Saturday, 16 November 2013

Bag review: Louis Vuitton Speedy Bandoulière 30, Damier Ebene

This would be my first time reviewing a Louis Vuitton bag and the main reason behind this is to put an informative and thorough review out there in aid of those deciding on the bag. While researching this bag, I got my information from haul & review videos on Youtube and discussion threads on Purseforum. Blog posts were scant so I figured this should contribute nicely. 

Reason for choosing this particular style: As some of you would already know, the Speedy Bandoulière is akin to a Speedy with a cross-body strap. Before the Speedy B was released I coveted a Neverfull for its spaciousness and shoulder-carry option, as opposed to the Speedy being hand-held or carried in the crook of one's arm. The only thing I didn't fancy about the Neverfull was the absence of a zipper. When I discovered the Speedy B on the LV site, I knew it was the one as it was functionally ideal for going about town or travelling thanks to the added strap (adjustable for either cross-body or shoulder) and of course, being zippered up.

The size would be imprinted on the leather strip on one side of the bag, hidden behind a leather tab
Sizing: The Speedy B comes in 25, 30 & 35; with the numbers denoting the length of the bag. The 30 I believe, is the most common size chosen as it is roomy enough and fits most statures nicely (5 feet and up). I am 5'1" and the way the bag hangs on my body is equivalent to that of an oversized bag. If you are petite and need a ton of room (to carry school/ work supplies, travelling-use, fitting water bottles, scarves, paperbacks) then the 30 may be the best size for your purpose; when not much room is needed (phone, wallet, makeup bag, small items: notebooks, paperbacks, bottles) the 25 would look most flattering for casual day- or night-time use. This recommendation would be for petites around my height (5'–5'4").

Canvas type or leather? The Speedy B comes in Monogram, Damier Ebene & Damier Azur canvases. I chose DE for its treated leather (so no extra care needed for patina) and its overall checkerboard appearance. I later read that the DE canvas was the initial design chosen by Louis Vuitton for the trunks (after the Trianon & brown-beige stripes; and to prevent counterfeiting) in 1888 and that the popular Monogram was launched in 1896 after his son had taken over. How's that for trivia! The Speedy B also comes in Empreinte leather at a heftier price tag and I personally love the colour options available (lovely berry colours). I would be wary of easily scratching the leather though so unless I have tons of money to spare (which I don't) I'd go for the canvas over the leather where this style is concerned. Speaking of the canvas, I do have some concerns that I'll mention below.

When unraveling your new purchase, you will discover the bag in a folded state, as pictured above. This leaves temporary creases in the body but will go away gradually. I stuff mine with a plastic bag full of scrunched up packing paper. A concern regarding the canvas would be its thinness. Louis Vuitton cites the thinness of material as providing a lightweight feel to the bag but I of course beg to differ. Apparently older Speedys have thicker canvases and the bags feel sturdier than newer ones and while I do not have any other LV bag to compare with, the canvas on my Burberry bag feels thicker and more durable. I have put that bag through hell and the canvas still looks amazing; neither is it heavy. For how much less I paid for the Burberry (albeit it being a smaller cross-body bag) the hardware, leather and canvas quality is miles ahead that of what I'm getting with my Speedy B. 

Toron handles. 

Despite concerns with the canvas, the leather handles feel weighted and of good quality. So far I have had no creases on the leather handles but this is me having yet to put the bag to use. There should not be creases if the new bag is of quality but some users on Purseforum have complained about receiving bags with creases in the leather or seeing some in store. There will eventually be creases in the leather from use but this usually takes a while to form.

Very obvious that the zippers are a coated metal. 

Note the minor tarnishing on the rivet. The rivets were polished in appearance when I first received the bag and gradually showed dark stains despite having yet to use the bag.

The number on the keys should match the lock's.

There are definitely issues with hardware tarnishing and while LV claims to use brass hardware (which they have now conveniently removed from the product details on the website), the hardware of "cheaper" models like the canvas Speedy B's have only coated metal or are of lower-quality brass. I have not used the bag yet there are already gradual signs of tarnishing. To compare, the hardware on my Burberry is solid brass and has remained shiny all this while after years of heavy use. While I may be picking at the Speedy B, I am only doing this to provide a fair review against the supposed quality one would come to expect from a brand such as Louis Vuitton. In the advent of rising prices, and might I remind you even for the already overpriced canvas ones; cost-cutting, irregularities and diminishing quality does not come to mind. Yes, bear with me I may be having some buyer's remorse here.

The metal zippers feel the poorest in quality while the hooks on the straps and the lock feel and look more substantial. The metal on the strap hooks and lock are polished and shiny in appearance whereas the keys, hook rings on the sides of the bag, zippers and rivets are a little dull in comparison. 

I was thrilled to see that my bag didn't have any obvious zipper-gaps in the ends. Some have reported on having bags with gaps so wide the red interior of the bag could be seen. It is fair to expect some deviation for handmade goods but not to the point of it being a flaw. 
Though the quality of the bag isn't dependent on where it is made, I was happy to snag a MIF as the ones made elsewhere will not have "made in France" imprinted on the leather strip but have a cloth tag inside the bag stating where it is made, like the ones made in the USA. 
Interior pocket

Interior D-ring
The interior of the bag is a gorgeous, contrasting red. The quality of the lining may feel coarse in comparison with my canvas Burberry but seeing I have no other LV bags to compare with, I will regard this as LV's standard-quality lining. The code for the bag's manufacturing place and date are imprinted on the leather strips beneath the interior pocket, just above the rivet. 

The straps are of thick leather and feel smooth. For the Speedy B, the strap comes with an adjustable extender that, when in use, lengthens the strap for cross-body use. Without the extender, the strap is ideal for shoulder-carry. 
That's it with the review and I hope it has been helpful to some of you. Despite pressing concerns on the quality of the bag, it still feels like any other Louis Vuitton bag and I guess this air of luxury surrounding the bag dupes us all into falling in love with it one way or the other! If you are considering a bag from a higher-end brand, I would advise against "investing" in Louis Vuitton's canvas bags as regular-use handbags due to constant rising prices and dropping quality standards (instead save and get LV's leather bags later on if you're hellbent on having one).

If you like the look and style of the bag (say, a Speedy B) then by all means feel and try it on for yourself in the boutique and if you do notice signs of wear or shoddy craftsmanship on the bag, I would advise to keep asking for a better one or to just buy a bag from a similar price range from the many other designers out there. I have read about many disappointed Speedy B users who ended up returning their bags for a different style because the quality of the bags were so poor and inconsistent in comparison to their other LV bags. But if you do find a Speedy B in store that is to your liking then yes, we can be bag twins! There are many great contemporary brands with cult leather bags for the same or slightly higher price of a Speedy B so if you're investing for a capsule bag collection then you may be grateful for looking at some other brands before considering a LV canvas bag.

Am I happy with my Speedy B? I'll say yes as it doesn't have any flaws and it is holding up pretty well for an unused bag (lol). I am however, disappointed in the overall quality of the bag in comparison with what I have come to expect of the brand. Hope that makes sense!

Thanks for reading!
All Images are my own.
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  1. We are bag twins! I got this bag late September for my birthday. I turned 43 and it's my first LV, too. I guess I'm a late bloomer. I actually didn't ever plan on purchasing a speedy because it's way too expensive, but when it was gifted to me I was so excited. I don't have another LV to compare it to, but I think it's very well made and I'm really loving it more than I thought I would.

  2. Hey bag-twin! Congratulations on the wonderful and well-deserved gift. Glad to know your bag's flawless and keeping you delighted! :D

  3. Loving my new Speedy 25B. I'm 5'2" and like my bags light, not too full of stuff. I have the Insolence charm attached so it looks really nice. The smaller Speedy with the strap can also look dressy as well. Really enjoyed reading your review- definitely very informative and precise. Questions: where are you attaching the lock to your bag? Do you mind if the lock is a bit scuffed from wear and tear? How are you enjoying the bag? How are you keeping the shape of the bag? Do you mind that it sags or caves in at the top? Thanks!

    1. Thanks for reading and happy to hear that you're enjoying your bag; you've added a lovely charm to it too! In response to your questions:
      1) I don't have the lock attached but if I was to, I'd keep it on either ring on the sides of the bag (where the strap attaches);
      2) I think the lock is the only hardware that is solid brass so if it gets dirty or oxidizes, I wouldn't mind as much as brass can be cleaned up (or so I hope with the brass LV uses);
      3) I've had the bag for a few months now but have only used it 5-6 times and aside from chipping on the zipper pulls and tarnishing on the rivets, I am growing to like it for its practicality (I use the shoulder straps most of the time). I am however going to take it in to LV to enquire more about the state of my bag's hardware as it should not be chipping or tarnishing so soon;
      4) When unused, I keep it stuffed with scrunched up packing paper in a plastic bag and keep it stored in its dust bag. When carried, the bag tends to lose its shape when too little is in the bag-- it folds in the middle. I do not use a purse organizer but it may be time to get one!;
      5) I don't mind the sag in the bottom of the bag as much but the folding in the top-middle of the bag when too little is being carried is a little funny-looking I think.

      Thanks for the questions :) How is your Speedy B doing in terms of hardware?

    2. I really appreciate your detailed responses to my questions. I've only used the bag twice so the hardware is holding up really nicely (so far so good). I was concerned with the hardware at the end of the straps where the words Louis Vuitton are located- I noticed in the daylight that the area around the words seem scratched at one end. I've since accepted the little bit of tarnish and am not as concerned as it looks okay. For me, after the first time using the bag I did not like the fact the bag, as you mentioned, when there is too little in it, loses its shape. I want the bag to keep its shape so I inserted a light cosmetic bag which is oval in shape and reinforced the sides with cardboard covered in fabric. Today, after carrying it all day, the Speedy retained its shape which I'm thrilled about. In my previous response, I wanted to say that without the straps the 25B looks really dressy especially with a pretty bag charm attached. The LV bag charms are over-the-top expensive but well worth it. They really add to the look of the bag and make them a little bit more unique. I would highly recommend getting a shaper for it. I like your suggestion of not using the lock as well. Your initial review is so detailed and well written. Love the great photos as well!

  4. How long is the strap when you adjust it to wear as a crossbody?

  5. Hi, I've been researching this bag because I'm looking into buying it second hand. I ran across this other blog and it looks like they claiming they have a replica but the images look exactly like yours!?!

    1. Thank you for bringing this to my attention, Janelle. I will proceed to take action against them for copyright infringement. I can't believe the nerve and stupidity of some people.

  6. Hello i just bought a speedy bandouliere 30 online. Went to LV boutique for authentication test but the staff couldn't tell whether it is real or fake. Anyone can assist me on this issue? Kindly email me @

  7. Hello all LV fans here. I have great hand bag obsession and now I got my first LV speedy 25 ..... Yes , a classic bag , feels great especially when buy from Louis vitton shop or there websites.

  8. Thanks for your post, it was very helpful in authenticating my pre-loved SpeedyB.

  9. I bought one but my date code is in red color everything looks exactly as your but the color on the date code the seller told me its beacuse of the style now im comfused thank you

  10. I bought one but my date code is in red color everything looks exactly as your but the color on the date code the seller told me its beacuse of the style now im comfused thank you

  11. My new Speedy B 25 is your bag's little sistet! Got it 10 days ago and yes, I am also starting to see some marks on the hardware like on yours. Is it indeed tarnishing, and were you able to fix it?