Rider (+ J. Crew Rider Bag Review)

From flared trousers to clunky platforms, 70s trends are having a moment. Saddlebags, one of the era’s key accessories, can now be found as easily at big box stores as on runways.

I almost purchased the Chloé Small Marcie Leather Crossbody Bag last year (and test-drove one from a friend’s collection for a few weeks earlier this year), but found the “small” too small and the “medium” too large. But sometimes indecision pays off: the “Rider Bag,” part of J. Crew’s fall collection, meets my needs in several important ways.

Burberry Mottram Trench (similar) | J. Crew Midweight Colorful Striped Boatneck T-shirt in Ivory Navy Jade (sold out; size XXXS) | SewPetiteGal Skirt (handmade with love by S) J. Crew Rider Bag in Italian Leather (smaller size here) | Zara Court Shoes (similar here and here)

The “Rider” is sold in two sizes: a “standard” and a mini. The larger size measures 6-3/4″ tall, about 8″ wide, and 3″ in thickness at capacity. The mini is 4-1/2″ tall, about 6-1/2″ wide, and 2″ deep. Both bags are designed to be worn multi-way, with long adjustabe straps (22″ long for the standard and 24″ long for the mini).

I added the larger Rider Bag to my collection for a number of reasons: the price was reasonable ($198 for the large, and $98 for the mini); the material seemed durable and low-maintenance (the textured leather can be wiped clean easily); and the assorted compartments (there are three sections under the flap—one zippered center cavity with pockets on its walls, and two smaller open compartments, one of which has a zippered pocket; and one external back pocket) built in eliminate the need for card cases and random pouches.

The “mini” Rider, which is available in four versatile colors, is fun-sized and doesn’t hold much (will fit a phone, one pair of eyewear, keys, and a few cards). The magnetic buckle closure is difficult to close when the bag is more than half empty and (from online reviews) seems flimsy and prone to snap open unexpectedly. There is only one main compartment with a slip pocket on the back wall.

Like other bags in J. Crew’s fall collection, the Rider can be monogrammed in both sizes. J. Crew also encourages the purchase of complementary coin purses, key fobs, and bag tags with these bags. 

To date, store-wide savings have excluded these two styles (possibly because Nordstrom just started selling a curated collection of J. Crew styles online). It’s unclear to me if more extensive style exclusions during promotions will follow recent reductions in retail prices for J. Crew. Developments to come, I am sure.

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