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YSL Loulou vs YSL College: Your First YSL Bag

YSL Loulou vs YSL College: Your First YSL Bag

Saint Laurent is one of the most controversial luxury brands of our time. One of the reasons behind its current success is diversification and affordable prices. Despite their radical ideas about clothing, the bags of the brand are elegant and classic. In this article, we are going to compare two iconic purse models – YSL Loulou vs YSL College. Your first YSL bag should be a conscious purchase, after all.

These two bags share the pedestal for fashionistas’ love and devotion. Their timeless chic and style attract more and more fans each year (especially, considering the fact that other brands keep raising their prices). YSL Loulou and YSL College are often compared – they have so many things in common. Yet, if you look closely, you can see that they are so different!

Purse forums are already filled with hundreds of threads like “YSL Loulou vs YSL College”. We, at Bagaholic, have decided to gather all info about these two lovely models, so you won’t be scrolling endless posts for hours before making your decision. It’s all here in one place!

Let’s begin!



YSL Loulou vs YSL College: History

YSL Loulou vs YSL College: Your First YSL Bag

We are lucky to live in the era of historical changes in fashion. The iconic items are being created right in front of our eyes. For example, it’s hard to deny the global obsession with Chanel 19 – the last gift of Karl Lagerfeld to the fashion world. It’s the same with Saint Laurent.

Both Loulou and College bags were introduced in the last decade (in the 2010s). Despite such young age, they have become coveted and sought-after purses almost instantly.

Before revealing the secret of their success, let us mention a few words about the history of these purses!


YSL Loulou History

YSL Loulou is one of the first releases of talented Belgian designer Anthony Vaccarello as a creative director of the luxury brand. He was appointed in April 2016, and the bag came out as a part of the YSL Spring/Summer 2017 collection.

The purse was named after a close friend and muse of maestro Yves Saint Laurent – English jewelry designer Loulou de la Falaise. She served as an inspiration for creating the legendary women’s tuxedo Le Smoking. Yves Saint Laurent himself described her presence in his studio as a dream.

It’s still unknown what exactly made YSL Loulou a global hit – its name or design. But the fact remains: since its appearance in 2017, the model has turned into a modern must-have for fashion lovers.


YSL College History

Although initially introduced as a part of the Saint Laurent Pre-Fall 2015 collection, this model is a great addition to spring and summer outfits as well. This is another top choice of fashion lovers across the globe. The bag reminds you of Chanel flap, but without the astronomical price tag.

Convenient and functional, it can be carried to college (as its name suggests), to a date, or running errands during the day.

Since both models are quite new in the family, they are constantly on the radar of fashion lovers who wish to make their first Saint Laurent purchase. Let’s see the difference in their styles and functionality!



YSL Loulou vs YSL College: Distinctive Features

There are a few things that these two silhouettes have in common. We believe they are worth mentioning. After all, if they weren’t so similar, there wouldn’t be any point in this comparison, right? So, here are the features that the two models share:

  •     Magnetic closure
  •     Rectangular shape
  •     Pointed triangle flap closure
  •     YSL logo on the front
  •     Long strap to carry on the shoulder
  •     No feet at the bottom

At first glance, these two purses may seem alike or even the same. But that is just an illusion. There are so many small details that shape the unique appearance of each model.

Let’s take a closer look!


What you can notice when paying attention to YSL Loulou details:

YSL Loulou vs YSL College: Your First YSL Bag
  •     Y-quilting stitching gives this model a “puffy” look.
  •     Adjustable leather and metal shoulder strap (only leather for the smallest version).
  •     Two shoulder pads.
  •     Can be carried as a cross-body or on the shoulder.
  •     Two roomy compartments.
  •     One zipped pocket in the middle.
  •     Inside, one large zipped pocket at the back (three-card slot for the smallest version).


Now, the results of YSL College examination:

YSL Loulou vs YSL College: Your First YSL Bag
  •     Y-quilting has a “flat” look.
  •     Detachable leather and metal shoulder strap.
  •     One shoulder pad.
  •     Top handle is made of leather.
  •     Can be carried as a cross-body (medium size only) and in hands.
  •     One roomy and one small compartment.
  •     A zipped pocket in the middle.
  •     Inside, a flat leather pocket at the back.
  •     Outside, a large flat pocket at the back.
  •     YSL initials are attached to a leather strap running across the middle of a flap.


The differences in style and functionality are remarkable. They may be a solid reason for choosing one of the models participating in our battle YSL Loulou vs YSL College. Your first YSL bag should be convenient and versatile.

If you want to see how YSL College bag differs from the all-times crossbody classic, check our article YSL Medium College Bag vs LV Pochette Metis: A Thorough Comparison.

Let’s sum up and highlight a few things about these Saint Laurent purses:

  1.   Both models are roomy and can keep your belongings organized.
  2.   Both can be carried as a crossbody.
  3.   YSL Loulou is suitable for carrying it on the shoulder but has no exterior back pocket.
  4. YSL College has a top handle and an exterior back pocket. However, it’s not possible to carry it on the shoulder.



YSL Loulou vs YSL College: Materials Available

As any other best-selling silhouettes, these purses are made in a wide range of materials. This is especially important nowadays because some fashion lovers are looking only for non-leather options, others want to have a durable and long-lasting item.

YSL Loulou vs YSL College: Your First YSL Bag

If you crave a stunning YSL Loulou, it’s possible to find it in the following materials:

  • calfskin leather
  • suede
  • calfskin/suede


YSL Loulou vs YSL College: Your First YSL Bag

If you are thinking about a YSL College, it’s available in the following materials:

Hands down! The only difference in materials is the type of leather. But, as we know, it also may be a crucial reason. Lambskin and calfskin have completely different durability, wear and tear, touch and even look!



YSL Loulou vs YSL College: Sizes and Prices

Now, it’s time to learn the cost of luxury. The main reason why there appear more and more fans of Saint Laurent is the price policy. Despite being a luxury brand, it still remains affordable for the middle-class.

We have studied the YSL official website and are ready to share everything we’ve found there. Our size and price charts include the dimensions of each purse, the official retail price (as of October 2021), and the length of shoulder straps.

Traditionally, we begin with YSL Loulou.


Size name

Dimensions – length, width, height (in inches)

Length of shoulder strap (in inches)



Price (in USD)




7.8 X 5.5 X 2.9




From 1,450




9.8 x 6.6 x 3.5



From 2,090




12.6 x 8.7 x 4.7



From 2,350




15.3 x 10.6 x 5.5



From 2,650


Let’s compare these price tags with the cost of YSL College:


Size name

Dimensions – length, width, height (in inches)

Length of shoulder strap (in inches)



Price (in USD)




9.4 x 6.6 x 2.5




From 2,450






12.5 x 7.8 x 3.3



From 2,590


If we examine the dimensions of these two models, YSL Loulou Small is roughly the same as YSL College Medium. To be precise, it’s a bit higher and less expensive. It’s worth mentioning that the price difference is almost $400! Seems like an additional charge for the back pocket.

The same is true for YSL Loulou Meduim, which is almost of the same size as YSL College Large (again, Loulou is even bigger). The price difference for the leather model is less shocking (only $240), yet the short shoulder strap of YSL College Large may be a huge “no” and a red flag for plenty of people.


  1. YSL Loulou is available in more sizes than YSL College. So, the choice is wider.
  2. The bags have similar dimensions but the cost of YSL Loulou is lower than the same sizes of YSL College bags.



YSL Loulou vs YSL College: Pros and Cons

YSL Loulou vs YSL College: Your First YSL Bag

Feels like the battle is over and YSL Loulou is way ahead of YSL College bag. Although, we do not recommend rushing to conclusions. It’s time to compare the actual pros and cons of both shapes. This may become a decisive factor in our comparison, YSL Loulou vs YSL College. Your first YSL bag really requires some time and a thorough research!

Let’s begin with YSL Loulou. Is there anything wrong with it?

YSL Loulou pros

YSL Loulou cons

+ many sizes

+ spacious

+ can be worn in two ways (on the shoulder and as a crossbody)

+ plenty of beautiful color variations

+ durable leather with low maintenance

+ interior pockets and compartments for better organizing

+ newer model

- no top handle

- no exterior back pocket

- puffy look makes it a bit bulky (especially when loaded with stuff)


What about YSL College? Any downsides?

YSL College pros

YSL College cons

+ exterior back pocket

+ top handle

+ pockets inside the purse for better organizing

+ detachable shoulder strap

+ roomy interior

+ two ways of carrying (in the hands or as a cross-body – for Medium, in the hands and on the shoulder for Large)

+ durable material

+ available in neutral and pastel colors

+ looks elegant despite the large size

- heavy chains on the large version

- only two sizes

- more expensive than YSL Loulou with the same dimensions

- outdated model (according to some fashion lovers)

- short strap on the large version


No matter what designer purse you decide to get, always remember to treat it with care and love. If you make up your mind to go for white color (which is the trickiest to maintain), be sure to follow some tips from our guide on How To Clean Your White Luxury Handbag and Make Sure It Stays White.



YSL Loulou vs YSL College: Wear and Tear

YSL Loulou vs YSL College: Your First YSL Bag

Durability is a crucial factor for such “working horses” as YSL flap bags. Both Loulou and College models can be used on a daily basis. That is why, when deciding which purse to buy, wear and tear should be taken into account as well.

Let us remind you that majority of YSL Loulou bags are made of calfskin and most YSL College purses are crafted from lambskin. We will use this information as the main factor when talking about typical wear and tear.


YSL Loulou wear and tear:

  • Slouched sides on the bottom
  • Tarnishing hardware
  • Minor rubs on corners
  • Scratches on the logo


YSL College wear and tear:

  • Tiny discoloration of leather on corners
  • Rubbing on the back (along the edge of the exterior pocket)
  • Loses shape over time
  • Dents on leather
  • Delicate lambskin may be prone to peeling

In general, both purses usually get good reviews in terms of their durability. After several years of use, they do not reveal too many visible flaws. That makes each of them a durable piece that will serve you for decades.

If you want to prolong the life of your luxury purse, be sure to store it correctly. The primary reason for the bag to lose its shape or reveal dents is incorrect storage. We give several helpful recommendations on How To Store Your Designer Bags.



YSL Loulou vs YSL College: Which YSL Bag To Buy First?

There may come a moment when you make a decision to own both - YSL Loulou and YSL College. And that is absolutely normal! The cost of these two silhouettes together will still be lower than one Chanel or Hermes purse.

When it comes to the tough choice of which Saint Laurent flap bag to buy first, consider the following moments:

  1. Your preferred style of carrying bags. Like to hold purses in the hands? Go for YSL College first – it has a top handle. Want to free your hands and place a handbag on your shoulder? YSL Loulou is the right item for that!
  2. Need of a back pocket. Are you the type that loves to have your phone around? YSL College bag has a convenient back pocket to store it!
  3. The amount of money you are ready to spend. YSL Loulou is cheaper than College bags of the same size.
  4. General look. If possible, we recommend visiting a YSL boutique or outlet and try each model on. There is no other better way to understand if a bag suits you.

Another option to get a Saint Laurent handbag is to purchase a pre-loved piece. Although YSL Loulou and College are relatively new additions to the brand’s family, it’s easy to find them in various consignment stores.

Before sending your money to a seller, make sure that the purse is 100% authentic. Check How to Spot a Fake YSL Medium College Bag yourself and How to Read a YSL Serial Number. In case of any doubt, don’t hesitate to order independent authentication

If you need to authenticate a YSL/Louis Vuitton/Dior/Gucci item, please order one of the three types of authentication:

Verbal Authentication $10

  • good when you need a certificate for any reason,

Certificate of Authenticity $25

  • good when you need a certificate for any reason, either to sell the bag with the peace of mind or to return a fake bag to the seller if you purchased a fake
  • includes a permanent certificate on

Certificate of Authenticity with a thorough explanation $50

  • good when you need a certificate and you need to know why the bag is authentic/not authentic for any reason, either to sell the bag with the peace of mind or return a fake bag to the seller if you purchased a fake.
  • includes a permanent certificate on
  • includes an explanation of why the item is fake (detailed pictures and comparisons with an authentic bag, more than 10 pics included)



Pondering the question of which Saint Laurent purse to get first is of high importance. No matter how many goods of the same designer you will buy later, the very first purchase will stay in your memory forever. Take your time and weigh all pros and cons before making a choice: YSL Loulou vs YSL College. Your first YSL bag should not only be trendy but suit your style as well. After all, as Yves Saint Laurent himself once said “Fashions fade, style is eternal”.

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