It’s been a few seasons in a row now that the runways have given us all kinds of mini bags to wear alone or with a bigger bag. Liana Satenstein, senior writer at Vogue, describes the experience of carrying one as therapeutic, and I can certainly understand why. The idea of carrying less on a day-to-day basis certainly appeals to my Konmari-inspired, minimalist sensibilities. However, small bags also sound wholly impractical, as the average mini bag will not even hold an average smartphone.
We’ve selected the most beautiful and chic mini bags from the most exciting designers, for you to upgrade your handbag collection. Then we detail a short history of the small handbag trend, and finish off with some styling tips so you can rock your tiny bags with confidence!
Mini Bags Trend: Contents
- 21 Trendiest Mini Bags to Add to Your Handbag Collection
- The Rise of the Mini Bag Trend
- Creative Ways to Carry a Small Bag
These micro mini bags are powerful enough to persuade you to ditch all those oversized purses and invest in one!
1. Chanel Mini Flap Bag with Pearl Chain
While this mini bag is no bargain, it’s certainly a more affordable way of getting your hands on a Chanel bag. Made of black lambskin with a glamorous pearl chain, it will go with any outfit and add class to any look. It has the cushioned diamond pattern and CC hardware that make Chanel bags immediately noticeable and iconic. It’ll hold a few cards, some cash, and maybe a smaller phone, but it’s not like you’re looking at fashion mini bags because they’re convenient! Buy it directly from Chanel!
2. Hot Pink Croc Mini Bag
Jacquemus has been presenting all kinds of micro bags on the runways in recent years, and believe it or not, this is not the smallest of their tiny bags! This might be the cutest, though. Made of hot pink, croc-embossed leather, this cross-shoulder flap bag has a modern feel. Wear it to add a touch of color to your neutral outfits! Order it online from Moda Operandi!
3. Acrylic Bee Hive Handbag
Small bags can come in all shapes and materials, but this one is particularly unique. This Cult Gaia mini bag is made of brown acrylic, and it opens up with a clasp in the middle, kind of like a Fabergé egg. Despite the small size it’s actually quite hefty, weighing a kilo and a half! It is carried like a tote and can only carry a small phone and some cards, so save it for nights when you really want to make a statement. It’s available through Net-a-Porter.
4. Gucci Floral Mini Bag
This floral little bag perfectly straddles elegance and casualness. It’s a Gucci bag, so it’s guaranteed to only go up in value, especially since its whimsical design suits its size. This micro bag sports the classic Gucci chain print, but with a floral print embossed over it. It has a chain handle for wearing over the shoulder or cross-body, and it’s actually large enough to carry quite a few daily items. Get it from Farfetch!
5. Acrylic Beaded Tote
This bag combines trends: it’s a small bag that can be a two-in-one tote and bucket bag. As a tote, the acrylic tortoiseshell discs and little gold beads that make it up have a warm, natural feel. Pop a little golden lurex bag inside and suddenly it becomes a much more secure bucket bag with multiple textures. It is available online via Net-a-Porter.
6. “SCULPTURE” Small Bag
It’s hard not to be impressed with the industrial vibe of Off-White designs, with their small purses included. Use this mini bag to interject an edge to your look. This white canvas flap bag is printed with “SCULPTURE” across its front, showcasing the brand’s affinity for non-logo word prints. The removable shoulder strap of this bag looks like caution tape, while the closure looks like a clasp paper clip. Find it at Forward!
7. Crystal Fringe Micro Bag
This is one of those extra tiny bags that are perfect when you really don’t need much – think out at the club or at an upscale event. This little leather pouch is about as big as a deck of cards, and is made of textured goatskin leather. The glamour of it comes from a crystal embellished fringe that will swish as you walk and dance, as well as from a bejeweled detachable chain shoulder strap. Get this Miu Miu mini bag from Net-a-Porter!
8. Tan Croc-Embossed Small Bag
If your style leans a little more towards classic then this might be one of the best mini bags for you for Spring and Summer. It’s made in a warm, tan leather that is cheerful yet restrained, with a croc-embossed pattern that is textured and interesting without being over the top. Like any good mini purse, this By Far bag has a detachable shoulder strap or it can be carried by its handle. This mini bag is available at Farfetch.
9. Convertible Mini Pocket Bag
This bag has some really fun features that make it an excellent addition to any collection of small purses, while its striking yet versatile design makes it a great choice even if you’re only going to own one micro bag. Made of black, quilted leather, the design is a luxury staple, with a detachable leather shoulder strap and golden chain attached to the Givenchy hardware that can be reattached at the side to act as a handle. The final carrying option comes thanks to a little slot at the back of the bag, which allows it to be mounted on a belt and worn as a belt bag. You can buy it from Forward.
10. Clean Lilac Mini Bag
A pastel lilac bag is a great addition to a light summer outfit, adding its clean lines and classic design in a delicate color. This little bag has a transparent beaded handle that gives a ‘60s vibe, as well as a more traditional leather shoulder strap that can be removed. The shape of the bag is of a squat, vertical rectangle, and it can actually hold a fair bit of items, so it can work as a day bag! Pick it up from Shopbop!
11. Little Pink Bucket Bag
The Mansur Gavriel bucket bag silhouette is one of the most coveted ones, so why not give it a try in a miniature version? This pastel pink bag is perfect for summertime, with a very minimalist design free of pockets or lining. It has an adjustable leather strap that can be used to carry it cross-body or over-the-shoulder. It’ll be a match to any daytime outfit, but it’s best for a boho-chic look. Check it out at Net-a-Porter!
12. Tri-Color Mini Purse
If you’re into ‘70s color combinations (which you should be, seeing as the ‘70s are having a huge comeback this year), then this mini bag will be a perfect complement to your look. Made of panels of orange and pale pink leather, with a brown leather strap, it’s a lively and bright little bag perfect for daytime. Some gold touches here and there give it an elevated look, as is fitting for a fashion house like Loewe. It’s available at Forward.
13. Spiky Round Mini Bag
There is a lot going on with this bag, and it definitely won’t fit all tastes. However, if you have a preference for the odd, then you will surely love it. Like all good small handbags, this round bag has a detachable shoulder strap (a chain one, at that) and a super trendy circular metal handle. The purple leather of the bag is covered in clear PVC, for a futuristic and multi-textured effect that is elevated by the addition of punky spikes along the sides of the bag. Buy it from Farfetch!
14. Beaded Belt Bag
Since women’s clothing so often lacks pockets, why not opt for a tiny belt bag that will act just like one? This is another fun option for a mini bag that is truly on the tiny side. This little number is playful enough for day to day since it is fringed with a series of tassels, while the beadwork of its body is elegant enough to also work for evenings. Like with any good micro bag, there is also a shoulder strap available should you need to upclass it a bit. You can find it at Net-a-Porter.
15. Transparent Micro Bag
This transparent little bag is a perfectly elegant option – assuming you don’t stuff it with crumpled receipts! This round bag opens vertically with a hinged magnetic clasp at the top, it has a single compartment and is carried with a shoulder strap. The sides and some embellishments at the front are made of woven rattan, giving this mini bag a summer vibe that is offset by gunmetal detailing. Order it online from Forward!
16. Violet PVC Mini Bag
If you’re into unusual textures then forget about leather and try this PVC bag instead. Since it is made of an unusual material in an unusual color, the classic handbag design tones it down and adds balance. You can carry it by the handle or attach a strap and put it over your shoulder. Get this Furla bag from Farfetch!
17. Necklace Minaudière
One of the most glamorous variations on mini bags is the minaudière, an item that perfectly straddles the line between jewelry and bags. This small bag from Saint Laurent, in particularly, is extra luxurious, made of square, croc-embossed black leather in the shape of a cigarette box. With a long silver strap that ends in two long tassels on each side of the bag, it will look exquisite whether worn as a necklace or as a crossbody bag. It is sold online through Forward.
18. Suede and Leather Mini Bag
This miniature variation on the Chloé Faye bag perfectly combines a casual yet classy vibe with some unusual design elements. The taupe leather and suede combination is casual, while the ring and chain hardware add some glamour. The trapezoid shape and roomie accordion design as well as the way the leather shoulder strap attaches to the round handle add the unique touch that will ensure this mini bag stands out. It is available at Net-a-Porter.
19. Boho Box Micro Bag
This Italian-made mini box bag will draw a lot of attention. Made of black suede, this luxurious small purse looks expensive, but it’s also got some boho-chic elements that are quite fetching, including a rope handle and long black tassel at the bottom. The boxy bag compartment opens at the side, so be careful when going to rummage through it. Find it at Forward!
20. Pink Camera Bag
If you’re feeling campy, then opt for one of the cute Marc Jacobs mini handbags. The snapshot bag might be tiny but it’s loud, made of cheerful pink leather with gold and red accents. The thick shoulder strap can be removed, should you feel like turning your bag into a clutch. Despite the tiny size, multiple compartments can carry a variety of things. Pick it up from Shopbop!
21. Metallic Mesh Mini Bag
Small bags like this one are absolutely made to be party bags, and the reticule-like shape of it has a particularly retro feel. Just look at the shiny mesh it’s made of, and the dramatic round silver handle. Even the zipper closure is accented with a silver tassel. This bag won’t hold much beyond some rolled up banknotes and a lipstick, but that’s okay – it’s meant to be a fashion accessory. This bag is sold at Nordstrom.
On the recent runways, we’ve seen all of the newest iterations of micro bags from some very major fashion labels, with Jacquemus at the helm, but also including Chanel, Givenchy, Carolina Herrera, Lanvin and so many more. Celebs like Rihanna and Kim Kardashian were quick to adopt the trend both on social media and on the red carpet. The most recent fashion week, however, is not the one to give birth to the mini bag trend!
Let’s go all the way to the beginning, with the reticule. A reticule is a little bag made of fabric with a pouch-like design very similar to the modern bucket bag but much smaller. Women started carrying reticules with the advent of Regency fashions, which included thinner fabrics and less voluminous skirts, which couldn’t hide pockets. In a way the origin of the mini bag is also the origin of the handbag itself!
Small bags were associated with upper class women who didn’t need to carry much with them, as that was the role of their handmaidens. Their tiny bags were primarily a fashion accessory, as reflected by their ornate designs. Larger bags were used by lower class women who had to run errands that required functional bags.
By the early 20th century, as women of all social classes started to spend time outside the home, handbags started becoming a little larger. Those first medium-sized bags were designed by the likes of Louis Vuitton and Hermés, two labels still known for their handbags today.
Small bags, however, were not totally replaced. Handheld clutches and jeweled minaudières were still the bags of choice for evening occasions, and they remain so to this very day. In the 1970s these little party bags became a little more playful and childish, to fit with the daring attitudes of the disco era.
Where things got interesting is when designers started taking inspiration from the designs of large and medium-sized bags and applying them to mini handbags. Notably, Karl Lagerfeld did so in 2015 when he sent models out on the Fendi runway carrying a miniature version of the brand’s signature Peekaboo bag. From here on, almost every fashion month has included some unique little bags from a wide variety of labels.
We don’t think there is a wrong way to carry small bags. In fact, these mini purses are so versatile that you might as well experiment and try all the different ways to carry them.
● Wearing little bags on their own will likely only work for shorter excursions and nights out. In that case, let your micro bag draw the attention it deserves and make sure it is central in your outfit.
● On the recent runways, we saw lots of mini bags on a chain, meant to be worn as a necklace. Let these bags double as your necklace, and enjoy the freedom of minimal, purposeful accessorizing.
● For day to day, lots of small purses come with attachments, so you can fasten them to a bigger handbag and use them for carrying the essentials you need to access with ease, like a set of keys or a public transport card.
● If you do decide to take the mult-bagging route, make sure that your bags go together. This doesn’t mean that the bags have to be identical or even all that similar – they just have to fit together stylistically and tell a story.
● Your outfit can also play a part in making multi-bagging work! For instance, if your outfit consists of one main color and a few accent colors, your mini bag can be the main color while your larger bag can offset things in one of the accent colors.
● Doubling up on little bags can help you carry everything you needed (one bag for cash keys and cards, one bag for makeup for touch-ups, and one bag for your phone and some mints) but without weighing you down!
● Follow the same styling rules by choosing mini purses that fit together into a nice color story that goes with your outfit.
● Choose bejeweled tiny bags that come on a chain, instead, and treat them like layered necklaces!
Photos via Instagram