Saturday, April 27, 2013

J.Crew Abingdon Laptop Bag Review

Stop the presses: I got me a new purse. And I made a detailed video of the bag.

After a lot of thought, a 25% sale at Roots, some paranoia, and some cheaping out, I decided to get another cotton bag. I got me an Abingdon Laptop Bag from J.Crew!

J.Crew Abingdon Laptop Bag Front
I know it says laptop bag, but meh, it's a bag, it looks semi-fancy, and it works. The leather straps are nice accents to an otherwise simple looking bag. Being just a drab dark khaki color, it doesn't really stand out of the crowd, but as a package with all the accents, it's a very fine looking bag. There are front and rear pockets that are only sealed, if you can even say that, at the midpoint on both sides. They are useful for hiding the strap when you don't need or want it -- most of the time for me -- and maybe stuffing an umbrella into. A zipper and flap covers the main compartment where one would keep an expensive laptop.

J.Crew Abingdon Rear with Shoulder Strap Hidden
At US $98.00, it is by no means a cheap bag. However, it is waxed cotton, which is a step up from regular cotton canvas in my mind. And there are more expensive bags out there if you look for them (not hard to find). This Old School (Unlined) tribe bag from Roots was my first choice. With a price tag of $358.00 normally and $268.50 after taking 25% off, it's still more than two and a half times the cost of the J.Crew bag. I can afford it -- I just don't really want to considering how I trash my bags, get them soaked in rain, throw them around, etc. It must be hard to use a $1000 Louis Vuitton bag on a regular basis?
J.Crew Abingdon Interior
Long story short, I "cheaped out" -- still blew $100 -- and got the J.Crew bag slash briefcase. No regrets so far. Only my arms get a bit tired from holding it up. The bag is spacious enough to hold a folder, a thin notebook, my lunch, sunglasses case, an umbrella, and more. More of a constraint is how well my arm stands up to the stress.
J.Crew Abingdon Shoulder Strap
Design and Concerns
The only downsides that I've found so far are the front and back pockets not covered by the main flap. When it's dry, I can ignore them, but when it rains: damn. I have only had to take this bag out into very light rain once thus far. The bag fared well. In heavy rain, I'm not so sure. These are open flaps that are only slightly sealed by a magnetic button on the back and by compression from sealing the front buckle in front. If it pours, those pockets would likely get filled with water. Over time, that water may soak through into the main compartment. I haven't had a chance to test it out yet, so here's to hoping that it doesn't happen.
J.Crew Abingdon Rear Pocket with Magnetic Button
Another pet peeve is the leather buckle that isn't easy to seal and unseal. A steel clipping buckle would have been much more convenient while maintain the same look. It shouldn't jack the cost up too high either -- it's one buckle? See the super expensive Roots bag as an example of what I'm talking about; I thought it didn't have clipping buckles, but it does (I owned this for a week before). As it stands now, I avoid buckling the front unless I am sure I won't be opening it for a while.

Everyday Usage

So, overall a pretty good bag. I've only used it for a week, but aside from issues with rain, it fits a lot of stuff, looks good, and works reasonably well. And ya, it fits my 14" widescreen laptop easily. Might be able to do a 17" snugly since there is a little bit of clearance on both sides. If you're wondering, my 14" laptop is sitting in a Brenthaven sleeve for 15" (if I remember right) Macs, which adds a bit of bulk to the computer. There is no cushioning in the Abingdon bag, so it might not be a bad idea to put your computer in a sleeve first.
J.Crew Abingdon Fits a 14" Widescreen Laptop


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