Within the category of fashion trends, handbags are the most subtle. Unlike a flashy fad like leather harnesses or visible thongs, purse styles tend to go through a slower cycle of change— a new color here, refreshed hardware there. But this is a good thing! You carry your work bag alongside different looks all week long, thus versatility is essential. For the fall season, the best handbag trends lean into this idea, with fresh takes on staple styles that will complement your existing wardrobe.
That’s not to say that there isn’t plenty to get excited about. On the festive circuit, the fall 2022 runways saw metallic and sparkling bags shimmer down the runway, doubling down on the Roaring Twenties aesthetic that emerged post-pandemic. For texture, shearling reigned supreme with cozy carryalls that will feel especially soft to the touch on those colder days. Hardware also got attention in the form of chunky chain links that could pass for jewelry And, of course, timeless silhouettes such as the saddle, tote, and bucket were given the stamp of approval and zhuzhed up with new colorways and materials.
Ahead, seven fall handbag trends to shop now.
The popularity of the bucket silhouette has ebbed and flowed over the years, perhaps peaking in early 2013 with Mansur Gavriel’s introduction of its now-iconic drawstring bucket bag. Currently, brands like Altuzarra, Ulla Johnson, and Louis Vuitton are all reviving this beloved style for fall, with sleek updates like leather piping and fun colors. We’re especially loving the slimmed-down versions that have enough room to hold your essentials but are small enough to transition to the evening hours.
This fall, broaden your scope of handbag materials from the typical leather (faux or real) to something fuzzy and textural. On the runways, shearling was ubiquitous with examples seen at heritage houses like Chanel and buzzy labels such as Jacquemus. And while a shearling handbag might feel like a bold statement, these cozy carryalls come in down-to-earth silhouettes, like the baguette shape or saddle style. What’s more, when the weather becomes nippy, you can tuck them under your arm for some added warmth.
The pandemic has spurred trends that run the gamut of personal style. On one side of the spectrum, you have things like house dresses and sweatpants-as-real-pants, while on the other end you have a full embrace of sexy dressing and glitzy materials. The latter has felt reminiscent of The Roaring Twenties and sparked a dialogue about the return of this iconic era in fashion. Translate this festive sentiment to your handbag collection with one of the numerous sparkly bags of the season.
Chunky Chain Link Bags
Hardware can make or break a bag, which is why the emphasis on bold, chunky chain links on the fall runways felt like a daring move for the season. Thankfully, the end result is refreshing and chic, as evidenced by designers like Stella McCartney who incorporated the look on monochrome pastel satchels. Or at Loewe, where designer Jonathan Anderson accentuated a bright orange top-handle bag with a matching chunky chain. But whether you want something bright and bold or something crafted in a neutral palette, there’s something for all types this season—with an exaggerated chain as the centerpiece.
As we ease into the office after two years (!) of working from home, you might be finding yourself short on work totes that can hold your 9-5 essentials. And though in the past, a structured satchel might have felt like the most polished direction, the current mood calls for something softer and more flexible like a roomy tote. Brands like The Row reignited our love for a large, functional bag.
Slouchy Shoulder Bags
The slouchy silhouette is decidedly alive and well. For fall, this relaxed 70s-inspired style finds its footing in earth-toned colors and suede textures. Among the more exciting examples of this is found at Khaite with the brand’s covetable moon-shaped shoulder bag. Wear yours with a chunky knit and trousers for an effortless approach to autumnal style.
When you think of the saddle bag, Dior’s iconic version designed in the ‘90s likely comes to mind. The fact that this silhouette continues to find its way onto runways season after season is a testament to the trend’s staying power, and further justifies adding one to your closet. Designers fine-tuned the style for fall with unique touches like studs at Isabel Marant or the multicolor whipstitched trim spotted at Chloé.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.