Chunky chain bags. Picture: Instagram.
Chunky chain bags. Picture: Instagram.

What are the it bags for 2021?

By Sacha van Niekerk Time of article published May 1, 2021

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Looking to invest in a new handbag? Don’t skip out on these “It” bag trends for 2021.

Key Influencers in the fashion industry have their Instagram feeds dotted with snaps of themselves sipping cappuccinos in quaint cafés, observing New York Fashion Week from the front row and getting bronzed in bikinis on white-sand beaches. But, no matter the gal, guy, nor the destination, there’s always a common item featured at arm's length and that is a statement bag.

“It bag” – a term that has garnered enough online and media attention to warrant having its own Wikipedia page – describes the sellout, logo-heavy, high-priced designer handbags with trademark silhouettes that were often seen slung around the wrists of the likes of Paris Hilton and the Kardashians in the early to mid-2000s.

These days, however, the bag market is saturated with more options, availability and charm than ever before, resulting in popular purse styles no longer having to boast hefty price tags to possess that highly coveted appeal.

From micro bags to clear plastic totes, impractical “It bags” have been popular for some time, and joining the party in 2021 are a whole host of stylish new bags that serve as the perfect accessory for any outfit.

5 “It” handbag trends for 2021:

Chunky chains

Big wooden beads, robust metal chains and chunky plastic in vibrant colours; in 2021 the strap is the focal point of any bag. Leading the pack is the metallic lustre chain design which is made to stand out against muted designs and colours.

These statement straps mesh especially well with smaller shoulder bags that need a little sprucing up.

Large clutches

Both effortlessly chic and functional, this larger style of clutch can fit more than just a credit card, one lipgloss and cellphone like most bags of this style.

Bottega Veneta’s ‘The Poch’ perfectly embodies this trend with its slouchy, gathered leather and removable strap.

This design flooded social media upon its release and has been seen worn by many models and influencers, either tucked under one arm or clutched.

In neutral shades this style of bag can transcend any season, but the pastels perfectly suit summer while brown, beige and black belong to the winter months.

Oversized totes

Big bags trended all throughout Fashion Week’s across the globe in 2021.

In particular, straw carriers as well as classy leather totes with matte, glossy and even animal print finishes.

These statement bags really stand out but not more so than when Simon Porte Jacquemus sent a model strutting the runway in a huge straw bag for his spring ‘19 shows.

Since we’re all looking to dress more practically, these bags which could even be used for travel really hit the nail on the head.

Mini baguette bags

Say buh-bye to cross body bags as a dainty little number makes its way to the top of the “It” bag list.

With a slender silhouette and short strap, shoulder bags were designed to be slung around wrists or to sit comfortably under the arm – the same way the French carry long loaves of crusty bread, hence the name, ‘baguette bag’.

One of the most popular examples from this era in fashion is Prada’s black nylon shoulder bag which was the must-have accessory for every teen in the early noughties.

Get the look with patent leather, faux crocodile skin or canvas covered bags in a range of neutral and pastel shades.

Custom bags

Gen Z have been dominating the world of trends for some time and they have especially been making their presence known on the fashion scene where they have been making and breaking trends with their massive influence.

This group of tweens, teens and young adults have been especially loving custom bag designs.

From hand painted totes to embroidered messages and even crocheted and knitted satchels, the trend stems from wanting to support slow fashion and small businesses.

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