Super Structure

23 Oct 2014
POSTED BY Y Magazine

The only shapes to carry this season are boxed bags and micro trunks, says Penny Fray…

Style and practicality are not always easy bedfellows, especially this season when bijou is big in bags. I’ve just swapped my beloved tote for a micro trunk and it’s forced me to downsize my daily haul to a credit card, lipstick, phone and USB stick. What more could a working girl want? Well, quite a lot actually. That’s why I also have to carry a cotton shopper for my shoes, iPad, files, water, chocolate, pens and 101 other things filed under “necessary” in my head.

On the plus side, this autumn’s “it” shape is doing wonders for my back and can easily stand in at evening functions. Any style or texture goes, so long as it’s small – but if you want to be the leader of the fashion pack, keep it witty. As recent catwalk shows demonstrated, a little irreverence is in, with countless Instagram likes to prove it. Chanel, Moschino, Anya Hindmarch and Charlotte Olympia are among those embracing fun fashion with fast-food paraphernalia and slogan clutches. The high street has followed suit with cute, cut-price alternatives, but if you really want to make your money stretch, stick to the classic black box. Buy a good-quality one and it’ll last years rather than seasons. Mine is from the British brand Jaeger. It’s beautifully crafted and doesn’t have any obvious logos, making it even more trendy.

The so called “stealth bag” goes with everything and, consequently, should never be skimped on. If it seems like you are spending a lot (good-quality “nameless” bags tend to be more expensive than overtly branded ones), don’t be put off. This introverted number is a potential heirloom to be handed down to your children. The labels to look for? Well, if you’ve got the rials, you could do worse than opt for Victoria Beckham, Stella McCartney and Jil Sander. If you’re on a budget, though, head for M&S, Zara or even the souq.



This playful camera clutch from Accessorize, is perfect for those who want to embrace this season’s obsession with fun fashion. From RO15


This Zara box is a timeless, transeasonal accessory for your collection. Made from textured-leather, the über-chic style is accented with gold hardware for discrete dazzle. From RO34


This Gatsby inspired box from Dune is a sleek choice for those who love the art deco period. And with a price tag of RO34, you can’t really go wrong


Christopher Kane’s leather shoulder bag is the perfect off-duty style. It stands out with an oversized front buckle, pebbled surface and padded cord shoulder strap. Stash your essentials in one of the three functional compartments. RO680


Novelty bags don’t get any more covetable than Jeremy Scott’s creations for Moschino.This leather bag is inspired by a milkshake carton – it’s topped with a plastic straw, has a lid-like top and is embroidered with a red and yellow brand logo. Wear it over your shoulder or cross-body, using the gold chain strap. From RO371


Charlotte Olympia draws inspiration from ancient Chinese dynasties for autumn and the result is rich in color, texture and, of course, glamour. This black Jasmine clutch is finished with gleaming gold hardware and inlaid with mother-of-pearl flowers. Carry against pared-back evening looks. It’s a real investment piece at RO1686 and is available from

A Bag for All Seasons

Tips on buying better when it comes to accessories:

  1. Don’t have the time, energy or money to swap bags according to outfit? Stick to a neutral shade like black or brown. It’ll go with everything.
  2. Buy according to your size. This season’s small bag will look great if you’re petite, but it may seem a little out of proportion if you’re big and broad.
  3. Don’t get too attached to your favourite accessory. If it’s got holes, frayed stitching or broken handles, it’s time to let go. Broken does not constitute boho when it comes to bags.


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