Life’s too short to not have a decorated tote bag. At least, that’s what TikTokers taking inspo from the infamous Hermes Birkin Bag are telling me. If you haven’t seen the viral trend of decorating your everyday tote with trinkets, ribbons, and other ornamental decor — aka the Jane Birkin Effect — then I’m here to tell you about the adorable trend. But first, what is a Birkin bag?
The Birkin bag is a luxury tote bag that was inspired by singer and actress Jane Birkin and her on-the-go lifestyle. Crafted by Jean-Louis Dumas for Hermès, the Birkin bag became an immediate hit for women in the ‘80s, and in 2023, they’re more sought out than ever. In the early days of Birkin bags, what made these leather totes especially appealing wasn’t the luxury leather or roomy interior (although those features are a major plus), but it was actually Jane’s own infusion of her personality with the piece. There are plenty of images of her lugging her totes, decorated with everything from gold necklaces and charms to self-portrait stickers and mini lockets. An absolute icon, if you ask me.
You definitely don’t need a real designer Birkin bag to participate in this DIY trend. The authentic Birkin bag experience (even on used sites) is going to be quite expensive. So, I’d go for something on ThredUp, Poshmark, or a piece from another brand that sells leather totes. I’ve found gorgeous options through Etsy, Fossil, and even Amazon. Whatever bag you choose, make sure it’s leather — or faux leather — as that acts as the stunning base for your tote’s look.
Now for the trinkets! The best part of this emerging trend is that there are tons of different ways you can style your bag and mix up your look, and it’s so simple! If you’re not sure what kind of decor to look for, I’ve included five ideas for DIYing your own Jane Birkin inspired bag that’ll have you wondering why you’ve never styled your purse in the first place.
- Ribbons & Lace Fabric
The fabric from lovely ribbons are at the core of the coolest Jane Birkin-inspired bags. Chances are you already have ribbons laying around because of the current ribbon-based hair trends, so share the love with other accessory fashion items! Tie your ribbons of choice to the handles of your bag in order to add a softer touch to your tote. You can cut the fabric yourself, head to a local craft store, or find the perfect pattern on Etsy. As for lace fabrics, you can thrift a lacy item of your preferred color, cut the piece yourself, and add it to your tote as you would the ribbon.
- Jewelry & More Jewelry
What makes a DIY Jane Birkin Bag is your personal jewelry collection. I am actually obsessed with the totes that delicately dangle heart shaped lockets and shiny pearls to their liking (definitely taking inspo for myself, besties). You can use your own necklaces and bracelets, too, but if you’re looking for something to only adorn your tote with, I recommend crafting pearl strings or using handcrafted jewelry from Etsy.
- Charms & Pins
Charms and pins are a subtle yet stunning way to decorate your DIY Jane Birkin tote. Whether the vibe of your look is fancy, funny, or simplistic, you can rearrange your charms to reflect your style. I recommend thrifting your charms, so they’re just as rare and unique as you. You can also find gorgeous charms and pins on Etsy like the butterfly pins by JOHNMIGifts, Van Gogh’s Sunflower pins by BUTIKOGifts, the Dancing Star Silver Charm by Cathy Dailey, and the Assorted Golden Animal Charms by Jewelry Monk.
- Crystals & Natural goodies
Another way to spice up your tote is with crystals and other natural goodies. I’m loving the seashell accessory that this TikToker added to their bag, and it perfectly pairs with the tiny crystal chain they’ve crafted beside it. So the next time you’re at the beach or in the mountains, consider going seashell hunting or gem mining, so you can craft your own accessories! If that’s not an option, there are plenty of faux charms at your local craft stores.
- Locks & Keys
Rounding out this list of DIY ideas are lock and key charms! I’m especially loving the one @availilliangrace on Tiktok added on her bag with pink pearls. Even Jane herself had a Birkin Bag decorated with real locks! There are plenty of options online, from tiny hearts and monogrammed pieces to vintage styles and sterling silver.