All the Awesome Things I Can Stuff in a Mini Handbag
Mini-Bag-Man Repeller 1

Do you remember your very first purse? Mine, like most grown-up things made for children, was miniature. Inside, I gleefully hid small treasures — rainbow FIMO beads, Littlest Pet Shop puppies, Smarties packs — and whatever spare nickels I could drudge up from the couch.

It’s these Proustian memories I tap into while standing in the bag department of Saks, cradling a micro Dolce & Gabbana crossbody and cooing likes it’s a chubby baby in a pumpkin patch costume. I love it. I want it. I’m pretty sure I need it.

“But what,” my confused husband interjects, “can you fit in it?”

I might not own (much) Hasbro anymore, but I’ve still got some ideas. Starting with:

1. An adorably-sized down wallet because, yes please, I’d like an excuse to buy that.

2. Spare socks for rainy days. Printed ones for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.

3. Spare underwear. Same deal.

4. Mini headphones. (Who am I kidding? Awesomely giant ones that fill up the whole bag.)

5. Another, even tinier, satchel for nesting — like matryoshka dolls.

6. An actual matryoshka doll. Packed with snacks.

7. Fancy travel sized face wipes to use post-snacks.

9. Let’s just iron out this whole snacks situation before we move on: I’m envisioning goji berries and almonds. But I would also sacrifice all health conscious eating/spare room to carry one extra large, extra amazing baked good. These cookies qualify.

10. Stickers — probably the dope ones Glossier makes since I just ordered the brand’s new Milky Jelly face wash today. I’ll stick them on the almonds because I can.

11. While we’re on the subject of beauty, let’s not forget alllll of the lipstick options. Because it really, really sucks when you bring pink but then decide to go red.

12. Legos — a much better distraction than email.

And if there’s no space left for my cell phone and keys? That’s what really big pockets are for.

Your turn — take a look below and tell me: What would you fill these with?

Collages by Emily Zirimis; Featured handbags by Hunting Season and Mansur Gavriel.


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  • I got the same response from my husband when I pranced (literally) out of Chloe with my newly purchased Drew nano bag. It was definitely a need-want-must have moment paired with a whole year of obsessing over one bag. I’ve had to make a rule for myself though – nothing that can possibly leak or leave a mark (ie pen) is allowed in it. Along with my keys, my headphones, work access card and Glossiers balm dot com (because I’ve been suffering from a serious case of dry lips as of late) are pretty much my only items In there. Still haven’t found a wallet small enough though so it’s all a bit of a controlled chaos situation when it comes to money.

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  • Elizabeth Tamkin

    This is funny because when I was 10 my parents brought me to Paris for the holidays and I wanted “THE BAG” of my dreams. After hunting and hunting, there was this smallish Cacharel one I decided I loved (a month later a lady spilled red wine on it). At 10 years old I had literally nothing to fill this bag with so I put socks (yes, socks) at the bottom of the bag to give it some structure. And then my Nextel cell phone, lip gloss, gum, and my vinyl wallet. Today my bag is filled with lipstick (I usually lose and then find and then lose those guys in there), loose bills and change (mostly pennies…), matches, Advil, bobby pins, and hand sanitizer. Always hand sanitizer.

    • BK

      I recommend dabbling in Aesop hand sanitizer if you aren’t already using

  • I remember my first purse even though I was very little, younger than 5, mainly because I lost it! I left it behind at the indoor street market a few blocks from my home in Baltimore. I was devastated but I don’t think I had anything in it. Maybe some bandaids (I wore them as jewelry) and possibly this bandaid gum I was obsessed with. Are you sensing a theme?
    What I store in my tiny bag now are my cards (i.d., credit, transit, etc), key, a very thin sketchbook, a pencil or pen, chapstick, earbuds, and phone. I carry whatever book I’m reading.

  • Natty

    My very first bag was a red leather crossbody Coach number, back in the pre-Reed Krakoff era when the company still had control over its branding. I still own it… It’s beautifully made and has weathered many storms.

  • Liz

    I always see those little minaudieres flipping through Vogue and the like and think, “Who owns one of these?” Most aren’t big enough to hold an iPhone, which is like step 1 when packing any bag. I love that line in the SatC episode where Charlotte remarks that she can’t even fit a tampon in her Kate Spade purse, and Miranda says, “Wow. Kate must have a TINY vagina!” Classic.


    • Alison Syrett

      I totally agree that mini bags can be the most impractical thing, but still feel that there’s something so glamorous and fun and about fully knowing that and carrying one anyways! Also! Less space = less reason to haul around things I don’t really need.

  • Julie Meowmeows

    A kitten, obvs.

    • Alison Syrett


  • I am the RV of the bag world. Anxious tendencies = boy scout packing of bag. Water, snacks, scarf, stockings, ziploc of medicaments, mints, pen, notepad, wallet keys phone blah blah blah.. Thankfully as my brain has chilled out a little more, my bag size has gone from a men’s satchel to a slimline saddlebag. And mini bags are perfect for evenings out!