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How To Style A Mini Bag

Whether it’s through street style snaps, the Instagram feed, or in the latest issue of your favourite fashion magazine, there is no denying that the ‘it’ bag this season is, well, mini.

RELATED: Top Fashion Trends From The Parisian Catwalks

Who has the strength or stamina to carry around a huge tote bag filled with everything they could possibly need, and then some? Here are just a few ways to wear the mini bag for any type of occasion.

Oversized sweater

Whether you’re a brunch type of girl or just prefer waking up after noon on the weekend, then you’re probably well acquainted with the oversized sweater. Spruce up your outfit by pairing it with a structured mini bag and finish off with a comfy pair of sneakers.

How To Style A Mini Bag

Fluffy coat

While we’re slowly heading towards the warmer weather, a fluffy coat is a must-have for the in-between seasons. Choose a cross-body mini bag to store all the essentials (phone, lipstick, keys, cards) and leave everything else at home.

How To Style A Mini Bag

Tank top

Refine an otherwise casual outfit with the help of a classic, black mini bag. If you like monochromes such as Sara Donaldson from Harper and Harley, choose a textured material which will stand out amongst your outfit.

How To Style A Mini Bag

Denim jeans

Take those standard denim jeans to the next level by pairing them with a warm jumper and a mini bag. It can act as the stand-out piece of your outfit, and just think of the cost-per-wear, score!

How To Style A Mini Bag


Match your bag to your outfit (especially if it’s a bright pop of yellow) for a real stand-out ensemble. Our favourite is this picture of blogger Golestaneh spotted below at Paris Fashion Week.

How To Style A Mini Bag

Ankle boots

Pair your favourite ankle boots with a cross-body mini bag for ultimate comfort and style. If your outfit is looking a bit plain and lacklustre, throw on a scarf to keep cosy in the colder weather.

How To Style A Mini Bag

Leather jacket

Nothing says ‘I mean business’ like a leather jacket and it’s also the perfect accessory for those cooler nights. Layer with a sweater or long-sleeve blouse, and throw on your mini bag over the top. Store your essentials in the pouch for easy access throughout the day or night.

How To Style A Mini Bag

Images via Poppy Delevingne, Golestaneh, Lei Van Kash, Symphony of Silk, Sonya Esman, Harper and Harley, The Zhush

Wardrobe Essential: The Oversized Clutch

If you don’t already have an oversized clutch in your collection, then you most definitely need one!

This simple accessory can be used causally or for an evening out, and is a great alternative to a satchel or handbag. Get some inspiration from a few style icons on how to style your own.

RELATED: How To Dress Like A French Voguette

Printed clutch

If you like to mix your prints, then an eclectic clutch is just what the doctor ordered. Mix and match with some of your favourite cropped pants and blazers for an instant pop of colour during the year.


Tan clutch

Try a neutral or tan coloured clutch if you want to bring some life to a subdued outfit. Not only do these clutches have a great wear, but they are casual enough to use during the day as well as the evening. Choose silver hardware to match your usual jewellery, or rose gold if you love to mix your metals every now and again.


Suede clutch

A suede clutch is a great option if you’re a boho girl at heart, and religiously wear denim and peasant-style shirts. Make like Jules Sarinana and wear a sheer blouse with denim cut-off’s and tribal clutch to complete your overall look.


Black structured clutch

Not only do black accessories compliment any type of outfit, they’re also really easy to find! Fit all the essentials such as your phone, wallet, keys, and a few makeup products into this clutch without the need for a huge handbag. A matte black finish is perfect for women who want to stay away from gold and silver hardware which can shorten the lifespan of a classic clutch.


Envelope clutch

Lastly, a versatile envelope clutch is one of your best options for transitioning an outfit from day to night. Throw in the essentials into this small carry-all, and wear with a pair of stiletto heels for instant glam.


Image via Ivana Revic, Stackdealz, Sincerely Jules, Carolines Mode, My Style Pill

Why Your Handbag Is Doing You Damage

Jennifer Dodge is a Live Well health expert and founder of her own physiotherapy company The Office Athlete. She shares the science behind why your trusty handbag could be hurting you, as well as ways to prevent handbag-related damage.

“Over the past 5 years, researchers have supported evidence stating that handbag related strains in females are on the rise and have been occurring to the increase in average weight carried. According to a recent Australian study, the weight we carry around on our shoulders has increased by 38% to 2.5 kilograms along with an increase in the overall size of bags for Australian women.

What this does to our bodies is alter our cranio-vertebral angle, which in lay terms means our head-on-neck posture. Females show an overall increase in forward leaning of their head compared to males and this occurs within the first 5 minutes of carrying a bag and walking. So, add some high-heels and a take-away latte in the other hand to your posture and things aren’t looking too good for your spine.

‘Huge City Bag’ injuries are on the up and it can be hard to say which style and way to carry it in particular is better for you – since there are detrimental effects with each:

The arm bag: This is your ‘for show’ tote that hangs off the elbow, which can cause compression related symptoms to the superficial web of nerves and common tendon sites at your elbow joint, along with the constant tension of your contralateral postural muscles in your upper-back.

The shoulder bag: This is your cram-everything-in-for-the-day kind of bag. It can cause an increase in muscle fatigue and tonicity to your upper Trapezius and Scalene muscles both on the carrying side and the opposite in order to counteract the force. This can result in the progression of first rib elevation, neural compression, unnecessary shearing on your skin, tension headaches and that chronic ‘tight shoulder’ pain. Orthopaedic and spinal studies show how symmetry in the weight carried (for example, by using a backpack) reduces the overall head-on-neck postures and spinal adaptations having to be adopted.”

Tips to reduce the damage your handbag is causing:

  1. Reduce the weight. A simple and very effective way to reducing the overall strain. Empty your handbag and have a look at all those items that accumulate to that 2-3kg you’re carrying around in there. The total weight of your handbag should be no more than 10% of your body-weight.
  2. Switch sides and bags often. This way you cannot get into a structural habit that will cause strain over time. It occurs in the first 5 minutes of carrying, so make sure you alternate shoulders frequently.
  3. Break it up. Carry two smaller bags instead of one big and heavy bag. It is important to even out the load and ensure your posture remains as symmetrical as possible – this will result in a reduction in overall strain. A recent study from the American Chiropractic institute indicated that evenly distributed weight decreased lateral spinal sway when ascending and descending stairs and chairs. Which translates to ‘just carry two bags for the sake of your spine’.
  4. Keep it close to the body. The further away your tote is from your torso, the heavier it is. Carrying that large bag nearly as big as you on your elbow may make you look Olsen twin-esque, but it isn’t functional in the slightest. It makes the overall weight of your bag heavier and loads up on the delicate neuromuscular structures in your elbow. Ouch!
  5. Go with wider-straps, or even better two straps. Whether it is Coach or Kmart, evidence supports that handbag weight is more evenly distributed over your shoulder area with wider straps. This can help with reducing the sheering of your skin and local compression your shoulder endures throughout the day.

With a staggering 80 per cent of Australians experiencing back pain at some point in their lives, it is important to see the risk factors at present with your handbag carrying habits and make a few changes that will keep your spine happy and healthy.

Jennifer Dodge is a Physiotherapist and Live Well Expert. She is the founder of The Office Athlete, where she specialises in workplace physiotherapy and injury prevention.  

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