Probably also for neatniks. Neatniks are welcome to check it out and give their seal of approval. 😀 Despite some drawbacks (it is massively heavy, and also massive), it is the only purse I have ever actually been excited about. I am finally no longer worried about losing my keys, wallet, or phone.
Aspirational Upwardly Mobile Pretty
Here is the Mini as it appears on Dagne Dover’s website:
As you can see, it’s a structured bag with minimalist lines. Which is nice, because I feel like there is nothing better than visual structure to make you look way more organized. The thing that’s amazing is that this purse has actually made me more organized, which years of ‘helpful advice’ thoroughly failed to do.
The Organizational System Is Awesome
My impulse is to just chuck things into a bag. I hate organizing. The Dagne Dover Mini is set up is so intuitive it works on people like me. It has deep, wide inner pockets perfectly sized for cell phones, small notebooks, and wallets. I can’t literally just drop my phone into my purse and have it end up in the right place, but it feels that way!
My wallet’s a different story– it fits snugly into its pocket rather than being droppable– but I have a pretty thick wallet. If you have a smaller wallet, or you’re slightly more inclined to fuss with pockets than I am, the wallet pocket will work well for you too.
The Mini also has a padded compartment for an iPad, which is great for people who actually have an iPad.
The purse includes a key strap, and both sides of the purse interior have embedded rings for attaching said strap. That was an extra bonus for me, since I have been using a similar system to attach my wallet to my purse for years. Now I can access either my keys or my wallet just by tugging on a strap.
Additionally, the rings for the crossbody strap hide behind the rings for the handles. The Mini also has two different hidden zipper pockets for stuff you don’t use as often, one on the outside front by that zipper you can vaguely see on the above image. That one’s a little uncomfortable to reach into, though, so I don’t use it too often. There are also two pen pockets next to the cell phone pocket.
Overall, the system is so great that I can locate anything I need within seconds, and it’s had intangible benefits, too. It’s so organized that leaving receipts or business cards lying around in it doesn’t feel right: this is a purse that’s motivating. And it thinks of things I’ve never seen a purse think of before. It even locates its insulated, waterproof drink holder directly under where the purse unzips, so you can get your drink out quickly when you’re thirsty.
(Nerdy tangent: experience tells me the Mini can hold a drink container up to 8.5 inches / 22cm in height and still zip easily. I recommend the Zojirushi SM-SA48-NM if you want a mug that will keep your drinks hot for an entire day. I measured my own mug to get its height. The diagram on Amazon says the mug is 23 cm tall: do not trust it. The same diagram claims that 23 cm is the same thing as 9.2 inches. )
It’s Thoughtfully And Durably Constructed
Speaking of drinks, the Mini is also very forgiving if you tend to, um, have poor awareness of space. Other than handles and straps, the purse is entirely made of coated canvas. In practical terms? It’s waterproof and easy to clean. If you spill hot chocolate into it, you can wipe it up with a paper towel and/or water. You do not need to get rid of it and buy a new purse after desperately hoping you can wash the purse lining out in the sink!
The purse is very finely stitched together– my estimate is 8 stitches to an inch on the canvas. For those concerned about the pointless gold plating, apparently 14k gold is more durable than you’d expect gold to be. And the purse has a large, metal-toothed zipper, which is sturdier than more common coil or plastic zippers.
Seriously, look at this zipper.
Overall, I genuinely cannot imagine a situation in which any part of this purse breaks, which is why I put it under the “buy it once” category. I used to buy $30 purses about once a year. This is the only purse I’ve ever found that sincerely felt like an investment.
Dagne Dover is great about returns, and their customer service has generally been very helpful every time I have asked anything.
Minor Visual Cons
Firstly, the top of my brand-new bag was already puckering after less than a week of use. That seems like a thing that should not happen two days after buying a bag that cost nearly $200 on sale.
Secondly, logos and branding are all over this purse in ways that aren’t visible on their website. The name ‘Dagne Dover’ is written on the zipper pulls, which I wouldn’t mind at all…
…except that their logo is stuck at the end of the zipper….
…and their name is also embossed on the key strap, and at the top of the purse strap.
Five logos on a purse is too much for me. I bought Dagne Dover’s bags partly because they gave a lot of lip service to how product design should “speak for itself, not scream itself” and because they said they disliked bags “covered in ostentatious logos.” To their credit, most of the logos are inconspicuous, but two– the one on the strap and the one on the keychain strap– are not. Also, the fact that they’re not visible anywhere on Dagne Dover’s photo-filled website feels kind of dishonest.
The Mini is surprisingly heavy at 2.9 pounds, but that’s because the materials are so sturdy, and that’s clearly mentioned on the website. Apparently the Mini used to be even heavier before they moved to overseas manufacturing. However, there are a few design elements that strike me as really inappropriate given the weight of the bag.
The crossbody strap is 0.7 inches wide, or exactly the width of my thumb. That means it digs into your shoulder. A lot. It bothered me enough that I bought a guitar strap pad to relieve the pressure. (And the guitar strap pad slides around, so I have to readjust it constantly, and it’s bulky, and it doesn’t match the bag.) For all those reasons, I’d recommend getting the black Dagne Dover Mini if you’re planning on getting a lot of use out of the crossbody strap and replacing it with a wider, more sensible strap.
Also, there are pyramid-stud-shaped feet on the bag, which is a nice touch, but since the bag is so heavy I always worry I’ll dent a leather chair or couch if I leave it on there too long. Possibly I worry too much.
I initially got the Tiny Tote but returned it after my cell phone couldn’t even fit into its cell phone pocket. Dagne Dover’s customer service told me all their cell phone pockets were the same size. I decided to try the Mini just in case, and the cell phone pocket was the perfect size to drop my phone into. So keep in mind that if one purse’s cell phone pocket works for you, the next might not. Also keep in mind that Dagne Dover’s customer service is great but doesn’t know everything.
I really wish Dagne Dover offered a size between the Tiny and the Mini. The Tiny was, IMO, so small as to be basically unusable. It had the same large, thick zipper substantial canvas flaps of the Mini, which meant it was hard to get my hand past the flaps and into the bag. The Mini, on the other hand, is so gigantic I had to get used to it.
Size comparison of Mini and Tiny Tote
Also, vegans, take note: this is not a vegan bag. (Again, they clearly state this on the website, but I missed it and wasted customer service’s time asking them a question they had already answered. So I thought I’d pass on the info in case others had this question!) The purse handles, straps, and a few other assorted trimmings are all leather. To their credit, when I asked customer service about it, they said they’d pass along the idea of a vegan bag to the design team.
While I still wish it were lighter and had a wider crossbody strap, those cons didn’t matter enough to offset how great it is. It’s so wonderfully intuitive, beautiful, and well-constructed that I actually got rid of the rest of my handbags. I just couldn’t see a situation where I would pick a different bag over this one.