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Fashion Forward: Bags to Help You Nail the Vaporwave Aesthetic

Retro fashion has been remixed…again.

Some things in life are truly unforgettable and just thinking about them brings a deep sense of nostalgia that captivates us as much as it comforts us.

Maybe it’s something simple: The smell of a cosmetic product that was popular during your childhood or the sound of your family’s old car. Maybe it’s something more meaningful like a photo or an object that reminds you of the collective mood felt by society during certain decades.

Whatever it might be, those particular feelings of nostalgia are more powerful than we think. They help us connect our past experiences with our present ones, creating a full and authentic existence defined by everything that was and all that potentially could be.

This longing for the good old days also helps unify us; It helps us build bonds with others who remember aspects of the past that oftentimes feel too difficult to describe. Sometimes you really did just have to be there to fully understand.

Now in 2022, there aren’t any decades I see more of a longing for online than the 1980s and ‘90s.

Maybe it’s the Millenials looking back on their childhoods with fondness, or it’s the Gen Zers romanticizing a time before their own. Still, there’s one group of internet users that have taken some of the more obscure features of the ‘80s and ‘90s and revived them into a complete aesthetic movement demonstrated via music, art, and fashion.

It’s called Vaporwave.

Vaporwave started online as a subgenre of electronic music sometime during the 2010s. Artists would chop and mix beats from different types of “easy listening” genres (jazz, lounge, R’n’B.) with sounds of digital synthesizers. This experimental style of music seemed new and cutting edge for many western listeners, but Vaporwave’s upbeat mix of rhythms actually has roots in an older genre of music called “City Pop” that was extremely popular in Japan throughout the 1970s and ‘80s.

These two decades were defined by a sense of lightheartedness that many Japanese citizens felt due to the economic prosperity of the time. People felt energized and optimistic, so artists made music to match society’s positive outlook.

Arguably, this same sense of calm and abundance wasn’t felt by Americans until the 1980s through the end of the ‘90s. This 20 year period was regarded as one of America’s golden eras that came to an end with the recession and “dot com” crash of the early 2000s.

Those two events (along with 9/11) changed people’s lives as they knew them, but many, especially followers of Vaporwave, long for the feel-good features of the 1990s and have found ways to incorporate them into a more modern, yet nostalgic, take on art and fashion.

Vaporwave fashion is definitely unconventional, but experimenting can be fun! So here are a few rad bags to help you nail the Vaporwave aesthetic.

Eye-Catching Colors

Sweet pastel colors along with vibrant pinks, blues, and greens dominate the aesthetic’s color palette. Extremely expressive colors were popular during the ‘80s and ‘90s because most movies were filmed in warm lighting, making brighter colors necessary to stand out on camera. Try to go for bags with eye-catching colors or ones that will reflect a lot of light.

Gaudy Geometric Shapes

Geometric patterns of the ‘80s and ‘90s are probably some of the most immediately recognizable design styles. If you’re looking for something authentically Vaporwave-style, you’re going to have to go for vintage Fendi. (Is there any pattern Fendi hasn’t used?)

If you want something a bit more modern, you can just opt for either the Bao Bao bag or one of the cute triangle bags that are currently on the market.

Fendi Printed Satchel
via Vestiaire Collective

Cool Chrome

Many Vaporwave accessories and motifs feature (imitation) chrome because it’s reminiscent of what people in the past envisioned things in the future would look like. While the present day doesn’t look quite like what The Jetsons predicted, you can still add some faux futuristic elements by picking out a metallic or iridescent bag.

Fun Fanny Packs

Brands now call these “belt bags,” but we all know the truth: they’re fanny packs, and they’re the easiest way to look like you stepped out of a time machine. Need I say more?


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