The accessory trend for people with stuff.
If you, too, have been guilty of the lie, “It’s surprisingly roomy!” about a clutch the size of a credit card, you’re probably hiding a secret: another — much larger — bag somewhere nearby.
Mini bags, adorable as they may be, are hardly designed to hold actual things. And though they may be worth the cost as a conversation starter alone, some of us need more than a lip gloss and a prayer to make it through the day. But the secret-weapon tote you’re used to stashing under the table needs remain hidden no longer; instead, it’s getting a co-starring role in your fall look. Enter: bag layering.
We hesitate to call bag layering a trend, as women have been doing it for generations. “Fashion right now is really doing a good job of measuring statement looks with a little dose of practicality,” says Natalie Cantell, the New York- and Paris-based fashion editor who styled this photo shoot. “The industry has become so much more influenced by the way [people] really dress, and we love that.”
Carrying an armful of totes is standard practice for New Yorkers, but as anyone with a stash of reusable bags in the trunk of their car can attest, it’s for more than running around the streets of Manhattan. In fact, bag layering is one styling technique that’s universal, from on-the-go moms with diaper bags to laptop-lugging college students and fashion enthusiasts showing off the latest It styles.
“It’s fashion for the real world. ‘She’s busy! She’s commuting! She’s trying to make it to the gym!’” says Cantell. Innate practicality notwithstanding, the stylist says, “It can also be a little fun and frivolous.”
In Cantell’s mind, fall’s bag layerer holds form and function in equal balance. “She’s obsessed with her new Loewe bag, even though it doesn’t fit her laptop. She loves both her crossbody bags, and she shouldn’t have to choose.”
Nor would we ask her to. Ahead, find inspiration for layering your bags this fall, no matter where you're headed.
Gucci clutch. The Met Museum canvas tote. Rabanne bucket bag.
“I like to do something that feels just a little intentional, whether it’s the hardware details or layering textures or just collecting totes in interesting colors,” says Cantell of her layering style, noting that “We all have our ‘good totes,’ right?”
Nanushka tote. Loewe shoulder bag.
Hermès bags. MoMA canvas tote.
Celine by Hedi Slimane chain-strap bag. Longchamp mesh tote and extra-large tote (in left hand).
Saint Laurent shoulder bag. Away tote. Zabar’s reusable shopping bag.
“The great thing [about this trend] is that anything goes,” says Cantell. “Clashing is in, and the most normcore totes from Zabar’s or The Met are such New York cool-kid staples, they make their own statement.”
Rue Johnson for Muse Management
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