Fashion

When Did Bag Charms Become Cool Again?

From noughties nostalgia to post-pandemic upskilling, we unpack the rise of the much-loved trend.

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When Did Bag Charms Become Cool Again?

From noughties nostalgia to post-pandemic upskilling, we unpack the rise of the much-loved trend.

According to Google, searches for bag charms are currently the highest they’ve been in a decade and we’ll admit, our Instagram and TikTok feeds are most definitely reflecting that. As we scroll through our socials and scour fashion week street style shots, one thing has become inherently clear — Accessorizing. Is. In.

Now, as with all fashion trends, it’s not a new phenomenon, but one that’s finally making its cyclical return and becoming cool again. The question we now ask ourselves though, is why? At what point did we decide that minimalism and quiet luxury were out and dopamine dressing, playful fashion and accessorizing were back on the menu? Aside from spotting it on fashion week runways a la Miu Miu and Coach, there are seemingly three core reasons.

bag charms coach miu miu street style jewelry sunglasses bags

Post-pandemic, many of us took a long, hard look at our fashion choices and pared things back to the bare necessities. That made sense for a while, but as we began to return to our fully-fledged, fast-paced routines and office life, it became clear that what we needed and wanted then, is not the case for today.

A few approaches and ways of life stuck around from those days, with one of the most important being our affinity for DIY. With so many people picking up new crafting hobbies and tapping into their more playful sides, we realized that we were far more creative than we first thought. As a result, the era of at-home customization began to flourish, and our fashion choices began to change. We embraced the idea of uniqueness and after a brief stint with quiet luxury (and a Succession obsession), we began to look toward maximalism.

bag charms coach miu miu street style jewelry sunglasses bags

Along with post-pandemic hang-ups, we’ve entered a wider era of “charmification,” which allows consumers to easily customize existing pieces, making them unique at a low cost. It’s no secret that the cost of living is ever-rising, no matter where you live, and many of us can’t afford to buy that new trending item every time it changes. Instead, the switching up of smaller details allows us to make pieces we already own feel new again, and provides a more affordable entry point into the luxury brands we dream to own.

Echoing that sentiment is Lisa Sahakian, otherwise known as the mastermind behind LA-based accessories label, Ian Charms. “I think the rise has come from the organic urge for people to want to personalize and customize any aspects of their style that they can. Maybe one singular purse is trending, but people want their purses to have their own flair and reflect their personality,” she explains.

Similarly, Miu Miu’s recent “Tricks” launch describes the charms as a way to “have jewelry and adornments not only for the person but also for the object.”

Outside of bags, it’s something we’ve seen with phone charms, jewelry and even sunglasses. Gentle Monster’s recent collaboration with BLACKPINK’s Jennie resulted in a slew of customizable silhouettes, each arriving with holes on either side of the frame to allow for any combination of Jennie-inspired charms to be added. Also evidenced by Lyst, who states that searches for ‘charms’ as a whole have surged by 150% over the past six months, it’s safe to assume that bags won’t be the only thing.

bag charms coach miu miu street style jewelry sunglasses bags

Finally, the most obvious reason: we f-cking love nostalgia and anything that positively reminds us of our youth. London-based designer Sinead Gorey can attest to this, as her most recent fashion week collection featured iPod Nanos as belts, clips and necklaces and spiky gel nails in a nod to the noughties. “The inspiration for us was the noughties Paul’s Boutique bag era,” Gorey tells us. “It defines that kind of ‘bad taste’ of the 00s accessories, clashing prints, PVC leather bags, jelly chains and pom pom charms — everyone had one!”

Whether the charmification continues to evolve and infiltrate more of our daily life remains to be seen but for now, we (and our bags) are all about it.

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