It was hard to choose the best bags from the ‘00s. Not because there were too few, but because there were so many! Once the term “it bag” was coined in the ‘90s, it was off to the races. There were Mulberrys (the Bayswater and the Alexa), Chloé’s Paraty, Alexander McQueen’s Novak, Prada’s bowling bag, Anya Hindmarch’s “I Am Not a Plastic Bag”…you get the gist. The most popular of all? Chloé‘s Paddington! The slouchy, lock-embellished limited edition was THE it bag when we launched the site in 2005. While it’s no longer for sale, there are plenty of other icons to choose from…
Proenza Schouler PS1
Lazaro may have declared this the “anti-it bag” (he and Jack sought something more pared down than the flashier styles of the decade), and yet it took no time at all for us to make it a mainstay when it launched in 2008. The messenger style of our beloved PS1 (at Barneys New York for $1,695) – named after the NYC school system – lets us relive our high school days, yet in the most chic, sophisticated way. To get the look for less, tote your books in Marc by Marc Jacobs’ Natural Selection messenger (on Shopbop for $313.60).
Marc Jacobs Stam
It’s not unusual for a designer to name his or her bag after a famously stylish muse. In Marc Jacobs’ case that was one of my favorite models – Jess Stam! He designed the quilted, kiss-lock closure tote (on Farfetch for $1,472.84) for her to carry around her portfolio in. Another woman about town who understands the need to run around for work is Donna Karan – you can get her similar DKNY satchel (on Zappos for $365) for 1/4th of the cost.
Need another reason to love Nicolas Ghesquière? In 2001, Balenciaga bigwigs felt this moto-inspired bag lacked structure and refused to release it, but Nicolas wore them down and now we have a Classic (at Barneys New York for $1,825)! The hanging tassels, the hardware, the whipstitched handles…it’s a hard look to recreate, though Rebecca Minkoff’s youthful aesthetic (at Nordstrom for $331.65) will tide a Snob over until she can invest in Balenciaga.
Alexander McQueen Skull Box Clutch
Before the knuckleduster came the Skull Box clutch (on Farfetch for $1,169.19), and with it McQueen claimed the skull as his own. We continually see new and luxurious iterations, and still every time I find myself wanting them. It would be unreasonable to buy each and every single release, so once in a while a Frugal version like House of Harlow’s Wynn clutch (on Revolve Clothing for $225) only makes sense.
First there was 2005’s Muse, then in 2008? The Muse Two (pictured above)! The original was a roomier, bowling bag style, while the second coming (on Bluefly for $1,915) brought a little more structure. Both are equally covetable, however if you’re not ready to splurge, consider Tory Burch’s top handle (at Saks Fifth Avenue for $550) a serious steal.