One of my absolutely favorite bags that I own is my Balenciaga Giant City in Anthracite with Rose Gold Hardware. This bag took me what feels like eons to finally find and accept to be my first leather Balenciaga Bag. The reason for this is the color conundrum. While being known for their colors, Balenciaga has a way to find hues that literally change like mood rings in different lighting, and you need to see the bag up close to know that it is the color you desire. I thought I found the perfect BBag before, a Seigle Giant City, but I ended up returning it since the bag was more taupe in person than tan. But when I opened the box to unveil this Anthracite BBag, my heart was immediately taken and this bag has fast become one of my absolute favorite bags that I own.

Here is how my Balenciaga Giant City scores in our PurseBlog Purseonals ratings:

Aesthetics 5 Stars

The Balenciaga Motorcycle bags are cult classics. Since the bag’s inception, everyone who is anyone or wanted to be anyone has owned and carried a Balenciaga bag. They have the perfect touch of grunge with an overall feel of classical appeal.

I am a huge fan of the giant hardware, which my mother tells me resembles thimbles, but these studs bring the bag to life. There is so much happening on the front of the bag, but it’s not overwhelming. Some say they see a face on the front of the bag, but all I see is beauty. A front zipper pocket is found on the middle of the bag, and this helps break up the design and add functionality at the same time. The City size is perfect for everyday use and while there are double top handles with a nifty whipstitching finish, there is also an optional shoulder strap.

The bag is made to be slouchy, as it sits on a table it will loose its shape. But that doesn’t bother me at all, because as soon as you put it in the crook of your arm or over your shoulder, the iconic look of the bag takes form.

Usability + Functionality 3.5 Stars

The Balenciaga City is simple when it comes to its usability and functionality. I sometimes have a bit of difficulty opening the zipper closure when the bag is in use and still can not figure out why Balenciaga decided to give 6 inches of extra zipper track to either end of the bag; that’s precisely why it is hard to open and shut the zipper when not holding the other end to make the track taught. That being said, I can look past that flaw because the bag is just that great.

The next thing I would change on this bag is making the shoulder strap just a few inches longer. That way it would sit nicely on my shoulder even with a jacket or coat on. Many times when I put it on my shoulder, the strap slowly slides down my arm.

Even though I have the giant hardware version, I have never considered this bag to be very heavy. Some people complain about the weight, but compared to many of the bags in my collection, this bag is relatively light for leather plus lots of hardware purse.

When it comes to the inside of the bag there are not a plethora of bells and whistles. You have a nifty mirror (that I never use but always think is cute) and one inside zipper pocket. Much like other bags, this bag is accessible but not redefining the way we use our handbags.

Quality + Construction 4.5 Stars

I haven’t used this bag enough to wear it down, but for owning it and carrying it for nine months so far I have absolutely no complaints. The leather is really smooshy and only gets nicer with time, the hardware has not lost its luster or flaked off in any place. The stitching is still in tact (though Amanda told me after all the use she has given her 2007 Balenciaga bag, which she still carries regularly, the stitching on the handle has begun to fray).

Each aspect of this bag shows that there was great attention to detail and the bag holds up extremely well.

Value 4 Stars

For a high-end, highly-sought-after designer handbag, $1,895 is a relative steal. When we begin to talk about handbag classics and staples, brands like Chanel and Hermes and Louis Vuitton are thrown around. And in that sphere, there is no other bag that costs under $2,000 that is full leather and high quality like the Balenciaga City. Let me put it this way: you can have 5.277 Balenciaga City bags for the price of one Hermes Birkin.

When it comes to designer handbags and great values, one of the first brands that comes to my mind is Balenciaga.

The ‘It’ Factor 4.5 Stars

Over the past ten years, the popularity of this bag has never swayed. In fact, the ranks of the obsessive continue to grow along with the obsession. Much of the reason is because Balenciaga knows they have a good thing on their hands and they do not try to reinvent their staple designs again and again, instead they offer us a plethora of colors that change each season. Tell a Balenciaga girl that you have an Apple Green or Bubblegum pink bag from years past, and you can watch their demeanor change to full-out jealousy and envy. This bag has not gone out of style and will continue to stay in style for years to come.

Total Score 4.5 Stars

Shop Balenciaga bags via Barneys online.

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Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • Silversun

    Yay, another Purseonal! I love these, thank you for this lovely and informative one on one of my favourite designs.

    One particular functionality issue I have with my First is the black lining, which makes it hard to see the contents of the bag and I often wish it were a lighter colour. Not sure if the black lining applies to Bal bags across the board?

    I totally see the face in the front of a Balenciaga, but it’s always happy and smiley so I consider it yet another upside to the bag. ;)

  • mochababe73

    I love Purseonals, but I still miss WIHB.
    The Balenciaga that I have ever wanted was the metallic pink. I have seen these bags in person, and the leather is nice. I just don’t obsess about having one.

    • Megs Mahoney Dusil

      We have WIHB still happening and a new one coming today!

  • Sandra Rowley

    I love my City Bag….edgy, functional, and the perfect crazy color (bleu Levande, which in most light is a fabulous purple color). My only complaint is the shoulder strap…I agree if it were longer it would be more useful.

  • pixiegirl

    I like Bbags but honestly I’d give it a 3.5 for quality & construction. I love smooshy soft puddly leather but I don’t like it when the edges show wear after only a handful of uses. It’s much easily hidden on darker color bags but very notable on the lighter colors I also feel that the quality of leather varies too much I’ve seen one too many dry bags.. ITA with you about the zipper being way too long, not going to lie I just leave mine unzipped when I carry them.

    I love purseonals I can’t wait to see your next review!

    • Caroline

      Intlleigecne and simplicity – easy to understand how you think.

  • MilesC

    Great Review Megs – I am a big fan of the brand myself and I was inspired to acquired one by following your quest for the perfect color.

    BTW love that jacket you’re wearing :)

  • rose60610

    I like the rivets and overall style. It tows that fine line of edgy and refined. Nice. Good review.

  • Jessica

    Love the bag! Great review and is right on target. Cute pics of you Meg! Love your fashion sense!

  • Livia1

    Anthra RGGH was always the best choice :)
    So glad you’re still loving this beauty!

  • John

    Love your review! I love my Charbon Work in regular hardware. I bought it in March 2009 and until now, it still looks great! The leather still has that subtle shiny gloss yet is aging well at the same time. My only concern is I wish they can find a way to lessen the appearance of darkening on the handles. I’m a guy and I handhold it 80% of the time. But other than that, love my Bal to bits!

  • bisbee

    Megs – love your bag – we are bag twins! I’ve had other Balenciaga bags, and I have one other now (a Hobo), but this one I love – I got it as a gift for a special birthday!

  • Nancy

    Glad to finally read an honest review. I love my Bbags but also notice what a pain it is to zip and unzip and the way the strap falls down all the time. Otherwise Bals are beautiful and you made a great classic choice with the anthra and rose gold.
    Also love your coat – where can I buy it?

  • Mellee

    The purseonals posts are definitely my favorite feature! I have a Bal giant city in anthra with gold giant hardware and I love it to pieces!

  • Mommy needs a new bag

    I love the Purseonals posts. I have had a Bal on my wishlist for some time and I have yet to pull the trigger. Great review of your gorgeous Anthracite RGGH City, I found it really helpful. Keep these features coming, I can’t wait to see what you review next!

  • Desma

    Love the Purseonals! Keep them coming!!

  • MizzJ

    I love the City and you’re so lucky to have one! It would have been nice to see a pic of it sitting on a tabletop so we could see how smooshy it gets?

  • edoardo

    I lvoe this post and this bag, one of my favourite one and yeah I agree with the fact that Balenciaga is an honest bag sometimes cheap if we make a comparison with the other brands!

  • Rashida

    I love that bag… so beautiful…

  • kemilia

    Great Purseonal–I was waiting for this one!

    The only neg for my city (RH) is the inside pocket is not nearly as deep as the ones in my Day & Purses (mine is an old Truffle–maybe that has changed?) and I carry a LOT of junk in that pocket–but the City is a classic. I’m ok with the long strap too, doesn’t slip on me.

    Keep up the Purseonals and yes, that is a great jacket.

  • J Umm

    its one of my fave bags to date

  • Bernice Boyer

    I love the bag. Your mother is right, the hardware does look like thimbles, but I like the sturdy look of it.
    Loved your review and can’t wait to hear your next one.

  • Audrinajulia

    love purseonals! I read about the speedy 30 on your first purseonals and I”m happy because that time I was plan to purchase same size and same style.. Your review really helps and now I own mine. The exciting part is I do a research now regarding Balenciaga for my next year purchase and I’m really thankful that you have this article. Thanks so much!

  • Mila

    I finally bought one in papyrus w/rose gold hardware and I love it. The bag is a pretty neutral color that goes with just about anything. Thanks Meg for the informative reviews:)

  • Allison

    Great review! I have an anthra Work with regular hardware and the color is just absolutely stunning! Pictures can never seem to do it justice. I also agree about the shoulder strap and zipper issues on the city and find the Work to be much more user friendly. Love your reviews!!!

  • Elyse Greenberg

    Great post! It made me want a giant city even more than I already do!

  • Shirley J

    this is definitely a popular bag

  • Christine A.

    This same one is my first Bal. Thank for helping me to decide, Megs! I agree with you on the longer strap, but I do think the bag is a bit heavy on the crook of my arm. On the shoulder it feels lighter because of the thick strap that distributes the weight well. I love this purse!

  • Josephine

    You’ve made me love this bag!

  • Alexandra Davidoff

    Megs, I love your Balenciaga! Super cool and edgy without giving up that elegance of a real classic. But I also love your honest review.

  • so beautiful,i want one 

  •  I also want to have a such a bag, can show temperament

  • Holland

    Thanks for the review Megs! I’ve ordered this exact one and it arrived today. Was the last one at Barneys. It is a great bag but feels more like one for the nook of your arm then for the shoulder. When I put it on my shoulder using the shoulder strap, the handle on the inside doesn’t fall flat against the back of the bag very well due to the fact that the “thimble” on the handle and the first “thimble” on the top of the bag. Also, I find it strange that the removal handle can be clipped on to a circle ring rather than a D ring which would make the shoulder strap sit better when in use.
    All that said, I do love this bag and agree with Megs on her review.

  • sirius max

    Awesome post, Meg! Thank you for reviewing such a cult brand!

  • paola

    if you ever sell it…write me! i love it!!!

    • labulledoree

      Je vends le même sur Ebay france ;-)

  • alexbrown

    Just got my first Balenciaga – a cafe town bag. I already want another!!!!

  • Im torn between getting a Balenciaga city or a Givenchy Antigona
    I know they are so different slouchy and the other is structured
    but i love both so much help what do i get

  • ItalianMom

    This is my dream bag. I want several colors with Rose gold hardware. This bag pulled me away from my original love, Prada. Thank you for the great review!