If you read the title “Return of the Mack” by Mark Morrison style you did it just right, a song that’s perfectly suited for this bag’s return to the game. For those of you who haven’t heard, Mulberry just relaunched the style and I couldn’t be more excited. As a matter of fact the Cambridge Green and Cloud colored Alexa’s are already on the top of my wishlist! So to celebrate the Alexa’s return I thought a thorough review of this cult favorite would be in order!
The Alexa has been in and out of my collection for years now in several colors and styles, and each time I think that I can let her go I end up regretting it and turn to all the reselling sites in search for her (this has happened an embarrassingly amount of times). Mulberry has been one of my earliest bag loves, and the Alexa was the bag that brought me to the brand. I’ve said it before but truly, Mulberry is one of the most underrated luxury brands in my opinion. Their quality has always been great for the price and their new exchange program offers a way to not only make their bags more accessible but help keep their production cycle cyclical. I’ve owned many of their bags throughout my collecting journey, and I think its safe to say the black polished buffalo Alexa has earned a permanent spot in my collection. Here is why:
Part book bag, part briefcase, with a large helping of Mulberry’s iconic British heritage and a sprinkle of Alexa Chung’s cool girl vibe, the Alexa was one of the most iconic “It bags” of the era. I was in high school when I was first exposed to the brand and had just reached a huge milestone, acquiring my first Louis Vuitton. But we all know it doesn’t stop there, suddenly I was on the hunt for my next obsession and as soon as I laid eyes on the Alexa I knew she was it. Its vintage inspired design and effortless vibe immediately tugged at my heartstrings. Fast forward to today and the Alexa remains one of the one of the most wearable pieces in my collection.
Something about this bag feels so easy, she’s casual, low maintenance, and filled with little details that give the bag a lot of character without being too flashy. This bag truly nails it for me, especially as it has minimal branding on the outside aside from the brands iconic postman’s lock. But with that being said, a lot of people here in the U.S. aren’t as familiar with the brand and don’t immediately associate the lock with the brand. Another huge plus for me is the black and silver hardware combination, as its always my preference if given a choice. It also has some nice details like the braided leather on-top of the handle that kind of takes the bag a step away from being just a book bag and gives it a more elevated look.
Usability + Functionality
The Alexa is one of the easiest bags to wear which is why I think I keep coming back to it. The bag has the “dynamic duo”, top handle and cross body combination that makes it easy to switch wearing styles if needed. Extra bonus points for the top handle being very comfortable to hold and long enough to comfortably wear on my arm and be hands free if needed. There is also a little strap “hack” that allows you to wear the bag as a backpack and another to wear it as a shoulder bag (I attached images above to show you how), giving you four ways to wear this bag.
And while we’re speaking of straps, the ones on the front have magnetic fasteners that help keep them and the top flap secure and in place when the bag is closed. Another positive aspect of the flap is that it adds some extra security as it’s very difficult to get into the bag without feeling it. Also if the bag were to fall over, the flap keeps all your items safe inside avoiding any big embarrassing messes. This bag is really great for stuffing though, the sides are even expandable, so you have the option of extra space when you need it. This feature really comes in handy during those transitional seasons when you need to stash away an umbrella, scarf, or sweater.
One thing I would change about this bag the lack of exterior pockets. Ideally I would love one in the back so I could slide my phone in when I’m out and about. But with that being said I usually keep my phone in the back pocket and reach under the flap to get it out, not the worst as I don’t have to open up the bag to get it out, but it could be so much easier. It does have some nice little pockets inside, one standard zip pocket and another smaller section behind the front of the bag that is the perfect size for my passport, credit cards, and my vaccine card.
Quality + Construction
Mulberry’s quality has always been on point for the price, it always met if not exceeded my expectations. Over the years the Alexa has came in a variety of leathers, my favorite being the the polished buffalo and the goatskin (The Glossy Goatskin Valentine Alexa was once a member of my collection and I intend on getting it back one day) but I also own a soft buffalo oak Alexa. I will say the polished buffalo is a lot heavier than the soft Buffalo but it also feels much thicker and sturdier, though it does soften overtime with wear. Alexa fans seem to fall into two different groups, Team Flop Factor and the Structured Stans and to be honest I really enjoy both. The polished buffalo doesn’t necessarily hang the same way the soft buffalo does, so if that’s a huge reason you’re attracted to the bag, that’s something to take note of. The polished buffalo also comes out ahead for me because it has a nice grain to it, making it pretty scratch resistant, my claws have yet to leave their mark. It is also does not wrinkle as much as the soft Buffalo, so that is another thing to consider.
The inside of the bag is lined in fabric which I always have mixed feelings about, obviously it keeps the bag lighter but I do love a leather interior as its just so luxurious. A small detail I would really like to change is the interior zipper on the back wall of the bag. Even though it runs smoothly and I’ve never encountered any issues, I just wish it were not plastic. Over all I think this is a very well made bag, and the quality is far better than some of the Gucci and Prada bags I’ve had in my collection, so bravo Mulberry!
Price + Value
This exact bag is not available for purchase any longer but it retailed for around $1,700 back in its day. The good news is you can find it for a pretty good deal on the resale market and the brand new version of the bag actually retails for $1,300. I think for the quality and the amount of use I get out of the bag this price point is very reasonable. Unfortunately Mulberry bags don’t tend to hold their resale value super well (which is why I give it a lower star rating here), so if you’re someone who finds that important then make sure you’re not spending more than market value on your purchase. Is this a bag you can easily flip? To be honest I don’t think so, at least not here in the U.S. If you decide to purchase this bag I recommend you purchase it for your own enjoyment and plan on having it in your collection for a while.
Though with all that being said prices for the Alexa have gone up since Mulberry’s re-release. For example Fashionphile even has a medium Alexa going for $925. I think Mulberry’s own exchange program has also helped raise the value of their bags on the resale market as they are selling Soft Buffalo Oversized Alexa’s for about £695 (about $975) and they are moving so people are willing to pay more if the bag is in good shape. I think if you are interested in the brand now would be the time to buy at a “steal” as I am noticing Alexas, Roxannes, and Small Bayswater Satchels, creeping up in price and getting snatched. It seems though, on average, the bag usually sells for something in the $300-$700 range depending on material and condition.
Do I think it’s worth that? Absolutely! I genuinely love this bag and have two of them in my collection and am looking forward to seeing the new version of it soon.
Throughout all the years of having this bag in and out of my collection I have noticed one really special thing about it; it gets a lot of compliments from people who aren’t in the bag world. As a matter of fact I was running errands in my neighborhood and someone rolled down their car window to ask where I got my bag. My mom is also a big indicator of how a bag is perceived outside our little bag bubble as she has no brand biases, no leather preferences, and doesn’t know much about pricing aside from being too expensive for her taste, but she always loves my Alexas. I want to point this out because I know a lot of people who associate this bag with the era of its peak popularity, and while I give this bag a personal rating of five stars for staying power I will give it four officially because I know I’m less sensitive to whether or not something is “in style”.
I have always loved this bag, and since it is so heavily vintage inspired without any indication of any era driven trend (some current trends that I think will date bags from our time would be padded bags, chunky chains, belt bags, micro bags) I feel like the bag doesn’t really date itself. I confidently feel that I would be able to wear it ten years from now, after-all the first time I owned this bag was about ten years ago from now!
Overall I’d say if you’re looking for a beautifully made, casual, but reliable everyday bag this is a great option! If you’re someone who likes a vintage but wants a more luxurious touch this is also a great bag for you. Or if you’re someone who is looking for something that offers a lot of flexibility with carrying options but doesn’t want their bag feeling too open and insecure, look no further. This bag clearly has a lot to offer, and has earned a permanent spot in my collection, not once but twice! And with everyone clamoring to claim the next “it bag” it is kind of nice to have a bag that has already been there and done that and has proved its self worthy and a second shot in the spotlight.
Will it last? Is the Alexa doomed to relive its past life, or will it have found a permanent home in bag lovers hearts? Will it become a permanent bag icon like the Louis Vuitton Speedy or will it forever be in “it bag” limbo with the Celine Luggage and Givenchy Antigona?
Only time will tell, but I would love to know your thoughts in the comments.