I purchased the Polene Numero Un in Grey/Gris last month, after hearing initial positive reviews through social media. Originally, I was in the market for a new work bag that could carry a new Macbook Pro and a few other essentials easily. Unfortunately, this bag was just a tad too small for that (more details below), but I have been very pleased with it as an every day purse for everything else!
I am a huge fan of handbags with clean lines and good structure. Past design favorites include the Reed Krakoff Boxer Tote, Celine Belt Bag, and Senreve Maestra. However, I am also a fan of not spending my entire paycheck, so the Celine Belt Bag is unfortunately out of the picture :'( Previously, I contemplated the Senreve Maestra – it definitely fits a laptop, and I do like the option to change the straps to a backpack style. However, their price is still quite hefty starting at $800 and I’ve read that their bags can be a bit heavy.
Enter, Polene’s line of classic, beautiful and reasonably priced handbags. Their Numero Un style fit the bill as a medium-large sized handbag that could maybe fit a small laptop with a price range of $400 to $420, depending on materials. August 2019 Edit: It seems that they have increased prices by ~5% across $20 across their Numero Un lines. Polene is a Parisian brand founded by a trio of siblings, with only one physical store in Paris. They’re able to keep their costs down by operating an e-commerce model that ships internationally. The shopping process very easy, even for international shoppers – shipping from EU to the US only cost $20 via DHL, which is not bad at all.
The toughest part was choosing a color – I tend to gravitate towards neutrals on a whole, but do appreciate a pop of color in my accessories. I ultimately chose the Gris / Monochrome Grey edition, which is a lovely warm grey / greige color. Once I received it, I realized it was almost the exact same shade as my Everlane Market Tote – so predictable, I am hah. I was very very tempted by the Trio Camel and the Trio Gris with Suede. However, I read that the suede can be more susceptible to color transfer. I mainly wear black jeans, so I was concerned about the suede and opted for the full leather version.
Construction & Weight
When I received my Numero Un, I was impressed by the quality of leather and stitching, along with details like the five metal feet at the bottom of the bag and the adjustable shoulder strap (I’m looking at you, Celine). I never considered myself a top handle gal, but love the one on the Numero Un. I love that if your bag happens to be open and you pick it up by the top handle, it maintains its structure well and everything won’t come tumbling out of the bag.
As mentioned earlier, I had intended to use this as a work bag to carry my 13″ Macbook Pro (2017 generation), which measures 11.97 inches wide and 8.36 inches tall. Unfortunately, the Numero Un was just a little too small to fit my laptop. While I could squeeze it into the middle section with the folds unbuttoned, I wasn’t able to close the top.
So close… yet so far.
Much better, with a hardcover book, Kindle Paperwhite and checkbook with plenty of room to spare.
Though the Numero Un won’t be my new work bag (still on the search for one!), it’s an excellent daily bag for the weekends.
One thing I couldn’t get a good grasp on via reviews and the website was the weight of the bag. I’ve seen some deceptively light-looking bags that end up weighing more than 5 pounds! With the shoulder strap, the Polene Numero Un comes in at 2 lbs and 3 oz, which is relatively lightweight. While not as light as say, the Louis Vuitton Speedy 30 (1 lb 2 oz), it’s certainly on the lighter side of the spectrum and doesn’t feel heavy when loaded up.
Overall, I’ve been very pleased with the Numero Un. It ticks off a lot of checkboxes (top closure, shoulder strap, structured) at a reasonable price point with great quality.
FYI: If you’ve been eyeing the Chloe Drew bag but don’t want to spend $1,000+, Polene’s Numero Un Mini is a close contender with a much more palatable $350 price tag.
August 2019 Update: If you are interested in the Mini, check out my latest review!