Most designer handbags come equipped with several obvious ways to wear them. Shoulder turns into crossbody. Chain shoulder strap comes off to carry as a clutch. Belt bag worn on hips or across the chest. These are the easy, and the obvious — but as always, the amazing.
With a little creative reimagining; however, comes a plethora of surprise add-ons to your favorite designer handbags. These easy reinventions allow you to rethink your go-tos, and offer you a chance to get even more wear out of each of your acquired dream bags.
A designer handbag that needs no introduction - the Classic Flap Bag from Chanel. With only Double Flaps in production today, the Single Flap Bags are still very much in-demand and available exclusively on the secondary market. On both iterations, the sliding chain offers three carrying methods right away - shoulder, crook of the arm, or crossbody… but why stop there?
The Chanel 19, a somewhat recent introduction to the Chanel handbag line-up, was a design concocted by the late Karl Lagerfeld and Virginie Viard and is already a sold-out favorite. One of the key characteristics of this bag, which has led to a full blown trend altogether, is the intended top handle/shoulder strap combo. Effortlessly cool, we’ve taken a note from Lagerfeld and Viard, combining traditional Chanel with contemporary Chanel. All it takes is some adjusting, fine-tuning, and a couple of plastic tag fasteners to hold everything in place.
Something Chanel has truly taken and run with in many recent collections is the top handle feature. From their CC Trendy to the Coco handle, it seems like the Classic Flap is destined for its own top handle redesign in the future. Until then, we alter the Classic Flap Bag with a few internal bands (even simple hair-elastics!), and turn the Chanel Classic Flap into a top handle for the ultimate dreamy update. Reminiscent of vintage Chanel briefcases with the diamond quilting and short handle, this interpretation is a sophisticated take on the timeless classic.
An archival Celine silhouette reintroduced and simplified by Pheobe Philo in 2008, the Classic Box Bag is still in production today. Given its minimalist chic design and built-in versatility, this iconic bag sets itself apart as an easy day-to-day pick. With a matching flat leather strap that can be adjusted to two different lengths, or removed altogether, there are a number of ways to add your own personal touch to this classic by simply adjusting or replacing the original strap.
Understated and elegant, this silhouette with a top handle resembles the modest and feminine bags sported by the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy Onassis. Depending on your comfort level, you can bring the strap into your local shoemaker to have them professionally puncture more holes in the strap, which will then allow you to adjust the drop beyond Celine’s two given options. If you’re hesitant to alter the strap in such a permanent way, you can adjust the strap into a top handle accordingly and, instead, secure the length with an elastic, scrunchie, or similar tool.
Aside from being adjustable, the strap for the Celine Classic Box is also removable altogether, offering the additional carry method as a clutch. You can also experiment with different removable straps from other bags in your collection! Pictured here, we swapped in the gold-tone flat chain strap from a Saint Laurent Monogram Envelope Chain Wallet.
Classic and practical, the Wallet on Chain, often referred to simply as the WOC, is one of the most popular silhouettes today. It's big enough for the essentials, but small enough to transition from day to night seamlessly, and keeps you hands-free. Regardless if the chain is removable or not, there is also the easy alternative to use the bag as a clutch by tucking it in. We dug a little deeper, and found a few other ways to add on a little extra variety and change the look up a decent bit.
Wrapping the chain around the flap can instantly turn this crossbody into a shoulder bag or long-length top-handle with a double-chain strap. An easy transformation without taking away from the dignity of the WOC, this method of shortening the strap can give the bag a more formal look with a pochette-like appearance.
Similar to the double chain option, by wrapping the strap around the flap again, the bag becomes a more compact, triple-chain short top handle bag. Adding more dimension with the multiple chains, the bag also gains a chunkier hardware appearance. Trendy, yet functional, the transformation from WOC to pochette requires no additional accessories and can be done in a matter of seconds.
A true standout handbags and a complete staple, the Lady Dior is a beloved and deeply coveted style for bag lovers everywhere. Offered in a variety of sizes, materials, structures, and colors, the overall design of the bag is rarely adjusted, including the typical dual top handles, boxy-silhouette, and hanging Dior charm in front. The addition of a shoulder strap seems like an obvious and easy way to make the Lady Dior your own, or the other tried and true method of covering the top handles—wrapping them up with your favourite Twilly or Mitzah scarves.
The unsung hero of fashion accessories, a chain belt is more than meets the eye. With some creativity and a well stocked "wardrobe", we were able to add a little rock n’ roll flair to a style that is typically known for its delicate, more feminine nature. Given the natural stiffness of the top handles, try folding them inwards instead of down against the exterior, which will tuck them in gently and discreetly, without any damage.
With the recent handbag trend of top handles paired with a shoulder strap (leather, canvas, or chain) that visibly hangs while the top handles are in use, we decided to update the Soft Lady Dior to the same aesthetic. We did a quick copy/paste of the style onto this iconic model with the help of some removable chain straps in our arsenal. While the traditional strap clipped onto the O-rings with lobster clasp attachments adds a hands-free option, the added hardware in this case offers a contemporary interpretation with the hardware laying against the natural material of the bag.
With a few new styling tricks in tow, you're all set to get the most wear out of your authentic designer bags! And if you still haven't landed "the one" just yet, it's time to get shopping :)
Need a little extra help with how to work some of this magic? Contact us with the subject line "Alternative Ways to Wear Your Favorite Handbags" and let us know which model you'd like some more information on!