Proenza Schouler’s PS1. Alexander Wang’s Rocco. Chloe’s Paddington: All It-bags we’ve known and loved…and stuck in the back of a closet now that the allure has worn off. And while some It-styles do make a comeback—see Fendi’s reissue of the Baguette and Dior’s Insta-loved Saddle—most are long forgotten and buyers are moving on to something new.
What’s in this season? We had three top fashion buyers answer this question and their responses are more practical than you think. Read on for a new excuse to buy the next big thing.
IN — UTILITY BAGS
“There is a desire for handbags that offer function and convenience, and the belt-bag is ultimate in this category,” says Elizabeth von der Goltz, global buying director of Net-A-Porter. The hands free trend has grown over the last few years, but it’s establishing itself as a wardrobe staple. Lisa Aiken, fashion director at Moda Operandi agrees. “Essentially, the belt bag started out as a street style cool kid look and now it’s been elevated for a sophisticated audience. It has transcended from a youthful moment to offering chic practicality.”
Beyond the belt bag, Shannon Schafer, senior fashion director at Nordstrom, says it’s all about utility in general. “Belt bags, backpacks, and multi-pocketed silhouettes are trending,” says the exec. “Utility bags offer comfort and style.” Try the look by teaming a minimalist fanny over a sleek suit, or lean into the sporty aesthetic with nylon fabrics in retro colors.
IN — VINTAGE-INSPIRED SHAPES
All three buyers also agree that vintage-inspired bags are back. “Heritage classics return with structured silhouettes, flap shoulder bags, and tailored top handles,” says Schafer. “Women are power dressing from head to toe and the tailored bag completes the look.”
Von der Goltz approves of the top-handle too, noting Gabriela Hearst’s sold-out Nina pioneered the trend. The structured silhouette “appeals to consumers with classic taste looking for a timeless handbag,” she says. One way to get that ’60s vibe is with textured leathers like stamped croc and python. “The style lends itself to the woman who likes investment pieces, but also to the person who is very trend driven,” says Aiken. And if you can’t drop major cash for real python, it’s okay. “Brands have also really mastered the technique so the faux fabrications are much more realistic,” adds the fashion director.
IN — BRIGHT COLORS
For Aiken it’s all about a technicolor play. “Colors like orange and lime green are having a real trend moment,” says the industry pro. Designers like Fendi, Chanel, and others speckled their runway with bold bags in saturated hues. If anything, do it for the ‘gram. “These colors are gaining a lot of traction on social media—it looks cool,” she adds.
IN — GEOMETRIC SHAPES
It might feel natural to reach for a rectangular handbag, but Schafer will convince you to think outside of the box—literally. “Shape shifters are emerging as the newest bag trend,” she says. From circles to trapezes, this style is a whimsical take on the tailored bag. “Their exaggerated, novelty shapes in structured leather create lust-worthy art pieces.” Her favorite brands include Cult Gaia, Mansur Gavriel, and Danse Lente.
OUT – STRAW BAGS
“I wouldn’t say consumers are ‘over’ the straw trend, but there is definitely an evolution into a multi-functional bag,” says von der Goltz. A style can seamlessly move from the boardwalk to the board room depending on its fabrication. “We have seen the demand for straw bags slowly decrease, with customers gravitating toward more elevated materials such as the woven leather detailing of TL180 and open work leather from Hereu.”
OUT — THE CLASSIC EVENING CLUTCH
“The thing is that evening bags are tricky and for so long we have been restricted with them being the only option,” says Aiken. Instead, reach for acrylic clutches or slouchier styles like a drawstring bag.
OUT — CROSSBODIES (KIND OF)
According to all three buyers structure is in and slouchy is out. “With the resurgence of suits and blazers in fashion, women want a tailored bag to complete the look,” says Schafer. The same goes for your favorite style, the crossbody. Kind of. “Crossbodies aren’t over, they are just becoming more polished,” Schafer adds.