Small Wonders — Cross-Bodies, Camera Bags, And Itsy-Bitsy Purses That Are Big On Style
They say good things come in small packages — or, at least, that’s what I enjoy telling people when they taunt me about my short stature. When it comes to handbag styles this season, it seems designers turned to that very same adage, toying with petite and refined silhouettes but making them more practical by incorporating long shoulder straps that allow each piece to be draped over one shoulder and across the chest. Unlike clutches, which literally require a “hands on” approach, these miniature bags allow you the freedom to interlace the fingers on one hand with those of with your beau while holding a savory Frappuccino in the other hand.
Check out some of our favorite cross-body and camera bag styles below!
Kate Spade New York Bitsy Flower Straw Mini Bag, $195. Available at Saks.com
As soon as summer rears its heads, heavier fabrics like tweed, leather, and suede fade to the background a bit, making room for breezy, island-ready straw, raffia, and canvas fashions and accessories. At times, however, straw bags can seem a bit too kitschy, like castaways from a store inside a Tijuana airport. But this bite-sized Kate Spade purse shows just how far designers have come in their efforts to better the reputation and standing of these plant fibres. Featuring a zip-top closure and a slim black leather and metal chain strap measuring 23″ in length, this cross-body bag (which measures 6½” in width, 5″ in height, and 1½” in depth) is shaped like a tropical flower, with overlapping petal shapes and contrasting tan and black stripes circling the rounded edges of each petal shape.
Matt & Nat Hendrix Nirvana Bag, $165. Available at RevolveClothing.com
Throughout the years, vegan handbag line Matt & Nat has continued to experiment with new animal-friendly, environmentally sound materials — from Japanese rice paper to recycled canvas and vegan leather — as well as silhouettes that incorporate plenty of pockets, zippers, and interior compartments. The Hendrix Nirvana Bag shows just how far the Matt & Nat has evolved. This canvas bag features a triangle-shaped top flap with three staggered, V-shaped rows of vegan leather piping and tonal stitching. A magnetic closure secures the top flap in place and, once you unzip the purse, you’ll find a lining made of 21 recycled bottles. Measuring 9″ in width, 7″ in height, and 0.5″ in depth, this Hendrix cross-body style is available in a black ikat print that’s pitch-perfect for any tribal-flavored look you want to pull off this season.
Paul & Joe Perlee Beaded Cross-body Bag, $315. Available at Net-a-Porter.com
There’s a lovable Janis Joplin-esque vibe to this Bohemian beauty from Paul & Joe, a handmade, beaded, open-top pouch featuring a braided white leather shoulder strap, teal suede tassel accents at each side a beige leather trim at the top and cream accent stitching. Measuring 4″ in width and 6″ in height, this folksy piece is big enough to carry the vitals: be they credit cards and lipstick or a harmonica and a peace pipe.
Treesje Spokes Cross-body Bag, $215. Available at Zappos.com
You can be the head mistress of your own School of Rock Style with the Treesje Spokes bag, an envelope-shaped clutch made of glossy, slightly crackled, premium Italian leather. The fold-over top flap features a pointed bottom edge, tonal stitching along the borders, and chunky silver chain links woven into the leather in an arrow-like shape. Strips of leather are woven into the chain shoulder strap which spans 24″ in length, adding to the Joan Jett-esque spirit of the bag.
L.A.M.B. “Signature Seaforth” Zip Top Cross-body Bag, $148. Available at Nordstrom.com
The ink-y, kaleidoscopic, navy-and-white batik print of this PVC bag recalls island destinations, but the tan leather accents (the belt-like shoulder straps and the trim framing the zippered compartment along the front of the bag) bestow a functional, urban vibe to the design. Because it’s so very slim measuring only 1 1/2″ in depth, this particular tablet-shaped design is best for toting non-bulky items.
Prada Canvas Strap Messenger, $795. Available at NeimanMarcus.com
Playboy bunny naughty meets Blondie rocker cool with this new canvas mini messenger bag from Prada, which features horizontal stripes in hot pink and black and a tan leather closure in a shield-ike shape. Measuring 5 1/2″ in height, 8″ in width, and 2″ in depth, this bag features a sturdy wide web shoulder strap that can be detached with a simple press of the lobster-shaped clasps at its ends.
Burberry Patent Cross-body Bag, $1195. Available at NeimanMarcus.com
Sure, you may associate Burberry with traditional tartan prints, but that doesn’t mean the brand doesn’t know how to let its hair down and cut loose. This aqua blue, patent leather purse features a top flap that widens as you move from the top to the bottom and features rounded edges. A slim shoulder strap with several perforations and a belt buckle accent attaches to golden metal rings at the sides of the purse, so you can sling the bag across your body and brighten your whole ensemble.
Katherine Kwei Donna Sling Bag Batik in Orange/White, $600. Available at KatherineKwei.com
By giving her beloved Donna Sling Bag style a tie-dye look, New York-based handbag designer Katherine Kwei updates the style for summer, giving it a surfer chic vibe. This hand-dyed lambskin piece features slashed leather strips along the front and a row of Chinese eternity knots along the bottom ridge, while the combination of tangerine orange and crisp white recall a gorgeous sunset sky at a beach destination.
Proenza Schouler PS1 Small Leather Satchel, $1225. Available at Net-a-Porter.com
This sunny number from Proenza Schouler mashes up different geometric shapes for a full dose of funkiness. The satchel’s top flap features a rectangular-shaped strip with tonal stitching sewn atop a triangular slither with a brass-toned flip lock detail at its center. Once you lift the front flap, you’ll have access to the square compartment along the front of the bag, which itself features a press-stu fastening system. The two belted strips along each side of the bag add a city slick vibe, which is reinforced by the adjustable shoulder strap.
Jessica Simpson “Bella” Striped Cross-body Bag, $42. Available at Nordstrom.com
There’s a coy, Betty Boop-like feel to the Jessica Simpson “Bella” bag, which features a cream-and-white striped canvas window on the front flap framed by black faux leather trim and accented with two decorative square metal plate accents, each with a diamond shape at its center. When you want the bag to look dainty and retro, you can tuck away the golden chain shoulder strap and carry it using the faux leather top handle or, for a more modern, “Sweet Escape”-ready look, you can sling the strap over your shoulder and across your chest, letting it rest at your hip.
Lauren Merkin Dylan in Yellow Lamb, $425. Available at LaurenMerkin.com
The lamb fabric used to craft Lauren Merkin’s Dylan bag is so buttery smooth that it practically begs to be touched. Measuring 11″ in width, 10.75″ in height, and 2.” in depth, this bag features a fold-over top flap with an arched border that looks like the outline of a beaming smile. Thanks to the drawstrings along each side of the bag, the leather puckers ever so slightly. A row of five teeny metal studs at the center of the flap adds a dose of edge.
Antik Batik Bongo Embellished Leather Shoulder Bag, $335. Available at Net-a-Porter.com
A Bohemian style rhapsody, the Antik Batik Bongo bag features embellishments like golden and brass dome-shaped studs, metallic-flavored sequins, tiny ball beads, and luminous paillettes that form a crescent moon shape. The black leather slashed fringe dangling all over the Bongo bag speaks to its free-spirited nature, as does the twisted, 51″-long shoulder strap.
Be & D Jordan Printed Cross Body Bag, $498. Available at BeandD.com
Are you a sucker for a great animal print? Then check out this urban-flavored drawstring mini bag from Be & D, which features a fun-loving leopard print and black leather panels with zipper accents along the sides of the pouch. The ultra slim, silver-toned, metal chain strap infuses a dainty vibe that counteracts the wildness of the animal print.
Elliott Lucca Millana Camera Cross-Body Bag, $98. Available at Endless.com
This near-square camera bag, measuring 6.75″ in height and 7.5″ in width, boasts a summery, basket-like texture due to its woven leather body. The pale gold color of the leather and the and pavé-accented chain link strap nod to eras past, giving the piece a quaint retro feel.
Romygold Tassel Chain Cross-body, $286. Available at RevolveClothing.com
Since launching their ROMYGOLD handbag line in 2009, designers Lisa Goldstein and Romy Jagid have won over cosmopolitan fashionistas with their rocker-flavored, biker-influenced pieces, many of which incorporate distressed leather and bold slashes and zippers. This cross-body style (measuring 11″ in width, 11″ in height, and 1″ in depth) captures the brand’s aesthetic with an asymmetrical top flap featuring two adjacent columns of slashed leather slithers and a silver-toned zipper with a black leather tassel accent. The front of the bag, meanwhile, features a zippered center pocket and another compartment with a zipper running vertically along the side of the purse. A hefty, detachable, silver-toned, curb chain shoulder strap completes the Sons-of-Anarchy-gone-haute effect.
Milly Small Embossed Metallic Leather Shoulder Bag, $345. Available at Nordstrom.com
Measuring only 6 3/4″ in width and 6 1/2″ in height, this petite wonder from Milly features a pale gold metallic leather fabric with a snakeskin-like texture, a top flap secured in place by a safari-ready bamboo turn lock, and a snake chain strap that spans 24 1/2″ inches. Imagine wearing this with a white linen shift dress or a khaki-colored, button-down shirt with tailored shorts and espadrilles.