For the past few months, my Instagram feed has been taunting me with pint-size handbags—teeny bucket bags with polished metal handles, petite crossbody iterations barely larger than a deck of cards, and miniature satchels that look almost too cute to wear. It’s not just that they’re out of my price range—although, to be sure, many are—but rather there’s no way they’d fit even a 10th of the stuff I’m used to schlepping around. You see, try as I might, I am not a minimalist in this particular area.
At any given time, I have in my bag an iPhone, keys, an overstuffed wallet, whatever book I’m reading at the moment, six to eight lip balms/sticks/glosses, a notebook and pens, glasses (sun and optical), hand cream, headphones, gum, chargers, external battery… You get the picture. I organize everything into pouches, a handbag hack I learned from Eva Chen, whose habit of swapping out her bag almost daily is well documented (#evachenpose, anyone?), yet it’s not exactly a light load.
As a freelancer, I do, at least, have the benefit of going straight from home to the gym most of the time, mitigating the need for hauling a bag of sneakers, leggings, and such to the office and back, but on the other hand, if I leave the house during the day, I usually have to lug around my laptop and other assorted work supplies. And that’s not even factoring in days of previews and appointments at designer’s showrooms, which usually result in an armful of canvas totes filled with lookbook freebies (don’t get me wrong—not complaining!).
I’m hardly alone, either: In New York City, where almost no one drives and schedules usually take you from workouts to meetings to dinners and drinks, it’s not uncommon to see women carting around three or four bags at a time. But in the interest of journalism—and, you know, not doing permanent damage to my shoulders before age 30—I decided to give the mini bag trend a shot… at least for a few days. I traded out my roomy 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli (my faithful everyday bag) for a Furla Metropolis Mini Satchel, probably the teeniest crossbody in my collection. I won’t lie to you: It was tough. Every time I left my apartment, I’d have to weigh the cost of bringing eyeglasses or sunglasses, Glossier lipstick or YSL tinted balm. I downsized to a card case and downloaded a slew of new podcasts to replace my reading material on the subway. Quickly, I learned that pockets are a must.
Do I feel ready to drop my rent money on a bag that might not even fit the next generation of iPhone? Maybe not. But I did feel freer—and literally lighter—without half my worldly possessions slung over my shoulder. And surely that’s reason enough to snag one of the bags in my “Saved” folder, right?
Below, shop 15 mini bags we’re coveting right now.
Boyy Fred Buckle-Embellished Leather Shoulder Bag ($775)
Tiny bag + big buckle = your new favorite accessory.
Loéil Raey Bag ($96)
The sunny yellow hue is perfectly on trend for spring.
Nannacay Straw Baby Roge Red Pom Pom Bag ($140)
Suddenly every bag not adorned with a cascade of pom-poms seems woefully dull.
Rachel Comey Rider Bag ($414)
The metal top handle is as sleek as they come.
H&M Small Suede Shoulder Bag ($50)
Just big enough to fit the iPhone 7 Plus—and in a cloudy gray-blue we can’t get enough of.
Alexander Wang Roxy Mini Bucket Bag ($695)
Of course, Alexander Wang manages to make a bejeweled clutch look tough-as-nails.
Kara Micro Satchel ($350)
The back pocket is perfect for stashing your phone (which is great, since you’ll need all the inside space for stowing the rest of your stuff).
The One Bag I Wish I Hadn’t Gotten Rid Of
Loewe Elephant-Shaped Mini Bag ($1290)
A whimsical crossbody guaranteed to make you smile.
Building Block Petite Bag ($395)
Los Angeles–based Building Block is the brand to know for minimalists with exacting style.
ASOS Cage Sphere Clutch Bag ($38)
There’s something so innately glamorous about a spherical handbag—all the more so when it’s made of gold-toned metal mesh.
Manu Atelier Mini Pristine Leather Shoulder Bag ($449)
This go-with-everything bag will last you for years.
3.1 Phillip Lim Blue Victorian Rose Micro Alix Bag ($625)
Even if you’re not usually the floral type, this print may be subtle enough to win you over.
Simon Miller Bonsai 15 Nubuck Bucket Bag ($390)
Fashion girls are crazy about Simon Miller’s petite bucket bags.
Urban Outfitters Sheryl Saddle Crossbody Bag ($34)
Stash your weekend essentials in this crisp white crossbody.
Next, find out the three shoe styles to clean out of your closet this season.