Dan Ahwa: From Baguettes To Croissants, These Carb-Shaped Bags Offer Up An Easy Outfit Upgrade

By Dan Ahwa
One easy way to update a look is by investing in a bag with a unique shape.

If an outfit refresh is on the cards, a bready-looking bag can offer comfort and joy.

Part of the fun of investigative journalism (lol) is canvassing other people’s opinions, which recently inspired a poll with you, our beloved readers, about what carb-inspired bag you preferred.

In case you haven’t noticed,

It’s the kind of unique accessory that can transform a simple ensemble into one that’s current and of the moment – helpful if this is something you factor into your buying decisions.

The results of the poll were telling: 48 per cent of you preferred a baguette bag, 20 per cent of you chose a bag shaped like a croissant, and 11 per cent preferred the cylindrical appeal of a bag shaped like a cushy dinner roll.

Twenty per cent of you joylessly chose ‘none’.

A vintage Fendi baguette bag features in our Aaliyah-inspired beauty shoot, 2018. Photo / Mara Sommer
A vintage Fendi baguette bag features in our Aaliyah-inspired beauty shoot, 2018. Photo / Mara Sommer

It’s unsurprising the baguette bag came out on top, it’s a style that reached its peak in the early 2000s and channels the practical minimalism of the era, and unlike a croissant or dinner roll bag, is possibly the more pragmatic of the three.

Termed a baguette for its likeness to tucking a baguette underneath the arm, Italian luxury brand Fendi was the first to immortalise the term with its now iconic baguette bag made famous by Sarah Jessica Parker’s portrayal of Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City. In an episode where Carrie is being mugged on the street, she tells her perpetrator, “It’s not a bag, it’s a baguette.” Sales after that episode soared and to this day the bag remains something of a cultural icon (the style was recently reissued in honour of the brand’s 25th anniversary in 2022).

Jacob Elordi tucked a Coach baguette bag under his arm in Milan last year. Photo / Getty Images
Jacob Elordi tucked a Coach baguette bag under his arm in Milan last year. Photo / Getty Images

What’s useful about a baguette bag is its helpful size – not too big, not too small, but fits just the right amount of essentials. It’s a bag that also segues neatly between daytime dressing to evening.

Plus, there’s a range of baguette-sized bags on the market from luxury stalwarts to some very good local offerings such as Georgia Davison of Georgia Jay’s aptly named ‘Bean Baguette’ and a structured take on a classic baguette clutch from Jessie Wong of Yu Mei, the kind of baguette bag that could have been slung on the shoulder of eternal 90s style favourite, the late Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy.

It’s a practical accessory employed by everyone today from Jennifer Lawrence to Jacob Elordi, who has an impressive collection of purses.

Uniqlo's popular 'U' bag. Photo / Uniqlo
Uniqlo's popular 'U' bag. Photo / Uniqlo

An update on an easy baguette bag is the crescent-shaped croissant bag, which has iterations from the uber-luxurious leather adaptation from Lemaire and Bottega Veneta, to Uniqlo’s rainbow-coloured array of slouchy, nylon sling bags, declared the hottest product of 2023 by data insights website Lyst.

I too succumbed to the appeal of a practical croissant-shaped Uniqlo bag on a trip to Sydney last year and purchased one in basic black, which has now become the perfect bag for travelling. Though not 100 per cent waterproof, the fabric is treated with a water-resistant coating which is ideal for everyday use.

The bag is a natural byproduct of Lemaire’s popular croissant bag, which is still a highly searched accessory on resale websites and available from Workshop and Scotties. Crafted from soft lamb nappa leather, the smallest size bag is an investment item, retailing for $1729.

The Row's 90's bag looks like a literal loaf of bread.
The Row's 90's bag looks like a literal loaf of bread.

Fashion insiders and collectors may be enamoured by the bag, but what makes it popular is how it curves and hugs your torso easily, unlike the clunkiness one might find from a rectangular messenger bag, for example. It’s also discreet, and while the brand itself is synonymous with the concept of quiet luxury, it’s possibly one of the best-designed bags on the market for its sleekness, durability and functionality.

For London-based designer Naza Yousefi, her label Yuzefi also offers up its unique take on a carb-inspired bag with its ‘Dinner Roll’ bag. The loaf-shaped accessory is what you’d call cute – measuring 22cm wide and 11cm in height, this compact purse is practical for someone who travels light – keys, small wallet, phone and lip balm. Handcrafted in Spain in a range of supple leather and suede, the bag’s unique shape is the sort of accessory that despite its size, somehow makes an impact and draws attention for its soft, curvilinear silhouette.

Elsewhere, we’re seeing boxy tin-loaf shapes pop up. The Row’s ‘90′s’ bag looks like a literal loaf of bread made from 100 per cent calfskin leather. In fact, the brand’s love of luxurious minimalism extends to an entire portfolio of handbags that tick these bready boxes – a banana-shaped bag that inhabits the same functional features of a croissant bag; a purse that looks like pita bread; and a tote you can actually fit an entire baguette in.

While structured bags continue to be a popular choice, what makes these bags ideal for times like these is their soft shapes.

Brands that specialise in leather accessories such as Massimo Dutti, Lemaire, Staud, Bottega Veneta and The Row have all opened the door for this carb-overload in recent seasons, which has made its way into the collections of more affordable designers, focusing on the kind of cushy bags that offer comfort and security in an anxiety-riddled world – like a teddy bear for grown-ups.

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These perfectly formed bags are hot out of the oven.

Dinner roll: I couldn’t decide whether this looked more like a Werther’s Original than a dinner roll, but we’ll stick to the latter for the purposes of this article. This Hereu bag has the same hallmarks of a dinner roll – cylindrical, elongated and compact. Handmade in Spain, the tan colourway is a great alternative to predictable black too. $799, from Fabric.

Baguette: A bean bag (geddit?) but also a baguette, this charming shape is a well-priced option from local brand Georgia Jay, featuring an adjustable shoulder strap and made from luxurious Italian nappa, handcrafted Tāmaki Makaurau. Available in black and chocolate brown, our favourite is this cool Lazuli shade. $490, from Georgia Jay.

Croissant: The curvy shape of this Coach ‘Mira’ bag is a buttery option that comes with a detachable leather strap to sling across the torso, and comes in a range of colours, though this scarlet number is a convincing way to add some colour to an otherwise sombre outfit. The gold chain serves as a useful shoulder strap should you wish to tuck this under your arm. $557, from Coach.

Dinner roll: Naza Yousefi’s obsession with food-shaped bags ranges from pretzels to a slouchy fortune cookie, but its dinner roll collection is still a favourite for its compact size and ability to work for work, weekend and festivities. One bag that does it all? Now that’s what you call an investment. This gold-cracked leather option is plenty of fun. $889, from Yuzefi.

Croissant: The favourite French pastry may have inspired Lemaire’s haute leather bags, but for a fraction of the cost you can still find a few good croissant-inspired bags such as this Brie Leon Croissant bag, made with 100 per cent recycled PU and lined with recycled cotton canvas. Ideal for city commuters and professionals looking for a sleek option that ties in well with classic workwear. $279, from Brie Leon.

Baguette: For a baguette bag with a bit more structure, Sol Sana’s chic 100 per cent leather version features a helpful magnetic flap closure, a zip compartment and a slip pocket. $185, from Ikon.

Croissant: The holy grail, the O.G, Lemaire’s Croissant bag, comes in sizes small (pictured), medium and large. Made with soft lamb nappa leather and designed with a unique assembly of top-stitched cutouts, it can be worn as a shoulder or cross-body bag. $1729, from Scotties.

A loaf: This Deadly Ponies ‘Mr Bellboy Mini’ bag is a dead ringer for a loaf of bread; maybe something artisanal or niche, like Japanese milkbread. It comes with a detachable and adjustable strap. $579, from Deadly Ponies.

Croissant: Los Angeles-based label JW Pei went viral last year with its ‘Gabbi’ croissant-shaped bag, and what makes this bag a hit is its array of flamboyant colours and textures. Approx. $361, from JW Pei.

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