Henri Bendel Mini Jetsetter Convertible Review

 

 

I’ve had this bag for around 8 months and it’s been an interesting relationship.

This is my second favorite bag, after my Gucci bag, because how do you top an origins story like that one?

The mini was initially released in December 2014, meaning it’s less than three years old. Most of them go for about $130+ secondhand. I’d gotten mine for a steal at $68. The cost of the price?

It was stained. The sides and bottom were dirty. I did an unboxing which I posted to YouTube but not long after I took to the tub, attempting to scrub it clean. It was stained when I bought it, which I knew. I was desperate for a bag to meet my needs and having just bought my car in cash, my savings were depleted. That extra $40+ is a lot of money when trying to rebuild your savings.

That helped, but it was still pretty visible. Then, around four months ago, I dyed it. I’d been wanting to for a while and had posted a photo listing the materials. I loved the rich redness of the leather, so I wanted to only dye the nylon, if such a feat was possible. I tagged a few dye companies. One replied with a recommendation and lo and behold, it worked like a charm.

If there’s one thing this bag can do, it’s take a beating.

The material is tough. Leather generally gets ruined when washed in the washing machine. This went through it with vinegar and dye, on a hot cycle. Seriously, it’s tough skin. The nylon is in really good shape despite the very frequent use it gets. I’ve had to have some stitching near the zipper mended, but other than that, there’s been no problems with the bag.

Henri has stood up to the Meshuggah mosh pit and crowdsurfing.

The bag features a series of rings and snaps for the purpose of converting it into different styles. The snaps for the shoulder strap/s are sturdy, wide and best of all, soft. After prolonged use, it appears that the only way to remove the snaps is if someone consciously separates them.

I love the different rings. It’s pretty easy to clip a reusable grocery bag to it, which makes it easier to remember.

As for the handles, I think they are a touch small. It’s fine when you’re carrying your bag in your hand, but if you even consider carrying it on the crook of your arm, you’ll be disappointed.

It has two outside pockets. The one on the front is mostly useless unless you love keeping a handkerchief handy or want to pin something cool over the leather label.

The back pocket is pretty roomy. I can easily slide my Galaxy Note 5 in it and it largely stays put. I’ve never had it fall out during daily activities. The pocket on the front is the same size but I think it’d be too easy to have your phone stolen out of it, especially in backpack mode.

Most of the bag is made of nylon fabric and the stitching is made of different materials, which is why some of it took color and I now have a neat contrast stitching. If you have an edge of punk and don’t often try to go for a more sleek look, this bag would look awesome covered in patches. It is also water resistant but if you’re faced with a huge downpour, odds are your bag’s contents will get pretty wet(that darn zipper!). If you’re worried about rain, an old plastic grocery bag would be a smart thing to keep handy in that front pocket. Voila, instant waterproof liner!

 

Inside are two pockets. One pocket is zipped, the other is open and vaguely shaped. I love keeping my earbuds and hand sanitizer in there.

The bag isn’t terribly structured. It has some shape, but I find that if you don’t load it up in an orderly way, it’ll appear slouchy. If you use a bag organizer, this is easily remedied. Another trick you could use is by making a bag shaper out of several layers of very thick cardboard and compostable tape.

Regardless of this bag’s state, stained, dyed, overstuffed, or slouchy, I keep getting compliments on it.

 

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