After I posted an outfit yesterday in which I featured my “new” billy bag with an added shoulder strap, Sophie asked me to do a more thorough review of the bag. She indicated that she’s been a bit frustrated with hers and since I have shared some of her frustrations, I agreed it was time to write a deeper review.
(click each image for a larger file, then the back button in your browser to come back to the post)
My bag is the Jerome Dreyfuss Billy bag, NOT the large version (although I see the bag mis-labeled all the time), and I’ve had it for a couple of years. In 2009, I had a large billy bag (outfit here), but sold it because it was just too large to manage. I LOVE my bag, but it has some limitations, and in general, it’s not as practical as I’d like it to be, so I don’t end up carrying it as much as I’d like to. At least until I added the longer shoulder strap.
First, here are my absolute ESSENTIALS for a bag:
Short straps so I can carry it by hand or at my elbow – and grab it fast
At least one long adjustable strap so I can carry it on my shoulder or crossbody
One outside pocket
At least one inside pocket
This is why I love my Jas M.B. wings traveler bags so much, because they meet and exceed all of my requirements – except I do wish I had one larger version. The Billy bag has short straps, which is how I used to carry it (outfit picture here), but I don’t like for that to be my ONLY option. The shoulder strap that comes with the bag is good for carrying on your shoulder, but not long enough for me (I like my bags to hang right at my hip), and makes the bag much more difficult to get into.
The Billy bag doesn’t have a top closure, only snaps by the short handles. When you do close the snaps, it folds one of the straps inside the bag, which is a little awkward. I hardly ever close my bags though, so this isn’t a big issue for me. The bag has one large open pocket on the side, and one zipped pocket in the front. I wish the front pocket was a little deeper/wider, but it is just large enough to hold my phone, keys & a lip gloss. Overall the bag is large enough to carry all my essentials, plus my iPad & kindle in the same case and my 15″ laptop. When you set Billy down, it does kind of plop open (see image above), so you have to be mindful that nothing falls out, but I’ve never had an issue with it. Also, the flashlight in mine have NEVER worked, I just remove them…
I have used it for traveling, but just as a carry-on, not at my final destination. It’s great as a carry-on, but I like a little bit smaller bag and one I can carry cross-body when I reach my destination. Also, when I travel, I like to carry a bag that closes securely 😉
Adding the longer strap (again, as seen here) has made me love this bag even more. It still doesn’t close very well; I usually just make sure it’s not going to spill out and fold it over a little – but it’s so much easier to carry and get into than without the longer strap. Right now, I’m using a canvas strap borrowed from one of my kipling suitcases, but I plan on ordering one or two of these leather straps from Etsy soon (I almost bought a cheap bag from Target yesterday just for the strap!!).
In general, I think this bag NEEDS to come with a longer strap, but I would still recommend it as is. The leather is THE SOFTEST ever, and the bag is so beautifully made. The Billy is still Jerome Dreyfuss’ most popular style, but I love the Jacques this season (it has a longer strap attached), and since more and more places online are carrying Jerome Dreyfuss, it’s much easier to find on sale than ever before.
Do you have a Jerome Dreyfuss Billy bag? What are your thoughts/input?