How to dress like a grown up with Rebecca Lowthorpe

How to dress like a grown up with Rebecca Lowthorpe: Hoarders rejoice! Bags have gone BIG

  • Grazia fashion director Rebecca Lowthorpe, shared the trend for large tote bags
  • She says they are symbolic of our busy lives and a big canvas to display logos 
  • Rebecca advises using a big bag to inject colour into your winter wardrobe
  • She took style inspiration from fashion designer Victoria Beckham  
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Thought you were done with the status symbol bag? Well, perhaps it’s time to think again.

It might not be gaudily ostentatious this time around (quite the opposite, in fact) and the era of the ‘It’ bag may have waned — that prefix is deemed as passé as spray-on jeans. But every major designer has produced a super-tote with XXXL proportions this season, making it the most hyped bag of the moment.

Big enough to hold everything but the kitchen sink — in fact, why not throw one of those in too? — these will stow everything from a day-to-night outfit, gym kit, laptop, and even a nine-year-old. (My son is fond of stashing himself in my laundry bag-sized tote when playing hide-and-seek).

The same bag has provided transportation for Walt, our new labrador puppy, along with his chew toys, blanket, treats and poo bags. (No accidents in it yet, thank God).

But why is the gargantuan bag such a fashion statement right now?

Rebecca Lowthorpe shared advice for embracing this season’s trend for oversize bags as seen on Victoria Beckham (pictured)

Is it a) because it provides a bigger canvas for designers to display their logos, b) a symbol of how busy our lives are now, forcing us to carry everything on our backs like a tortoise carries its home, or c) because fashion loves to confuse us by serving up the opposite of what went before? Before this came bags so tiny you could barely fit a bank card in them.

All the above, and the fact that a new bag shape is often the way to open a woman’s wallet — if we can still manage to find ours in the depths of these sacks, that is.

For me the huge bag has never been a trend so much as a necessity. It’s the result of being a full-time working mum, and what my husband somewhat insensitively calls ‘bouts of indecisiveness’ when packing — for holidays, or indeed any day of the week.

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Today my bag’s contents look something like this: laptop, diary, notebook, book, make-up bag, brush, wallet, phone, shoes, keys, dog chew, son’s school jumper, sparklers, plus useless discarded objects that have multiplied at the bottom (receipts, tissues, change, pens, name tags, gum).

It makes me feel nauseous just looking into it. It makes my back feel even worse. My baggage — for that is what it is — not only means regular osteopath appointments, but also time wasted scrabbling around for my phone.

Despite this, I can’t live without a big bag. Call it the demented overflow of life or sheer stubbornness, but I’m not willing to downsize. And I’m almost 6ft, so they don’t look quite so mammoth on me.

How do you style the big bag trend?

  • Do use a big bag to inject colour into your dark winter wardrobe.
  • Don’t be timid with fun fabrics such as faux fur.
  • Do wear one that suits your proportions, such as a giant clutch if you are petite.
  • Do try multi-bagging to spread the load.


What if you’re petite? Go for width, not depth: try Mango’s red envelope bag (£99.99, or Zara’s basket-shaped claret tote (£79.99, As for the best big bag, Massimo Dutti wins hands down with its plaited leather bowling bag (£229,

Note: I don’t advise holding your bag as Victoria Beckham does — in the crook of your arm. It may look tres cool, Vic, but we all know you’re carrying it in order to advertise your brand, and that it is unlikely to hold a thing.

Plus, the last time I tried said bag-holding, the contents fell to the pavement. Just saying.

These bags can also inject fun into dark winter uniforms. See Topshop’s faux-fur ochre tote (£27, or checked Tokyo puffer tote (£22, Both double as a pillow — or comfy back support. Uterque has great, reasonably priced options, too.

A word of caution, though — while you may love a big bag, your back may feel differently. So, heed the words of my osteopath: spread the load! Use the big bag (‘if you must’) for overspill, and a smaller bag for the things you really need. Like, erm, your phone!

Why, haven’t you heard? It’s called multi-bagging and it’s all the rage.

REBECCA LOWTHORPE is fashion director at Grazia.

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