Thanks to Ashley and Mary Kate (aka Olsen Twins) oversized bags have been the go to for the past 10 years or so. It’s rumored the pint sized twins loved to carry jumbo handbags because they dwarfed their already tiny frames. But maybe because we never could actually find anything in the hallowed dark spaces of the jumbo purse or maybe because some chiropractor somewhere spoke up about the spinal perils of carrying 8 pounds on one side of your body all day every day, whatever the cause…micro bags have arrived in a big way.
From high-end labels like Tod’s to more accessible ones like Dune at ASOS, the teenier the better. We’re talking Polly Pocket small – dangerously close to change purse size. Why so minuscule? Some camps blame social media – it’s long been the stylists’ secret that smaller sizes always photograph easier; smaller shoe sizes, smaller accessories, smaller feet and hands. Others believe it to be a a status symbol. “I’m a professional not a hack. I carry only the essentials as I waft from my office to a lunch meeting and back to my office.” This baby bagger doesn’t need to retouch her makeup, she’s managerial; a credit card, keys and her phone are the only items she carries with her.
Oddly enough, the new minis have given birth to ownership of “the other bag” – because in reality we do want to retouch our makeup, take our laptops back and forth from work to home, and maybe carry a brush, a water bottle, a book and some hand sanitizer “just in case”. So, living in denial we stash this adulterous piece of luggage (usually a tote size) under our desks or in the back seats of our cars and carry on living the lie that we are crazy enviable minimalists.
And while these trendy bags are shrinking, their price tags are holding strong. Psyche. Tod’s Bauletto bag is just a wink at 7 inches long by 5 inches high by 3 inches deep but comes with a $1535 price tag. The adorable Sac Chiquito from Parisian designer (Simon Porte) Jacquemus is forming wait lists everywhere due to some press from Rihanna. It cashes out at $550.
Call them foolishly impractical but micro bags lend credence to the argument that fashion follows the economy. This isn’t a new rationale. Who hasn’t heard of the skirt length theory (also called the hemline indicator or the “bare knees, bull market” theory); when it’s a good market skirts go short. Originating in the roaring 20’s when the economic strength of the U.S. led to a period of sustained growth in personal wealth for most of the population, there were new ventures in all areas, including entertainment and fashion. Fashions that would have been socially scandalous a decade before, such as skirts that ended above the knees, were all the rage. Today credit and debit cards have overtaken old fashioned cash. We genuinely have less to haul around. A smaller bag makes sense.
There really are no rules for the micros. Carry them, wear them cross body, sport them over the shoulder, go matchy matchy or opt for a stand out pop of color. They are a fun, quirky, fashion item – treat them as such. And to quote Mr. Shakespeare: “Though she be but little, she is fierce.”