VOGUE did a spread on the slouchy shoulder bag a few days ago. Once called the un-PC term “hobo bag,” it had been a staple on the arms of celebrities like Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, and the Olsen twins during the big bag trend of the early 2000s. The Vogue spread praised its softness and slouchiness, as well as its double-duty utility. However, the spread ignored the basic fact of the bag’s convenience.
This reporter has used two shoulder bags of the similar shape for the pandemic’s “it” activity: grocery shopping. The bag’s shape clings close to the body, making sure that it won’t swing about, while keeping the contents usually safe, tucked as they are under the arm. One can take out hand sanitizer, a wallet, and one’s keys with a slight dip of the hand, for the bags’ openings are usually just at chest level. Finally, they give a certain chic convenience that no handbag can claim: the freedom of using both of your hands — the very same reason why Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel invented the 2.55, though for vastly different circumstances (she needed both hands at parties).
Here are a few bags that predict a post-pandemic silhouette: one that’s pared-down, utilitarian, and keeps those hardworking and hopefully, clean hands free to fix the world.
We’re starting with the bag that started it all: the Gucci Jackie. The Gucci Jackie was named after former American First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis who started sporting the bag during the more bohemian years of her second marriage, although the bag was invented in 1961. Earlier canvas prototypes had been seen slung on the shoulder of writer Samuel Beckett and actor Peter Sellers. The bag’s androgynous appeal continues today, seen on the shoulder of celebrity Harry Styles.
On that note, which bag did Jackie actually carry? Prior to the revival of the Jackie, zooming in on Jackie’s photos seem to reveal that her preferred summer bag was the Hermes Trim, which had a similar shape to the Gucci model, but one made with canvas and tan leather, with a similar piston lock. This one was invented in 1958 (a few years before the invention of the Gucci Jackie, then named the G1244 (according to the New York Times).
Louis Vuitton’s contender for the hobo bag game could be the Neverfull, but we’re a little more inclined to the Graceful PM for its sleeker square appearance. It comes with a magnetic closure and a zipped inside pocket, and ordering from the website allows one to customize the lining to either chic beige or fun pink.
The Ferragamo Gancini bag is the best for discreet chic: the only marker that it’s worth almost $2,000 dollars is the Gancini buckle near the top, but then, part of the pleasure of owning one is knowing that only you can feel and know the value of fondling soft calfskin.
We’ll always have a soft spot in our heart for this perennial classic, the Longchamp Le Pliage. Made out of easily cleanable nylon, a long-handled model can be tucked under the arm for convenience. — J.L. Garcia