(Ok so I know I put a poll out on Insta story earlier this week about which Fendi to get, but that was because after writing this review, and thinking about how great this bag is, I wanted a second larger one in a lighter color. Basically this one. But thanks guys for talking me off the ledge because I really don’t need two. Anyway onto the actual review!)
I’m not really a fan of Fendi. I’ve never liked their fashion/style (ick their F logos) nor their traditional specialty (fur). But 4-5 years ago, when this By The Way Bag was introduced by Fendi I fell in love. It didn’t matter what the designer brand was, I loved the style and simplicity (it almost look like it could be a Celine bag no?). Anyway I purchased this bag back in 2015 (at $500 off retail, but still at about $1300). A lot, I know but I loved that bag and waited for a year for it to finally go down in price. Also I should mention this is one of the few bags I’ve ever purchased new (that’s how much I wanted it).
And I’ve carried this By The Way (BTW) bag consistently for 3 years now and it’s probably the most used bag in my arsenal. It’s also one of the oldest, and it’s a testament to how great of a bag it is considering how quick I am to sell bags that I don’t find useful anymore.
So it’s a surprise that I’ve never thought about reviewing it on the blog yet. It’s probably because this bag never really took off and became a trendy “it” bag (but that’s also why I love it so much too—it’s obscure). Also when a bunch of new things are constantly entering the closet, the really old stuff sometimes get forgotten. But I would be doing a disservice to the bag if I didn’t review it and let you guys all know about it (especially now that it’s been out for so long and you can find some really really good deals on this bag used like the one linked above).
Some of the things I love about this bag are:
~ (ok this is the best thing about the bag) The handle straps that can be folded down flat against the bag to give it a sleek shape when carrying it crossbody. I usually carry my bags over my shoulder or crossbody but I like having the option of top handles, especially when I need to peer into the bag to get something. Most of my crossbody bags like my Celine Nano Belt (reviewed here) and Celine Soft Cube bag (reviewed here) have handles that stick out or flop down, which isn’t a problem. But this BTW bag handles are so discrete and yet so useful!
~ I’ve always loved the boston bag shape (rectangular bottom with a simple shape and two top handles). But this bag doesn’t look like your classic boston bag (think of Gucci’s Boston Bag or Dior’s Boston bag).
~ That classic shape also allows it to hold a lot of stuff. The top is slightly narrower than the base so the bag feels unobtrusive, yet because of the great rectangular base it can way more than you think! This is probably one of my larger crossbody bags that can fit the essentials and then some.
~ The leather is super durable (well the one I have is the smooth leather) and this is the bag I take on rainy days. No water spots ever. Plus it’s fully zippable so nothing inside gets wet.
~ Speaking of the inside, the bag is separated into three compartments. There’s a middle zipper one, perfect for small items and things you don’t want to lose ever. And then there’s two larger compartments that can hold your sunglass case or your larger wallet. One of the side also has pockets in the lining (though it can’t fit your iPhone). And then the whole thing can be zipped up securely with the main zipper compartment.
~ Because of the adjustable crossbody strap and the flatable top handles, there are a lot of ways to carry this bag. Over your shoulder with a shortened strap, crossbody with the longer strap, hand held, or push one side down flat and pop the other for a cool clutch (like the runway models below but I have to say I have never once carried it this way).
After three years of using and owning this bag here are some of the negatives I’ve learned:
~ The strap that the BTW comes with is great because the snaps make it fully adjustable. But for me, my hair kept getting stuck in them and it would end up pulling my hair out. No thanks, I need all the hair I can keep! So I ended up switching it with a different strap and it was no big deal.
~ There are no feet on the bottom of this bag so you have to be kind of careful where you set it down. Seriously feet would have made this bag near perfect in my eyes.
~ After 3 years of use and abuse the corners of the bag have started to indent in. But that doesn’t really bother me, it’s just a sign that this bag has been well used (plus have you seen the corners of my Everlane Day Market Tote? If I can handle that, I can handle anything. Well except when the corners start getting holes in them—ahem I’m looking at you Goyard St. Louis bags and Longchamp Le Pilage bags. The flatable handles of the BTW bag will also start bending with use but there’s no popped stitching or other wear on them.
So if you compare my pros and cons list, you can see that the pros far outweigh the cons (even 3 years later). So now you can see why I’ve kept this bag around as a workhorse. Seriously there couldn’t be a more practical crossbody bag for me out there, so I’ll excuse the fact that it’s a Fendi, lol.
As I mentioned above, because this style was never super popular and because it’s 4 years old you can find some major deals on this bag at my favorite online consignment store: Fashionphile. Here are the current ones available. Like I said in the beginning I currently have the black one in a small but I’m really loving the larger one in dove gray, which is priced at less than half of what I bought my black one for! So tempting but I will wait for now.
Anyway this bag really lives up to its name. Not flashy and almost an afterthought. Like “by the way, this is an awesome, minimal and useful bag!”