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Usually, I’m able to call out three to five trends that are guaranteed to be a hit for any given season. That said, as I start building my 2021 wardrobe, I can’t help but notice literally all handbags and purses following the same exact formula: puffy, slouchy, scrunchie (Is this the new classy, bougie, ratchet?!). It’s true—2021’s bag trends all revolve around the exact same look: a laid-back but still luxe approach to leather.
When I was a kid, I remember favoring a brown paper bag over my cartoon-themed tin lunch box. I can’t explain why, but the neutral bag with its bunched nape just seemed ~cooler~, and I was sure my playground peers would notice. I don’t think my bag actually won me any cool points back then, but it seems as though I predicted 2021’s top bag trend at an early age. Pretty much all of the bags I’ve got my eye on right now are ruched and slouchy, and while there are a few pops of fun color, they lean mostly neutral.
Of course, it’s no secret how this trend came about. When Bottega Veneta dropped their almost-$3K The Pouch, it immediately shot to the Instagram Explore page of every fashionista from London to Los Angeles. The “It Bag” of the moment has inspired a whole new wave of design; suddenly, brands known for structured leather goods are opting for softer silhouettes, and details like ruching and weaving give soft, supple leathers some texture and flair.
If you’re saving up to splurge on the Bottega original, I salute you—that said, know you can totally shop the look for less, as tons of brands are dropping gorgeous bags inspired by The Pouch and its laissez-faire leather look. Staud has some of my personal favorites, and Marc Jacob’s Pillow Bag has been on my must-have list for months, but I digress. When the bags look this good, I’d rather show you than tell you.
With that, read on for 12 slouchy handbags in tune with 2021’s top bag trends, and consider kicking your structured staple to the curb.
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1. House of Want Chill Vegan Leather Frame Clutch
The top affordable bag on my wishlist is this House of Want clutch with chunky gold chain, available in not only cherry red, but also taupe, black, silver or gold croc. We love options!
2. Topshop Frame Ruched Clutch
This little clutch from Topshop has all that ruched, gathered goodness, and can be dressed up or down depending on your needs. TBH, I’d love it with a long gown and a leather jacket for rockstar vibes. For under $40, I might buy it in Camel, too.
3. Bottega Veneta The Pouch
Ah, the bag that started it all. Bottega Veneta’s The Pouch is a seriously stunning clutch that comes in a ton of colors. It’s definitely an investment piece, to say the least.
4. STAUD Soft Moon Bag
STAUD first launched a more structured version of their now-iconic Moon Bag, and the new Soft Moon Bag is proof they’re paying attention to 2021’s slouchy, scrunchie trends.
5. ECOSUSI Small Cloud Crossbody
I love the pale yellow hue of the majorly-affordable ECOSUSI Small Cloud Crossbody, as well as the fact that it comes with an optional long strap, so you can use the top handle for fashion or for function.
6. Marc Jacobs The Mini Pillow Bag
You’ll have to feel the Marc Jacobs The Mini Pillow Bag for yourself to understand why it’s just so good. It’s almost crinkly to the touch, but still puffy and light.
7. Mansur Gavriel Mini Cloud Leather Clutch
The Mansur Gavriel Mini Cloud Leather Clutch is a great option for anyone looking to invest, but not quite ready to drop some Bottega-level coin. Plus, this Terracotta shade is to die for.
8. JW Pei Gabbi Bag
The JW Pei Gabbi Bag comes in a number of fun shades like this bold pink, and the ruching gives me fashion-croissant vibes in all the right ways. At just under $80, she’s a steal.
9. STAUD Bean Bag
Another bag with some exceptional ruching is STAUD’s Bean Bag, a tiny, soft rectangle of either silk satin or leather, depending on your color preference. Personally, this bright blue speaks to me, but it comes in neutral tones as well.
10. Nunoo Lin Clutch
The Nunoo Lin Clutch is top of the list when it comes to nailing 2021’s bag trends in a unique way. Consider this a luxe upgrade to 2020’s baguette trend, with bold red calfskin leather and a thin silver chain.
11. Elleme Long Vague Bag with Chain
If you’re looking for a staple neutral clutch for 2021 evenings out (will we have those??), Elleme’s Long Vague Bag with Chain is it. The pleated ruching looks especially luxe on cowhide leather, and the gold chain strap is thin, but still chunky.
12.Nordstrom Soft Faux Leather Clutch
Last but not least, don’t sleep on Nordstrom’s name brand! This faux leather clutch is a gorgeous option for just under $100, complete with gathered detailing and a chain tucked inside for when you want to rock it over-the-shoulder.