight yellowish tinge from oxidation I guess, and perhaps due to the occasional rain plus definitely the using (and probably perspiration from me), coupled with lack of care for it before returning it to its dust bag, mould started to grow on it. 😦

It looks a little better now, but again I have not used it. The quality of Miu Miu bags aren’t that great, or it could be a user problem, because this bag I had come with tassles that have started to fray! Omg. I have the same problem with the BBag in RH but I thought for the latter it was due to intensive use and abuse. So maybe it really is the user’s fault…

Years back, I bought a white canvas Prada while I was in Venice, used it a couple of times and then one day when I wanted to use it again (must have been really long), I realised it is no longer white. Instead it looked yellowish! Urgh! In the past, the Color Wash I went to at China Square Central declined to clean it for me because it’s a hand-painted bag and they were afraid that they will remove the paint in the process. But this time, they (at Mandarin Gallery) agreed to. I collected the bag last week, and although they have tried their best, the white is lost forever, but not the paint, it just turned yellow.

Anyway, now cleaning costs S$80 (for the last 2 I cleaned), and although it’s a bit steep I think it’s quite a good thing to do for your leather bags, especially if you are like me who do not shower TLC on your leather babies. Take it as a regular maintenance for the bags, particularly in our humid climate that is so unfriendly to leather, and sorry but I don’t have the luxury of staying in a place big enough to dedicate some spaces (maybe with climate-controlled humidity and temperature?) for them.

The moral of the story for me is that I should really not buy any more bags. Well, it is a hard uphill journey, even if I think I am making good progress. I bet you will never think that I’d say this, but I have too many bags that which I do not use (and no I don’t think I will sell them, and I most definitely won’t be giving away any), do not care for properly, and it’s a major disservice to them. On a day-to-day basis, I just need a versatile carry-all, and after some time, a bag is just a bag, so long as it serves its purpose, it doesn’t need to be the IT bag. How long can an IT bag last anyway, and these days, it seems like everyone on the street is carrying some IT bag so there is no longer any exclusivity in owning a piece of leather.

Let’s see how my plan pans out. One a year isn’t too many but yet it will just add to the numbers, but right now, believe it or not, I do not have any idea what I should get, even if I were to want to splurge on a nice leather bag for myself when my birthday comes around!

Longchamp Le Pliage shopping tote

Being the bag hag that I am, or used to be, I was always very fascinated or should I say, enthralled by the vibrant colours of bags in shop-window displays. Needless to say, Longchamp’s range of shopping totes in all sorts of colours on display is a big draw for me.

But I have never really gotten into it even if each time I pass their shops I’d pop in to have a look-see. My very first Le Pliage was the small short-handle, in black, that a friend helped me to get from Paris. I’m guilty to say that I have never used it once because it somehow doesn’t fit my daily need of a bag, i.e. too small and it has handles that I can’t carry on the shoulder.

Then I bought a medium short handle, which belonged to some limited edition I think because it was a floral range and the leather part was white. It was on sale while I was catching a flight out of Incheon airport, so it retailed at a rather good price. I used it a couple of times, and yes because it’s a short handle, it explained why I seldom use it.

On a trip to Paris for vacation, I again succumbed and bought 2. One short handled medium-sized document bag with Le Tour Eiffel on it, and another smaller long-handled in dusty pink.

My last and latest was a rusty-brown (I don’t know it’s actual colour name) medium-sized long handle (or is that the large size, I don’t know but it’s the common size that most people have anyway) while (again) waiting to catch a flight, this time out of Schiphol airport. It was just at a good price, which I know shouldn’t be the reason for buying a bag but this time I think I did good. I am using this bag now for my trip to the States and it’s amazing how much this bag can hold and how utilitarian it is. I just need a bag organiser in it to have my things properly in place, that’s it.

Recently, I read that Longchamp has released a range of Le Pliage in full leather, and that comes with a long shoulder strap. I haven’t seen the bags yet in reality but it got me into this bag-buying mood again. I know I said I won’t buy bags (or that many) from now on but I can’t help thinking about it now that I feel how great this bag is for travelling, and especially if I were to continue in my current job that sometimes need me to fly long distances, which would then necessitate me to carry all sorts of things with me in the plane. I have been pampered by SQ before but now I have to travel on some airlines that you just need to have everything on yourself instead of relying on the airline to provide basic stuff.

And so… maybe this new Le Pliage will be my next bag for the year, after the Head Porter sling bag I got in Tokyo earlier this year. Good news is, I don’t think (I hope) that it will cost as much as the bags I used to buy. Will update with some pictures if I can! 🙂

A leopard never changes its spots

One of my resolutions for 2011 was that I wanted to limit myself to a maximum of 3 bags. So far, I’m doing pretty fine and dandy with that. Through a friend’s help, I got my second BBag in Praline from London at the beginning of the year, and subsequently when I visited the Space Outlet in Hong Kong while on vacation, I got a small Prada sling bag. So that makes two.

I was going to get my third bag of the year and also the third BBag but as luck (or not) would have it, the colour that I wanted was already sold out and so my friend wasn’t able to get anything for me. I was a little disappointed because ever since the first BBag I have been almost neglecting all the other bags, the BBag is that versatile, for me anyway. It’s great for work and play, and even when I travel, although I think my next BBag I would probably opt for a darker shade because light shades tend to show up blemishes more and as much as I don’t give my bags TLC, it still pains my heart to see it. So I was really looking forward to my third BBag but now I wonder when that would happen, especially when on the horizon it seems like where budget is concerned, it may have to be sidelined for a while more. I’m a one-person income feeding an extravagant one-person lifestyle, so it’s really tough when money doesn’t fall from the sky or from a wealthy sugar daddy. Haha. Ok, I jest.

But… just as I thought I was controlling my baglust really well (and I still have not updated one of my pages that has been in WIP-mode ever since), I saw this. I have not been using the Damier Neverfull in GM (I think that’s the size that I have, or was that the MM, I can never recall) for a really long time, because it is just everywhere, and of course because Balenciaga is the favourite. But seeing the picture on Bagaholicboy’s website make me feel like getting the Monogram Neverfull Rayure in PM (the smallest) because I already have the bigger version in Damier, and I really liked the size of the PM for days when I don’t want to be carrying a lot of stuff. Thing is, I am never a fan of the monogram, and we will almost be pretty certain there will be a lot of counterfeit for it, plus the whole street will soon also be carrying it because it should be rather affordable for a bigger group of people (same as the current Neverfull).

So it’s still very iffy for me, because of all the factors above even if I am very tempted to get a new bag since it’s been a while. Maybe by the time it’s launched here, and by the time there are actually stocks in store for me the commoner to get, I might have gotten over it, and put the money into the third Balenciaga!

luxuriating in simplicity

I could do this everyday. If only we do not have the daily burdens saddled on our tired shoulders, I think we could just sit and not give a care to the world around, sip on the lattes and eat morsels of muffins and cakes. If only.

On a whim, I felt like splurging on a ticket to Paris or London and just take a break there for a while. Yet I know that’s irresponsible spending, because I promised myself I’d (finally) start saving towards what I should have began years ago. But I have spent the last many years indulging, in travelling and in what some call an expensive hobby of bag-shopping. Frankly, I am nowhere near done yet but the key is definitely moderation. And of late I think I have developed a stronger penchant for the familiar, so the wanderlust has been directed eastwards, nearer to home.

At the foot of such a lofty thought to build up savings, I am contemplating a frivolity. What colour should I get for the B Part-time? That’s gonna be the first for the year so don’t start chastising me for my bag lust!