Fendi Small By The Way Bag Review

(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.

Fendi By the way bag review
 

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).

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Emma Roberts Fendi By the Way.jpg

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).

 Large size

Large size

 small size

small size

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!”

RIP Céline

Rarely does high fashion news affect me, and I have long since stopped caring (long gone are my Vogue-reading days), especially since my world revolves around ethical fashion these days. But the ending of the Phoebe Philo era at Céline and start of Hedi Slimane reign at Celine is something I’ve taken notice of, especially since I’m a huge fan of the simple and elegant bags that Phoebe’s Céline used to craft. So please let me have this one indulgence in celebrating some of the bags that I currently love at Fashionphile that will now live in Céline history. Also if you’ve ever been interested in Céline bags, now is the time to get these since I have a feeling some people will be holding tight to their Céline classics and they’ll be less available as new Celine floods the market.

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1. Small Belt Cabas Phantom in taupe: I reviewed the exact same bag here. This is by far my most useful and favorite Celine bag in my collection. I look forward to using this bag as a diaper bag in the future!

2. Small Belt Cabas Phantom in navy: So nice that I listed it twice :)

3. Small Ring Bag in dune: An older style from Céline and one I might add to my collection in the future.

4. Medium Classic Box Bag: I used to own this bag in light blue but ended up selling it to a blog reader who asked for it. In the end I’m not a structured purse kind of person and I already have two Chanels that fit the need. But I’m really tempted to get this one and sell a Chanel since it really is a beautiful classic bag.

5. Small Sangle in navy: I had the medium version of this bag but also just recently ended up selling it to a blog reader who asked (lol, I guess I have a hard time saying no). I reviewed it here, and as much as I loved the medium version of this bag I prefer my Cabas Phantom (1 & 2 on this list) and end up using that more. Since I didn’t need two large Céline bags I let this one go. But this smaller Sangle is kind of calling my name.

6. Large Trio Crossbody bag in beige: I used to have this bag in the smaller size and in teal color that never really matched anything so I sold it. I would definitely rebuy this classic Céline crossbody in the larger size and a more neutral color.

7. Zip Around Organizer Wallet: I have two Céline wallets, one of which I purchased from Fashionphile. I love their functional and sturdy wallets, plus they usually have an element of surprise—like this black one with a bright yellow interior. If I was in the market for a larger wallet, this is the one I would get. Also it’s on “last call” right now and selling for $275 (usual retail is closer to $900).

8. Medium Edge Bag in red: My friend has this bag and has been using it for ages, and it’s held up so well. Now that she has a toddler, she uses it as a diaper/baby bag and it surprisingly fits a lot and yet looks chic even when stuffed. I’m tempted to copy her and get this one for myself, especially for this really good used price.

9. Small Soft Cube Bag in navy: I just bought a dark green version of this bag used from Fashionphile (with trade in credit) and I looooove it. It’s the perfect everyday casual bag and I love the crossbody strap and top handle design. I’ll be reviewing this bag very soon so stay tuned!

10. Micro Belt Bag in gray: I reviewed this bag here. I recently sold it to purchase a nano version since this medium-ish size was a bit too large for my daily needs. But I still really love this bag and it’s the perfect practical bag for those who want to carry a bit more than just the essentials.

Anyway I hope you enjoyed my little ode to Céline here and I probably won’t be reviewing anymore Celine items, unless I buy one of these older bags. And if one of you guys do decide to get one of the bags I’m thinking about it here, I won’t be mad, lol (if I really wanted it I should have left it off this list or purchased it right away). But rather I’d be happy that you guys got a beautiful piece of Céline history at a really good price. And if you’re interested to see what else Fashionphile has you can see all their Céline items here.

P.S. This is not at all sponsored and in some ways it’s like a PSA for my Celine bag lovers out there. But these are affiliate links so if anyone purchases through this blog, thank you so much for your support! I really appreciate the small side hustle I am able to make from sharing my joys here :)