It's the Age of the Silly Little Accessory

All the small things.

Models wearing Goodsquish scrunchies

@goodsquish/Instagram

If you were at New York Fashion Week this fall, the last thing that caught your eye was the clothes going down the runway. Rather, the quirky little purses, oversized scrunchies, and hundreds and hundreds of bows gracing attendees and models on the catwalk got all the attention. Even the most viral fashion moments weren't clothing-focused, focusing instead on borderline stupid little trinkets. The movement has been brewing for a while, but this fall made it official: We're in our silly little accessory era.

In an age when individuality rules and more really is more, it makes sense that we would be looking for accessories that show off our personalities—especially ones that have meme potential. From JW Anderson’s incredibly lifelike pigeon clutch to the Puppets and Puppets chocolate chip cookie bag, a fun accessory can truly take any form. However, these trendy ‘It’ accessories get internet bonus points if they’re brightly colored or quintessentially camp. 

Woman with colorful rings and a banana purse

@dollchunk/Instagram

We’re seeing plenty of expression in bags from Coperni’s functional and fashionable CD-player Swipe Bag complete with its own headphones to Coachtopia’s puffy heart bag with an equally puffy chain strap. Even some major fashion houses like Prada have leaned into the quirky accessories trend as the brand sent a handbag clasp with a miniature man’s head sticking his tongue out down its Spring 2024 runway in Milan that quickly made the rounds on the internet.

Model at the Sandy Liang runway show carrying a big bow bag

Sandy Liang

Sandy Liang’s bow bags are also a viral sensation, with the Spring 2024 runway debut of its oversized bow bag sending fans into a frenzy and the brand’s bow-bedecked Baggu collaborations selling out almost immediately. The brand’s signature bow bags diverge from the subtlety of a classic handbag in favor of a joyful expression of style, and fall perfectly in line with the larger trends of reclaiming girlhood and embracing your inner child.

Models holding Coachtopia Bags

Coach

Bags aren’t the only accessories that get to have any fun, though. Take, for example, the mass hysteria surrounding Sandy Liang’s cutesy hair accessories: oversized scrunchies, coquette barrettes, and many, many hair bows. Designers like Simone Rocha and Jacquemus have also explored quirky hair accessories with their own offerings of ribbons, scrunchies, and clips, and British Brand Good Squish's oversized lace hair ties have graced the head of many an It Girl. Brightly colored hoods are even having a moment, as is brightly colored eyewear like Loewe's Inflated Cat Eyes.

Although quiet luxury is still a major force in the fashion industry right now, the maximalist crowd is unfazed by the sea of neutrals and simplistic silhouettes in favor of unapologetically embracing bright colors, loud patterns, and—you guessed it—quirky accessories. NYC-based writer Kristen Bateman describes her style as “weird, eccentric, dark, and feminine” and says she can’t live without her jewelry, specifically a statement pearl necklace from her brand Dollchunk. “I’m glad fashion is having fun,” Bateman says. “We need it right now when everything else looks the same. Far too many brands are making the same black sweater and blazer.”

There are absolutely no rules when it comes to styling your accessories. And if you're more of a self-starter, plenty of these accessories are easily DIY-able. Just grab some ribbon to incorporate into a new hairstyle, or find some trinkets to turn into a brand-new pair of earrings. Seriously, anything from rubber duckies to soda tabs can become your new favorite piece of jewelry. 

Models holding Puppets and Puppets egg and rose purses

@puppetsandpuppets/Instagram

Content creator, fashion stylist, and self-described sustainable maximalist Sara Camposarcone thrives in bright colors, bold silhouettes, and themed outfits. “I gravitate towards accessories that I would have gone crazy for as a kid, like my Looney Tunes tie collection, Barbie cassette tape purse, or Kids Cuisine hair clip,” Camposarcone says. “When I add these pieces to my outfit, I feel like I just transported back in time to when I was 10, full of joy and not a care in the world. It gives me a sense of playfulness and freedom that I think a lot of us lose as we age.”

No matter how cliché it sounds, fashion is about having fun. If we’re not having fun with our looks and if we’re not using our silly little accessories to express our personality, then what are we really doing? Sorry, stealth wealth, we’re not giving up our cheeky bags, beloved bows, knee-high socks, or statement jewelry any time soon.

Related Stories