Each September and February, I get particularly excited to see what the next big bag trends will be. Why? Because purses serve a purpose. They’re functional. I rely on my bag to carry my necessities. Translation: I can justify purchasing a bag more than, say, yet another frock.
This fashion month, as we look ahead to next season, the sartorial forecast is promising on all fronts. Capris are predicted to come back with spring 2024 fashion trends, and most of next season’s shoe trends are comfort- and practicality-forward, which is music to my ears. As for bags, you might be tempted to hang up your trusted designer tote bag for a moment and instead try one of the newest styles du jour. Here, I’m breaking down seven bag trends for spring 2024.
Large & In Charge
There’s oversized, and then there’s straight-up absurd. I’m looking at you, Staud (with love). I thought large purses were a trend throughout last season’s shows, but labels like Coach, Roberto Cavalli, and Sandy Liang took “bigger and better” to a very literal level. So too, did Brandon Maxwell and Cos, where the bags were large and in charge. If there’s some commentary to be read into, I won’t claim to know what it is. But I do appreciate the option to carry everything I could possibly need and then some. My shoulders, on the other hand…not so much.
Nothing to Hide
Nosy hive, rise. If you, like me, enjoyed the “What’s In My Bag” era of YouTube influencers, you’ll love this one. See-through bags aren’t just favorable for security reasons; now, they’re en vogue, too. There was one lone transparent green purse at Tory Burch, but its singularity made it stand out even more. PatBo and Proenza Schouler went sheer for some of their handbags, as well. I’m personally enthusiastic about this trend, but I fear it does mean your secret cigarette habit is going to come to light.
Take It From the Top
An open-ended trend is always fun because it leaves room for personal expression. With top-handle bags, the details are up to you. It could be big or teeny like some of those at Fendi, boxy like a briefcase or a novelty shape like one of Coach’s hearts. In that sense, it’s a trend that can be stacked with other trends. The aforementioned transparent Tory Burch bag was top-handled, after all. JW Anderson’s iterations were structured and medium in size, while Roksanda took a unique direction with bangle loop-like handles.
Give your chapstick, keys, and mints their own designated compartments in your purse. Or rather, on your purse. I’m affectionately dubbing these “cargo bags” because of the obvious resemblance to pocket-covered cargo pants of yore. Fendi has been on this wave for quite some time, so it was a welcome return to see them again this fall. Simone Rocha also got on board, and you should, too.
She Sells Seashells
I first spotted shells at Tory Burch. They weren’t just on the handbags, though. They were everywhere. On shoes, on earrings, on bracelets. I thought maybe Tory was just in her she sells seashells era, but then I saw them again at Staud. Thus it was cemented as a trend. It stands to reason that we’d adorn ourselves with shells as we look ahead to warmer weather and vacation wear. Anything to distract from the cold of winter.
The Clutch Clique
Any bag is a clutch, depending on how you hold it. That’s what I learned from this season’s showings from Staud, Marni, Tom Ford, and Peter Do, among others. From floppy oversized pocketbooks to sleek and structured styles, it’s all about the clutch for spring. Even if a bag had a strap or top handles like those at Brandon Maxwell, models often refrained from that option and either held them in their hands or beneath the arm. I also clocked the return of foldover and envelope clutch bags, which I honestly haven’t thought about since the early 2010s.
Unstructured and Unbothered
It’s always nice to be surprised by a trend. (Except for the return of peplums, which I am not pleased about.) Picture me, then, squinting at the Cos show, trying to determine if that model has a garment draped over her arm. As it turns out, it was a bag the entire time. But with that collection, as with Dries Van Noten, Acne Studios, and The Row, large, shapeless bags were definitely a recurring pattern. This must go hand-in-hand with the clutch trend because that’s how almost all of them were carried.
Associate Fashion Commerce Editor
Meg is the Associate Fashion Commerce Editor at ELLE.com where she researches trends, tests products, and looks for answers to all your burning questions. She also co-writes a monthly column, Same Same But Different. Meg has previously written for Cosmopolitan and Town & Country. Her passions include travel, buffalo sauce, and sustainability. She will never stop hoping for a One Direction reunion tour.