After years of gigantic handbags, the pendulum is finally swinging back to the smaller side of things, as fashion houses started showing pint-sized options last fall, a trend that's only gotten bigger this year. Phoebe Philo can be partially credited with starting the craze via the bags she created for Celine, which come in extra small styles like the Nano Shopper and the Micro Shopper, both of which are hugely popular with fashion insiders. In addition to Celine, we're also quite enamored with the long-strap mini bags presented at the Valentino F/W 11 show. Designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli showed lovely ladylike looks for autumn, including the Panno Double A Line Skirt ($1590, 212.772.6969) with the Panno Double Cropped Jacket with Rock Stud ($4750, 212.772.6969) and a super small, chain strap shoulder bag. The dainty handbag is the perfect accent for the polished ensemble, but it works equally well with other outfits, as our stylesettters show!
Lately we've seen a plethora of mini bags on some of our favorite fashionable tastemakers, all of whom opted for small bags with extra-long straps. Some, like Nicky Hilton and Alexa Chung, choose to wear their mini bags with more casual fare and they pull it off with aplomb. For example, Hilton was snapped last month in Malibu wearing a decidedly chill outfit comprised of Paige shorts (the Silverlake Shorts ($139) in Brooks Lane are the same style, just in a currently available wash), an Alexander Wang tank, Cha Cha's House of Ill Repute hat, leopard Steve Madden Madee Loafers ($119.95), and a covetable Celine Mini Boston Bag ($1450, 305866.1888). Alexa Chung also chose a petite purse earlier this summer, though her carrier of choice is Chanel. Snapped on day three of Glastonbury, Chung looked lovely in a cream Topshop Flower Crochet Insert Dress ($70) paired with a mini classic flap bag from Chanel and black Chelsea boots from Office (the Curious Elastic Chelsea B Boots ($138) are quite similar). We approve of her bag choice for the occasion; a hands-free carrier is always the ideal option for a music festival or concert!
The mini bag is a spot-on selection for work functions and parties too, just look to ladies like Lauren Conrad, Jen Brill, and Teen Vogue's Accessory Director, Shiona Turini for inspiration. Conrad and Brill both selected small long-strap bags for recent fashion fetes; the former paired a Rebecca Minkoff Embrace Bag ($295, check out Nordstrom for the exact style in a different color) with said designer's Claudia Dress ($345, 323.913.3040) and Jimmy Choo heels for a party celebrating the Rebecca Minkoff pop-up shop in Confederacy, while the latter wore a Chanel The New Shape Bag ($1650,212.535.5505) in Gunmetal and dress to celebrate the opening of the new Chanel boutique in Bergdorf Goodman. The bags work as a youthful accent to their fancy party dresses (it's basically the accessory equivalent of adding a denim jacket) and the overall effect is decidedly cute. We also love the way Teen Vogue's Accessory Director, Shiona Turini styled her mini bag at a party celebrating Joie's new flagship store in New York. Turini looked sophisticated and stylish in a vintage skirt (she found it at a flea market nearly a decade ago!), Equipment Signature Blouse ($208) in Electric Blue, Rebecca Minkoff Becky Blazer ($325, sold-out in coral, but available at Shopbop in red), Dries Van Noten belt, Prada mary-jane heels and a classic Chanel bag. Could she be any more darling? We think not!
With these darling examples in mind, we encourage you to hop on this accessory trend and pick up a mini bag today. Even better: while our spotlighted girls all carried investment purses, you definitely can pull off this trend without ponying up a ton of cash. One of our favorite options on the market is Ann Taylor's Lady Bag ($178, 800.342.5266), which comes in the perfect cherry red color and has darling pyramid-stud details. It's amazing, no? If you want something even smaller, do check out Zara's Handbag ($49.90, 323.935.5041), which is in stores now and possibly the ideal pick for a girls' night out. We're also quite crazy about J. Crew's Rigby Saddle Bag ($148) in Windsor Grey; it's also available in Black and Flame, which is a really fantastic orange-red. We could totally imagine someone like Claudia Schiffer wearing this super simple bag, and think it would look amazing with all of fall's '70s influenced pieces. If you're interested in a petite purse with a subtle pop of color, we simply must point out that Milly's Small Leather Shoulder Bag ($325) in Watermelon is beyond adorable. The bamboo lock and gold chain strap help give the bag a wonderfully vintage vibe, no wonder we adore it so! In addition to these showcased styles, we have a few more suggestions for you. If you're dying for a classic black bag, you might love Mulberry's Lily Leather Shoulder Bag ($750), MICHAEL Michael Kors' Hamilton Quilted Small Crossbody Bag ($148), or Kate Spade's Essex Small Scout ($295)-all three are smart, small, and chic. We also think ASOS' Boxy Lock Bag ($43.10) is a sweet choice, as is DKNY's Vintage Leather Top Zip Crossbody Bag ($225); they both have a retro vibe that's ideal for fall!
Photo of Alexa Chung, courtesy of Wenn; Photos of Jen Brill and Shiona Turini, courtesy of Billy Farrell Agency; Photo of Lauren Conrad, courtesy of Wire Image; Photo of Nicky Hilton, courtesy of INF