What is an It Bag and What Makes it an IT?

What is an It Bag and What Makes it an IT?

If you are a long-standing designer handbag lover then the “It Bag” needs no introduction, you will have heard of this term and noticed its resurgence recently But, if in doubt, we are here to shed a little light on what an It Bag is.


The term “It Bag” first came in to use in the 90s but arguably the It Bag itself has been around much longer. One of the first It Bags was created by Giuliana Camerino, founder of Roberta di Camerino back in 1945.


An It Bag is defined as a coveted designer label handbag, usually with a high price tag that sells in large numbers but remains an exclusive luxury item. It is usually an instantly recognisable design that is endorsed by the fashion press and/or is seen being carried by the celebrity of the moment and becomes that season’s must-have bag.


Mischa Barton
Mischa Barton with Chloe Paddington


Examples include the Paddington by Chloe, Birkin by Hermes and the Alexa by Mulberry. Often there were waiting lists for particular models and the hype and demand for a certain type of bag became extreme.


In the 90s and early 2000s the It Bag was booming and some brands even enforced waiting lists for particular handbags in order to keep the demand for these pieces super high. But this did have some negative consequences, including people buying stolen or counterfeit bags (more on this another time). Logoed bags, or those with strong unusual shapes or motifs were often easy wins as an It Bag.


Brands like Chanel, Fendi and Louis Vuitton proved that they were able to create something more than simply classic designer bags but could sell in high numbers for a popular strong styled piece. There were some one trick pony handbags, but generally the It Bag was still a big thing season after season and designers would compete to see whose design would become the most sought after and trendy.


Ashlee Simpson with Fendi Spy Bag
Ashlee Simpson with Fendi Spy Bag


By around 2008 the popularity of It Bags was dwindling and by 2011 the term was rarely used in mainstream fashion press. It was seen as garish to have a strongly recognisable designer handbag and to have a bag that everyone who is anyone has, was regarded by many in the industry as poor taste.


Despite this, certain It Bags have never gone out of fashion – just think about the Chanel 2.55 and the Hermes Birkin. These two handbags are still classics with iconic status.


In 2017 we saw the term It Bag start to resurface and this year, 2018, has seen a full-blown revival. What with Dior re-releasing the big 90s favourite, the Saddle Bag, and having extremely high demand for their Book Tote Bags, we think it is safe to say the It Bag is back!


Beyonce with Dior Saddle Bag


But, is the It Bag here to stay? We believe a beautiful handbag never goes out of fashion but we can’t argue that certain seasons have a strong contender for the most popular of the time. That was something we saw die down a few years ago but there’s no denying that is the case now.

Do you own an It Bag? Love them, hate them – let us know in the comments.


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