How To Make Every Bag An "It" Bag

For decades, the right handbag has been widely considered a status symbol, an accessory certain women wouldn't hesitate to spend thousands of dollars on. That idea, of course, is great for those who can afford to splurge every season on the latest Chanel or Balenciaga purse, but for the rest of us, well, our best bet is taking the Zara route. And while there's nothing wrong with that (we're huge proponents of finding steals), it's impossible to deny that these fast fashion bags (the ones everyone will inevitably have) just don't seem to have the same It factor as, say, that luxury number you've seen all over Instagram.

So, when our global editor-in-chief Christene Barberich came over to our desks lusting over this glorious Gucci bag featuring a big bow, our gears were turning on how we could make our own handbags look just as good. Fortunately, we were quick to realize that it doesn't actually take a monetary sum higher than your monthly rent to give any purse an extra dose of "wow." In fact, with the right amount of creativity and styling, many elements of today's trendiest options can be easily replicated.

That's when we tapped one of our favorite instagrammers, Reese Blustein of @double3xposure, to take on the challenge. Reese has a way of making one-of-a-kind vintage treasures and thrift-store finds look like a million bucks, so we knew she could school us in the art of giving any handbag that Gucci je ne sais quoi. And that's exactly what she did. Click on to see how she transformed a simple crossbody five different ways, and then grab your closest scarf and try them out for yourself.

Photo: Courtesy of @double3xposure.
Your best bet for a blank canvas is a neutral bag. Reese found this vintage number in great condition for $140 on a trip to Milan.

The key to making your bag look more natural and less DIY is not overthinking it. As Gucci proves, sometimes a simple, single bow is all it really takes. To get the look, tie a bandana (or a similarly sized scarf) around the strap of your bag.
Photo: Courtesy of @double3xposure.
Stick with a coordinating pop of color, rather than something that clashes. It'll help keep your purse front-and-center, without overwhelming (or taking attention away) from the rest of your look.
Photo: Courtesy of @double3xposure.
If the chain to your bag is removable, replace it altogether with the long scarf or ribbon of your choice; slip it into the clasps and knot tightly.
Photo: Courtesy of @double3xposure.
This is where you can play around with different patterns or shades. Reese pairs her blue-and-white striped option with a simple white dress, so the strap stands out.
Photo: Courtesy of @double3xposure.
Feeling sick and tired of your bag altogether? (It happens!) Give it new live by folding a scarf or bandana in half diagonally and tying it around the width of the purse for a completely revamped look.
Photo: Courtesy of @double3xposure.
See? It looks like a totally different bag.
Photo: Courtesy of @double3xposure.
Wristlets are back, y'all — especially those of the DIY variety. Another easy way to refresh a bag with a removable strap is to replace it with a small ribbon or scarf just long enough to stick your hand through. It's great for evenings or slightly dressier looks, in addition to your denim cutoff summer uniform, of course.
Photo: Courtesy of @double3xposure.
You can tie that same mini-scarf around the latch or closure of your bag; it's a great hack to disguise tarnished or broken hardware down the line.
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