Fashion is often credited with being indicative of wider cultural trends but, while the connection between fluctuating hemlines and stock-market success is long established, this season’s sartorial yardstick has to be the mini bag. The industry’s fascination with increasingly diminutive handbags has been building for a few seasons now (French designer Jacquemus took the piece to the point of parody when he debuted his signature ‘Mini Le Chiquito’ in 2019), but, while they’re often labeled as ‘cute’, the enduring and increasing popularity of these bijou bags goes deeper than aesthetics.
The past year has seen a profound shift in the way women are dressing, with loungewear, relaxed silhouettes and versatile pieces coming to the fore. For many, a sense of ease has become the number-one priority. However, you’d be wrong to assume that this somewhat utilitarian approach to dressing leaves little room for fantasy. On the contrary, we’ve seen the popularity, and sales, of statement jewelry, accessories and handbags soar, as they become the primary means through which to add personality and directional flair to otherwise understated outfits. And no piece is more emblematic of fun and frivolity – two things we’re all craving right now – than a mini bag.
As much objet as accessory – whether you gravitate towards Bottega Veneta’s color-pop clutch, Khaite’s ladylike top-handle style or The Row’s petite take on the classic hobo bag (typically rendered in gargantuan proportions) – consider your mini bag a shot of sartorial serotonin and the perfect finishing touch to any look. Sure, it might not be capacious enough to carry much more than the essentials – or even a streamlined edit – but these exquisitely crafted bags are sure to put a smile on your face.