Move over large totes and hobos¬--the small satchel is here and making quite the impression both on and off the runways! Characterized by a boxy shape, flap silhouette, and ultra-long strap, these petite purses offer the ideal amalgam of ladylike grace and modern edge, which is why trendsetters like Diane Kruger and Rachel Bilson adore them. We love them too because they manage to be both functional and sophisticated; whether they're worn across the body or on one shoulder, these hands-free carriers are perfect for all your on-the-go moments. Even better: small satchels always add a little panache to more casual, daytime ensembles, making them a must-buy for summer!
As we combed through the spring collections, we noticed a strong presence of these small messengers strolling down the runways. Whether they were brightly colored or adorned with fringe, it seemed as if every designer included a least one cross-body style this season! Now we understand this not a new trend in handbags. Chanel created the Classic Flap Bag¬--the always-chic 2.55¬--over fifty years ago, which has been updated in numerous materials, including a rustic tweed and silk version from the S/S 2010 collection. Mulberry created their own iteration of this classic bag this season with their Drew Mini Bag, which promptly sold out, while Rebecca Taylor's structured cobalt blue purses came with fancy, decorative detailing.
While all of these runway examples are wonderful, do keep in mind that there are many other options out there, as our celebrity trendsetters so deftly demonstrate. Some opt for an ultra-classic shape, like the always-fashionable Diane Kruger who wore a classic Hermes Constance Elan Bag ($7,200, 800.441.4488)¬--one of Jackie O.'s favorites¬--on a weekend shopping trip with boyfriend Joshua Jackson. Paired with a chic blazer, wing-tip shoes, and black leather satchel, the result is just the sort of delightfully polished daytime look we've come to expect from Kruger. Of course, you can go for an even smaller style, as Mischa Barton did when she chose an exaggeratedly boxy bag when she made a casual pit stop in Beverly Hills last month. She let the petite, leather carrier hang low from one shoulder, much like the way Rachel Bilson sported her gorgeous, gold hardware-embellished 3.1 Phillip Lim Adin Bag ($425, 310.358.1988) in April. While most of our examples are decidedly neutral, the small satchel looks equally on point in a pretty color, as Liv Tyler showed when she splash of color to her neutral outfit with a yellow Stella McCartney Small Shoulder Bag ($554, in dark blue). Tyler's tote has a more relaxed shape and we love how instead of layering multiple purses on one shoulder, she wore the chain-strap woven bag across her body for easier access.
If you are just as excited about these small purses as we are, know that there are plenty of super cute options in stores now. For those readers interested in a more structured shape √† la Kruger, Avril Gau's Poly Shoulder Bag ($305), will surely delight. Love Barton's small, boxy carrier? Look no further than Kimichi Blue's Canvas Camera Bag ($38) for an almost exact replica. However, if it is a chain strap satchel you are after, Rebecca Minkoff's Double Buckle Mini Bag ($295) and DKNY's Chain Double Flap Crossbody Bag ($325) are both equally adorable and reasonably priced. Of course, we do have an obsession-worthy dream list for your viewing pleasure as well. We are all about the prints this season, so when we spotted Dolce & Gabbana's Miss Martini Patchwork Pony Bag ($1,075) and Lanvin's Happy Mini Shoulder Bag ($1,550) it was love at first sight. And last, but certainly not least, check out the BE & D Cowboy Mini Bag ($545); it's another great cross-body topping our list.¬--Jessica Baker
Photos of Mischa Barton and Rachel Bilson, courtesy of x17; Photo of Liv Tyer, courtesy of Splash; Photo of Diane Kruger, courtesy of Bauer Griffen