‘She’s brought this ludicrously capacious Baggu’

Reflections on microtrends, consumerism, being ‘That Girl’

Ky Reid, Guest Writer

I was scrolling aimlessly on TikTok one day when my for you page first presented me with the highly-coveted Baggu nylon medium shoulder bag. Of course, I had heard of Baggu before – a brand known for its sustainable and chic multi-purpose bags, but I had always assumed they offered mainly reusable shopping bags and fanny packs. 

Recently, there has been an onslaught of Baggu-centered TikToks on my FYP thanks to a trending sound from the season premiere of “Succession. This video was by a college student using the “ludicrously capacious bag” trend to show everything this new style of Baggu could hold. 

When I saw she could fit a MacBook, iPad and a 40-ounce HydroFlask, I was sold. I was fully, 100% influenced. It took some time to hunt one down because it was sold out on nearly every website I tried, but eventually I got my hands on the black and white pixel gingham nylon medium shoulder bag. 

I was almost instantly disappointed.

The bag is, of course, beautiful, and it really is able to fit the entire Apple ecosystem and more. Plus, I have to admit that it was gratifying to be complimented on my Baggu by so many girls that I privately view as cool. However, what the Pinterest-Baggu girlies do not tell you is that when you fill it up, it is super awkward to carry. 

The shoulder strap does not stay on your shoulder; it is nylon and slips off every two seconds. On the first day of spring quarter, I already knew that I should have stuck with my trusty collection of tote bags, or my Fjallraven backpack that was so trendy just a few years ago. This Baggu was no better than any options I had already owned. Actually, it was kind of worse.

 I bought the bag with this idealized image of myself carrying it around, looking cool and finally feeling like “That Girl” (and I should clarify that  my usage of “Girl” and “Her” are entirely inclusive. “That Girl” is a type of person, not a gender). 

I am embarrassed writing this because none of us want to admit that all that BS about the real impacts of social media is true, but guess what? It kind of is. I never thought I would fall prey to the pressures of online trends, especially from a trivial app like TikTok, but the idea of being “That Girl” has a powerful pull. 

If you search for “That Girl” on TikTok or Pinterest, you will see a slew of girls showing off trendy purchases, like that coveted Baggu. There is a common theme behind the materialistic facade, however. The crux of being “That Girl” is living a life full of beautiful, positive things. “That Girl” is healthy, she is sustainable and she studies hard. She is journaling. She is grateful, mindful and she lives in the moment. 

So why can’t we just be “That Girl”? Anyone can check these boxes. Being grateful, healthy, studious and mindful is entirely within the realm of possibility and pretty much free. So why aren’t we all “Those Girls,” so to speak? 

I think being “That Girl” feels so unattainable because it takes time and effort to become her. Buying the accessories (the Baggu, the Stanley Cup, the Airpods Max – the list goes on) is the easy part. It is easy (not cheap), to appear as someone who is balanced, peaceful and thriving, but it is difficult to really feel it. Life is hard. Buying is easy. 

Now, of course, there is a more nuanced discussion to be had about the relationship between class, consumerism and social media trends, but I think that “That Girl” is a unique phenomena because it really is not about the tangible objects. 

It might be easier for a person with money to achieve the external “That Girl” aesthetic, but finding the peace that the trend represents takes genuine effort and self-reflection. “That Girl” is thriving, and she has all these trendy things. She is not thriving because she has all the trendy things. 

P.S. –  No shame if those trendy purchases speak to you. They are trendy for a reason. Just do not buy it hoping that it will be the purchase that changes everything. If you want to change your life, change it. The black and white pixel gingham nylon medium shoulder bag can hold many things, but there is definitely not enough space for the healing, reflection and peace it takes to truly become “That Girl.”