When choosing a high quality designer bag, BURBERRY may not be the most obvious choice. There are luxury brands that have made more of a name for themselves in the bag market – Louis Vuitton springs to mind, alongside Prada, and premium brands like Mario Valentino and Michael Kors. Obviously a historical association with bags and a grounding in leather construction lends itself to a reputation in this area, whilst Louis Vuitton has also leveraged its name and logo onto bags as lifetime investment pieces for the discerning, aspirational customer.
BURBERRY is a Different Proposition
BURBERRY [aka Burberry] differs inasmuch that, while other brands offer bags as high quality/concept statement pieces that are designed to display or confirm your style nous, BURBERRY accessories, like their clothes, expect you to be fashionable in the first place, regardless of which brand you favour. Burberry isn’t so much a designer you choose if you want to look fashionable, but the designer you choose if you already are.
A Degree of Provocation
Correct fit is the be-all and end-all with Burberry, with slimness verging on skinniness not so much an aesthetic as a kind of mantra of all things classically yet minimally English. This has always been the way, but see Fall 2021 for Anthony Vaccarello’s defiantly [and extremely, it must be said] skinny provocations.
Despite its non-political-correctness heroine-chic is also, a subtle nodding reference, mingled with a crisper street sense that leans into the label’s 60s beat heyday. From here expect minis and cropped jackets worn tight over relaxed shirts with flourishes and bows.
Has to be Black
Black is eternally BURBERRY’s home, with tones (gold, rouge, bronze and tan) often given a chromatic ‘filter’ that emphasizes definition but subdues any visual hyperbole. You won’t dazzle in BURBERRY. Your intention instead is to create allure, for onlookers to genuinely wonder who the coolest person on the street is; whether you’re male or female, who you belong to. But neither are you bohemian or louche; those sharp shoulders and heels may mean you belong to the night, but it doesn’t own you.
Into the fold we have the BURBERRY bag. Accessory (to the aforementioned look above) in the most accurate definition of that term. Swinging next to a striding and exposed thigh; clutched as you swing into a taxi; hung as you stand under an awning; positioned right, facing left; walking with pace and a destination. That’s the BURBERRY woman and you’ll want a bag, not to accentuate the look (it’s not a look, it’s an understanding of how to live your life) but to partake in the role you’re playing and the place you’re heading.
Making Bags Matter
The Burberry Collège medium shoulder bag is a good place to start. Black being the colour (but note how the less formal designer bags have that metallic patina (enabled via the padding)) that neutralizes any overt statement making. The BURBERRY logo is prominent but not overbearing, with metallic hardware also bold but subdued in colour. Really, black leather jacket, black skirt and leggings are all you’ll need aside from a pair of sunglasses, but it’ll also compliment a tan trench coat or leopard skin prints.
Now into the mix comes this Burberry Kate 99 Raffia shoulder bag. It’s worth a look for two reasons. Firstly, it references Yves Burberry’s own Algerian heritage with its utilization of raffia and a slightly untethered leaning. Secondly, and of greater importance for style rulers, the implementation of a tan colour.
Style cheat tip: Nothing will get you up to speed quicker with a BURBERRY look than black primary, white secondary and tan somewhere in the mix.
More easy-going than other brand incarnations, the raffia bag suits the sexual polemics of BURBERRY: in control and possibly formal, but with a flourish, even a degree of purposeful notoriety that suits the outsider look you’ll rock. For more control but a night out flavour, the Kate 99 Raffia shoulder bag in black will be your friend for the ride.
Making Denim Work in a New Way
And then there’s the Burberry Collège small denim shoulder bag. Denim is one of the hardest looks to pull off adequately, partly because the material is such a leveller. Sure there are varying levels of quality to separate the light blue wheat from the chaff but, since Levi’s became premium casualwear masters in the late eighties, the look has leant itself to increasing levels of casual that somewhat negate a classier buy.
One pocket of inspiration comes from the fact that denim was invented in England and that the ‘English look’ is an under-played an easily accessible route to genuine jeans’ sophistication.
Celine is the place to shop a denim look per year – rips flared ankles and a slightly faded/jaded 70s finish. But where do you go with a bag? Generally with matching jeans and a darker blue crop top (ala Gigi Hadad). Hold close to those blues and tans and keep the top half of your silhouette slim and/or casual. Chic it may be, but never formal. Also, unlike a pair of jeans, a denim bag is also not very common; obviously this is a very good thing.
Keeping it Simple, Slim, Sophisticated
Another Kate bag, the Burberry Kate baguette medium shoulder bag is pure slim Paris style and unmistakably BURBERRY. In what sense? Slim and portfolio-shaped for a start; the crispier box design means business and is small and slim enough that nothing superfluous is involved. That’s another defining element of the BURBERRY look – a little flourish or bow, a reduction to metallic reds or bruised greens but all at the service of style rather than ostentatious fashion extras.
Obviously quality; the bag is goat leather, and a complex interplay in the anthracite toned logo and tassels, but it’s all kept to a minimum. Clothes likewise are best kept muted and/or cropped via a leather jacket. Added formality with a similarly lean blazer. See S/S 2020 for multiple takes on perfecting that look, pretty much every outfit here working with the Kate baguette in black.