In a fairly old PurseForum thread, member BellaShoes said,
“For a first timer…you just cannot go wrong with a city. My violet city was my first and she is PERFECT…perfect size, perfect leather..love the shoulder strap… start with a CITY!!! You can “graduate” to a Work. Have fun!!!!!!”
Not to sound like a total nerd, but I’d like to graduate early…. and get to the Work first!
Although it’s discontinued and Balenciaga’s It-bag status is far behind us now, the Work, in my opinion, was one of the finest iterations of BBags ever produced. Yes, Demna Gvaslia is now up to creating plenty of on-trend versions of the original City, whether it’s the Papier or the Neo Classic, but the Work has an extremely timeless feel to it that I personally feel the City, with its countless tassels, zipper tongues and an equally distressed and busy shoulder strap, is somewhat lacking in. Much more streamlined in the embellishment-department and hence, outstandingly work-appropriate (it’s in the name!), the Work never really received as much fanfare for its own design as much as it did for being “just another 2000s BBag” or “just another it-bag on the Olsens’ arms”. The Work is, in fact, so much more than that and yes, it’s the perfect bag for today’s most fashionable men. Why, you might ask, should I push men to buy yet another women’s bag?
Firstly, because it’s big. And measuring at 45cm, I mean it’s BIG. Given my obsession with oversized bags, I might seem slightly (read: a lot) biased towards the fact that the Work was the biggest bag in Balenciaga’s lineup that wasn’t the Weekender. One of the best things about a Work’s size, however, is that once it’s softened up and “broken-in” in true Balenciaga style, it no longer looks as boxy or structured. This gives it the impression of being smaller, making it perfect for having a lot of space “just in case” without looking like you’re schlepping a giant empty bag around. This is great for men (like me) who like to carry books, laptops and gym clothes, even though they work out at home. Oh wait, I don’t work out at home either, why do I even have gym clothes?
Anyway, while that means that the Work can fit all of your stuff without sacrificing any of the chic-ruggedness, the City can’t hold as much and would look awkward and misshapen when over-stuffed, which we are all guilty of at times.
Secondly, and this is something I find is often a deal-breaker for me, the Work has feet! If you’re going to work (or college, or the gym), you’d inevitably have to set your bag on surfaces, and having the feet provides a sense of security and stability that I have come to truly NEED as opposed to just wish that it would be convenient to have.
Another thing that I love about the Work, and all BBag-lovers in general do, is the leather OHMYGOD! Soft, supple and smooshy, who wouldn’t want a bag that becomes chic-er as it ages, right? And given how I’m a shameless advocate of slouchy bags, especially for men (Oh Sac de Jour, I still yearn for you!), the Balenciaga Work serves as the perfect contender to fit the bill. Also depending on whether you go for the classic or the giant hardware, you might even be able to carry it on your shoulders! Yay for bags that aren’t only handheld! (*looking at you Birkins*)
Speaking of age, since Works are no longer in production, the advantages to purchasing one on the pre-owned market are threefold: firstly, it’ll mean that they will be nicely broken in and softened up, just the way I like them. Secondly, it means that a vast range of colors are available for buyers to choose from, like this gorgeous Moutarde Yellow and Outremer Blue from Member Chanel123, or more neutral ones like this Giant Rose Gold Black, also courtesy of Chanel123, which you can’t ever go wrong with!
And finally, as I witnessed during my recent eBay adventures, Works can sell for below $200 too in not-too-damaged (actually pretty good) conditions, making it perfect for first-time male buyers who are looking for bags under-the-radar but still recognizable, and for those who’d like to dip their toes into the luxury market and no other part of their body yet.
So by now it might be pretty obvious that I’m hopelessly fan-girly when it comes to the Work, but there are certain things about it which you should also know if you think the Work is for you. Primarily, it’s the lack of a shoulder strap – which is what deterred many of the original BBag-lovers from the Work towards buying the City, the Velo or the Part-Time, all of which are also smaller than the Work. Since a strap is often a deal-breaker for many guys and girls, so I feel that perhaps you could attach a similar-colored shoulder strap and attach them to the metal rings on the handles, or you could have extra rings added like Member Fiatflux and attach straps there too. This might, however, possibly affect the Work’s salability if you’re reselling it (again), but given how little they go for, it won’t serve as an investment either way and you need to be really certain that it’s going to be something you are going to keep. If you do keep it though (and have a shoulder strap to go along with it), you’ll soon be addicted!
Chic for work, and even more chic for after-work, the Work is calling your name right now! Time to go wild!