Opinion    Saint Laurent

Do I (and Do You) Still Love the Sac de Jour?

Plus: an introspection into my handbag journey.

Let us take a step back in time. More specifically, to two years in the past. I know, that doesn’t seem like a long time ago. But it could just make all the difference in handbag years (and for those of us obsessed with them).

‘Twas a dark moment in the history of mankind. The pandemic was showing no signs of slowing, the global economy appeared to hold little promise for the future, and my gap year was being frittered away with that debilitating sense of uselessness that only comes when you’ve tired yourself of pretty much everything you could do at home.

It was amidst this general sense of gloom, as if straight out of a Rihanna-lyric, that I discovered love in the unlikeliest of places – within the world of luxury handbags, right here on PurseBlog.

The chief object of my desires? The Saint Laurent Sac de Jour.

And like all aspiring handbag lovers, I was under the rather naïve impression that once I got my hands on the SDJ – which I was hopeful would be soon (it wasn’t) – well, that would be IT. It would provide me with the sense of fulfillment that I felt was amiss. It would elevate my style from the sloppy WFH-wear it was to that of sophisticated and preppy academia. Owning a Sac de Jour meant that I was living my best life.

Fast forward to the present day – the SDJ continues to be a part of Saint Laurent’s permanent line (it is a classic, after all); its alleged inspirer, the Birkin, has its popularity questioned by none other than Queen Bey herself, and I have meanwhile had the opportunity to develop a small handbag-collection of my own and have, in the process, evolved.

The carryall that started it all for me, however, continues to elude me, the SDJ-shaped hole still very much present in my collection. Albeit that’s largely due to my limited budget, has the learning curve I’ve undergone since I first started fangirling about handbags put the Sac de Jour (and handbags in general) in greater perspective now that I’m actually using purses on a regular basis?

Another Look at the Sac de Jour

By now, you’re probably going to press your palms to your ears and go “la la la” if we reiterate the history of the SDJ one more time here, so I’ll spare you the details and instead discuss the significance the bag has had for the house of Saint Laurent. The Sac de Jour wasn’t the first purse Hedi Slimane debuted for the brand after its chaotically-received rechristening from Yves Saint Laurent to Saint Laurent Paris. But it was certainly the bag that propelled his new creative vision to popularity.

Eschewing the highly-embellished hardware-heavy affairs from the Y2K, the SDJ embodied an era-appropriate sleekness and minimalism that the stars and starlets alike instantly caught on to. Many accused the design of imitating the Birkin, but that didn’t turn out to be a shortcoming at all. Rather, the SDJ put a more functional spin on the Hermès Holy Grail that’s also more under the radar, can be had for $10,000 less, and doesn’t require any degree of self-immolation on the buyer’s part.

Most importantly, the SDJ made a classic design even more timeless and, together with other perennial favorites, like the Shopper Tote and the Classic Duffle, paved the way for a new Saint Laurent to keep up with the times and align itself with Yves Saint Laurent’s DNA – to devise relaxed, functional and contemporary silhouettes.

Saint Laurent Sac de Jour

The SDJ’s Sales Performance

Introduced in 2013, the Sac de Jour was met with massive popularity that continues well into the modern day. But it has undergone several alterations since then, which have been discussed in greater detail in this PurseForum thread in particular that spans 174 pages and counting!

Namely, the original design, a favorite among the likes of Abbey Clancy and Kate Moss, featured more slouchy leather that has since been replaced by a structured silhouette and made available in various colors and materials, from croc-embossed calfskin to exotics, canvas, and shearling. The initial years of the SDJ saw several customer complaints for being excessively heavy, even in smaller sizes, owing to its double-leather interior lining. This was addressed in later years, with a thinner two-sided leather reducing the overall weight of the purse.

Kate Moss

However, many also felt that the SDJ got too saturated in the years following its release. With the advent of logomania and archival revivals, the SDJ appeared to lose steam in the latter part of the 2010s. But that appeared to be for the better: being devoid of loud hardware or insignia, the timeless silhouette of the SDJ smoothly transitioned into the ranks of a classic.

In 2017, Saint Laurent released the Souple or supple leather version of the SDJ, that appears to take inspiration from Ms. Moss’ lived-in version of the original carryall, with a little bit of added edginess from the visible studs, leather feet, nubuck-lined interior, and a detachable interior compartment. With a more relaxed silhouette, lighter weight, and a more convenient shoulder strap arrangement, the Souple rekindled the fan-following for the SDJ. It spurred a fresh list of celebrity bag-lovers, like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

Somewhere around the same time, the fashion house also released the larger men’s version of the SDJ. Cue me!

My Thoughts on the SDJ Now

When I started ogling at handbags, I’d always held certain regard for the SDJ (it even manages to make the Kardashians look elegant!) But when I came to realize that it was also made available for men, my admiration turned into a full-blown obsession, so much so that I wrote an entire piece dedicated to it. I also wondered why there were very few men seen out and about with it save for the K-pop star, Kim Jaejoong (and in hindsight, he probably got his hands on it the same way most influencers do).

Did it matter that it was originally designed as a women’s bag? Well, not really, since the larger men’s edition, or at least the medium, was what I was likely to default to anyways. Plus, the increasing predominance of the man-bag means that there aren’t really any more rules about who gets to wear what – if the fashion world as a whole has become more androgynous, there’s little reason to limit purses to the gender binaries.

Saint Laurent Sac de Jour Croc

But moving on from the initial infatuation with the Sac de Jour that had me enamored and having owned a collection of three purses – a Proenza Schouler PS1, a Burberry Rucksack, and most recently, a Balenciaga Work – I’ve come to realize that the SDJ may not entirely be what I’d envisioned.

For one, the open top would be an inconvenience, not only for security reasons but also owing to increasingly unpredictable weather movements everywhere (climate change is real y’all). Plus, the lack of interior pockets, save for the detachable zipped compartment, takes a few points off the functionality factor for me. But most importantly, the high price point, even on the pre-loved market, has deterred me from biting the bullet on it until now. While that’s a positive sign regarding resale performance, sadly, it will stay on my wishlist for quite some time now.

Despite its shortcomings, the SDJ will remain my Holy Grail, at least for some time. Its accordion sides, organized interior, and the dressy-but-relaxed slouch of the Souple (the one I’m lusting over) mean that it can be dressed up or down and work in various settings. Perfectly rational concerns about the open-top will fly out the window if I happen to spot one for the right price.

If you’re looking to buy one new, Saint Laurent has recently introduced the Sac de Jour Slim for men (also called the SDJ Thin, depending on the retailer) with thinner gussets to reduce bulk. The slim doesn’t come pre-distressed. Rather, it features luscious full-grain calf leather that’ll soften with age and attain more character. And if it’s the classic you love, you can often find one on sale in myriad colorways and size options too!

Saint Laurent Thin Sac De Jour

Most importantly, developing a collection has made me realize that owning any purse, even one I’ve been coveting for as long as the Sac de Jour is simply a stage in the journey of collecting. The SDJ would certainly be a milestone in my collection when I can finally get my hands on one, but it probably wouldn’t be the end of the road. It would forever remain significant to me for having incited a lifelong obsession with a world that’s albeit highly materialistic but also one that brings joy to a lot of people, including myself. And perhaps this is where I see myself in the years to come, slowly working my way up until I can treat myself to an SDJ. Until then, I’ll keep hoping that someone magically sends one to me someday as a gift.

After all, stranger things have happened – or so a guy can hope!


Leave a Comment

  1. Peggy Sue Avatar
    Peggy Sue

    Tbh, ever since Kaitlyn introduced her red crocodile embossed red SDJ I’ve been smitten. I haven’t purchased it, yet, since I haven’t found it for under 2K. I’ve wondered if she’s still loving hers? (I sound like a handbag stalker). 😂

    1. Sajid Bin Mohammad Avatar
      Sajid Bin Mohammad

      There are many available on resale for less thank 2k, but if you’d like to buy new, you’d have to wait for a sale I guess. I’ve read on the PurseForum that the seasonal colors are the ones that go on sale most often.

  2. Zoe Avatar

    Have it in Small, Ivory color; Still Love It. 😍❤️👜

    1. Sajid Bin Mohammad Avatar
      Sajid Bin Mohammad

      Is it the classic or the souple? Do share pictures!

  3. psny15 Avatar

    I love this bag❤️

    1. Sajid Bin Mohammad Avatar
      Sajid Bin Mohammad

      Me too!

  4. Candee Avatar

    Never been a fan.

    1. J H Avatar
      J H

      Same. I think it is the most boring bag on the planet.

      1. Sajid Bin Mohammad Avatar
        Sajid Bin Mohammad

        It is plain, and yes, kinda boring. But if it interests you, there are plenty of studded/embellished/colorful versions too.

  5. FashionableLena Avatar

    I only like this bag in the small and mini size. The larger sizes look too much like a work bag.

    1. Sajid Bin Mohammad Avatar
      Sajid Bin Mohammad

      I am looking to use it for work, but yes, the smaller sizes are great for casual outfits. And they’re available in such stunning colorways too!

  6. Hallie R Avatar
    Hallie R

    Way too late to the game but I’m waiting for a nano SDJ electric blue to be released again 😍

    I don’t understand why SDJ is considered a B inspired. There are much more bags out there that’ll fit the description imo

    1. Sajid Bin Mohammad Avatar
      Sajid Bin Mohammad

      True, it feels like a nicer version of the B actually. And come to think of it, most boxy satchels with accordion-like sides could be considered Birkin-inspired.

  7. Adele Avatar

    I saw the title and knew it was a Sajid post! Lol! Don’t stop obsessing over it. I wish I didn’t WFH so I would have an excuse to buy one. I hope you get one soon!

    1. Sajid Bin Mohammad Avatar
      Sajid Bin Mohammad

      Thank you so much! I’m like the only person here who keep obsessing over it lol!

  8. Gayle Avatar

    I hope you can buy it soon. Ive seen many used ones in excellent condition selling in my country for less than $1000 for the medium size.

    1. Candee C. Avatar
      Candee C.

      What Country do you reside?

    2. Sajid Bin Mohammad Avatar
      Sajid Bin Mohammad

      It’s true, but I don’t why, none of them feels just right. Either color-wise, or size-wise, or simply the price goes at the higher spectrum. But I’m keeping my hopes high!

  9. J B Avatar
    J B

    I would thoroughly enjoy that bag in my collection.

    1. Sajid Bin Mohammad Avatar
      Sajid Bin Mohammad

      Me too!!

  10. czlczlczl Avatar

    I LOVE the SDJ. Some of us like plain bags, and this fits the bill perfectly. Also, as brown/caramel colors seem to fade out of fashion, I like that the SDJ has kept it in the lineup. I can’t stand gaudy logos or embellishments. This bag hits all my “must haves.” Haters gonna hate, I guess.

    1. Jessica Avatar

      That’s funny. I have always thought that I could have bought it if it was not for all the details (the ”studs”, all the ”on top of the leather” leather pieces, the lock thing attached to it) that makes it look too busy in my eyes. And while I prefer quite plain designs I think my main problem with this bag may be that it looks too masculine/edgy for my taste? I am the only one feeling that vibe? I would not necessarily desceibe it as ”classy” ONLY. More like classy with a rock’n’roll edge. Not that there is anything wrong with having a preference for masculine designs either, being male or famale, of course, but I have never seen anyone address that so I was just wondering if I am the only one (I did not read the article not the other comments before replying though, so IF it has been adressed I have missed it haha). I do love Philo’s belt bag for example, which I would say is at least equally ”busy” so I guess the latter point (rock’n’roll) may be more of a problem for me than the ”busy” design? Perhaps? Anyway, it is a beautiful bag and I wish I would like it as much on myself as I do on others!

      1. Sajid Bin Mohammad Avatar
        Sajid Bin Mohammad

        It does feel rock and roll.. Ever so slightly but it’s there alright. I think that’s what I love about it the most, it’s plain but there’s still a bit of an edge. If you’re looking for a plainer design, you could go for the classic SDJ too, it lacks the studs and is more structured.

    2. Sajid Bin Mohammad Avatar
      Sajid Bin Mohammad

      Indeed! I do undergo phases where I have a thing for logos, but in the end I keep coming back to this!

  11. Ree Avatar

    I love this bag. Used to have a stiff white croc embossed silver hardware. Very elegant looking.

    Wouldnt mind a slouchy large versionnin a dark neutral shade.

    1. Sajid Bin Mohammad Avatar
      Sajid Bin Mohammad

      Exactly! All the different versions look so different!

  12. Slim Avatar

    Love it, love it!

    1. Sajid Bin Mohammad Avatar
      Sajid Bin Mohammad

      Me too, me too!

  13. Alexia Avatar

    I have an eye for this bag for a while. The Souple version is difficult to find in France but I’ve just discovered on the french website a new released of the SDJ with grained leather (not Grain de Poudre) and gold hardware. I’ve never seen this version before. The leather seems to be very buttery (in contrary of the Grain de Poudre which is very structured). I’m obsessed.

    1. Sajid Bin Mohammad Avatar
      Sajid Bin Mohammad

      Is it the black with gold hardware? I’ve never seen it before either, but it’s surely a winning combination!

  14. T C Avatar
    T C

    I have this bag and love it. I used to wear it to work and now, since I work from home and have a toddler, I almost never carry it. I look forward to the time when I can break it out again, but for now I’ll just enjoy taking a peek at it every now and again. 😉

    1. Sajid Bin Mohammad Avatar
      Sajid Bin Mohammad

      I can so relate! I love my bags so much, I simply take them out of the closet and hold them sometimes (slightly creepy yeah).

  15. Sdjlover Avatar

    I have the nano in green croc and honestly find it the bag I reach for the most. Cute, indestructible, timeless and versatile with the strap.

    1. Sajid Bin Mohammad Avatar
      Sajid Bin Mohammad

      Sounds so cute! Congratulations!

  16. Don W Avatar
    Don W

    I have the SDJ Mens and it is hands down such a gorgeous bag. Honestly like a work of art! The structured silhouette and the accordion sides make it a stand out. I purchased it several years ago along with the Fendi Peekaboo mens version and both bags were my holy grail bags for the longest time. When I carry the SDJ and the Peekaboo, its honestly such a vibe and gives me an extra confidence boost lol

    1. Sajid Bin Mohammad Avatar
      Sajid Bin Mohammad

      That’s so amazing to hear, your collection sounds divine! I’d love to see pictures!!

  17. Blankie Avatar

    I miss the big metal Y tote!

    1. Sajid Bin Mohammad Avatar
      Sajid Bin Mohammad

      You mean the Cabas Chyc? I loved it too, but do you think it’s a bit dated?

  18. Stephanie Avatar

    Thanks for the article. Im obsessing with small (croc) version. Considering to by it as my first, above 2000$, designer bag. It is like swimming in ocean, I don’t know if im making a good decision.
    My dream is to have Tote like, hard embraced body purse, medium size. Any other alternatives out there, em I making mistake by buying this one?! Please help…

    1. Sajid Bin Mohammad Avatar
      Sajid Bin Mohammad

      If you’re looking for a structured (I’m assuming that’s what you’re referring to by hard-embraced?) bag, you should opt for the classic version. But I’m not sure how much of the “tote purpose” can the small size fulfill – it’s about 13″ in length – a decidedly regular-sized handbag. For more substantial capacity, I’d recommend the medium or large perhaps.
      But even the structured SDJ gets softer with use, so if you’d like it to maintain shape, you might instead consider the Prada Galleria? There are various spacious sizes (even an XL). Otherwise you might try actual totes, like the LV OnTheGo. Hope this helps!

  19. MABags96 Avatar

    Can someone confirm if there was ever a collection of bi-color SDJ bags. The one I just ordered has blue interior and black exterior… but I can’t find any other ones online. Thanks so much in advance!!