Between quiet luxury and the return of ‘90s fashion, there’s no denying minimalism is having a moment right now. But if you need more evidence than what’s been popping up on your TikTok feed, the number one most-searched for fashion item since the beginning of this year is a sleek, simple, nylon crossbody. Yup, according to the global shopping platform Lyst, this half-moon-shaped handbag beat out Dior’s patterned book tote and Bottega Veneta’s woven leather styles to become the hottest product of the year thus far. Oh, and did we mention it’s from mall brand Uniqlo and costs just $20?
The It Bag of Summer ’23 Is Just $20, and It’s a ‘90s Minimalist’s Dream
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“Say less!” you might be thinking, but we’re gonna say just a little bit more, because it’s not just the chic design and affordable price point that’s making this cutie such a must-have. Uniqlo’s Round Mini Shoulder Bag is made of a nylon-esque polyester that’s incredibly lightweight and has a water-repellant finish to ward off rain or accidental spills—two features that are really ideal for travel, but also convenient plusses any day of the week. Despite its small size, it can hold a decent amount without appearing overstuffed. In fact, there are multiple social videos of gal’s packing their Uniqlo crossbodies with a wallet, phone, sunglasses, sunscreen, lip balm, keys and even a water bottle or compact umbrella. There are even two inner pockets for stowing smaller items, so they don’t get lost in the mix.
Without any obvious branding or logos, one could easily assume this Uniqlo handbag is actually from a minimalist high-end brand like The Row or Victoria Beckham, and it leans into the recent rise of quiet luxury or stealth wealth. And, of course, we can’t ignore the added benefit of such and affordable price tag, especially in light of the looming recession. As style forecaster Mandy Lee, who goes by @oldloserinbrooklyn on TikTok, explained in a video post, the stark contrast between the Uniqlo bag’s position as the most-wanted item of 2023 as compared to Lyst’s top items at the end of 2022 (including Mach & Mach’s crystal bow heels, Acne Studio’s colorful plaid scarf, a sequin dress by 16Arlington and Saint Laurent’s quilted, logo-adorned Icare bag) “is just another reminder that we are entering a season of uniformity in the trend cycle, and more simple, pared-down and affordable pieces are being coveted over more ostentatious and expensive pieces. These are all tell-tale signs of economic uncertainty, which impact the fashion cycle and trends so, so much.”
If you want to lean into the quiet luxury vibes of this trend, we suggest opting for black, beige or cream and pairing it with a monochrome outfit in another neutral (or even matching). Or, if Y2K is more you’re your vibe, wear the bag in a brighter color, like yellow or teal, with equally vibrant patterned dresses or T-shirts. And while most folks appear to be styling their Uniqlo bags as crossbodies, the strap is adjustable, so you can shorten it to better fit over your shoulder or tighten it around your hips as a belt bag.
P.S. Uniqlo’s It bag, understandably, keeps selling out, so if you just can’t wait for a restock, we found a few similar styles at LeSportsac ($55), Athleta ($59) and Aritzia (
$58; $53) to help you get your fix.
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Abby Hepworth is an RRCA-certified running coach who has worked in fashion for over 10 years. Want to know what shoes are in this season? She's got you. Need recommendations on the best running apps? She's your gal. From trend explanations to designer gossip, Abby has your back.
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Why You Should Trust Us
PureWow's editors and writers have spent more than a decade shopping online, digging through sales and putting our home goods, beauty finds, wellness picks and more through the wringer—all to help you determine which are actually worth your hard-earned cash. From our PureWow100 series (where we rank items on a 100-point scale) to our painstakingly curated lists of fashion, beauty, cooking, home and family picks, you can trust that our recommendations have been thoroughly vetted for function, aesthetics and innovation. Whether you're looking for travel-size hair dryers you can take on-the-go or women’s walking shoes that won’t hurt your feet, we’ve got you covered.