The 90’s Shoulder Bag is Back! How to Wear + Where to Buy

Thalita Ferraz // Last Update: September 17, 2022 // 0 Comments is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission.  Learn More

When I moved not too long ago I went through old boxes that I had no idea the contents. Most of which ended up being tossed into a donate pile, you know, old clothes, shoes, accessories. I had some bags in there too, that I got from my mom long time ago. Like, back in the 90’s early 2000’s, young.

Anyway, after I took a trip down memory lane with them I laughed and put them back in the box, thinking maybe I could either sell them or just donate them. They’re in good condition still, just… dated.

Nobody uses shoulder bags anymore, right?

Guess what. Shoulder bags (also called baguettes) are back!

If you’re old enough you know exactly what I’m talking about. Those cute little purses with the short straps that we slinked up our arms to rest on our shoulders so the bag was nestled basically in our armpits. Yep, those ones.

And since fashion is cyclical, it’s no surprise that we have these coming back- especially since we’re all basically running around in 1990’s clothing with a scunci in our hair now anyway.

So I wanted to do a rundown, throwback, and introduction combo post because if you aren’t old enough to have participated in the shoulder bag trend 10-15 years ago, you’re getting a chance to now.

If you’re looking to get a shoulder bag yourself, below are some of my favorite places to look:

In its prime, the baguette was the purse to wear. Back then girls had smaller flip phones and usually only carried around a lip gloss, compact with a mirror, and maybe a coin purse with a wad of cash rolled up in it. If you were lucky your bag had front pockets that you could put a pack of gum and some bobby pins inside. Everything else didn’t fit, therefore it didn’t matter.

If you opened my purse now there is a chance you’d find snacks and even an entire charging cable and USB block in it. That doesn’t happen with the shoulder bag.

The short strap rests over your shoulder and the bag sits snugly between your upper arm and ribcage. The upside to this placement is you have a lesser chance of your purse being stolen off of your body and your hands are basically free. The downside to this placement… well. It takes some getting used to, especially after not having worn one like that in so long (or ever). Some designer bags didn’t have an option to extend the strap, so if it sat too high up in your arm pit area you sort of have to just suck it up and deal with it.  That wasn’t always the case, I definitely had some with adjustable straps, like a belt would have.

Thankfully, because of the size and smaller amount of material they require, designer bags are usually a bit more affordable.

So what can you expect?

A small bag no bigger than your shoe or a can of hairspray (probably), a short strap, and a lighter purse. We’re already seeing them in stores and on designer websites for sale as “vintage” pochettes, shoulder bags, baguettes, and clutch bags. (Pochette is a french word for wallet, in case you needed to know.)

If you saw my post about wearing fanny packs, you may remember me talking about wearing them as a shoulder bag- that is about the size you can expect.

Celebrities have already picked this up and we see bigger faces such as Kylie and Kendall Jenner using them. Of course, if you google celebrities and 90’s shoulder bags you’ll probably get a lot of good shots of Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Jennifer Aniston, and Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradsaw from Sex and the city. They were our inspiration.

Some of them zip closed, some have a magnetized flap closure, and others don’t fully close at all. I’m seeing a lot of designers left the original patterns and prints to give the full effect of the “vintage-ness,” but I do know that Coach has created a new and special line just for this bag.

Before hitting the stores or the web, I highly recommend you browsing some thrift stores or even ebay, you could probably find some good condition designer ones for cheap there! Maybe ask some friends if the darkest corners of their closets (or their parent’s)  have any left over from years ago, I can’t be the only one who can hit a jackpot of them in a box stored away!

So, how do you wear them?

Well, the answer is simple, really. You wear shoulder bags just like you’d wear a regular purse. Perks of these puppies is that they’re pretty much hands free since they just sit nestled between your arm and body.

I personally wouldn’t wear one if I was going somewhere I knew I’d need stuff. You know, purse stuff. Since these are smaller bags, you won’t be able to bring a whole lot with you, so definitely don’t try to bring them to a day at an amusement park or something.

Because they are so small and dainty, they look great with summer dresses. Keep in mind that matching your bag to your shoes is 100% recommended, and if you don’t have shoes that match or your bag is an awesome pop of color, be sure to embrace it!

In this post you’ll see an example of how I wear my shoulder bag. Be sure to keep an eye out on my OOTD posts, maybe you’ll see more there!

Alright, so, let’s be open and honest because I’m hearing mixed things. I’m hearing the ladies who experienced these shoulder bags in their glory days express excitement over them coming back, and I’m hearing younger ladies not love them as much.

What do you think about the return of the shoulder bag? Did you have any or are these a new vintage item for you? Tell me in the comments below!

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