The fashion industry can place a lot of weight on newness, with a constant quest for the next It thing, the next big designer, and the trend we'll be wearing in six, 12 or 18 months' time. We are, however, slowly seeing a shift in how we think about shopping, with an emphasis on longevity and wearability over viral pieces. Building a wardrobe of classics can offer a more sustainable approach to fashion.
This is why we launched our Survival of the Chicest series, which highlights the items we think will always rise high above trends, making them the perfect pieces to invest in and add to your capsule (or not-so-capsule) wardrobe. We've already covered the basics (think leather jackets, trench coats, Breton T-shirts, little black dresses and white shirts), and next up we're giving you a rundown on the classic designer bags that will always be in style.
A designer handbag is a big purchase, as they tend to cost £800+ when you're dealing with brands like Gucci and Loewe. This means you want to be sure you choose a bag you'll love and treasure forever—one that's not only practical but will slot within your existing wardrobe. If you're in the position to invest in a designer bag, you'll probably want to put some thought into this decision. Below we have done some research for you and identified twelve classic bags that have only become more and more popular with age. There are bags that were created over 100 years ago and some that are just a few years old, but they're all modern classics that will always be considered the height of chic.
1. Gucci 1955 Horsebit Shoulder Bag
The clue is in the name when it comes to Gucci's newly iconic shoulder bag. Simple yet refined, the horsebit detailing is a signature code of the label's that dates back to the 50s. So you can be confident that this handbag is a timeless one.
There has been a lot of change in the overall aesthetic at Celine thank to a change in creative direction, but one thing that has remained constant is the classic box bag. It even has classic in its name—a clear indication that this shoulder bag is resistant to passing trends.
3. A.P.C. Half-Moon Bag
The A.P.C. half-moon bag is a classic saddle bag that is one of the most timeless minimal pieces. It's so simple that this crossbody will go with every outfit.
4. Mark Cross Box Bag
Mark Cross is a heritage American brand that was relaunched in 2010. All of its bags have the same distinct feel, with boxy, structured silhouettes and elegant finishing touches. They have such an uptown feel that this is the name of one of the most-loved styles.
JW Anderson has turned Loewe's handbag department into a greatest hits collection, but it's arguably the Hammock bag that will be his real legacy. This has an interchangeable silhouette, which means it can double as a shoulder bag and a tote bag, and it now comes in dozens of colours and textures.
6. Acne Musubi
Acne creates timeless, elevated basics, so it's not surprising the Scandi brand has a handbag on this list, even though it was only launched several years ago. The knot detail on the side of the bucket bag is a distinctive touch to this otherwise simple style.
7. Chanel Quilted Chain Bag
Who What Wear
The Chanel 2.55 is the brand's original quilted flap bag and arguably the most famous bag in the world. It was the very first shoulder bag when it was created in 1955 and remains one of the label's most popular styles. When Karl Lagerfeld arrived at the label in 1983 he reinterpreted the 2.55, adding the double CC logo to create the 11.12 Classic Handbag that has become almost as iconic.
8. Valextra Iside Bag
Italian handbag brand Valextra was founded back in 1937, and its signature Iside bag is the ultimate quiet luxury piece. The triangular handbag has a recognisable if-you-know-you-know silhouette, but it doesn't have the shouty branding you'll find with other designer brands, so it's a discreet option that won't date easily, which, given the price, is essential.
The Antigona was the It bag when it launched in 2011, worn by the likes of Kate Moss, Gwyneth Paltrow and Beyoncé. 10 years later it's just as iconic, and to celebrate the anniversary Givenchy launched a new range of Antigonas, with a new addition—the Antigona soft.
10. Bottega Veneta BV Classic
Unlike other more recent Bottega styles that definitely have the It factor, the BV classic is just that— a classic. Understated yet elegant this won't date like other more trend-led styles.
11. Saint Laurent Logo Bag
It doesn't really matter which particular style you choose here— if it's black with a gold YSL logo emblazoned on the front, it's instantly iconic. Classy and timeless, a YSL logo bag is undoubtedly a great investment.
The New York Times has called this Prada's 'most iconic bag' which should tell you all you need to know about this perfect accessory. First released in 2007, it's still the first choice of editors and influencers alike and will be for many years to come.