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When you hear the term saddle bag, whether you are a fashion aficionado or not, you probably think of the iconic Dior Saddle, a fixture of ‘00s pop culture. “Debuted in Dior’s Spring Summer 2000 collection by John Galliano, the Dior Saddle Bag was immediately embraced by top celebrities like Beyoncé, Paris Hilton, and Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City,” Elizabeth Layne, Chief Marketing Officer of Rebagtells Harper’s Bazaar. Although the Dior bag was certainly not the first saddle shape in fashion history, it brought a new level of stardom to the classic handbag style, reinventing it for a new generation.
Saddle bags are typically classified by their equestrian-inspired curved body and crossbody strap, but Dior changed things with a shrunken, shoulder shape and high-end branded detailing. Today, the best saddle bags still possess a minimalist flair, but designers have been able to play with silhouettes, size and features. Nearly every type of strap length and size has been experimented with, from shoulder to crossbodymini to medium shapes and more, bringing the bag back into the modern day handbag collector’s vernacular.
Mini Saddle Bag with Strap
Marcie Small Saddle Bag
Gate Dual Mini Leather Shoulder Bag
Banner Recycled Leather Saddle Bag
Hana Mini Saddle Bag
See by Chloé
Still, the iconic Dior shape holds major fashion clout in the market today. “Looking at the numbers alone, the Dior Saddle Bag is selling 25% faster than the average handbag at Rebag”, Layne says. “Not to mention that last year, Christian Dior was one of the most searched brands, and searches for the Dior Saddle Bag specifically increased nearly 50% year over year.” And this bag is not only seeing traction with female clientele. “Certainly no longer are handbags just focused on women,” Layne adds. “The Dior Saddle Bag was picked as one of the most favored men’s styles according to the 2022 Clair Report.”
So why the sudden demand for this bag? “The resurgence of the early 2000s style among the Gen Z consumer has led to it remaining at the top of the list of most coveted bags in both retail and resale markets,” Layne explains. “It’s a vintage piece with updated design features that proves that classic handbags are made to last and be reworn, catering to the modern times.” More and more, consumers are looking to the past, as well as sustainable shopping alternatives, like secondhand and resale platforms, to find the coveted pieces that are in fashion or feel fresh.
Looking at saddle bags from an investment purchase (or resale, if you are looking to clean out your own closet) is a good idea at the moment, as well. “The Dior Saddle Crossbody Bag alone holds 98% of its retail value on the secondary market, which makes it one of our top investment-worthy pieces,” Layne says. “This means that the Saddle Bag, including vintage models, can be worth more than retail value at resale. Also, as mentioned before, the Saddle Bag proclaimed its title as an everlasting ‘It-bag’ for its timeless, yet conforming design.”
And even if the Dior version is not for you, there are plenty of equally luxe saddle bag options, that are sure to become your everyday closet go-tos, just like that favorite tote or backpack you have been sporting. Ahead, shop the 23 best saddle bags for the modern wardrobe.