It’s a go-to accessory for glamorous stars like Meghan Markle and Gigi Hadid, but is the ‘soft bag’ the wardrobe must-have for this season and beyond?
As budgets tighten amid a cost-of-living crisis, fashion websites are reporting an increase in demand for functional bags that can be paired with any outfit, rather than flashy items with flashy brand names.
The times reported that ‘timeless’ and multifunctional bags are more in demand as people live hybrid lives, work between home and office and are more on the go.
Celebrity stylist Rochelle White told FEMAIL that shopping trends are a “reflection of the times” as consumers become more conscious of their carbon footprint and move away from fast fashion.
He added that many classic handbags from luxury brands cannot meet the requirements of our demanding lives, which is another reason why people turn to understated designs.
Fashion experts point to the so-called ‘soft bag’ as the most popular fashion accessory this season. Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, has often been seen carrying chic and elegant bags with more functional designs, without flashy logos. Pictured: Meghan leaving Prince Archie’s christening in 2019 in New York wearing a Carolina Herrera bag
The Duchess of Sussex is often known to step out with elegant yet understated arm bags, making headlines in 2017 when she attended the Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada wearing Everlane’s The Day bag in tan (which Angelina Jolie had also been photographed wearing). months before).
Two years later, she attended her glitzy New York baby shower while pregnant with Prince Archie wearing another low-key cream Carolina Herrera tote in the Matryoshka design.
Supermodel Gigi Hadid has also been spotted sporting chic yet functional bags in public appearances, stepping out ahead of Milan Fashion Week in 2021 with The Row’s timeless Park tote.
Rochelle explained that as people become more aware of the impacts of fast fashion, they are opting for products with more longevity.
Meghan Markle pictured with Prince Harry at the Invictus Games in Toronto, 2017, wearing Everlane’s The Tote in tan.
Arket’s Landscape Tote is slightly more affordable at £259 and is a simple yet versatile design, with a smooth strap and buckle top.
Gigi Hadid, photographed in Milan in 2021, has been spotted wearing The Row’s timeless clutch.
“There’s been a huge shift in shopper behavior and how they view brands and items,” Rochelle explained.
‘Consumers are making more thoughtful purchases and want to do their part for the environment.’
He added that, in addition to considering the impact of fast fashion, consumers choose more modest options, even if they are spending a lot of money on an item.
“Having bags that aren’t heavily branded is a more modest look and can actually fit more into outfits and settings,” she said.
‘Sometimes it’s knowing that you have a luxury item whether it’s new or second hand, that you know it’s a piece that’s worth something but you don’t shout it out.’
Liane Wiggins, Matchesfashion’s head of womenswear, said this season’s trend can be described as “luxury but almost unidentifiable” as people opt for quality without worrying about displaying logos on their items.
Rochelle further explained: “Many luxury bags with all the whistles and bells can’t hold much and these ‘everyday’ luxury bags are often more practical for everyday use. They are timeless and can last for longer seasons.
Of course, luxury brand bags that aren’t studded with logos may still be unaffordable for many, ushering in another emerging trend.
The Times reported that pre-owned luxury fashion platform Vestaire has confirmed that it has seen an increase in demand among its customer base for ‘less pristine’ bags, with searches tripling in the past year.
And for those not looking for luxury, there are plenty of high-end brands offering their answers to the ‘soft bag’.
Arket’s Landscape Tote, made of leather, is a simple design that comes in neutral colors including black and burgundy and costs £259.
Meanwhile, Osprey’s Primrose Hill Tote, which costs £175 at full value but is currently on sale for £79.00, is a classic black crocodile-print leather option.