Gemma tries it on: You need a mini handbag like you need a micropig


Small equals cute. Puppies, kittens, babies, cupcakes, miniature dogs, micro pigs and chicks are all much nicer because of their slight size. It helps if they're fluffy, too (with the exception of babies – that would be unfortunate).

When I noticed the trend for mini bags, I didn't coo and squeal as I would if I had seen, say, a baby monkey, but nevertheless I wanted one. I needed one in exactly the same way that I need a micro pig. But a micro bag doesn't take quite as much looking after, so I'll stick the piglet back on my list of fantasy pets.

I was sure I wanted a shoulder or cross-body strap with a bag; I have a couple of over-sized clutches and, to be honest, I find them irritating. I tend to over-fill them with lipstick I'll never apply and then constantly worry about its whereabouts when I'm on the dancefloor. It looks silly to dance with it under your arm and my dancing-around-the-handbag days are over.

The first one I considered was a purple envelope shoulder bag from Sophie Hulme (£265,, but it had sold out with more stock coming soon – hardly surprising as she had won the Emerging Talent in Accessories Award at the British Fashion Awards just the night before. Her bags are more than worth a look if you're in the market for a new one – she has a modern aesthetic and her tote bag was the most carried at the last round of fashion shows.

I spied a lovely hot-pink one from Coach (£120,, below) – I loved its simplicity and its poppy colour, thinking it would look great against my otherwise black or dull-coloured clobber. Coach is a hugely successful handbag brand in the US and only launched in the UK last year, but with new shop openings, the brand is slowly gaining legs here now, too.

So I took my new 'mini cross-body' bag home, ready for some weekend use, but I must confess I came up against some problems… I was going for lunch with my sister, so I began the bag change-over process from my much larger day handbag. I don't travel light.

Realising my purse, stuffed full of receipts and old train tickets was never going to fit, I decanted my bank cards and petty cash and put them into the back compartment. Then was the turn of my iPhone… but the bag was full.

What about my make-up bag? It's small and I carry it everywhere (and obviously, I hardly ever re-apply, but it's my comfort blanket). So that got passed to my sister to put in her handbag.

The next problem was keys. I hate taking off individual keys; I'll only lose the loose key and break a nail in the process, so they got passed to my sister, too. So did my Blackberry… She isn't as fanatical about mini bags as I am.

My advice? Buy one: it's a great way to add a bit of life to your outfit. (As long as you have someone to carry all your necessities for you.)