The days of the “it” bag are over. The bags that rose to popularity at the peak of the movement--the Fendi Spy, the Balenciaga Motorcycle, the Chloe Paddington, the Chanel “garbage” bag--seem like such fragments of the past, that when I see them carried on the street, they’re all a little retro. These waitlist-only bags used to be way more expensive than anything else in one’s closet, large, heavy, and hardware-laden, and most of all, not available in Manila. Even I bought into the trend, having used to proudly tote a Le Dix messenger, and a YSL Muse briefcase, both of which I have since sold. The “it” bag used to be the smash hit star of the outfit, yet they now seem to be singing “Don’t Forget Me.”
Whispers of anti-“it”-bag sentiments started to circulate about the time Carine Roitfeld, as a statement against Fashion Week street style photography, decided to attend an entire Paris Fashion Week sans bag, in the same jacket, every day. There was something so visually enticing about seeing this elegant creature for the fine lines of her tailored outfit, with nary a large handbag to distract from her, and almost powerful to witness a woman on her busiest week of the year, without a bag of junk in tow, like a boss.
MILAN, ITALY - Carine Roitfeld attends the Fendi Autumn/Winter 2012/2013 fashion show as part of Milan Womenswear Fashion Week on February 23, 2012. (Photo by Venturelli/WireImage for Fendi)
Designer handbags have become so accessible within the last few years, with all the sales, sale shops, and designer resale stores that abound. Carrying a nice bag went from being a symbol of status, to being a requirement for any gainfully employed late twenty-something Makati girl. As these once-covetable purses grew more prevalent, “it” bag-toting “it” girls seemed to go fight or flight: going up the rungs and investing on Celine and Chanel, and pre-ordering Birkins in exotics, or taking the “designer” out of their bags altogether, carrying nondescript canvas totes, and hyper-minimal bags.
Enter today’s generation of coveted handbags--the subtle downtown-girl Mansur Gavriel bucket, the simple and versatile Celine trio, the Chloe Drew like a bag suspended on metal chopsticks and a necklace--don’t seem to elicit the same salivatory bag crushes as the “it” bags of yesteryear, but they get the job done. Much as an anti-“it”-bag advocate as I am, I even got myself a small black Celine trio, but that’s because I thought it would be funny to look like a Korean tourist when I traveled. Ladies, it’s 2015, and it’s time to get a little more creative than trying to bolster a blah outfit with a bleu jean Birkin. Get a facial, take a Barre class, hire a stylist, because this year, the only leathery, hardware-embellished old bag you should be showing off is yourself.
Izzy Tuason is a menswear blogger in New York. He is @thedandyproject on Instagram.