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Fall 2021 Handbag Trends to Carry Into a Brighter Tomorrow

Classic shapes and practical purchases await us this fall.

bag trends
BRIDGET BURNS

As we approach a year in lockdown, the fall 2021 fashion runways cast a beacon of optimism, with clothes intended to be worn out, not solely in the comfort of our own homes. This doesn't mean that practicality and comfort weren't top of mind for designers, but the luxurious materials, colors and details beg to be shown off in public. The trends in handbags are ones that aren’t so foreign. From retro, metal-framed shapes to utility-focused messenger bags, we know these styles well and we still really love them. They are staples that have transcended eras and seasons and strengthen their positions as essentials every woman should aim to have in her closet. Veering away from the impractical, the idea of investment handbag shopping is reinforced by the designers who put these down the runway. It’s a time to reflect and celebrate the past while we carry our belongings into into a better future.

bag trends 2021
COURTESY OF ZIMMERMAN, COACH
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Frame Bags

Frame bags came back around again this season, proving that this ladylike style is not going anywhere. Seen in python prints (like at Zimmerman, left), classic leather (like at Coach, right), there’s definitely a type for everyone. To set yourself apart from the pack, try options with modern details and interesting shapes to push this trend out of the retro comfort zone.

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Mini Leather Round Satchel
Lauren Ralph Lauren ralphlauren.com
$225.00

The modern curve of the frame reads a little less retro, but is still super classic—a bag you’ll keep grabbing for years to come.

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Large Plongé Nappa Pasticcino Bag
Max Mara maxmara.com
$535.00

With two removable straps in leather and in chain, this Weekend Max Mara pick is basically three bags for the price of one.

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Emmy Bag
Brahmin brahmin.com
$385.00

This python printed leather stunner comes with a strap so you have a hands-free way to wear it as well.

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Mini Twin Ombré Coated-Suede Shoulder Bag
Ratio et Motus net-a-porter.com
$620.00

Handbag brand Ratio et Motus loves to take a retro frame style and bring it into the current decade with contemporary details like a thick strap and sculptural hardware.

bag trends
COURTESY OF GABRIELLA HEARST, FENDI
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Slouchy Clutch

Reminiscent of the chic Bottega Veneta clutch Lauren Hutton so nonchalantly tucked under her arm in the movie American Giglio, the effortless daytime clutch is becoming a crucial wardrobe staple. Having surfaced on the runway a few seasons ago, the casual clutch has made its way back into the spotlight at Gabriella Hearst (left) and Fendi (right). Look for this in casual materials like suede and leather for more day-to-night wear, versus typical evening fabrics like satin or a sparkly lamé.

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Brown FF Fabric Pochette
Fendi fendi.com
$2,850.00

Since the newer style of the clutch that just came down the runway will not be out for a few months, try this classic double-F logo print version now.

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Analeigh Oversized Gathered Clutch Dune
Loeffler Randall loefflerrandall.com
$295.00

The tortoise-effect hardware on this clutch is the super chic detail that sets this particular style apart from the bunch.

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Mini Saki Bag
Nunoo shopbop.com
$95.00

The folded leather detail on this little number is such major design for under $100.

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Cloud Clutch
Mansur Gavriel mansurgavriel.com
$595.00

Cult-status line Mansur Gavriel tries their hand as a clutch that’s as irresistible as their highly-coveted bucket bags.

messenger bags
COURTESY OF ETRO, MAX MARA
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Messenger Bags

The functionality of this shape is grounded in purpose, but the exterior pockets and buckle details play big roles in the classic style which makes for a super chic all-day bag option. On the fall 2021 runways, Etro showed a canvas version (left) while Max Mara offered a supple leather style (right).

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Cotton Bag with Pegaso
Etro etro.com
$1,700.00

Etro showed a more tricked-out version in this Fall 2021 collection, but if you want to get ahead of the trend, snag this more streamlined option now.

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London Purse
Sarep + Rose sarepandrose.com
$230.00

The African Ivorian Baoulé fabric inset on this satchel style from Sarep + Rose is a stunning detail that stands out from other all-leather styles.  

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Field Leather Messenger Bag
Rag & Bone nordstrom.com
$695.00

This slouchy messenger bag reads a bit more rugged than structured if you’re not feeling a super-buttoned up look.

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Bradshaw Medium Leather Messenger Bag
MICHAEL Michael Kors michaelkors.com
$328.00

This smaller, olive green offering from MICHAEL Michael Kors is super functional without sacrificing major style.

fall bag trends
BRIDGET BURNS
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Puffy Bags

Designers seem to be having a lot of fun playing around with puffier shapes for this upcoming winter. Both Tod's (left) and Prada (right) showed more voluminous versions of classic bag styles like a hobo and an oversized flap bag. This inflated proportion is a modern update that doesn’t seem to be fading, so now is a great time to lean into it.

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Small Shirt Hobo Bag
Tod's farfetch.com
$1,722.00

Tod's showed a super-sized hobo for fall, similar to this baby blue leather one they’re offering right now.

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Small Lucy Round Bag
A.W.A.K.E MODE shopbop.com
$216.00

In camel vegan leather, this small but mighty option packs a lot of puffiness.

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Hammock Shell Tote
Transience net-a-porter.com
$155.00

This “hammock”-shaped tote looks great over the shoulder as it does crossbody.

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Think Royln Foil Quilted Crossbody Bag
Think Royln anthropologie.com
$158.00

Quilted chain-strap bags are a wardrobe staple and this one doubles as a pillow. You’re welcome.

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