My Year of Carrying a Teeny-Tiny Bag

Photo: Getty Images, Jacquemus

In October of 2018, I bought myself a Jacquemus bag roughly the size of an orange. I was looking for a crossbody that wouldn’t hurt my shoulders, and at 4.5 inches by 3.5 inches, “Le Chiquito” was so small it hardly existed. It was also by a designer I could afford (with the help of a generous gift certificate) and, more importantly, it was stupid cute.

At some point during the following months, I felt that my purchase was monumental enough to note its one-year mark in my calendar with an all-day event labeled “Tiny bag anniversary.” It was a reminder to my future self to reflect on the bag, because despite my earnest desires, wearing it has always felt like something of a stunt. So, here I am. What do I have to say for myself? What have I learned?

My first takeaway is that tiny bags make people very angry. At face-value, “Le Chiquito” is offensively small. “What do you even put in there?” people ask me. My family still laughs at me for it. My roommate still shakes her head when I walk out the door.

I get it. A designer bag the size of an orange is objectively ridiculous. The thing is, though: I simply love my tiny bag. It’s my little friend that I care for and defend. It’s us against the world of big things. Any negativity directed toward me or it only makes me love it more. I feel immense joy, thrill, pride, and validation whenever I wear it, which is anytime I don’t need to carry a anything other than my credit cards, keys, headphones, and some lipstick. (They all fit! Nothing else, though.) I’ll show you if you don’t believe me. Showing people is now my favorite party trick.

Once people see that I’m able to carry all the “essentials” in my tiny bag, they usually stop giving me such a hard time. Functionality excuses an indulgence in fashion, I guess. To buy something purely for aesthetic pleasure would make me an idiot, but because I can carry my keys and some credit cards in there, I must have some wits about me.

I hate this attitude. The worst part is that I’ve spent so much energy trying to prove that my tiny bag is functional that I’ve almost come to believe it. Almost. This brings me to my second takeaway: My tiny bag is not, in fact, all that functional. But if I’m being honest with myself, I don’t really care.

Yes, my tiny bag does have one fatal flaw, and after a year, I think it’s time to own it. It might fit my credit cards and my keys, but it does not fit my phone. In times of crisis, like when I’m not wearing any pockets, I’ve had to carry my phone under my armpit like a clutch. I also may or may not have stuffed my phone down my Spanx, which is disgusting. Doing this really does make me feel stupid. I have other bags, but some combination of liking the way my Jacquemus bag looks, and enjoying the attention I get when people ask me about it, makes me a glutton for punishment.

Which leads me to my third and final conclusion: The real problem isn’t that my tiny bag is too tiny. The problem is that my phone, the source of so many issues, is too big. If only I could stop carrying it entirely in 2020.

My Year of Carrying a Teeny-Tiny Bag