State of the Union: The Handbag

A big history leading to a small bag

Source: Pinterest

The handbag, a few pieces of leather sewn together that has had a tremendous effect on how humans have carried things around throughout history.


It’s amazing to think that handbags have come such a long way. Handbags in ancient history were thrown together in order to carry essentials needed to hunt or for gathering fruits and vegetables. Handbags today can cost up to six figures, be made from the finest leather money can buy and can be as small as a tube of lipstick. The handbag has come in many shapes and sizes over time and its purpose varies depending on how it’s designed.


As of 2021 handbags are being designed and produced to be smaller and smaller. French fashion label Dior solidifies that statement by having a handbag literally called “The Micro Lady Dior Bag.”


The micro size of bags in contemporary fashion makes me question the actual use of the bags. Handbags today are not necessarily used for utility like they were in the past. People are now using handbags as aesthetic pieces instead of utilitarian bags that carry things you could need throughout the day.


Handbags are now just a mere accessory to the complete outfit someone is wearing. They can be designed to be incredibly small because no one is actually putting anything in them! These new designs encourage buyers to not only carry less but to not carry anything at all.

Source: Pinterest

I find this new trend to be incredibly upsetting as I favor the time when everyone wanted the cumbersome Birkin bags. The Birkin, though it comes in many sizes, was large enough to carry almost anything you might need for an entire day. Its pristine leather was durable for any occasion and its classic design never went out of style.


The Birkin is the epitome of what a handbag should be, though I will give credit to the Chanel Classic Flap as it’s very versatile as well.


When looking at all the handbags on the market today, they lack versatility and they exude trendy fast fashion in their design.


Fanny packs and micro bags have ravaged the market and lack the longevity of the classics. I will give fanny packs the benefit of being useful in a handsfree manner but two to three years from now no one will be wearing them. The Birkin on the other hand has lasted for decades and has yet to cease.


I can conclude that i’m not impressed with the current state of handbags. They are either too small or ugly and lack the essence of what made a handbag a “handbag”. Handbags were designed to carry things and that aspect has been slowly pushed further and further away.


Will the market change in the near future or will people continue carrying bags straight out of a Polly Pocket episode?