The Most Popular 90's Bag Trends: Then and Now

Vetted By: Jamie Lewin

4.29.24

Few things have endured quite as well as 90s purse trends. I, for one, am simultaneously nostalgic for the old and excited by the new versions of the popular designs and continue to pine for some of my favorite iconic styles. The 90s fashion trends certainly had an eclectic mix of influences, from the grunge aesthetic of baggy jeans and plaid shirts a la Nirvana to the classic minimalism of Calvin Klein (and more specifically Kate Moss in her Calvins). But the one thing that really influenced our hearts and wallets was Sex and the City. Carrie Bradshaw had our full attention and the bags she carried instantly sold out, creating "It-bags" and long waitlists for the most coveted styles. 90s bags have stood the test of time, maintaining both their popularity and price points, and highlighting why investing in bags can pay off in the long run (atleast that's what I tell my husband!).

woman with fend baguette bag
Sarah Jessica Parker with fendi baguette bag

Photos: Sarah Jessica Parker with a Fendi Baguette Bag in Sex and the City, Fendi Baguette Bag

FENDI BAGUETTE BAG

One of the most iconic bags of the mid to late 90s was the Fendi Baguette (or "petite pochette"). Launched in 1997, it was inspired by the way the French carry a baguette under their arm and marked a return of the shoulder bags and a more compact design. Since it's launch, Fendi has created over 1000 iterations; from its famous monogrammed fabric to glossy croc-effect leather to sequins to candy-coloured versions of the timeless bag. With so many styles to choose from, there is a perfect one for every bag-lover.

Kendall Jenner with a Prada nylon bag

Photos: Kendall Jenner, Re-Nylon Prada Re-Edition 2000 mini-bag

PRADA NYLON BAG

Another early 90s classic that has stood the test of time are Prada's Nylon Bags. Combining practicality with luxury, these bags were a staple in the early 90s and have recently been reissued in the Re-Edition and Re-Nylon series due to their resurgence in popularity. Whether you are lucky enough find one of the original vintage designs or choose the latest version, these bags have a sleek silhouette which makes them truly timeless and versatile.

Lucy Williams with the Dior saddle bag

Photos: Lucy Williams, Dior's iconic monogrammed saddle bag

DIOR SADDLE BAG

The late 90s and early 2000s saw the rise of the Dior Saddle Bag, an equestrian-inspired design debuted by John Galliano in 1999. Featuring a unique shape and the famous Dior logo fabric, this bag quickly became a must-have accessory among the fashion set. While others have imitated this design, the original still remains the most sought-after.

Louis Vuitton monogram bag collection

Photos: Louis Vuitton Speedy 30 Bag, LV Monogram Collection

LOUIS VUITTON BAG

No discussion of iconic 90s bags would be complete without mentioning the Louis Vuitton Monogram collection. Under the creative direction of Marc Jacobs, the classic monogram was given new life, making it a favorite among fashion enthusiasts and paved the way for later artist collaborations of the famous print. The monogrammed leather has seen been used on every iteration of the bag from the popular speedy luggage with the wide top handle to the tote, bucket bag, mini bag, crossbody bag, and smaller personal items. There's something about that classic monogram that just never goes out of style.

hermes Kelly bags in tan and bold emerald green

Photos: Hermes Kelly bags in tan and bold emerald green

HERMES KELLY BAG

Another bag that most fashion-lovers lust after is the Hermès Kelly Bag. It was created back in 1932 and was originally known as the Sac à Dépêches. But after Grace Kelly made it popular in the late 50's, it was officially re-named the Kelly bag in 1977, and had a major resurgence in the 90s. The structured design of this versatile style has such a long wait-list earning it icon status and making it one of the most exclusive and sought-after accessories to this day. It's the ultimate fashion investment piece. (While the Kelly bag was the original It-bag for Hermes, more recently the Birkin has become the most coveted.)

princess Diana with Gucci bamboo top handle tote bag

Photos: Princess Diana, Gucci Diana Small Tote Bag

GUCCI TOP-HANDLE BAG

Last but not least, Gucci's famous bags, featuring handles from handmade pieces of bamboo, were a favorite of Princess Diana, contributing to their enduring appeal. She could be seen with the tote bag everywhere, making it instantly one of the most popular styles.

In a world where people are constantly looking for the next trend, these 90s bag styles have proven their staying power from the good old days to present time. For vintage lovers, the only thing better than owning a piece of fashion history is knowing that your investment will likely hold its value for years to come. Plus other obvious reasons like you looking fabulous with these bags on your arm. So, go ahead and make room in your closet for some of these vintage treasures!

Looking for A specific Style?

While you may find exactly what you are looking for on websites like ebay, the RealReal or What Goes Around Comes Around, oftentimes you need someone who can dig a little deeper to find the best options. Enter Gab Waller. She has made a business out of sourcing items that are hard to find, sold out, or from previous seasons. Her business has flourished on social media with Instagram DMs being her main source of communication (@gabwallerdotcom). While she has an impressive roster of celebrity clients, the best part is that anyone can send her a specific style they are searching for that is seemingly nowhere to be found.

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