Not sure exactly when Telfar appeared on my radar, but ever since I knew of the existence of the ‘Telfar Bag,’ short for the Shopping Bag from the brand, I knew I would buy it one day.
TELFAR is a unisex line established in NYC by Telfar Clemens, a queer Liberian-American designer, in 2005.
My first impression of the bag is not as pleasant, and I’ve got to admit and be honest with you that it smells like plastic.
It is made from 100% Vegan Leather, and that basically is faux leather, polyester aka plastic! After two weeks, and I still occasionally smell it but not as strong as the very first two days of wearing it to work. I tend to stay away from polyester materials when it comes to buying fashion brand new. The first reason is that I’m consciously making an effort to buy used and reduce plastic usage. Secondly, polyester bags tend to show signs of wear, tears, and do not last long compared to, for example, real leather bags.
However, I’ve decided to keep it because of so many reasons.
The medium size fits a laptop, my lunch, and my daily essentials. It has a zippered compartment that runs pretty deep, so I usually leave my wallet and more important stuff in there! There are two handles and two very long cross-body straps which make it portable in multiple ways, and I love that in bags. My most favorite feature of the bag is definitely the embossed extruded TF logo.
Other things about the bag that I grow to love are the actual shopping bag style. Because of its plastic materials, I don’t mind it being scratched up or stolen worn while traveling or on public transportation. I can dress it up (as you can see below in all 3 outfits featured) or down, easily. In addition, the shopping boxy bag shape makes it very convenient for me to reach my hands in to find things. There’s a snap closure that comes in handy lots of times.
In terms of the material, besides the smell, I don’t love how it’s not sturdy looking, as it does not stay standing. However, I don’t mind that at all. With the rainy Seattle weather, this plastic bag ends up working quite well as water does not stick to it at all. In addition, it gives my outfit a more casual feel, but I still can totally dress up whilst rocking the bag on many weekend occasions.
CONS: I wish Telfar would make the long cross-body straps adjustable. They are not, sadly, so the majority of the time, I cannot wear it cross-body because it would hang too low on my body. It looks weird because the bag is big. I’ve worn it with a few winter cold-weather layers or over a thick padded coat, and that’s the only time the cross-body straps work.
Overall, the Telfar Medium Shopping Bag has been great as my work bag that I can throw my lunch, daily survival stuff, and my 13” MacBook Pro if I want to. I’ve traveled with it many times, and it works out well. It is not the cheapest yet affordable designer bag option with great design. It photographs well and is a great addition to my bag collection since I don’t own any navy bags!
One might ask why I love this bag and Telfar brand so much, I think it is just because I love the design and the brand story. The brand is a bit more niche, and I like that not a lot of people know about it yet!
Dazed has a great article, read here!
The TF logo is very iconic, in my opinion, and I feel good wearing it as it suits my current style so much. It goes with everything!
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