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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 19 July 2018

Fashion notes: Petite purses are just impractical

If you want your outfits to be Vogue-worthy, consider doing some serious downsizing – with your handbag, that is.
A petite purse by Dior spotted in Paris. Rex Shutterstock
A petite purse by Dior spotted in Paris. Rex Shutterstock

If you want your outfits to be Vogue-worthy, consider doing some serious downsizing – with your handbag, that is. The images are all over Instagram – pretty little outfits, topped off with mini cross-body bags, slung across the torsos of beautiful girls. But dropping thousands of dirhams on a purse that will fit no more than your phone, a lipstick and spare change, in my opinion, is a far too careless and costly move.

Before I carry on, to give some clarity to my stance on petite purses, let me just say that clutches are fine, and perfectly feasible in most instances. Their small sizes are absolutely acceptable for evening-wear ensembles, and their larger envelope styles are great – though sometimes uncomfortable – alternatives to shoulder bags for daytime lunches or meetings.

Things start to get slippery, however, with the ultra-small handbag trend that all the major labels are propagating, by offering miniature versions of their iconic styles – though by no means at a fraction of the price. At about Dh3,000, for instance, comes the 3.1 Phillip Lim Mini Pashli Messenger. It’s significantly smaller than its mother bag, though the difference in price is less than Dh1,000.

Some cross-body bags are perfectly sized for a woman’s everyday essentials – the Chloé Drew bag is a classic example. With a saddle-like look, it comes in beautiful nude and pastel shades and python textures, and features minimal gold hardware, giving off a very chic appearance. It costs about Dh5,000, and can fit most medium-­sized wallets.

But notably smaller handbag versions debuted on the spring/summer runways last year, and instead of being discarded as absurd novelty purses, they’ve become celebrated must-have accessories, worn around the world by bloggers, editors and the like. At this year’s spring/summer fashion shows, even more designers jumped aboard the tiny-handbag fad. At Paris haute couture fashion week, dozens of guests were seen sporting these minuscule purses – some covered in cotton-­candy-pink shearling fur, others adorned with pom-poms larger than the bags themselves.

There were Louis Vuitton Petite Malle box clutches aplenty, monogrammed, sequinned or clad in crocodile skin, costing from Dh13,000 to – take a deep breath – Dh145,000. Fendi’s fist-sized Micro Peekaboo bags were also a dime a dozen. Costing up to Dh8,000, this style was even named the “2015 ‘it’ bag” by Vogue. Sure, its larger version costs about Dh10,000 more, but Dh8,000 is a lot to drop for a bag that can only carry a handful of things – literally. There’s also the inescapable fact that the Micro Peekaboo has piqued a lot of interest here in the UAE, where lots of Emirati ladies find it an appealing accessory with their abayas.

This micro trend has gone hysterically macro on us. I can’t imagine setting out on a day’s outing and being limited by such a teeny-tiny bag. There’s no way my wallet, phone, camera, notebook, pen, compact, lip balm and lipstick would fit. How do these ladies do it? Perhaps they keep a backpack in their car? Or simply sacrifice a bunch of essentials in the name of fashion?

If you’ve been following the miniature purse craze, and are on the verge of diving in with your next pay cheque, my advice is hold back. It’s very likely one of these minis could become awfully uncool in seasons to come, and I can’t imagine it will be easy to resell once you’ve had your (rather small) fill of it. Look to lower-end labels such as Kate Spade to indulge your cute purse cravings – you can get a nice little cross-body bag from the brand for less than Dh1,000.

hlodi@thenational.ae