Mini Handbags: Craze or Classic?

Whether you’re slowly working to grow a handbag collection, or a long-time devotee of Hermès, you probably want to buy handbags that you will use for a long-time. With the popularity of small handbag styles, some of us have started to wonder whether this is a trend that is here to stay, or whether our money is better spent elsewhere.

Let’s figure it out.



The Cyclical Nature of Trends

First things first, in order to determine whether these small handbag styles are worth our investment, we need to understand the cyclical nature of trends.

As most women know, trends almost always have their second shot in the spotlight. Whether it happens within the span of a couple years, or it takes multiple decades, these styles that are ridiculed for being outdated often come back around to be fashion statements again.

Just look at the reemergence of the butt-of many-jokes 1990’s fanny pack. Here we are in 2018, with some of our favorite brands, like Chanel, Gucci and Prada, all having their own version. The bum bag perfectly illustrates a cyclical fashion trend: it hit peak popularity in the 90s, went out of fashion for almost two decades, and is now right back in the fashion spotlight, coming full circle.  For how long, we don’t know; but, as with many things, what goes around, comes around, although it’s usually a bit different.

Clearly there are styles that come and go, and we should be cognizant of that to avoid making an investment that could prove to be a mistake. No one wants to invest in a handbag, wear it for a season or two, and then have it go out of style for 10+ years.

But does this statement apply to handbag size?

In our opinion, no.


@upcloseandstylish with an Hermès mini kelly II in stain.

How Trends Affect Handbag Size

If you flip through any fashion magazine, check trend reports, or even just stroll down the street, it doesn’t take much to see that small is big when it comes to handbag styles. 

So does this mean that these mini handbags will become outdated after a couple seasons? We venture to say no because we believe smaller sized bags have longevity.

Size is a style factor that likely will not get heads turning or conversations starting – except at the extremes of gigantic and tiny. True, a particular size might be inappropriate in a given setting or with an outfit – e.g. a Birkin 40 with an evening gown – but that’s a different crime to the fashion police. Instead, people might notice your arm candy because of the brand or the fine craftsmanship, but the actual bag size probably will never shock.

Even when a small (or large) size isn’t in their peak of popularity, it still will remain practical, and therefore wearable.



The problem arises when a fashion item is inextricably tied to a particular time period.   A sharp-shouldered power suit worn with a briefcase and running shoes immediately evokes 1980s Working Girl, a look not emulated by executives today. Similarly, a fanny pack strapped on with neon stirrup leggings and big hair, meant you were ready to go in 1995.  That same look would have been a costume in 2005 and the fanny pack relegated to tourists until around 2015.

The point is, some trends have longevity beyond when they hit their peak in popularity, while others don’t, and we believe the smaller sized handbags fall into the camp of having longevity.

Are small handbags worth your investment?



So, to answer the question: should you consider the size of a handbag when making an investment?

The simple (somewhat obnoxious) answer is both yes and no.

On the one hand, yes, size is a factor. You want to ensure that the size of the bag is well suited to your particular lifestyle. If you’re consistently carrying multiple items with you on a daily basis, and can’t bear to leave the house without those items, a mini bag probably isn’t well suited for your daily use. It still could hold a valuable place in your collection – evening events, days when you need little and the like.

On the other hand, if your decision is solely based on current handbag size trends, we would suggest not allowing that to dictate the direction of your future purchase. As stated, we believe small handbags will likely have longevity beyond when they hit their peak in popularity.

Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 4.21.38 PM

Basically it all boils down to understanding that with size, there may come a time when the mini bag takes more of a backseat position in your closet. In fact, you may find yourself gravitating towards larger bag styles as they start to regain popularity (or as your lifestyle changes), but it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever find the small handbags to be completely useless players within your bag lineup.


So tell us: do you think small handbags have longevity? Will you invest in the mini bag trend?

Love, PurseBop

Published: February 2nd, 2018
Updated: February 26th, 2018

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