Watch CBS News

Obsessed With Schoolboy Satchels

By Jessica Ghilani

(Photo: Jessica Ghilani)

What better way to carry around all the things you need than in a leather satchel of an iconic shape? Schoolboy satchels never went out of style but lately, thanks in part to designer brands like J.L Hulme and Cambridge Satchel Company, they are everywhere. Pricey designer versions like the PS 1 from Proenza Schouler would break the budgets of most consumers. Thankfully, this classic bag can be found in a wide range of price points, new or used. Vintage versions abound in thrift stores and resale shops. Although the two satchels from this article were purchased on Ebay, similar bags were spotted recently at local boutiques like Pavement, as well as resale stores like Red, White, and Blue and Goodwill. Fast fashion chain retailers like H&M and Forever 21 carry leatherette options to satisfy stylish vegetarians. Regardless of where you found your favorite satchel, you will want to maximize its longevity in your closet. Here are some outfit ideas that will permit you to explore its wide, versatile potential.

Casual Classic

Pair your favorite satchel with classic American sportswear pieces. A plaid flannel shirt with rolled sleeves can be mixed with a smart and simple a-line skirt in a winter wool. Avoid the temptation of interpreting the satchel too literally and venturing into school uniform territory. Let the pieces play with the schoolboy reference with a decidedly grown-up, feminine approach.

Practical Prep

When the weather is too cold for exposed stems, pull out your favorite pair of corduroys and let the satchel top off a structured mixed tweed blazer, layered over a silk camisole. If it is icy outside, pair with docs or duckboots to create something you could find in the pages of an L.L. Bean catalog from yesteryear.

Dressy Cool

Allow the satchel to dress down a girlie frock already in your closet but rarely worn. The disharmony of the pieces might require boldness on behalf of the wearer. Add fashionable booties or smart pumps and accessorize with a cowl scarf for warmth.

Witchy Woman

Pair a maxi skirt and an edgy leather jacket with the satchel. Layering black pieces in contemporary shapes will keep the look contemporary.

(Photo: Jessica Ghilani)

When shopping for a satchel, take note of the flap and closures of the bag. Pick something user-friendly if you have an on-the-go lifestyle. If it buckles rather than snaps, you might want a bag with an external pocket that holds your keys and phone for easy access. Do you want the satchel for nights out or for everyday? The sizes will differ depending on when you plan to carry it. If you are a purse packrat, be sure to select something of an appropriate size that can fit your things. Make sure the sling strap is comfortable and the bag is not too heavy. I love when a bag has an adjustable sling strap so I can shorten or lengthen as needed. Finally, decide on a color. For example, Cambridge Satchel Company makes their famous satchel in neon hues as well as neutrals.

With these tips you will be outfitting your satchel beautifully in no time!

Places mentioned in this article:

Hours: Mon to Wed and Fri to Sat 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Thurs 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Sun 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Goodwill Store

2700 East Carson Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Hours: Mon - Sat 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Sun 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Hours: Mon-Sat 9am-6pm

For more on Pittsburgh shopping, check out this Guide to Shopping Lawrenceville.

Jessica Ghilani blogs about (mostly her own) shopping and dressing in Pittsburgh and beyond at Consume or Consumed.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.