Pre-pandemic the fashion world predicted a shift towards the cushy and comfortable. You can look to the popularity of Bottega Veneta's pouch bag as proof of the trend. But, a year in, handbags have continued their evolution from briefcase to possible pillow. The current cushion bag trend is a nod to the need for pieces that offer more than just a practical sensibility, but a certain relaxed feel that fits the current climate. Consider this bag trend the ideal complement for soft knitwear, coordinated sweats, and a pair of shearling slippers.
But, beyond the obvious draw of an outfit that offers an extra layer of protection during troubling times, part of the appeal of this on-the-rise style is the fact that it's meant to be unserious, and not especially trendy. Jacquemus' literal pillow recreation isn't a bag meant for a type-A corporate dealmaker, but for someone who is looking to find joy in putting an outfit together (perhaps even that same suit-wearing executive after hours).
While Bottega's range of padded bags and Maison Margiela's Glam Slam are early iterations of this trend, it's over the last year that the cushy shoulder bag has picked up momentum — with both Proenza Schouler and Coach launching new styles in early 2021. Coach Creative Director Stuart Vevers explained his choice to shoot the bag's campaign with photographer Jurgen Teller, “he has a uniquely tongue-in-cheek approach and I knew he could capture the warm, intimate, and playful point of view that celebrates the special qualities of our Pillow Tabby bag.”
The popular shoulder silhouette is a nod to the early '00s, another era when American shoppers sought out fashion that provided comfort during troubling times. Stars of the time like Sarah Jessica Parker and Paris Hilton helped to pave the way for more modern iterations. "The cushion bags will be the next go-to for city girls on-the-go," Valentina Ignatova, CMO and co-founder of BY FAR told TZR earlier this year. "Easy, roomy, and complementing a casual or business day look, just as well as an evening one."
To pull off the trend in a way that feels more modern, there's the obvious option of styling with like-mindedly soft pieces — fit for quick errands or an easy activity out with a friend. But, if you're among those itching to re-introduce some structure into your wardrobe, contrasting jeans and a blazer with a soft cushy purse is the ideal styling combination. Either way, you'll want to get comfortable with the idea of this bag trend because the momentum will only continue in the months ahead.
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