The following is an excerpt of a comprehensive review of our cases by our customer, the wonderful Monica Francis. We are grateful to her for this candid assessment and many kind words! Read the full review originally published on Monica Francis' travel blog here.
Everything You Need To Know About SteamLine Luggage
Travel Tips by Monica Francis
Yeeeears ago, I saw a set of SteamLine Starlet suitcases pop up on Jamie Beck’s Instagram, and I’ve been smitten ever since. After traveling with my own set for a few years, I’m here to confirm that they really are that gorgeous, and get more compliments than anything else I own.
They also get a lot of questions, so today I’m answering everything you’ve asked me! The quality of the cases, how to minimize wear and tear, which size I recommend, and the age-old “is it worth it?”.
The Aesthetics: Vintage Glamour
Okay, I don’t need to convince you on this point, but these cases are so beautiful it bears repeating. They look good anywhere you take them, and get plenty of compliments along the way. Things made this beautifully are rare these days, and everyone knows it.
In fact, they’re too pretty to hide away at home with my other travel things! I’ll use them around the apartment to store out-of-season clothes, blankets, gifts. More than once, they’ve functioned as my dresser while moving or redecorating - and this luggage actually makes it feel fun to live out of a suitcase.
The Quality: Classic Style, Modern Function
SteamLine’s luggage sets are wonderfully well-made. The leather and all the hardware—wheels, handles, locks, zippers, etc.,—are incredibly smooth, luxe-feeling, and I’ve never had an issue with any of them on any of my luggage. The amount of modern function they’ve built into a vintage-looking design and the quality of the materials is impressive.
That said, remember that this is the most beautiful luggage ever, not the most practical luggage ever. You’re making some sacrifices of convenience (a bit less space, more care in handling) for the beauty of the luggage, but no sacrifices of quality or craftsmanship.
The Care: Minimizing Wear and Tear
Don’t worry, these cases aren’t high maintenance (I’m not over here polishing the leather or anything), but a bit of mindfulness goes a long way. While there will of course be patina and wear—nothing lasts forever!—here’s what I’ve done to keep mine looking pretty new and nowhere near the end of their travel days:
Be careful. Just paying attention and taking a bit more care in handling these cases is my biggest “secret” to keeping them nice. Open the top gently instead of swinging it against a wall, free both hands to set the case into an overhead bin instead of sliding it in with one. It takes very little time or effort, just awareness.
Use the covers. SteamLine luggage comes with a cute ripstop cover that matches the interior lining and folds up very small. I often skip the cover for my Carry-On, but add it to my travel tote if I’m flying on a little plane and think it may get gate checked.
Extra love. While I haven’t had any need to repair my cases, if I ever do I’ll turn to a leather care shop like The Leather Spa. Until then, I’ll keep enjoying and traveling with my luggage as often as I can!
Starlet Carry-On, Stowaway (c/o SteamLine) and Mini (c/o SteamLine).
The Sizes: Choosing & Packing
This suitcase gets the most use for me, and is my #1 recommendation for your first SteamLine purchase. The interior space is smaller than other carry-ons, mostly because of the thicker walls of the case and the fact that just one side of the suitcase offers deep packing space.
Packing a Travel Capsule Wardrobe with packing cubes makes the smaller space workable for me. Plus, I always carry a roomy tote bag separately for my toiletries, electronics and plane things. Grab my full packing guide right here!
If I’m traveling with extra gear, holiday gifts, or just a lot of layers, I’ll add this bag and sometimes trade out my travel tote for a regular handbag. The interior of this bag is slightly smaller than other checked bags, with the single-sided design being the biggest limitation. SteamLine’s ‘Spinner’ style is even larger if you’re concerned about space.
I only end up checking the Stowaway on an airline a couple times per year, and it’s always double-covered when I do. Because airport baggage handlers aren’t going to show it the same care that I do, I know it probably won’t hold up as well as the Carry-On over time.
This little bag is small enough to tuck easily inside my travel tote, but holds more than you’d think! The structure and inside pockets mean that I can squirrel away my wallet, phone, sunglasses, keys, plus room for a couple more accessories (phone cord, hand sanitizer, passport) as I need them. And the cross-body strap makes it a great bag for travel!
The Price: Is It Worth It?
In my book, yes! I’m always drawn to things that are thoughtful and beautiful, and SteamLine luggage is both. I think it’s totally worth the price for a suitcase so gorgeous, for the quality materials and the craftsmanship. And for the joy of toting it around the world with you, starting conversations, seeing the patterned lining when you’re packing and unpacking.
If you’ve been swooning over photos of these suitcases (like I was for a long time), you won’t be disappointed. SteamLine does have sales, though they’re rare and often limited to certain styles—but you might be able to catch one!
All this said, it may not be worth it for you. Maybe being careful with a suitcase seems too fussy to you, or you’re a heavy packer but wouldn’t want to risk checking the case. There are other stylish luggage options out there—I just like SteamLine the best.
Thank you, again, to Monica Francis for this in-depth review! Read Monica's full review of the Starlet Collection, and explore some more beautiful travel photos, here.
Further Fascinating Reading
- Explore the SteamLine Effect, the irresistible phenomenon surrounding SteamLine Luggage.
- See what makes a SteamLine case a SteamLine with our materials guide.
- Catch up on important travel tips with our road trip travel guide.
- Learn about how to protect your beautiful luggage on the road with SteamLine’s Coordinated Ripstop Covers.
- Explore our tried and true tips on how to pack simply and easily with SteamLine Luggage.