What Makes An It Bag? Breaking Down Fashion’s Most Iconic Handbag

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Written by: refinery29_com

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A girl's purse might as well be deemed an extra appendage. Brimming with her most crucial essentials, her chosen bag is never far from her side. This is most likely why the all day, every day necessity has earned a splurge-worthy status within the designer handbag market — we just can't live without 'em. But because we can live without those monstrous price points, you can find us scrolling through eBay to find our dream bag for much, much less.  
  
If you need help navigating the market, you’ve come to the right place. From styles that have been around for half a century to newer releases that became instant classics, we're breaking down the 16 most iconic bags worth the lavish price tag, straight ahead.  
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Alexander Wang’s Rocco Bag

Designer: Alexander Wang
Key Attributes: Studding on the bottom and duffel-like shape. 
Cool Cred: In 2011, Alexander Wang received a design patent for the trend-setting studs used on his Rocco bag — so you can’t find anything else like it on the market. 
This bag’s for you if… You’re edgy, with a downtown cool flair. 
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Balenciaga’s City Bag

Designer: Nicolas Ghesquière 
Key Attributes: Slouchy wide tote shape, top handle, shoulder strap, zipper-front detail. 
Cool cred: If it weren’t for supermodels noticing this bag during a runway show, it would’ve never been made, Ghesquière told WWD. 
This bag’s for you if… You’re on-the-go, and a frequent jet-setter. 
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Burberry’s Bowler Bag

Designer: Christopher Bailey 
Key Attributes: Leather paneling and the classic check print, along with a metallic logo on the front. 
Cool Cred: The iconic check pattern has been around since the 1920s and it comes in eight different variations today.  
This bag’s for you if… You have a classic aesthetic and love to follow a set routine. 
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Céline’s Luggage Tote

Designer: Phoebe Philo 
Key Attributes: Side panels in trapezoid-like shape, handle and zipper details that resemble a face, metallic logo on front. 
Cool Cred: Phoebe Philo, who was named one of Time’s most influential people in 2014, is believed to have pioneered the trapezoidal bag shape, which inspired pervasive knockoffs throughout the industry.  
This bag’s for you if… You’re outspoken, opinionated, and confident, and love practical and purposeful fashion.
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Chanel’s 2.55 Bag

Designer: Coco Chanel 
Key Attributes: Chain and woven leather shoulder strap, double ‘C’ closure, quilted leather. 
Cool cred: 60 years ago, the quilted Chanel bag sold for $220. When you consider inflation, that’s just under $2000, still thousands less than what they're priced at today. 
This bag’s for you if… Your style is effortless and understated with a hint of sophistication. 
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Chloe’s Drew

Designer: Clare Waight Keller 
Key Attributes: Chain shoulder strap, round shape, sleek hardware detail. 
Cool Cred: Having launched handbags in 2002, Chloe is relatively new the bag game. However, the Drew gained popularity so quickly that it’s now available in over 21 color ways on Chloe’s site alone. 
This bag’s for you if… Your style leans more toward bohemian and laid-back. 
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Christian Dior’s Lady Dior Bag

Designer: Gianfranco Ferré 
Key Attributes: Boxy shape, top handle, quilted finish. 
Cool Cred: The bag was named Lady Dior as a tribute to Princess Diana. 
This bag’s for you if… You consider yourself feminine and a bit reserved. 
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Hermes’ Kelly

Designers: Émile-Maurice Hermes, Ettore Bugatti, Robert Dumas 
Key Attributes: Padlock closure, trapezoid shape, two straps. 
Cool Cred: This bag was named after American actress and Monaco princess Grace Kelly who used it to cover her pregnancy in photos. 
This bag’s for you if… You’re classy, introverted, and artistic. 
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Lanvin’s Sugar Bag

Designer: Alber Elbaz 
Key Attributes: Lambskin leather, quilted stitching, chain strap. 
Cool Cred: Lanvin’s namesake and founder, Jeanne Lanvin, never focused on accessories; only on ready-to-wear. Lanvin accessories (shoes, jewelry, bags) never really came into focus until Alber Elbaz took the helm, and the Sugar bag was born. 
This bag’s for you if… You’re organized, are a type A personality, and you love luxury.
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Louis Vuitton’s Monogram Alma

Designer: Gaston-Louis Vuitton 
Key Attributes: All-over monogram print, rolled top handles. 
Cool Cred: The well-known monogram print wasn’t born until 1896 (42 years after the design house started), when Louis Vuitton’s son Georges created it in honor of his late father. 
This bag’s for you if…. You’re loud, outgoing, like to make a statement, and love vintage shopping.
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Mansur Gavriel’s Bucket Bag

Designers: Rachel Mansur and Fiora Gavriel 
Key Attributes: Refined, simple silhouette, neutral exterior with a colorful interior. 
Cool Cred: The bag hit cult status faster than designers Rachel Mansur and Fiorina Gavriel could produce them, causing crazy wait lists and elusiveness reminiscent of the Birkin. Some say Mansur bags are the first post-recession It bag. And when the brand first started selling online, they sold 95% of their stock within the first hour. 

This bag’s for you if… You’re a minimalist who might seem shy from the exterior but you have a big personality.
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3.1 Phillip Lim’s Pashli

Designer: Phillip Lim 
Key Attributes: Expandable side gussets, vertical zippers, rolled top handles with button tab. 
Cool Cred: The Pashli sold out within the first week of hitting the floor at Barneys. 

This bag’s for you if… You’re practical and the voice of reason in your friend group.
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Prada’s Saffiano Tote

Designer: Mario Prada 
Key Attributes: Saffiano leather, top handles, signature triangle-shaped logo detail. 
Cool Cred: The cross-hatch pattern of Saffiano results in scratch and water resistance, as well as sturdiness. Thus, it’s known to be one of the most wear-and-tear proof leathers out there. Mario Prada actually invented Saffiano leather, but now designers all over the world utilize the technique. 

This bag’s for you if… You’re ultra feminine, hard working, and a little high-maintenance (but you don’t need your accessories to be).
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Proenza Schouler’s PS1

Designers: Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez 
Key Attributes: Signature front schoolbag straps, front flap closure. 
Cool Cred: Designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez actually intended the PS1 to be the “Anti-It bag,” due to all of the fussy styles covered in logos they were seeing at the time. 
This bag’s for you if… You go with the flow, leave things a little undone, and can get ready in five minutes.
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Stella McCartney’s Falabella

Designer: Stella McCartney 
Key Attributes: Signature whip-stitching and woven chain trim, top handles, logo charm, slouchy silhouette. 
Cool Cred: Stella McCartney is a strict vegetarian who doesn’t go near fur or leather to produce any of her ready-to-wear or accessories. Vegan leather only, and everything’s ethically made. 
This bag’s for you if… You’re environmentally conscious, kind and and love animals.
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Valentino’s Rockstud Tote

Designers: Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli
Key attributes: Pyramid stud detailing, expandable sides. 
Cool cred: Creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli reinvigorated the brand known for its ruffles and lace with a cooler, younger edge with the Rockstud line of accessories. Rockstud accessories ultimately helped double Valentino’s sales. 
This bag’s for you if… You work hard and play hard, know when to treat yourself, and you’re girly but with an edge.
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