Boxy Bags

The spring runways are chock full of off-the-charts-amazing accessories, but of all the emerging trendy pieces, the boxy bag is attracting considerable attention. We spotted this ladylike handbag at a number of shows, such as Chloe and Oscar de la Renta, where it appeared in two intriguing styles: a compact and structured envelope purse or a vintage-inspired satchel. Both versions add an unexpectedly fresh, yet totally traditional touch to any outfit, so it's no surprise that some of our favourite girls-about-town are already boxy-bag obsessed and carrying them in very inspired ways.

At first glance, the boxy bag might appear quite similar to other recently popular purse styles, but we assure you the differences are great. Unlike a slouchy messenger or a sturdy briefcase, this bag conveys a kind of polished power through its formal, feminine shape. It's a particularly relevant choice right now, as the squarish shape echoes one of the season's key trends-statement shoulders-in a subtle way.

As seen at Chloe's Spring 09 show, the Sally Shoulder Bagicon ($1995) is definitely the leader of the boxy-bag pack thus far. The sophistication of the gilt frame, chain strap, and boldly coloured luxurious leather adds a modern twist to the classic structure. This accessory can be dressed up with a satin jumpsuit as seen on the runway (above, left) or dressed down with a pair of jeans, sweatshirt and peacoat as spotted on Rachel Bilson, who wore her emerald Sally Bag while running errands in LA. We love the Tory Burch Jill Bag ($450), the Kate Spade Sullivan Street Sybella Bag ($425), or the Croc Mini Square Grab Bag ($44) from Topshop: all are equally sharp, but more budget-friendly, options.

In addition to the sophisticated boxy bags, the other version of this trend is slightly more utilitarian. As seen on the Oscar de la Renta Spring 09 runway, some spring handbags reference dop kits, vintage cosmetic cases, or small valises. These pragmatic pieces are resonating with quirky-cool British chicettes, Alexa Chung and Agyness Deyn, who are already devoted to these hard-edged bags. Chung, who paired a vintage record case with a duffle coat and skinny leather pants, toted her boxy bag to the Lynx Bullet Launch Party in London. Meanwhile Deyn, wearing an oversized cardigan, colourful frock and leather cap, transported her daily essentials in a mini vintage suitcase with a long shoulder strap while running errands around New York's East Village, proving she hasn't lost any of her idiosyncratic English style.

For a truly authentic piece, try to find an original on we found a vintage 45 Record Box or the vintage Samsonite Train Make-Up Case, which would absolutely do the trick at a lower price point (both auctions are currently under the $20 mark!) To get an equally playful and unique look, try the Rebecca Minkoff Morning After Mini Bag ($595), which is guaranteed to help you travel in style!-Kate Mulling

Photos of Chloe and Oscar de la Renta runways, from First View; Photo of Alexa Chung, from Splash; Photo of Rachel Bilson, from Bauer Griffin; Photo of Agyness Deyn, from Pacific Coast News.