- Is it big or small?
- Structured or soft?
- Hand-held or (also) suitable to be carried on the shoulder?
And then you might become aware that different leathers have different characteristics. Where one finish might age visibly and develop a patina, another one might not change as quickly. One type of leather might make a bag slouchy, another will provide some structure. Oh, and they might also be paired with different hardware: brass, soft gold or nickel...
Didn't I say this is hard?
As I happen to currently house two Bayswaters (to me the most iconic of Mulberry's styles) in two different finishes, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to compare these!
So scroll down and have a look at my video but I first also a few closeups so you can see the difference really well.
NVT in Printed Oak
The leather is embossed with a pattern of sorts, that will remind you of a reptile skin - hence it often being called 'croc'. The print lends a structure to the bag, making it more rigid. The leather has that natural oak feel but is not as matte; it appears glossier and will become more so with use. The leather between the printed lines is smooth, colour varies, goes marginally lighter and darker. NVT Oak is notoriously prone to waterspots and many owners don't dare take their oak bags out in the rain. Regular treatment with Collonil will protect against this though.
The hardware on the older oak styles tends to be brass. Matte and more understated than the gold, it is actually my favourite finish. Not least because it doesn't get scratched as easily as the shinier hardware.
Since making the video I looked this up (thanks, Shian!) and this nicely even grain is, indeed, embossed. I have heard many goatskin bag owners use the word "bombproof". I can't vouch for that myself but the glossy finish certainly seems less sensitive than NVT. Overall the bag seems softer though and I do know that it will slouch quicker than the printed NVT.
The hardware on this Bayswater is soft gold. It is highly polished and I would say looks more formal and dressier than the brass. Being so glossy, it will show scratches sooner than brass.
Right, I think that's it - have a look at my video for a full on comparison!