As someone known for my flamboyant purse collection, this isn’t something I like to talk about. However, it’s been weighing on my mind for a while and I need to come clean. Despite having a closet full of beautiful bags, the bag I use the most is a giant denim bag from See by Chloe. It’s not glamorous, and I don’t even like it that much, but it’s the only bag that will fit my runners, laptop, and the sixteen different tubes of lip colour that I never use but just sort of carry around because I can’t be bothered to remove them from the bag and put them away. I’m so ashamed.
I feel awful saying this, as I truly love designer bags — probably way more than anyone should love any material thing — but they just don’t cut it for dragging around my entire life from home to work to the gym to the social events I always promise to attend and never do.
My Givenchy Antigona is the nice bag that comes closest to being able to accommodate the ridiculous amount of garbage I cart around, but something inside of me just can’t bring myself to shove my fetid gym sneakers deep past the smooth leather of my prized purse, permanently warping the bag’s shape and leaving it with the distinct odour of Kristen a la gym.
Bags have been getting exponentially smaller in recent years, and while I love the look of many of these tiny bags, this has seriously narrowed my options in terms of a functional and good-looking giant purse that can hold my water bottle and the flats I change into when the nice shoes I’m wearing begin to savagely cut into my feet.
An easy solution for this would be a backpack. I know. But I don’t want to cart all of my possessions on my back around like some sort of workhorse. No, I want a great bag to hang the crushing weight of my entire life on my shoulder, further throwing my body out of alignment and ensuring that my right shoulder will never again sit on equal footing with my left shoulder.
There was a time in the early aughts when designers seemed to be vying to make the most excessively large bag possible. At the time my mother scoffed at my ridiculously large bags, but my mom also worked from home and owned a car—what did she know about the struggle? I look back on the days of the Big Bag with longing and regret: I really didn’t know how good I had it.
However, after an extended (and sometimes excruciating) period of designers giving preference to tiny bags, there are some indicators that change is on the horizon.
Of course, we’ve been hearing rumblings of a large bag uprising for at least a year, which I believe was wishful thinking on part of the fashion media, but really what is there to do after the micro-bag trend has been taken to its logical and ridiculous conclusion? Exhibit A: this vaguely menacing and maddeningly tiny Jacquemus bag measuring just 6 centimetres tall and 10 centimetres wide.
Jacquemus himself, it seems, has changed his mind. The bags he debuted for his Spring 2019 collection could easily fit the entire contents of my studio apartment inside of them, complete with space for my cat to run around. A bit of an overcorrection, but I’ll take it.
The mini-bag trend was perhaps always destined to be answered by a giant bag trend, as fashion isn’t really into moderation. However this particular iteration of fashion industry extra-ness is something I am 100% here for.
I will absolutely not stop using my enormous See by Chloe denim hobo bag, but perhaps I could add a few more giant bags to my rotation that do not feature decorative rope as a design flourish. This bag, more than any other bag I’ve had, inspires conflicted emotions in me: I feel terrible that I make fun of it whenever I have the chance, because it truly is a sturdy and useful bag, but also, truly, why is decorative rope hanging off of it? While I may never work out my complicated feelings about this, I’m glad that designers seem to be moving towards an increased emphasis on function without sacrificing creativity and aesthetics. Here are some of my favourites big bags:
Proenza Schouler Extra Large Leather Tote
MCM Large Liz Reversible Shopper
Balenciaga Carry Shopper
Rebecca Minkoff Stella Large Leopard Tote
Prada Concept Hobo
Gucci Rajah Suede Maxi Bag
Stella McCartney Reversible Oleo Faux Leather Tote
Burberry Giant Check Reversible Tote