When one thinks of the "oversized bag" it's hard to not have horrifying flashbacks of Fendi Spy bags and metallic Louis Vuitton Alma's. It's safe to say that large handbags have had a bad rep for being associated with the early 2000s (fashion's cringiest era) and for generally being sloppy, heavy and overall a pain in the butt.
From bumbags to micro-accessories, it seems we couldn't escape the mini bag trend on both the street and the runway for the longest time. We get it, handbags are that extra touch to elevate any look. They're accents, but we can't neglect the fact that they serve a functional purpose. Mini bags are cute, fun and aren't dominating like oversized bags are, plus they offer cross-body usage allowing you to go handsfree throughout your day. Especially since minimalism is forever in fashion, it got people wondering what else they really needed throughout their day besides keys, a lipstick and a credit card. Truth be told, eventually it just got out of hand. People loved mini accessories so much that the bags got tinier and tinier until they were basically non-existent. Jacquemus, one of the leading brands to produce micro-bags, debuted the Sac Chiquito bag which measured at 9cm x 12cm and people lost their minds. It's just not sustainable and despite not wanting to admit it to ourselves, we need our stuff.
For his Spring / Summer 2019 collection at Paris Fashion Week, Jacquemus continued to showcase his minuscule bags alongside massive totes that were basically as tall as the models carrying them. An ironic and quite frankly an amusing juxtaposition from the French fashion designer who clearly wants everybody to know that no one, no matter how hard they try, will create a smaller or larger bag that him. However, Jacquemus wasn't the first to re-launch the oversized bag trend. Let's not forget when Demna Gvasalia created the ginormous "Arena" tote for Balenciaga that bared an uncanny resemblance to the Ikea's "Frakta" shopper. The main difference between the two was that Balenciaga's version retailed for 1670 GBP and Ikea's was 50p. Come the Spring / Summer 2018 collections, it seemed as though everyone had the same idea. From Céline's large envelope shoulder bags, to Chanel's rainbow PVC top handle totes, to Dior's monogram Book tote - oversized was back and it was better. Continuing through to Fall / Winter 2018, Loewe debuted massive handheld backpacks on the runway and Victoria Beckham presented colourful, supersized shoulder bags. Alongside Jacquemus, Proenza Schouler gave us giant acid-wash totes and Virgil Abloh actually collaborated with Ikea to produce the oversized "Sculpture" tote. The Spring / Summer 2019 collections recently debuted and Valentino gave us large handheld bags (some straw, some leather) while Burberry presented top-handle checked totes that bared few similarities to the Hermès HerBag. Though we've not yet seen the Fall / Winter 2019 collections, it's safe to say that we can forecast which style of bag we'll be seeing the most of. The fact of it is, oversized handbags are continuing to dominate the runways, the street and our outfits.
So there comes a time where we must put baby in the corner and bid adieu to our mini bags...at least for now. Oversized, slouchy and effortless is the new direction that we, the devoted fashion slaves of the world, will go in. For those of you who have never compromised practicality for style, you must be overjoyed to have the fashion industry back in your favour. However, for those of you hitting your heads against brick walls and wondering why you dropped your entire life savings on a bag that can hold a singular cigarette and a piece of gum, we're here to help. On the bright side, at least now you can invest in a bag that can store all your mini bags inside? Kidding, just buy a real bag you can dump your whole life in and call it a day. Here are our personal favourites worth investing in:
Céline - Mini Luggage
For those of you still mourning the death of Phoebe Philo's Céline, don't worry you're not alone. The Mini Luggage is what put Céline on the radar and to this day it remains a cult classic. One of the most coveted and recognized bags around, Philo has a knack for revamping brands by designing It-bags. She did it at Chloé with the Paddington bag and at Céline with the Luggage collection. If you're the kind of woman with a love for luxury but would never be caught dead in anything flashy or in-your-face, then this bag is for you. Though it's one of the world's most acclaimed handbags, it's not your typical definition of "glamorous". It's understated, discreet and unique. With only a very small brand-indicating logo, it's the signature piping on the bag that makes this piece so distinct. Not only is the Luggage tote spacious enough to hold your whole world and more inside, it's also a timepiece that will never go out of style. Plus, it's now an investment piece given that it's Philo-designed (Phoebe we miss you so much please come back to us) and there's a rumour going around that Hedi Slimane might discontinue the line. A well-worthy addition to any handbag collection, the Mini Luggage tote is the perfect balance between fashion and function by being stylish as well as practical.
Shop the Mini Luggage here
Bottega Veneta - Veneta
Another bag that exudes an "if you know, you know" aesthetic, the Veneta by Bottega Veneta is a bag that doesn't need any sort of logo or brand indication to make a statement. Carefully crafted from smooth Nappa leather, everyone knows a Bottega Veneta when they see one due to its signature intrecciato design. For anyone with an endless amount of stuff to carry with them throughout the day, this bag is a must-have. The best thing about hobo bags is that they're effortless in the most chic way possible. Don't get "schlep" confused with accessories that simply lack structure. Thrown over your shoulder, arm or even carried as a clutch, the Veneta is that bag that's sharp and stylish without even trying. It's laid back, low-key and serves its purpose, but it's also just so...cool. Not to mention, it's a BV classic so there's no reason why you can't use this bag every single day for the rest of your life. No but seriously, it'll never go out of style. You'll really love it and wear it forever.
Shop the Veneta here
Hermès - Haut à Courroies
Yes, this bag is real and yes, it is for sale and yes, it is the largest bag you will ever see. The Hermès Haut à Courroies, aka the HAC, measures at 40cm high and 50cm wide. This abnormally large bag is ideal for travel and carrying oddly large objects inside. We're not exaggerating when we say you can fit everything in this bag. A small tree? A lamp? A fold-up scooter? Your husband when you don't feel like dealing with him anymore? Yourself when you're in desperate need of a quick 1-2 nap? Anything is possible and yes, we know this because we've tried it ourselves. If you're looking for a statement bag, well, here it is. The HAC pretty much embodies "fashion meets function" because you can't get more spacious and you definitely can't get more luxurious than an Hermès - especially given the fact that it's basically a Birkin on steroids. So if you're the kind of individual who enjoys carrying every single thing you own with you wherever you go, then the HAC was made for you. Or if you're just into carrying exceptionally large handbags that are legit half your size. Or if you're too lazy to go to the gym but it's "arms day" and you need an alternative to weight lifting. Either way, the HAC is a no-brainer.
Shop the HAC here
Chanel - Grand Shopping Tote
Classics are considered classic for a reason, this we we obviously know. Hence why despite being discontinued in 2015, the Chanel GST remains one of the most in-demand and desired bags in the luxury resale market. This bag epitomizes traditional femininity and timeless elegance, making it one of the most recognized handbags from the elite French fashion house. Not only can you fit you all your necessities comfortably inside, you can easily take the GST from day to night. It's that bag that holds everything and anything but embodies luxury to a T, truly making it the ideal accessory for any woman with a love for all things luxurious. The GST is an investment especially because it won't lose its value (as Chanel rarely ceases to), it's one you can pass down from generation to generation and it will never go out of style. This is a bag that puts all other totes to shame given it's glamour, opulence and overall good looks suitable for any kind of individual. If anyone ever wondered if the bag you stuff your whole life into could be glam then the answer is yes - with the GST.
Shop the GST here
By: Isabel de Carteret