As a 90s baby, I may not be old enough to remember the initial releases of many famous IT bags, but I’ve seen a lot of purse trends come and go through the years. Long before I even began to carry one myself, I would follow the course of the hottest trends in handbag fashion and look forward to my next trip to the mall to check out whatever the latest arm candy was. At this age, I was less concerned about the functionality or structure of a bag but was more drawn to the eye-catching prints of each one that passed by me. Thinking back, I can remember some that were designer and some that were not, but there are a few notable patterns that will always stick with me and remind me of how far fashion has come.
Extra extra, read all about it! As a writer, it should come as no surprise that I loved this print when I was younger. Its faded, inky periodical style was only popular for a short period of time but I can admit that I actually still like this print when it is done well. The black and white color pattern makes it easy to match with things while still giving outfits a funky upgrade. My tastes in handbags are a bit more upscale now than they were in the past but luckily for me, there are a few options from high-end designers that feature this print. I also consider crossword puzzle and comic strip prints to be offshoots of this same trend.
Patchwork purses brought a rather humble hobby to the front of the fashion world. Layered prints stitched together made bags resemble cozy quilts with large blocks of colors and textures covering every square inch. Patchwork bags could be found in a variety of materials such as cotton, polyester, leather, and suede or some jumbled mess of all four. It is not as common to see patchwork on bags nowadays, but there are a few modern examples that are wishlist-worthy, like the Christian Louboutin Caracaba Small Mix-Print Tote.
Made famous by American designer, Patricia Nash, the old world map print was another trend that had its 15 minutes of fame. This pattern resembled faded atlas pages printed on smooth cognac-colored calfskin material and could almost certainly be spotted on the arm of someone browsing the local antique store. Everything with this print had a curious feel that I can only describe as classical and adventurous. There aren’t really any high-end versions of these bags either but definitely some on the pricier side.
For better or for worse, there is no denying that the bedazzled years were a defining time in fashion history. Whether they were real Swarovski crystals or cheap plastic rhinestones, you could find almost anything covered in obscenely sparkly studs throughout the early 2000s. And just in case you didn’t get enough of them then, bedazzled bags – along with other early millennia trends- are weaseling their way back in style. The most notable examples of this are Prada’s Crystal Re-Edition shoulder bag and literally anything by Judith Leiber.
Surely, a favorite of any fashionista. I don’t think animal print ever generally goes out of style but certain types of animal print take turns sharing the spotlight. One year it may be leopard print and another it is snakeskin or peacock feathers. Because of the wide variety of prints available, it’s easy to find a workable animal print piece for your collection. I personally feel that bags by YSL or Saint Laurent have the nicest leopard print while Jimmy Choo takes the cake for reptilian styles.
Forward! March! Camo print constantly fades in and out of style. It first popped up in high fashion sometime during the mid-2000s and then tried to make a brief reappearance in 2013-14. It’s bold, commanding, and ironically does the opposite of what camouflage is supposed to do, but many people still seem to love it.
Forever fresh and girly, floral prints have always been in fashion in some form. Sometimes it may appear as a delicate repeating pattern or as big, vibrant blooms but I don’t think it will ever not be an option. I absolutely adore anything with watercolor flowers on it because I find them to be beautiful and expressive.
Unforgettably, there was a time when designers were down with including denim in their collections, and with the resurgence of Y2K fashion trends, they are doing it again.
I guess I can’t really call this a print because it is the material, but bags made of denim can exist anywhere on the spectrum from awful to awesome. It is the ultimate casual bag to wear with sneakers and your favorite cut-off shorts. I’ve never given much consideration to denim bags in the past or the present but who knows…maybe I should start.
What are some other notable prints you can think of? Which is your favorite?