Unexpectedly detailed review of the (Michael) Michael Kors Selma (Large) Bag

This is a really late post (and I know I still have the rest of New Zealand to do – I haven’t forgotten) but I am crossing off those home renovation resolutions like a bawsss. Pretty much last year I bludged through my “home renovation” and pretty much passed off replacing two broken bathroom/ laundry items that needed to be replaced and they were done by a plumber, not myself. If not, it was buying the odd curtain or dinner placemat. I’ve just worked through painting all the main living areas and bedrooms and painted them all a fresh peach colour – bathroom, toilet and laundry to go, but that will be easy peasy. I’m a bit caught up because I’m simultaneously replacing furniture and buying things to decorate the home – I should do it a bit at a time,  but I like to multitask.

Painting for newbies is a bitchhhh. Your deltoids and other muscles you never knew existed ache and you get frustrated because you’re using way too much paint on a wall and can’t tell if the coating is even or not or if you’ve painted a spot because half the wall is dry, the other half wet. I will write more about this later in a separate post. Onwards!

The Selma Bag features:

  • Two short top handles for arm/ hand carry
  • Long adjustable strap for crossbody or shoulder carry
  • Two “flaps” to look like a trapeze which can be tucked in for a square look, or pushed out… to look like a Celine trapeze
  • Top zipper closure (with the two “flaps” uncovered)
  • 1x Inner zipped compartment
  • 1x Mobile phone compartment
  • 3x Smaller open stitched compartments
  • 1x Leather strap with lobster claw for key/ small item lanyard thing that is fixed to the inside of the bag
  • MK Monogrammed fabric interior lining (by the way I hate the monogram soooo much I’m only glad it’s on the inside and you cannot see it from the outside)
  • Saffiano calf leather exterior and all straps
  • 4x Metal base studs on underside of the bag
  • Front logo plaque
  • MICHAEL KORS stamped hardware
  • White rather soft and slippery dust bag with silver leafed logo (which is actually impressive for a dust bag)

Purchased the 30T4MLMS7T in Raspberry/ White/ Black colour block. Raspberry is more like a fuschia or a hot pink colour depending on your interpretation and under certain lighting. The colours are way too vibrant for what I am used to sporting, but a little change won’t hurt.

So my floor and wall backdrop is back after I decided the photography tent was way too whitewashed and eBay-like. Can you guys tell the colour of the wall is lighter than before? Yes, that was me painting the walls.

miketsumuse_mkselma01

What Misa thinks of the Selma bag: first impressions

So I’ve pushed this post first since my last post kind of promised this would be next. I’m not really a Michael Kors person – to be honest I don’t know much about the brand, don’t really care for it, and don’t particularly like it either. The only thing I like though, is the Selma bag, because it’s one of the designs that I think actually look quite modern, nice, and can work as a bag you take to work without it costing near $2000. It was almost by chance that I came across this particular colour block Selma on sale which I managed to get (including shipping) for under $300AUD. This is a bargain considering they retail at like $490AUD+ or whatever it is here. It was the perfect combination of colours, especially since the straps were black and not white like most stupid colour blocks (why would you have light coloured handles if you could avoid it?? Yes, aesthetic purposes, but functionally lacking in terms of maintaining the thing).

I know I said I wouldn’t buy a bag (so I still kept with the twice a year thing… except I made it to 3 in 2014 because of the Selma), but when I bought the Selma it was on sale, Christmas, and it was reasonably priced. Later another $50 was hacked off the price (*shakes fist at further reductions* and probably it would have been better spending $250AUD on it (who doesn’t like saving money?)… because IMO it’s okay value for money, but RRP here is just not worth it at all.

Yes, there are articles trying to ride on the Kors bandwagon by writing articles like these to say how the brand is going downhill, is uncool, etc – yeah I get all that. Like I wrote a paragraph ago, I don’t actually like the brand at all. I just liked the design and price wise, it was worth a shot because I wanted to see what it was like for the lulz. Do I have anything to say in response to the article? Well, I do – there’s nothing wrong with a mass produced bag – it makes a brand affordable and in all honesty, undermining the “higher end” brand of the same brand doesn’t really matter because fundamentally the money is going to the same company. I’m well aware everyone is wearing one, but then again, what about Longchamp? Just saying. A bag is just a bag – you use it to carry things and you wear it because you like it or not.

I’m going to be honest – the Selma is a bag that I’m not very comfortable with in terms of its details and design elements when I take apart the bag. It’s like the Saffiano leather and buckle design from Prada, a leather strap with buckle for your keys from Chanel, a shape that really resembles that of Celine’s trapeze or luggage, interior compartments that are like Louis Vuitton and Coach combined, and a monogram interior lining (though uncommon in most handbags) – probably resembling some brand but I just can’t really figure out what at the moment. Yes. It is uncomfortable because it is a mishmash of borrowed (?) elements smacked into one. But if you just look at it on the whole, it seems like a good design – I guess they did combine the “best” of everything into one. Or so that’s what you expect anyway.

This is so the Prada lobster clasp, downsized with a different "link" shape buckle.

This is so the Prada lobster clasp, downsized with a different “link” shape buckle.

Made in Vietnam.

There’s nothing wrong with it being made in Vietnam (probably better than made in China but I wouldn’t have a clue), but it took me ages to find where it was made. It was printed on a tiny bit of white coated fabric somewhere on the inside in small letters – so wee and tiny. It’s not very nice to have it in such an obscure spot – like, it’s nothing to hide right? I can’t expect a bag to be made in Europe if it’s a couple of a hundred dollars.

So. Stiff.

I was expecting the bag to be stiff but not as stiff as it is now. It’s physically hard to stuff into my work drawer (which is actually a cube), it’s in the way when I take public transport, I can’t slide my wardrobe door close because I can’t tuck the two sides in (need to rearrange my contents first to do that) and just a whole bunch of inconveniences.

In fact, it is stiff to the point that I would call it hard/ cardboard. The long strap is almost useless because it actually hurts my shoulder when I wear the bag long. My bag isn’t like terribly heavy, but it is of considerable weight: a phone, wallet, keys, glasses case, bus tickets, a small bag of toiletries and the odd almost weightless cardigan. The handles are also so hard I wonder if there is cardboard inside to retain the shape and hardness… or whatever. There probably isn’t, but it’s just a thought. You cannot wear this bag on the long strap with the handles down because it will bang against your thigh and it hurts. And the long strap hurts. And you carry it on your hand/ arm and the handles still hurt. It’s better now but you don’t exactly expect a bag to be something you “break into”. This is the first time I’ve encountered this problem.

Well, I’m sure you are all like “but this will get better after a bit of wear and tear” – it’s been about a week and while the finish of the bag is sagging (by this I mean the front and the bag are slowly caving in where the bag is empty), it’s pretty tough. And there’s a good reason for it.

Sagging.

Sagging/ losing its original shape.

Saffiano leather is a method of pressing calf leather into a crosshatch pattern. This makes it scratch resistant (to an extent) and the treatment makes it durable and sort of water resistant. It reminds me of the Louis Vuitton Epi leather (same concept, just different pattern). I have compared the grain/ size of the pattern of the saffiano treatment in Prada and Kors leathers and I have noticed that the Prada grain is somewhat larger. The Kors is pressed smaller and hence is a bit “scratchier” – this is most likely due to the fact that they are using leather that is not as good in quality – and that’s why there is a need to scale the saffiano crosshatch smaller to hide these imperfections. The Kors leather also doesn’t have as much definition – so perhaps the leather was also stretched when they did the crosshatch? I don’t know, just making speculations.

Left: Prada Saffiano leather (more definition and larger grains). Right: Kors Selma

Left: Prada Saffiano leather (more definition and larger grains). Right: Kors Selma. Oh, and while we’re here, maybe you may want to compare the quality of stitching – so yeahhhhhhhh.

In other words, if you are a leather connoisseur or someone who really scrutinises quality, definitely choose Prada since they are the originators and probably do it best.

Oh and just in case you missed it – I still think the bag is cardboard. It has softened since I have first typed this draft though.

Details leave much to be desired.

The sealing of the leather seems to be alright and smooth if I run my finger over the edges, but if I look closely the edges of the actual leather aren’t smooth and there are lumps under the seal. I’m not saying that high end brands will not have this problem – I’ve seen my fair share of the slip of the artisan’s hand during the sealing process (which by the way is sort of like painting, waiting for it to cure and possibly doing this process several times – my hand slips even painting a wall let alone something so delicate) so I don’t expect it to be perfect. If I had to rate the sealing I’d probably say it’s about 8/10 for smoothness but 6/10 for shoddiness of craftsmanship because I can see the imperfections under the sealing – no matter how much you rely on the sealing to hide this, I still don’t believe it’s a good idea to leave traces of ruggedness in something that is supposed to be clean cut. I tried really hard to take a photo but I couldn’t as I don’t have the capability to do detailed macro shots.

I’m not sure if it’s my imagination either, but when I compare the symmetry of the bag it seems off – not everything is quite uniform and the same size throughout. This is reallllllly minor, but maybe something to take note of if you’re crazy like me.

Stitching

When I received my bag I was not happy with the long strap because the string/ stitching along the sides of the long strap were already sort of fraying or fuzzing out. This is probably due to the bad quality of the string and just overall finish – especially if they decided to wax the string. My only guess is that this will only get worse over time.

Fuzzy string on long strap: this was as how I received the item, brand new (I knew it was new because the zipper and everything was factory sealed with the swing tag).

Fuzzy string on long strap: this was as how I received the item, brand new (I knew it was new because the zipper and everything was factory sealed with the swing tag).

Once again with details, if you look at the stitching, the lines sort of look straight, but the actual punched holes in the leather forming that stitched line aren’t exactly straight or aligned. If the higher end brands are given an A+ or above, I would give this workmanship maybe a B-. Yes, there is a difference, and you can tell.

Lean back and have a look at the lines in general - not straight, spacing is not as equal as they could be and stitching "holes" not lining up.

Lean back and have a look at the lines in general – not straight, spacing is not as equal as they could be and stitching “holes” not lining up.

Branding

Considering this is a Michael “Michael Kors” it just sounds as tacky as it probably is. I hate the name of the brand and well, that’s about it.

Proportions

This is the large version of the Selma and proportions are alright. It is a bit bulky, but that’s due to the nature of how stiff the bag is.
The large number of internal pockets is rare to see in bags these days and is a nice touch – but it doesn’t make organisation that much easier or finding your stuff faster if you’re someone who just throws things in and then organises later.

The only negative (apart from the horrible monogram lining) thing I have to say about the internal pockets is that the zipped compartment is not big enough to put in a long wallet. So my wallet is still floating around.

If it’s any consolation a short wallet will fit (duh). But I’m not going to change/ swap my wallet just because of this.

Long wallets do not fit into the zipped compartment.

Long wallets do not fit into the zipped compartment.

Overall conclusion

Yeah, alright, so I own a Selma now. I’m probably just going to use it for a while, try to sell it, and then forget I even had it. Or, I would use it, get bored of it, and throw it into the dust bag and up into my closet to sleep with my other maybe 15 or so bags. One’s enough and that’s it – I don’t see the need or whatever to have a second because I think even owning one in the first place was a move that is unlike-Misa. From wearing my casually comfortable Louis Vuitton Totally MM (which I crumple into a ball somewhere in my closet) to this mess of a cardboard slab, it was like a culture shock far too great for me to handle.

There are so many great bags that are under $1000 that perhaps aren’t leather but are structurally well made and would be something I’d be happy to wear every day. Although I wear the Selma to work 5 days a week, I kind of don’t hate it,  but I don’t love it either. I feel kind of lost wearing the bag, because it feels like the bag’s insecurities of its own identity has rubbed off me. It’s still too mishmashed to be an icon (maybe an icon of mass production), and it’s not anywhere near the top of my list in terms of my bag rankings.

If you were hoping the Selma to be the answer to the new saffiano tote, forget it – a classic will always be a classic, and the quality is just too far off to even consider comparing the two!

If you prefer something bulky, heavy, stiff but with a bit more comfort yet bump into people and things when you’re travelling or shopping, consider the Chanel Grand Shopping Tote instead. Although I don’t really love my GST that much, it’s definitely much better than the Selma, but of course there’s the price factor.

I don’t mean to offend anyone who loves their Selma – I mean I like it too – enough for me to actually buy and use it. But seriously, when you compare the quality – and especially when you can afford better quality – I don’t see why I should settle for less. Please note that I didn’t see the bag in person before I actually got the bag, so if you do purchase, go see it in person first!

Overall for a bag this size and this quality, $300AUD is actually a pretty good price. I’m being too strict on the quality – what can I possibly expect? For an internationally recognised brand, decent design and it is leather, I must say it was still a good buy. My only qualm about it is why did I even need to own the Selma or spend the money in the first place. *shrugs*

In a summary – which does not include every single possibility:

Great for: students, people who want a work bag to throw around and not care about yet look modern and organised (go for the classic all black Selma – can’t go wrong), people who do not care for their bags well, people on a budget, people searching for their first designer bag, a pack of friends who want matching bags that are in season/ in fashion, giving away to a friend/ family or as a gift in general – alone or pooled with other people.

Bad for: people with soft bodies (unless you want a free massage with the bag bashing against you as you walk – massage available for 2 weeks of initial use), bag collectors who do it as an investment (no point here), people who are obsessive compulsive, people who nitpick details, people who are against the use of leather, people who do not like Michael/ Michael Michael/ Michael MK Kors.

Plans for the next bag? Considering May is only a few months away it’s time for me to contemplate on what I should get. I have zero plans at this stage, and I am most likely going to push my money towards home renovations/ furniture. I’ve had my desk for about 7 years – it’s still structurally stable and does the job, but it’s ugly and the veneer has always looked awful as it peeled from the very first week I ever used it. I’ve found a desk I quite like, but do I need it? The “trust me, I’m an architect” side of me is telling me yes. I’ve always had this strong idea to pursue the perfect work space. I was somewhat close to it, but not quite. I will get there eventually since I have finally got the chair I’ve wanted since maybe about 9-10 years ago.

I’ve also discovered Pinterest and it has been a great source of renovation ideas. I’ve finally hung a decent looking frame in my room to cover the bare hook I have (see my Instagram feed) and my room feels new again. Now if I get that desk and decent storage I can get all my crap off my desk and off the floor – it’s always nice to have a sexy sleek plane as your desk with minimal clutter.

Hope everyone enjoyed Valentines – mine sucked. I spent about 3 hours just waiting/ traveling to and from work, ignored a couple being way too touchy feely in public while waiting for public transport, had to put up with two girls much younger than me gawking at those two hand wanderers and make comments about it. Anyway, I will be back at some stage – not sure what the next post will be, but I really want to get all my renovations underway and complete soon. We have a lot of furniture that is old – like 10, 20 years+ and needs upgrading. Until next time, stay cool (unless you’re in the northern hemisphere), and enjoy!

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2 thoughts on “Unexpectedly detailed review of the (Michael) Michael Kors Selma (Large) Bag

  1. Appreciate your thoroughness very much and hoping you may happen know how name plate hardware is applied to these bags. I am actually a serial buyer of the Michael Kors Saffiano Leather Jet Set Top Zip Tote in luggage. I started with the medium in black, wore it until my mother told me it looked like it needed to be retired, bought the same one in luggage bc they were out of black, wound up loving the color so much more and purchasing it in large because it fits my laptop and the zillions of other things I carry around. I used the Michael Kors spray when I first got it and I hope I’m not jinxing myself here, but this bag is invincible! I know this is gross, but I will literally put it down the sidewalk in the middle of Times Square while I reorganize things, put cups of coffee in it while I do my hair, carry it on one shoulder strap for blocks and blocks while I dig through it looking for something, and it still looks great!!! Not Chanel or Celine great, but it’s not Chanel or Celine, so I knew that would be the case going into it. Anyway…. My one issue with this bag is the gold Michael Kors name plate on it. Maybe if it was a quasi camouflaged LV impressed onto epi leather I wouldn’t mind the logo as much, but it’s basically the exact opposite. *To be completely clear here – I love this bag. I’m a city girl and business woman so I am extremely picky about look, fit and practicality of my bag AND dangerously reckless / borderline abusive. Michael Kors makes a beautiful couture leather bag well over $1k, and I cannot thank the brand enough for creating a $300 one that combines elegant aesthetics with rugged durability! So, I am not knocking Michael Kors here. I’m just hoping to get this name plate off! Having Googled high and low, of all one zillion posts on MK bags, you seem to have critiqued their construction more closely than most. Any suggestions? The custom leather bag/shoe store in the west village said it wasn’t possible and the shoemaker was just very confused, so I think I may need to provide detailed instructions… #firstblogpostever! Thank you!!

    • I’m pretty sure it is riveted somehow with a “back” part of the plate (which is hidden inside the leather) that is hard pressed with the front (whatever the logo appears on the outside of the bag). I’m pretty sure you won’t be able to remove the logo. If you remove it, you will probably get a few holes in the leather, knowing how hard the saffiano is. Just turn your bag the other way so the logo isn’t facing outwards and I think you will have solved the problem (temporarily).

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