I know what you all must be thinking (that I’m crazy for even thinking about this), but hear me out. Last week, all of you helped me make a very important decision. I was stuck between two going-out bags, one from Saint Laurent, the other from Chanel. After writing the post and reading all your comments, the decision was a no-brainer. I went out and bought the Saint Laurent and then went home that night and started wearing my new bag around my house. After wearing it for a bit, I started to notice something.

The bag is python-embossed leather, and the the Saint Laurent representative explained that the bag is made of calf skin and stamped to feel like a real python without the possibility of falling scales over time, as can be a problem with real python. I wore the bag crossbody around my house, and because this bag lacks a smooth surface, the tiny hairs of my wool sweater kept getting caught in the “scales” of the bag. Because of that friction, I also noticed that the “scales” started to lift up and bend. I’m nervous if I wear delicate blouses, like lace or silk, the bag may cause pulls. I’m also worried of the opposite effect–that wearing something of a more coarse material may damage the delicate bag.

I don’t want to worry about what I’m wearing and the repercussions when I want to carry this bag. Other than that issue, I love it so much, and I would be devastated if the leather frays from constant wear. My main concern is I want this bag to age well, and I’m not sure if this finish will look the same as it does right now in a year’s time. If you look at the close-up shot below, you can see some of the leather lifting. Although that’s the natural texture of the bag, have any of you had similar problems with embossed python? Am I better off exchanging this bag for the croc-embossed texture, which is much smoother and might wear better over the years?

Saint Laurent Python Embossed

YSL Detail

Crocodile Embossed
[Image via Saint Laurent]

YSL Croc

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Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • Karisma

    I would go with the second one. But that’s just me.

  • c.Miller

    I would go with the croc embossed. You want to be able to enjoy the bag, not baby it when you’re going out!

    • Katherine Callaghan

      Yes, I agree with you 100%

  • laura

    I would return it and get the croc embossed instead. I hate having to worry about the bag all the time.

    • Katherine Callaghan

      I want to wear the bag and have fun. Not look down every few seconds to make sure it’s ok, haha!

  • D

    I have kind of the same problem with my crossbody Versace bag from some seasons ago…that chain destroyed a lot of my cloths!!! i kept forgetting that its bad for anything with silk texture so I had to throw away a lot of good stuff… you shouldn’t be thinking about these things when wearing an expensive bag…or any bag at this point. I suggest you exchange it for WOC or Dior pouch for instance? ;)

  • Amazona

    I’m with the others, I’d go with the croc. I think it’s a more attractive print anyway, not really into snakeskin.



  • justa9url

    I agree with the majority, I’d go with the croc embossed one. A, because I’m biased and prefer the croc embossed one over the python embossed one and b, I don’t want to worry about the leather lift or ruining delicate clothing – that’s a lose-lose situation.

    • Katherine Callaghan

      That’s what I was worried about also. I don’t want the bag to ruin any of my clothing so it’s best I get the croc embossed and I won’t ever have to worry.

  • h

    Tbh I think you should return it and get the chanel!

  • anon

    It’s obvious you’re not 100% satisfied with your purchase when you should be-its a lot of money! I say go return it and get the Chanel. You can’t go wrong with Chanel and why not? If you love the Chanel more than great, you were able to try both and ended up with one you wanted. If you loved the YSL more, than go back and get it. It’ll be a hassle, but its worth it for the amount you’re investing. If you’re not satisfied with either, then go back to the wish board for other great evening type handbags. There’s always plenty of gorgeous ones coming out. Please update us!:)

    • Katherine Callaghan

      I definitely wasn’t satisfied and it made me sad that I made the wrong decision. Now I’ve learned that I don’t like python and I will probably stay away from this texture. I’ve decided to get the croc embossed and I’m much happier with this decision!

      • anon

        Oooh! Great choice!:) I hope you’ll do an updated review and experience for your new handbag! It’d be a really great and relate able post:)

      • Katherine Callaghan

        Absolutely! It’s already noted in my editorial schedule! :)

  • ami

    Get the croc one. The python is too much of a hassle.

    • Katherine Callaghan

      I’m starting to realize that. Lesson learned, I don’t like python anything.

  • Jae

    I dont know if this is an ignorant question: but I didnt think it was possible or ethical to exchange or return something that has been used. I for sure would not like to be the python bag buying customer that comes in after you bag has been returned. I’m hoping I misunderstood something and someone can enlighten me! Thanks!

    • klynneann

      Well it’s certainly possible lol. But I believe she said she wore it around the house. I don’t see the difference between trying on a bag at home and wearing a new pair of shoes around your carpeted home to make sure they fit before taking them for a spin (because, lord knows, 5 minutes at the store won’t tell you anything about how a pair of shoes will really fit).

      • Katherine Callaghan

        Yes, I only wore this bag around my house and luckily I did wear it because it was wearing it that made me realize I truly wasn’t satisfied with my purchase (and this picture was taken right outside my house, haha). And yes, you 100% have to wear shoes around the house to really see how they fit, haha!

    • Actually returns are not unethical if they are based on a quality issue. In this case, the back of the bag should have been made out of smoother leather that wouldn’t damage clothing and get overly worn in the process.

      Besides, it is good feedback for the company to have. After all, they were trying to simplify the design process by keeping one material on the exterior of the bag. Turns out that they can’t get away with it.

    • Vbogaert

      If the item is of poor quality or defective, she has every right to return it. The scales shouldn’t be lifting up on bag that’s been barely used, especially at that price. The seller should damage the bag out of their inventory.

      • Jae

        poor quality or defective merchandise is one thing. But isn’t something that is fragile and that is fragile no matter how good the quality (i.e. python, very smooth grained leather that are prone to scratches, silk, etc) a different thing? I’m honestly not trying to be derogatory- just trying to understand.

      • Vbogaert

        It’s faux python. Faux python should have a lot more durability. Any reputable retailer would take that bag back. I worked high end retail for years and we would have taken it back. The representative said it was made that way so the scales wouldn’t fall off, yet after one wear they’re already lifting up. It seems there’s a real risk that the scales would do exactly that if they’re already lifting up.

    • Katherine Callaghan

      You can make an exchange within 10 days. Most likely they will damage out this bag and they would NEVER sell it to someone else. When you make purchases like this, the sale representative shows you the bag, brand new, un-open and unused from the stock room. They then allow you to inspect to make sure it is perfect and you are satisfied and then they ask for your method of payment. I already explained my situation to the brand that I just wasn’t satisfied with this finish and they said they want me to be happy with my purchase so they said it’s best to get the croc embossed finish.

      • Jae

        Thanks! Good to know. And very helpful! I am glad to hear that you got such good customer service and are happy with your final purchase! Its been way too long to act on it now but I’m just curious: what if you dont inspect it carefully enough at the store but once you get home you notice a “defect”? I bought a goyard dog collar at the st. honore store and I didnt care to check assuming it was brand new but once I got home I noticed some of the “white dots” were fading off..Would that have been something I could have taken back?

  • Tiffany H

    Croc embossed! As much as I love Chanel, the WOC’s are grossly overpriced for what they are.

  • Lovebags

    I personally do not recommend python or croc-embossed or other animal skin-embossed leather. It simply looks cheap and fake, especially when compare to the real thing. For example, the Chanel python WOC scales are gloriously soft and the look is very glamorous.

  • Jade

    You should exchange it for croc.

  • Guest

    I actually just returned a pair of python embossed shoes for this reason! I could see that down the line they wouldn’t hold up very well. The bag itself looks gorgeous, just exchange it for a different leather finish. Also are those the Louboutin boots that you got the amazing deal on that you previously posted about? Still can’t get over how good of a deal you got for such gorgeous boots!

    • Katherine Callaghan

      I felt the same way. I have a bad feeling in a few years this bag wouldn’t hold up the same as all my other leather bags. Yes, those are the boots! I love them! Trust me, I still can’t believe how good of a deal I got either!

  • Atelieross.com

    right now i am in love with the same bag in the “Matelassé Caviar” leather. yes, its very reminiscent of chanel, but something about the look of it has me in love. Its available in a variety of colors, of which I’m most loving the Brown. it has a vary effortlessly vintage yet chic feel to it. plus the embossed caviar leather is practically indestructible.

  • Joomla

    Go with the croc embossed

  • Yes.

  • PJGambler

    After seeing the two, the Croc is much prettier-real or fake snake skin grosses me out anyway, can’t stand it on the LV bags either

  • lavinia

    yes change it. :)

  • Purseinsanity


  • Purseinsanity

    Make the switch! I bought the croc embossed one and LOVE it!

    • Katherine Callaghan

      Ah, thanks for sharing! So glad you like the croc embossed!

  • While the croc embossed will probably age better than the python, I still do have concerns about the wear on the croc versus regular/smoother leather. Granted my wallet was not YSL and got more beat up (constant handling, opening and closing, getting tossed around a full handbag) I found that the edges of the “scales” showed wear rather quickly. There was no lifting or bending, as with the python, but over time, the detail/graining on the edges, the most lifted part of the “scales”, started to rub off. So if you can, look into how YSL croc-embossed has fared for current/previous owners.

    • Katherine Callaghan

      Will do, thanks!!

  • kemilia

    I liked the Chanel over the YSL from the start. I also feel that any leather made to look like croc or snake or ostrich cheapens the bag. But whatever you do, you should not have a bag that destroys your clothing just by wearing it–definitely change it out for something else. And love those boots, though wearing them would have had me flat on my face in like 2 seconds!

  • AV

    My Saint Laurent bucket bag is croc embossed and I’m in love with it. It makes it stand out so much more than the smooth black leather equivalent. I’ve seen display python and faux-python bags in Selfridges and by the end of the season they all look dog-eared around the edges. If you’re having doubts enough to write this article you know what you need to do!!

    • Katherine Callaghan

      You’re absolutely right! Even after I wrote this I knew what had to be done but I just wanted to get all of your input first just to make sure, haha!

    • Kate

      I have that same bucket bag and love it!!

  • Katherine Callaghan

    Thanks so much everyone for you feedback! You all helped me decide that I think it’s best to exchange the bag for the Crocodile embossed leather. I don’t want to have to worry about my bag when I wear it. I want to wear it and enjoy it and this bag is too beautiful not to enjoy! I’ll be going on Monday to get my new bag.

  • j

    i say go for the croc

  • Alyson

    Definitely exchange it for the croc. The bag is brand new & giving problems already and you haven’t even left the house yet! I’m super picky, & that would drive me crazy.

  • Marina

    I think you should get a fun color – Life’s too short to settle for the boring basic black bag from time to time. Have fun with your life for once!

  • Alexandra

    Yes. The croc embossed will overall have a longer life span. The reason why is how they create the leather. You were right on the money by saying the bag you currently owned is cut, but the croc style is stamped which doesn’t completely separate the hide.