I fell victim to my own indulgence last summer when I purchased a Saint Laurent Envelope Bag. I had purchased my Louis Vuitton Marignan earlier in the season, promising myself it would be my last designer bag of the year. My husband and I are in the process of building a new house, so I knew I would have to go to Ban Island for a while. I usually am able to practice self-discipline, but the Saint Laurent bag was plaguing me. I had tried it on when I was in Paris in the medium size, which I admired but I found it to be way too small on my frame and for my lifestyle. The store didn’t have any large-sized Envelopes to try on, so I cut my losses and headed to the LV store down the street.
Fast forward to a few weeks later and I was having serious buyer’s remorse. I could not stop thinking about the Saint Laurent Envelope bag and how beautiful it was. I was repeatedly kicking myself for not going to different Saint Laurent stores in Paris to try on the large size (especially since I could have saved a considerable amount of money had I bought it in France)! Don’t get me wrong, I love my LV Marignan, but there was something about the Envelope bag that was gnawing away at me. Weeks passed and instead of getting over this fixation, I eventually started waking up at night thinking about the bag and I knew that I was hooked.
After three weeks of distress and a few conversations about my constant regret with my husband, he encouraged me to buy the Saint Laurent Envelope bag despite having purchased quite a few bags this year. I am lucky to have such an encouraging and supportive husband because even I wasn’t sure if I should bite the bullet and cave into the temptation. As you can see here, I did decide to buy my first Saint Laurent, a Saint Laurent Envelope bag in the tan color with gold hardware in the large size. Although I wish I had purchased in Paris for cost-saving purposes, I am so glad I finally got my Saint Laurent Envelope. She has quickly become one of the most versatile and beautiful bags in my wardrobe, and I can say I am without a doubt smitten with my new acquisition.
My favorite thing about this bag is the way it looks, so 5 stars for aesthetics is a no brainer from me. This bag has striking YSL initials prominently displayed on the front and center of the design. I opted for the gold-toned metal hardware, but silver and black matte enamel is also available on the Envelope style. I was super tempted by the black leather featuring the black matte hardware, it looks so chic and sleek, but ultimately the gold hardware and tan-colored leather won me over. Partially because of my personal preference, but also because I have quite a few black bags in my collection. I don’t own any tan colored bags, so this not only filled a void in my closet, but it also matches nearly every single clothing item I own, making it not only a beautiful bag but extremely versatile. In addition to the neutral tan color of the leather, the gold hardware is top of the line; I have never had hardware that shined as brightly as my new Saint Laurent.
I adore the juxtaposition of the matelassé quilting and the V-flap. It creates an interesting contrast that draws the eye in immediately. The texture of the calfskin leather appears to have a slightly glossy finish, giving it a polished look that makes this bag easy to dress up or down. I love to throw it on with jeans and a t-shirt for an every day look, but I have dressed my Envelope up with dresses and even a suit for the office. It works for any occasion in my life, it can match everything.
The tan color of my Saint Laurent Envelope is rather hard to capture on camera. In some lighting, it looks like a toffee color and in others, it looks like a light nude tan. I think it is more accurately a toffee color rather than a light nude tan, but it really just depends on the lighting! If you have the chance to look at Saint Laurent's bags in person, I highly recommend it. I nearly purchased this bag in the "smog" color after seeing it in real life, it was the most beautiful grey color in person that wasn't accurately depicted in the online images I had seen.
Usability + Functionality
I have worn my Envelope quite a bit since bringing it home with me. The dimensions of the large Envelope are 12.1 x 8.6 x 2.9 inches ($2,590). For reference, the medium size measures at 9.4 x 6.8 x 2.3 inches ($2,190), which I found to be entirely too small for me when I tried it on. If you happen to love small bags, there is also a small version of the Envelope measuring at 8.2 x 5.1 x 2.3 inches ($1,190), which was definitely not an option for me, so the large was the only contender size-wise.
The large Envelope can hold quite a bit without being overwhelming in size. I’m used to carrying a tote or a larger sized bag, and I was worried that the structured nature of the bag wouldn’t leave much pliability to fit extra belongings, but it has surprised me and worked well as an everyday bag. I can fit a book or my mini iPad inside and I have seamlessly been able to integrate this bag into my daily routine. Another function I appreciate is that the interior of the bag is shallow, so items don’t go missing inside and I can easily spot and grab anything I’m looking for.
The straps on this bag are awesome because you can wear them in one of two ways. Option one is to wear it with the double straps on the shoulder for a 30cm (12") drop, or you can pull one strap long for a 52cm (20.5") drop for a different look and function. I love a bag with different carrying options, so this was a huge bonus for me. I wear it both ways depending on the occasion and really appreciate having that option. The leather strip on the top of the straps looks aesthetically pleasing while also providing comfort because there is nothing worse than a bag with chains digging into my shoulder.
The V-flap can be secured closed with a magnetic snap closure, making it easy to open and close. The magnet is very strong and I have had no issues with it opening unexpectedly during wear. The downside of the V-flap? The sharp corner tip at the forefront of the bag. I have been surprised and disappointed to see some very slight wear on the corner piping on the flap of my Envelope bag and have found myself babying it as a result.
There is an open slip pocket on the backside, which I find to be handy for holding my iPhone. I wouldn’t put much else in there for fear of warping the shape of the bag, although I suppose you could put something small or flat inside (I’m thinking an envelope or a lipgloss...nothing too large).
Quality + Construction
Not only is this the first Saint Laurent bag that I’ve owned, but it’s also the first Saint Laurent bag I have tried on. I’ve been a longtime admirer of Saint Laurent, and quite frankly am shocked at how long it took me to go to the store and try a few on. The first thing I noticed was how brilliant the shine of the hardware was (can you tell I am obsessed with the hardware?!). The stitching of the matelassé leather is stitched to perfection, creating the gorgeous quilted look. My sales associate told me that the quilting would not lose any of its puffiness (which to be fair, is minimal on the Envelope style), but only time will tell if that is the case or not.
Overall the construction of this bag feels very sturdy. I haven’t had any popped stitches or marks visible to the naked eye. I have been babying the corner tip of the V-flap on my bag due to slight rubbing, but otherwise, I haven’t noticed any signs of wear or tear on the bag.
Price + Value
The Envelope in the large size retails for $2,590 (also available via Nordstrom), which is my most expensive bag purchase to date. I have one or two bags that have retailed originally for more, but I’ve always bought them second hand at a much lower price. I won’t lie, I was overwhelmed by the price of this bag, especially when it was rung up with tax. The reason I was able to justify the price is the fact that the Envelope is a classic design. I can see myself wearing this for years and years, and that alone was a reason I was able to swipe my card and not turn back (which by the way, if you purchase directly from a Saint Laurent store, your purchase is non-refundable, exchange only). Despite the high price tag, I have no qualms with recommending the Envelope. Yes, it was expensive, but it feels really luxe and has a design that will stand the test of time.
Like aesthetics, I’m giving the Envelope 5 stars for staying power. One of the reasons I paid such a high dollar amount for this bag was the fact that it is a classic shape, size, and style. Some may argue that the YSL logo is trendy, and while I agree it is on-trend, it has also proven to stand the test of time. Designed by artist A.M. Cassandre in the 1960s, the YSL logo is an iconic symbol of the fashion house and has become a symbol of luxury. Because of the history of the YSL logo (and the heritage of the brand as a whole), I feel confident that the Envelope bag with its tasteful yet obvious logo on the center of the bag possesses a strong staying power.
I want to give this bag 5 stars overall because I love it just that much, but I would be remiss if I ignored the fact that the V-flap is going to show wear or that it was priced so high (even for a premier handbag), so a 4 seems accurate. Overall I feel like this was an excellent purchase and I absolutely recommend the Saint Laurent Envelope bag if you are on the fence about it. It’s quickly become one of my favorite bags in my collection. Sometimes I will just take it out of its dust bag to admire it, even if I don’t have plans to wear it that day. It physically feels a lot more luxurious than many of my other premier designer bags, and I absolutely recommend it to anyone who is interested in picking up a Saint Laurent bag of their own! I wouldn’t mind owning another Envelope or maybe a Saint Laurent Loulou next.