Of all the eras of fashion, the most hotly debated is the early aughts. If you got dressed during this period of time, then you’re keenly aware that it was riddled with now-questionable trends (ultra low-rise jeans), befuddling outfit combinations (denim mini skirts, leggings, and Ugg boots), and nonsensical accessories (bug-eye sunglasses). There are some trends of the early 2000s that remain a memory while others, like the ‘hobo’ bag, have managed to evolve and shape shift into a version that feels modern for right now. In fact, the hobo bag trend is among the more talked-about handbag silhouettes, especially following the Spring/Summer 2022 season where it was spotted on buzzy runways like Khaite and Lemaire.
Of course, the very term ‘hobo’ bag is a bit outdated. In a 2019 British Vogue article penned by Sarah Raphael, she explains that this style name — hobo — “was used to describe migrant workers in America at the end of the 19th century, who were essentially homeless and rode freight trains looking for work, carrying their belongings in a sack tied around a bindle stick.” In other words, this bag was named in an effort to convey its utilitarian significance (carrying all of one’s belongings), but has become slang for a slouchy bag that can fit a lot of stuff. It’s not the brightest example of the fashion lexicon, one might say.
The YES Creative Director Taylor Tomasi Hill is open to the idea of the practical trend’s return to the spotlight. “Hobo bags (like all the biggest trends from the ’00s) are making their way back, which is welcomed news for those of us who carry the world with them: a planner, Sakara snacks, crayons for impromptu art parties with a six-year-old,” she says. “It’s the perfect profile for daytime coming and going.” And while the landscape of this bag silhouette is quite varied (in both size, texture, and color), her preferred take on the trend skews sleek and simple. “I’m a fan of the more minimalist, modern updates that stay true to the shape without looking bulky, like the The Lotus Tote from Khaite,” she says. “Balenciaga’s Tool 2.0 Tote is also among my top faves. Seriously, do not underestimate the power of patent, black croc.”
Whether your style reads minimal, romantic, bohemian, or somewhere in between, the array of riffs on the hobo bag make it all too easy to incorporate this piece into your daily wardrobe. Ahead, discover and shop the different hobo bag styles from designers like The Row and Bottega Veneta to Ganni and Staud.
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Modern and Minimal
For the lover of less, a slouchy handbag crafted in a neutral color and sleek texture is the perfect way to interpret this trend.
An oversized hobo bag is not only great for storing the day’s necessities, it also looks chic tucked under your arm for the season.
While the petite hobo bag doesn’t serve the same carryall functionality as its larger counterpart, the slouchy silhouette still gives off a laidback-cool vibe that’s signature to the accessory.
Modern riffs on the hobo bag trend drift away from the classic leather look and into splashy categories like teddy bear textures, rainbow brights, and standout prints.