The "It Girl" Bag, According To Parisians

Hint: It’s not Chanel or Dior. It’s much simpler, more practical, and significantly more affordable.

By Syd Lucas2 min read
Pexels/Liane Cumming

Strolling along the streets of Paris in the summertime, you’ll find many locals carrying one bag on their daily walks, errands, and commutes: the canvas bag.

It’s not the women who are taking copious amounts of photos for their social media. It’s the everyday Parisians, the ones that American women have been trying to imitate for decades. 

From a practical standpoint, a canvas bag (or nylon in the same style) just makes sense, especially when you live in a city. You can grab a few groceries and place them inside or you can take a book with you to a park or garden nearby. You can also carry a notebook for meetings that you may have at a coffee shop, and you could even fit a small laptop inside. It’s a much more lightweight option than a leather bag or a backpack, more casual, and chicer for summertime.

It’s also an amazing opportunity to support local businesses, as you can get your “It Girl” bag – or two – at a local boutique, a farmers’ market, or even a coffee shop.

So, how do the Parisians style them?

Outfit Inspiration and Ideas from the Streets of Paris

Having just been in Paris in June, here are some street style looks candidly shot with my iPhone, as well as other looks captured by the famous account @ParisiensinParis.

Some Parisians carried their canvas bags wearing a light summer dress and sneakers, the natural beige of the canvas complimenting the soft summer palette. Others sported their canvas bags with jeans, stripes, slacks, and sandals.

Another option is to compose a very neutral outfit, hinting at the “quiet luxury trend” while also giving an air of simplicity and practicality with the canvas bag. 

Or, on a cooler day, pair a trench coat (another French classic) with striped pants made for summer, and then grab your striped grocery bag. 

It’s a trend to match an article of clothing to your bag, as evidenced by another appearance of stripes below (a striped shirt and another striped bag). 

“Topping and tailing” is a styling term that means matching something on top with something on the bottom. It’s the simplest thing you can do to make an outfit look effortless. This girl matches her black t-shirt to her black shoes and the black script on her bag. 

The French have proven time and time again that you can never go wrong with a white t-shirt and jeans. Add a canvas bag, and you can do anything!

Your canvas bag can also pair nicely with your workout clothes.

And lastly, you can accessorize a classic button down, straight-leg jeans, and kitten heels with your beloved tote bag.

Simple canvas bags range from $1 to $25 (see below for options!). At that price range, they are infinitely less expensive than a designer bag. So, for those of you wanting that Parisian je ne sais quoi about you, cheers! The “It Girl” bag is finally attainable.