A love of all that is quirky and nostalgic still reigns in the fashion realm and thus, just like cutoff denim minis and velour (if not Juicy Couture-branded) clothing, early 2000s handbags are reliving their cultural moment. Outside the recent shows, It bags of the early aughts — the Fendi Baguette, the Louis Vuitton Speedy, the Dior Saddle bag, an assortment of nylon Pradas — parted a sea of more of-the-moment Loewe Puzzle bags and Gucci fanny packs.
A decade ago, It bag status was awarded based on eccentricity — and whether or not Carrie Bradshaw had clutched one under her very fashionable armpit. (These days, the It bag is dead — millennial shoppers mostly side-step storied labels in favor of the affordable, lesser-known designers or reach for cheap-made-chic straw and net bags or grant themselves a single luxe handbag purchase, the same way they’d lease a car.)
But back to our point about Bradshaw: consider the Fendi baguette, born in 1997, designed by Silvia Venturini Fendi. In a 2015 retrospective of the It bag, Vogue.com Archive Editor Laird Borrelli-Persson explains that the “petite shoulder bag [that] nestles under the arm as easily as the long, crusty French loaf from which it borrows its name” was made famous by an appearance on Sex and the City (namely season two, episode 18, wherein Charlotte conquers her fear of horses whilst Carrie broods over Mr. Big in a going-out top and jeans). “Rumor has it that more than 100,000 were sold in the first year.” In current times, model Paloma Elsesser has also helped popularize the more minimalist/sporty/utilitarian Prada baguette (done in industrial-weight nylon, just like the brand’s signature backpack, est. 1984).
The equestrian-inspired, heavily logoed Dior Saddle bag, designed by John Galliano in 2003 and also currently #trending, similarly made its way to the shoulder of one Ms. Bradshaw (during the early Aiden era). Lucky for us, the early-aughts It bag came in hundreds of patterns and formulations and thus, even after recent co-signs by Rihanna and Bella Hadid, the handbags are still fairly easy to track down (and rarely exceed the $500 mark).
And speaking of logomania, we mustn’t forget the iconic Louis Vuitton Speedy (first introduced by Louis Vuitton in 1930, reimagined numerous times over the decades). Covered in Stephen Sprouse’s graffiti or no, the capacious carryall (once a favorite of Nicky Hilton) has again made its way to the hearts and hands of the fashion flock.
While it’ll take a bit of searching on your favorite online consignment shops (Vestiaire Collective, The RealReal) to track down one of these timeless throwbacks, the (mostly) manageable price points, bragging rights and delicious arm candy are well worth the effort. And to make the process easier, we’ve rounded up a handful of our favorite finds in the gallery below. Whoever said “let bygones be bygones” must have had a pretty sad bag collection.