Fashion Week

Fashion has Marie Kondo'd handbags and our joy is sparked

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Anna Pollitt

Judging by how the most stylish people in the world are carrying around their bits and bobs, we may be on the cusp of a new era for handbags. 

Even the word “handbag” seems a little dusty. It suggests a bellowing Lady Bracknell and cavernous hard-bottomed hindrances lugged around by stiff handles, or swinging from one shoulder while bouncing uncomfortably off the other hip. Tackling the impracticality of hauling around a small pile of possessions on one’s person hasn’t always been high on the fashion industry’s agenda until a recent wave of utilitarian references hit the runways. 

Now, Street Style has spoken and it’s chosen function over form; tidied-up accessories for women who don’t want their things to weigh them down. Milan Fashion Week compounded the innovative hands-free trend with Instagram’s fashion icons choosing Fendi’s tool-kit belts to pay tribute to Karl Lagerfeld at the shows. Along with over the shoulder “bumbags”, it shows women no longer have to sacrifice the use of one hand to carry around things they need.

See-through bags are only for the brave - and very tidy. If the KonMari approach is to cherish the items you own, the transparent bag trend puts them on display for everyone to admire. Micro bags, as seen on the runway at Fendi and Jacquemus last year, are the ultimate antidote to hoarding clutter in spacious totes and were very much evident on the streets of Milan. Here are some of the best carriers for a streamlined approach to storing your stuff, as spotted outside the shows…

Toolbelt chic

Double-up on hands-free storage with utilitarian pockets.

Hooks for belts and shades alongside a packet of “secrets”.

The “multi-accessory belt” puts pockets front and centre.

The bum bag is now called a “belt bag”.

Pocket power

Not ready to let go of a handbag? Fendi’s peekaboo pocket bags put compartments on the outside for easy access:

Wraparound carriers

If they’re not around the waist, bags are wrapped around the torso…

Keep hands free - to put in your pockets…

Anything that makes it easier to use a phone has to be a winner.

This black nylon Prada bag, as as seen on Carline Daur, is a street style favourite.

On show

Screwed up receipts are a no-no…

Tiffany Hsu puts her accessories on display in a clear Boyy bag.

Chanel’s transparent PVC handbag gives a hint of what’s inside.


More a wallet with a handle than a handbag in the traditional sense, these are the elegant options for a cashless society that doesn’t want to carry more than it needs…

Xenia Adonts’ tiny bag is elegant in traditional tan leather.

Jaime Xie’s micro Dolce & Gabbana Sicily bag is covered in crystals.

Olivia Culpo’s outfit for Ermanno Scervino isn’t weighted down by a heavy handbag.

Images: Getty


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Anna Pollitt

Anna is a freelance writer and editor who’s been making her dime from online since 2007. She’s a regular at, ITV News and Emerald Street and moonlights as a copywriter and digital content consultant.

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