Every Trendy Designer Bag That Defined 2021, All in One Place


(Image credit: @vanessahong)

Twenty twenty-one came and went in the blink of an eye, and while I'm certainly still emotionally processing that it's coming to a close, one thing I can resolutely say is that it was a year jam-packed with some pretty epic fashion moments. So to help recap the year in shopping, I'm taking a moment to look back on the trendy designer bags that made an indelible mark on the style scene over the last 12 months.

The first half of the year may already seem like lightyears in the past, but believe it or not, 2021 was the year we saw releases like the Prada Cleo Bag and Saint Laurent Le 5 à 7 Bag. Now that it's come to a close, we're doing what we do best and reporting on the carryalls, clutches, and shoulder bags that stood out from all the others. Ahead, take a look at the year's 10 most lust-worthy designer bags, all hand-selected by yours truly. And since they're somehow all still in stock, shop them, too.


(Image credit: @champagnemani)

Prada debuted the Cleo bag in its S/S 22 collection to much fanfare. It had already earned It status before it even hit the shelves, and a calendar year later, the slim-yet-structured bag still continues to be one of the most sought-after items to sling over one's shoulder.


(Image credit: @pernilleteisbaek; @nnennaechem)

Another year, another Bottega Veneta It bag surging to the top of our wish lists. While 2019 was defined by the Cloud Pouch and 2020 the Padded Cassette, 2021 was all about the Mini Jodie Bag. Whether we saw it in punchy kelly green or subdued ivory, no one could escape this bag's influence this year.


(Image credit: @josefinehj)

One of the new bag debuts this year that I still can't get out of my head is Saint Laurent's Le 5 à 7 Hobo Bag—a sleek, modern take on a versatile shoulder bag. I predict this style will continue to be one of the key accessories to own into next year as well.


(Image credit: @monamali_;)

Leave it to cool Scandi-girl label Wandler to reinvent the classic shoulder bag. Its Penelope Bag, a structured shape featuring an under-the-arm curve, became everyone's newest favorite for its on-trend yet minimal feel.


(Image credit: @camillecharriere; @TRUSTMEBUYTHIS)

It seems like there's a trend of designers re-releasing new versions of old cult bags for them to be cult bags yet again. The new Gucci Jackie is more modern and sleeker with a leather sheen and fun colors, but if you prefer the vintage version, you can easily find one secondhand.


(Image credit: @sarrjamois)

This year, Coach made a huge comeback thanks in large part to the puffy iteration of its classic Tabby Bag. Rendered in an array of candy colors, exaggerated sizes, and nonstop celeb endorsements, it's no wonder it quickly lit a fire on the internet and earned a spot on every fashion person's wish list.


(Image credit: @discodaydream)

Sleek and well-sized with minimal branding or logos, Burberry's Olympia Bag requires an expert eye to recognize it, and I think that discreet vibe is exactly what made it such a covetable pick this year.


(Image credit: @champagnemani; @tamaramory)

This squishy little bag is such a vibe. BY FAR really never misses with its modern, '90s-inspired styles, and this one really caught on with its roomy size and unique soft shape.


(Image credit: @vanessahong)

The Pencil Bag is a playful take on a classic shoulder bag with a nod to the nostalgia of middle school's most statement-making accessory, the pencil case.


(Image credit: @slipintostyle)

If you're into super-structured bags, this probably spoke to you. It's a touch quirky, so if you like getting questions and comments about your bags, you'll appreciate it even more.

Next up, read about the best designer bag investments for 2022, according to the experts.

Senior Editor

Anna is an editor on the fashion team at Who What Wear and has been at the company for over five years, having begun her career in the Los Angeles office before relocating to New York, where she's currently based. Having always been passionate about pursuing a career in fashion, she built up her experience interning at the likes of Michael Kors, A.L.C., and College Fashionista before joining the team as a post-graduate assistant editor. Anna has penned a number of interviews with Who What Wear's cover stars over the years, including A-listers Megan Fox, Issa Rae, and Emma Chamberlain. She's earned a reputation for scouting new and emerging brands from across the globe and championing them to our audience of millions. While fashion is her main wheelhouse, Anna led the launch of WWW Travels last year, a new lifestyle vertical that highlights all things travel through a fashion-person lens. She is passionate about shopping vintage, whether it be at a favorite local outpost or an on-the-road discovery, and has amassed a wardrobe full of unique finds. When she's not writing, you can find her shooting street imagery on her film camera, attempting to learn a fourth or fifth language, or planning her next trip across the globe.