If there’s one bag silhouette that’s withstood the test of time, it’s the hobo. The term first emerged around the end of the 19th century to describe migrant workers in America. They carried their belongings in a sack tied around a bindle stick as they moved from place to place. And while, yes, the backstory of this design doesn’t paint fashion in the brightest light, the term has evolved to simply mean a slouchy, sometimes oversize style that can fit virtually anything.
The hobo purse enjoyed its time in the spotlight during the hippie movement of the ‘60s, where people carried canvas designs, and again in the 2000s when the Olsen twins adopted the unfussy, laid-back piece into their free-spirited wardrobes. Although you may know the carryall in its most classic and original form — a crescent shaped accessory that folds into itself and often has a single strap — its definition has expanded over the years. Nowadays, you can shop it in many different sizes, shapes, and even textures.
Chanel’s Spring/Summer 2017 collection marks the beginning of the hobo’s triumphant return to relevance. That season, late designer Karl Lagerfeld introduced the Gabrielle Hobo bag in tweed that combined the slack of the OG look with a structural bottom to keep things from feeling too floppy. More recently, Khaite toyed around with making the crescent cut as large as possible, practically covering a model’s side profile in the Spring/Summer 2022 show. And for Fall/Winter 2023, Puppets & Puppets founder Carly Mark presented her version of the look: a blinged-out, red rhinestone purse with a telephone handle.
As you can see, designers have taken great creative liberty with designing hobo bags and this is not something that will change anytime soon. After all, the fashion world is all about experimentation and exploration. If you have yet to introduce the style into your own wardrobe, there’s no time like the present Luckily, the options available on the market right now are varied and cool — check out TZR’s favorites ahead.