As fashion month came to a close in Paris early this month, eyes fixated not only on the latest runway looks, but the handbags completing each ensemble strutting down the catwalks. The accessory always proves crucial for tying together an outfit, while making a statement about one’s personal style.

“Handbags remain an important way to incorporate current trends each season,” said Audrey Kent, lead accessory buyer for Nordstrom. “Designers introduce new shapes, embellishments and proportions that filter down for mass retailers catering to shoppers updating their wardrobes.”

Industry analysts note the year’s “it” bag often drives demand as the must-have item celebrities and street style stars carry, like the Fendi Baguette bag in the late 1990s or more recently, Jacquemus’ Le Chiquito and Prada’s padded nylon style. But a variety of silhouettes generally emerge as favorites each season.

“Customers constantly ask what the trending handbag styles are right now,” Kent said. “Beyond a defined ‘it’ bag, we’re seeing demand grow for functional yet fashionable top handle satchels, subtle hobo bags and compact shoulder bags.”

Handbag designers also take inspiration from current fashion trends, launching embellished clutches, vibrant mini bags and neoprene totes in line with catwalk collections. This means handbag offerings each season directly reflect broader apparel aesthetics.

“You’ll notice handbags taking on similar design traits, palettes and materials as the clothing,” Kent noted. “Fringed suede, quilted leather, braided handles and canvas bodies all mirror trends from boots to outerwear.”

So what specific handbag trends should fashionistas expect to see as they update their accessory collections? Industry experts have spotlighted three key styles making waves right now:

Oversized Hobo Silhouettes

From Isabel Marant’s buttery leather design trimmed with knotted fringe to Khaite’s slouchy style with contrasting white stitching, oversized hobo bags offer both carryall utility and bohemian slouch.

“Hobo silhouettes feel fresh again with expanded proportions, elongated straps to hit new body points and details like checkered panels or shearling trim,” Kent said.

Pastel Satchels

Delicate mint, lavender and peach dominated the seasonal runway, with satchels taking on the same feminine palette. Designers offered petite, top handle satchels along with larger hybrid satchel/hobo shapes.

“The ladylike, almost vintage feel of pastel satchels offsets edgier streetwear right now,” explained Handbag Historian Monica Miller. “We especially love the look with spring’s slip dresses and ballet flats.”

Heavy Hardware

Chains, padlocks, studs and strips of metal trim accentuated handbags at Fendi, Alexander McQueen and more. The edgy embellishments contrast playfully with the season’s hyper-feminine ruffles and lace.

“Designers toughened up pretty pink and yellow handbags with slices of silver and gold this season,” Miller said. “It’s a daring look that still pairs perfectly with florals and frills.”

Beyond choosing a trending silhouette like these, handbag experts remind fashionistas of key elements to keep in mind while shopping. Focus on finding a functional shape that also flatters your frame and brings joy when carried.

“Small bags like micro purses make great occasional statement pieces, but make sure your everyday handbags still accommodate the essentials you need to carry,” Kent advised.

Consider proportionality as well, with smaller frames balanced best by compact handbags with short straps held close to the body. Larger body types can carry bigger satchels or hobos with longer straps in a graceful way.

“While tiny bags are cute, they're not practical for everyday use for most people," Miller said. "Make sure you have a bag that fits your regular items before buying trendy miniature styles.”

Handbag lovers should also focus on quality construction when investing in new purses constructed of luxe leathers, intricate craftsmansion or smart materials like water-resistant canvas. Trendy details and pops of color prove secondary to fine fabrication that withstands normal wear.

And while staying current with the season’s latest looks offers excitement, revisiting classic silhouettes in interesting new fabrications, prints or colors also breathes new life into timeless personal styles.

“Finds like a quilted Chanel bag, Hermes Birkin or Givenchy Antigona in a fresh, vibrant hue still merit covetable investment status,” Miller noted. “The basics deserve room alongside more daring entries in your handbag wardrobe.”

By keeping these tips in mind while perusing the latest offerings, fashionistas can capture seasonal excitement while building a collection with enduring potential across years instead of mere months. Just don’t wait too long to grab the next iconic “it” bag once it starts gracing Instagram feeds near you.
January 29, 2024 — Trendstack