exclusive

How to Style the Mini Bag of the Season, According to Our Editor in Chief

Fashion month's runways always provide a solid stream of outfit inspiration, but I'm secretly more interested in the style of show attendees. Who What Wear's editor in chief, Kat Collings, attended the Paris shows as per usual, and luckily for me, she made a pit stop in NYC on her way back to L.A.

I caught up with Kat fresh off her flight from France because I just couldn't wait to hear about her favorite shows and fall trends. She tells me everyone in Paris was wearing leather separates, layered neutrals, and Cartier's Guirlande mini bag, but then we both decide it's better to show than tell…

The next thing I know, Kat rolls up with a suitcase full of Paris Fashion Week–inspired outfits to try out. Cue the excitement. Instantaneously, Kat whipped up these three outfits, all of which are insanely chic yet somehow completely practical (maybe it's the versatile crossbody?). Without further ado, here's Kat's fantastique (and French girl–approved) fall style.

 

Photo:

Kat wears bag and jewelry by Cartier; blazer by Blazé Milano; dress by Ganni; and boots by Paris Texas.

"I'm a small-bag girl at heart," Kat tells me about her Guirlande de Cartier bag, which is making an appearance in all three looks. This outfit in particular is the one most inspired by fashion week street style, but Kat assures me this polished daytime outfit will still be making plenty of appearances now that she's home from Paris. As for the inspiration behind her ensemble, she had this to say: "I like to play within shades of neutrals. How that came to life here is through the tan background of the plaid blazer speaking to the rich brown boots without feeling matchy-matchy. The number one material of the season is leather, so this olive-green dress feels perfectly on trend too."

Photo:

Kat wears bag, sunglasses, watch and jewelry by Cartier; blazer by Blazé Milano; and dress by Ganni.

A red handbag may feel like a bold choice here, but that's exactly why it works, according to Kat. "Plaid is an easy print to pair with a statement bag like this," she says, which is good news for those of us who really committed to the plaid blazer trend last fall and now own one for each day of the week (or is that just me?). Another trick up her sleeve? "Make sure at least one other element in the outfit is also a bit of a statement, or at least is beyond a basic. This helps to provide balance and offers multiple points of interest," she says.

 

Photo:

Kat wears bag, watch, and jewelry by Cartier and trench by Nanushka.

I practically expect Kat to start speaking French when she steps out in this next outfit. The entire neutral color story here feels very modern and cool, especially when accessorized with a sophisticated top-handle bag. "Polished pieces like a crisp white button-down or a trench coat are classics among Parisian women," Kat says.

 

Photo:

Kat wears bag, watch, and jewelry by Cartier; and trench by Nanushka.

The key to pulling off softer shades in fall and winter months is choosing the right materials. For example, the cozy knit fabric of her white dress makes the piece feel appropriate for cooler weather. The black Guirlande bag adds to the classic look and also pulls out the darker shades in her snakeskin heels (sidenote—animal print isn't going anywhere). Kat tells me it's all about the tiny details when choosing the perfect little black bag, and I couldn't agree more.

 

Photo:

Kat wears bag, watch, and jewelry by Cartier; denim jacket and skirt by Agolde; and boots by Wandler.

I wear denim almost daily, so I was excited to see that Kat chose this dark denim skirt–and-jacket outfit. "A matching set is the easiest way to look pulled together," she tells me. "It only looks like it takes a lot of effort, but it's actually so simple. I also love that the gold buttons here almost act like jewelry and elevate a typically more casual fabric." She's also fully on board with the trend of wearing jackets and cardigans sans a top underneath. "I love to play with the buttons, whether that's only securing the middle few or leaving the bottom ones undone. You can choose how much skin you show depending on the occasion," she says.

 

Photo:

Kat wears bag and jewelry by Cartier; and denim jacket and skirt by Agolde.

Kat chose to wear her blue-denim outfit with the red mini bag again (offering further proof that it's an essential this season). As if I needed any more convincing about the versatility of this bag, she shows me how the flap can be tucked inside for an even sleeker look. "I love that this bag can be worn so many different ways. It's like you get multiple purses in one," Kat advises, and who am I to argue with that?

 

Next up, see how more It girls styled the Guirlande bag and learn more about the brand on our Life Lessons podcast.