According to the Winter 2021 Collections, Bags Are Back and Louder Than Ever

Don’t brave the cold alone.
Last Updated
Feb 11, 2022

Winter isn’t defined by handbags. When colder months arrive, we can’t help daydreaming about warm oversized coats, chunky knitwear, and combat boots made for crunchy, freshly-fallen snow. At least, until we saw the Fall/Winter 2021 shows. After a year where the notion of bags seemed futile, luxe carryalls came back to the runways with a vengeance—and with a cold-weather twist. 

This season’s winter bag trends are as varied as they are unapologetic: boasting textures such as faux shearling and quilted leather, these purses prove that winter is a full-outfit affair, one that combines style and functionality. Brands such as Khaite, Prada, and Stand Studio, encapsulate this mood, offering styles that are durable for the hustle and bustle of the winter months while also ensuring that you stay on-trend throughout the season. Don’t believe us? Take a look for yourself. We have rounded up the best winter bag trends to help you conquer seasonal style.

Winter Bag Trends You Need to Know About


Quilted Bags

Quilting isn’t just for your Barbour coat, it’s for your bag as well. Inspired by the pattern found on horse jockeys’ jackets, Coco Chanel incorporated quilting into her first handbag: the 2.55 (named for the date of its creation). Thanks to the bag’s worldwide success, the diamond-like mosaic has become synonymous with French luxury and has inspired maisons such as Saint Laurent to include the style in its accessory lines. 

This season the traditional stitching has been reimagined in a different format—one where bigger is better. New-York based brand Khaite melds the style into their tote for a pragmatic design. The large squares surrounding the exterior of the bag work to have a cushioning effect (see: the Coach Pillow Tabby Bag) symbolizing the middle ground between our return back to normality and the pajama-clad days we have just left behind. With the softly furnished exterior, you need not worry about any valuable possessions (like your Apple Watch) getting damaged during bustling subway rides.


Shearling and Fur Bags

Nothing welcomes in winter quite like the arrival of fur and shearling. Appearing in boots and oversized coats, these fabrications are lauded by the á la mode crowd for their textured and seasonally appropriate appearance. While fur is to winter what florals are to spring, this year it seems designers have put their thinking caps on to reimagine the signature material in a way that feels fresh, new, and needed for the colder months. 

Bottega Veneta’s creative director Daniel Lee leads the way this season with a purple shearling iteration of its classic Jodie bag. If you’re not a die-hard fur fan, Jacquemus has a bag so you can dip your toe into this winter trend without the full commitment. Similar to Bottega Veneta, Jacquemus updated its signature Le Chiquito Bag with a fur trim for the colder months. The combination of leather and shearling means you can use this accessory as a statement piece, one that shines brightest when teamed with pared-back garments such as a little back dress. From there, graduate into other shearling-lined pieces for a full fur affair.


Oversized Bags

Designers often know what we need before we even know ourselves—hence, the rise of oversized bags. As life slowly returns back to normal, many of us require stylish and functional silhouettes to see us through our morning commutes, working lunches, and all the way to happy hour. Prada understood this assignment: for Winter 2021, the Italian brand traded its signature nylon offerings for an expansive line of faux-shearling pieces. For a cohesive, fur-on-fur outfit, pair the brand's Aspen Vitello Shaggy Faux Fur Tote Bag with a like-minded faux-shearling coat.

British label Stella McCartney went in a different direction with its catchalls—releasing the Maxi Falabella Knit Tote Bag. Made from recycled polyester, this bag takes the brown hues of fall and encourages you to bring them into the winter for a warm appearance. 


Classic Tote Bags

There’s a reason why tote bags appear in our accessory rotation year after year: they’re dependable, fashion-forward, and big enough so you don’t have to pick between your favorite eyeliner and blush. Ever since the release of the Dior Oblique Book Tote (which first appeared in the brand’s Spring/Summer 2018 collection), designers have noticeably upped their tote bag selections to compete with the latter accessories’ success. No longer wanting to just settle for simple monochromatic styles, brands have started incorporating distinctive details into their classic totes. 

One person who is leading the charge on this is American designer Marc Jacobs, releasing his signature tote in faux-shearling, tie-dye canvas, and, as shown below, patchwork denim. The latter touches on the past and the present, nodding to the grunge aesthetic which made him famous and the resurgence of upcycling over the past year. For Fendi, distinctive detailing doesn’t come in the form of fabric, but in top-stitching, which fuses Italian luxury with contemporary accents. Whether you opt for the latter or former, our top styling tip is to pair it with monochromatic, minimalist outfits—this way, the new-age totes have the center-stage moment they deserve.


Chain Bags

There is a point in every shopper’s life where they have to pick between two things they love—but with chain handbags, you don’t have to. They combine the glamour of your favorite jewelry pieces with the cachet of the latest celebrity-approved handbags. The clearest proof of this is Burberry’s Olympia Bag. The latest accessory to join the British brand’s collection, the Olympia is a picture of unbridled femininity (the bag was inspired by Greek architecture and female empowerment); its curved shape and tidy silhouette sit effortlessly under the wearer’s arm, much like the baguette bags that have come before it. 

The glistening gold chain strap trend originally came from Coco Chanel, who included a chain strap in her bags so that women would have more mobility. While Burberry draws on that same notion, it seems that the chain strap has become less of a utility feature and more of a decorative symbol. As on Bottega Veneta and By Far’s purses, it’s all about letting the chain loosely dangle this winter—making your bag a jewelry piece in its own right. You can go full alt-girl with this look by sporting a matching chain belt, or continue the feeling of decadence with some bold gold earrings. The appeal of this winter bag trend lies in how you can make it your own.


Monogram Bags

The resurgence of low-rise jeans, chain belts, and high-top sneakers can only mean one thing: the ’90s are back. To truly lean into this era’s revival, we recommend adding a monogram bag to your rotation. Since the reprisal of the Dior Oblique in 2016, logo prints have slowly but surely been making their way back onto our luxury accessories—in the form of designer collaborations and all-new patterns. The most recent proof of this was the introduction of Versace’s La Greca monogram, a bold, 3-D like pattern, which subtly nods to the brand’s Grecian aesthetic. 

Though in the past, this trend has been all-encompassing, with brands slapping their names on bags like celebrities do with beauty deals, this season it’s all about subtlety. Saint Laurent demonstrates this with the “YSL” on its crossbody bag as the logo works as a backdrop to the other luxury details of the bag, such as the brown leather fastening and shoulder strap. Yet, if your tastes are classic-centric, try Gucci’s tote bag. The key to this trend is to further subdue it by basing your outfit around your chosen accessory’s colorway. In the case of Saint Laurent, this could be done with a camel coat or a brown cashmere scarf.


Patchwork Bags

As the number of brands working towards a sustainable future increases, more eco-conscious designs have started cropping up (see Miu Miu’s collaboration with Levis). Patchwork bags are one manifestation of this planet-first agenda. Taking discarded fabrics such as denim, leather, and canvas, these accessories have a unique vintage edge to them that often can only be found after a hard day of trawling through your go-to thrift store. 

Lucky for us, brands such as Mark Cross and Chloé have done the work for us, offering designs that feel brand new, while still imbued with a life before us. As many of us start socializing—and maybe even dating—again, consider this an easy conversation-starter. With the colorful hues at Saint Laurent and the varied textures of Manu Atelier’s Cylinder Patchwork bag, with these catchalls in hand, you’ll have so much to talk about this winter.


Animal Print Bags

For the person who sees the dark nights as not a deterrent but more of a reason to go out, this winter bag trend is for you. From snake-print to cow-print, to Kate Moss-approved leopard spots, animal print bags are a must-have in your accessory rotation this season. Raise the bar with Balenciaga’s Snake-Print Mini Leather Shoulder Bag. The grey snakeskin design provides an elegant feeling which can be paired with anything from a seductive to a crop-top and a pair of Nanushka leather pants

If you want to introduce this trend into your everyday attire, an easy way to do this is with Stand Studio’s Leia Cow Print Tote. The thick white and brown faux-fur exterior evokes a snug feeling—one of wrapping up in a winter coat and heading down to your local coffee shop for a hot brew or two.


Mini Bags

Look, we’re just going to have to face the facts: mini bags aren’t going anywhere. A trend that first garnered traction in 2018 following the release of Jacquemus’ Le Chiquito Bag, the mini bag has become a viral sensation—thanks to its meme-worthy size and celebrity approval. This season, the mini bag has matured, growing into a piece that is more refined; more considered. 

Fendi demonstrates this with its Mini Sunshine Tote Bag. Designed with tortoise-shell handles, the bag is reminiscent of the decadent styles which were popular in the ’50s. Amina Muaddi continues this theme with its satin box bag—a signature shape of the following decade. Maybe it’s our return back to normality, but this season’s mini bags want you to put on your best party pieces and take the town by storm.

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