“Well, what can you actually put in it?” my colleague asks. I shrug. “Maybe some coins… gum?” I ponder the brown and fuzzy load on my chest: smaller than a newborn baby but bigger than a hamster.
“Definitely not your phone,” my colleague quips. Tiny bags have been in menswear for some time: Dior, Jacquemus and Balenciaga are just some of the big fashion houses that have brought out versions for guys.
In pre-pandemic times, my bag (a normal human-size one from Eastpak) was a cross between a life raft and a bin bag. It had the essentials (pens that don’t work, notebooks without covers); the all-weather options (two pairs of sunglasses, a beret, a serious-looking winter hat, an umbrella); and the frankly sickening (a few chipped Strepsils, empty packets of Nurofen, a Christmas card and some tissues from 1984). At the very bottom was lots of sand from a long-forgotten beach trip. I obviously needed a new bag. But this one?
It’s about the size of a packet of Hula Hoops, with a few zippable pockets. Wearing it around my shoulders, on its black strap, I feel odd. Not like a giant, exactly, but a dafter version of myself. Because, even though the tiny bag is, well, tiny, it is conspicuous.
On the catwalk, the bags look perfectly angular and black, as if they should be worn by Bond villains carrying the antidote to some world-destroying poison. And on the pages of fashion magazines, they look enticing, offering the same semi-outlaw appeal as a chunky gold chain or a black wristband.
In real life, however, I’m left pondering their purpose – although I suppose purpose isn’t really the point. The teeny-tiny bag is, I believe, an accessory, and so not practical at all. The upshot? I’ll have to figure out somewhere else to put my house keys.