Everything evolved with changing role of the woman, except handbags. Now we have some hands-free options. Should we go for backpack or fanny pack?
And that means flat but elegant-looking shoes, light-weight jewelry and of course, bags that can let us be hands-free. Because that means being able to hold the coffee and shake the CEO’s hand at that networking event, or being able to hold grocery bags in one and our laundry in the other hand.
Handbags are the Dinosaurs of Fashion
When I think of it, it seems quite shameful that handbags didn’t evolve with the rest of the fashion. Swimsuits evolved from knickers to mono-kinis to bikinis. And long skirts gave way to pants and jeans and shorts. But handbags still remain clumsy, heavy and something that makes us spend fifteen minutes searching for keys (which are always where we search last)! Don’t the fashion people know we wanna be efficient while looking sexy? And there’s nothing sexy about spending a half hour locked out one’s own house fumbling for keys in one’s oversized tote.
Even the cute cross-body bag that I famously carried to college had only two small pockets inside it, which held my keys, phone and pens. The hair-brush, handkerchief and travel-sized bottle of winter lotion always got lost underneath my books.
The Era of Change
Thankfully, the fashion designers started paying attention to our changing needs (finally, after countless decades!) when they introduced the women’s wallets with multiple card flaps, smartphone covers with cross-body straps, fanny packs and back-packs. Out of these, the smartphone pouch works well, but only as an ornament, since you have to carry it along with your main handbag. The mini-bag, embraced by the likes of Fendi and Dior, looks cute but is quite a joke when you start trying to fit in even as much as an iPad or a loaded wallet.
Backpack or Fanny Pack?
The fanny pack became such a hit with designers earlier this year that it was seen in no less than 8 fashion shows. Chanel introduced embellished and embroidered smartphone pouches and fanny packs in their Spring Summer 2016 collection, which could be tied around the waist. Gucci came up with a mini-flapbag-shaped fanny pack. Moschino and Balenciaga introduced the zipper type. We couldn’t be happier and even included it in our Spring Summer 2016 handbag trends as the #1 It-bag!
But then, like a flash of light, this trend was gone before we could even lay hands on one of those beauties. And now we’re seeing the backpack everywhere. Fendi introduced the fur-trimmed cute ones, and Dior introduced metallic silver backpacks with its iconic cannage pattern and Louis Vuitton introduced studded backpacks in its latest collection. And we even wrote about the must-have backpacks for Winter 2016-17, because we’ve been seen them all over the fashion week!
The designers glammed them up, and brought them out from the college campuses to high fashion runways. So let’s just hope this doesn’t go out of fashion any time soon! Because I’m loving these more than the fanny packs. The fanny, as good as it is for holding the essentials, cannot hold bigger essentials like a laptop.
What an Ideal Handbag Needs
And in case you’re Karl Lagerfeld, here’s what I’m hoping to see in the next generation of bags:
- Lots of Pockets: And by that I don’t mean 2. I mean, business card holder, comb, keys, smartphone, wallet, laptop, pens and hair-ties. All seperate. So. That. We. Can. F***ing. Find. Them.
- Light-Weight: Our shoulders are not made of steel. And honestly, holding handbags over our shoulder for like, thirty years makes us literally lop-sided. I even have a dent in my shoulder now. Don’t believe me? Here, take a look!!Thank you, bag-makers, that looks SO appealing!
- Sturdy: We can’t deal with those strap-breaking mishaps on our way to parties and job-inteviews. It’s so embarassing!
- Water-Resistant: At least it should not get permanently ruined by it. Because contrary to popular belief, we are very sloppy and often spill water on our things. Or coffee. Or worse…
- Comfortable: We don’t like those inter-woven straps that cause a rash, or those bags with pointy studs or zippers that keep poking us on the commute.
- Did I mention, fashionable? We don’t wanna look like unstylish.
- And let’s get something that avoids animal cruelty.
So, ladies. Which is your favorite handbag option? The backpack or fanny pack? Or something else entirely? Do you have a bag that satisfies my aforementioned requirements? If not, would you like to add something to my list of demands to Mr. Lagerfeld?
Comment below! Muaah!
Shilpa Ahuja a designer and entrepreneur. She is the editor-in-chief of ShilpaAhuja.com, which she founded with the goal of inspiring confidence in the modern working woman through fashion.
Fashion has traditionally been for the rich, white, thin woman. That’s how it evolved over centuries and that’s how it’s been represented in fashion media. But Shilpa believes that with the changing role of women in the society, fashion has changed, too. She believes that fashion is for everyone, regardless of their age, gender, color, body type and background. So she translates runway fashion into easy style advice that one can incorporate into their daily lives.
Shilpa’s work has been published in the University of Fashion blog and Jet Airways magazine. She is also an artist, illustrator and cartoonist. She is also the creator of Audrey O., a comic series that represents the lifestyle of millennial women. She enjoys creative writing and world travel. Her art has been exhibited at Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Aroma Hotel, Chandigarh and been published in Chandigarh Times.
Originally from Chandigarh, Shilpa also has a professional degree in architecture and has worked in interior project management. She is also the author of the book “Designing a Chinese Cultural Center in India”. Shilpa has a Masters in Design Studies degree from Harvard University. For feedback and questions, please email [email protected]