I’ve been experiencing a kind of minimalistic approach when it comes to my wardrobe and handbag collection for the last year or two – meaning I’ve considerably downsized the amount of clothing and bags I own. Essentially any piece I consider incorporating into my wardrobe or outfits needs to be something which I genuinely adore and envision working for me for years to come. Classic, quality and versatile items are where it’s at – and this is where we start with the Polene Numero Neuf mini handbag.
Wearing: Anna Thomas black crew neck cashmere knit; Reiss pink trousers; Isabel Marant black leather belt; Lacoste sneakers; Tiffany & Co heart tag toggle necklace; Cartier Tank Française watch; Polene Numero Neuf mini bag in noir.
One of the first things which drew me towards this handbag was its unique design – the shape and draping of the leather is simply unlike any other handbag available in the market. This is the kind of handbag which makes a statement and easily crosses over from work to weekend wear. I’ve shared an unboxing, initial review and a what fits inside video on my YouTube channel, which I’ll link at the end of this post. We’ll get into the review now and I’ll try to provide you with as much detail as possible in case you’re considering whether this is the next handbag for you.
Design and quality
I felt it was important to start the review here because design and quality are some of my personal top considerations when deciding whether or not to purchase a new handbag. This is the third Polene handbag in my collection and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. After owning the Numero Un and Numero Un Nano handbags, the main reasons why I keep returning to Polene are the high-quality and eye-catching designs which they continuously produce.
Polene’s Numero Neuf mini handbag is designed in an interesting mix of structure and fluidity in terms of its shape. A soft trapezoid, it features softly draping folds of material on each side which lend to a curved appearance from the base upwards. There’s a sense of harmony and balance to the design and it’s the type of handbag that catches your eye but not due it’s overt branding.
Speaking of branding, Polene have retained their signature and oh so very French approach by keeping it minimal. The branding elements are there, but only upon very close inspection. The brand is only noted on one side of the handbag at the lower end and is engraved upon various elements of the hardware. If you’re drawn towards handbags that aren’t emblazoned with logos, then the Numero Neuf mini is sure to please… it’s one of those “if you know then you know” handbags.
The versatility of this handbag is another drawcard. First and foremost, this is a top handle bag. With a wide strap it easily and comfortably fits into the crook of your arm or your hands. Add on the removable strap and voila, you have a crossbody bag. The strap is adjustable which is perfect for customizing how you want to wear it – crossbody or over the shoulder. Being petite at 5ft 1in, I really appreciate the adjustability of the strap. Wearing it over my shoulder on the highest strap notch ensures the bag sits comfortably right at my hips.
Like so many of Polene’s handbags, the quality is another element which is certainly apparent as soon as you unbox it. The feel of the material, the unique design, the straight stitching, attention to detail with the hardware, even the inner lining…. All of these elements combined are a testament to the Numero Neuf mini being a high-quality luxury handbag. Oh, and another bonus? This handbag is very light, weighing in at 430 grams when empty.
Material and sizing
Made from 100% full grained Italian calfskin leather, it feels buttery soft to the touch yet has been surprisingly durable. I showed this handbag to my Mum and even she made a comment on how lovely and soft the leather was. I don’t feel the need to baby this handbag and it’s been my go-to for short trips up to the local shops (the kind where you pop your handbag on the car seat quickly) and on weekends.
The inner lining is made from 100% twilled cotton. There’s no inside pocket for the mini size however the standard Numero Neuf handbag features an inner zipperedd pocket. One of the drawbacks for this bag is that the inner lining is black on the black leather version, meaning it can be difficult to see what’s actually inside. The other colours in the Numero Neuf mini range don’t have the same issue as they feature lighter coloured lining.
I decided to select the Numero Neuf in the mini size, after realizing that the Polene Numero Un Nano in taupe was my most-worn handbag over the last 12 months. Downsizing to smaller handbags has meant the bags I’m carrying no longer dwarf my petite frame and it’s been easy to adjust to reducing the number of items I carry inside. The mini size measures in at 14cms height, 23cms length and 13.5cms width and adding the adjustable strap changes the height to 24.5cms.
What fits inside
Given this is a mini size handbag I feel it’s important to share what fits inside – although a handbag might look good, part of our due diligence prior to purchasing is understanding what we can actually fit inside it! One of the surprising things is how much space there is, and I believe this is due to its uniquely shaped design. The handbag is quite wide for its mini size and the curved design on the lower section of the bag means you can fit more items within the interior than what you might initially envisage.
I’m able to fit my keys, Samsung S20 mobile phone, pack of mints, lipstick, lip-balm, coin purse, mini hand cream, hand sanitizer and sunglasses inside – with room left to spare. There is a magnetic button closure on the inner top section, and it would be challenging for someone to slip their hand inside the top without you being aware. So, this is a plus when it comes to security.
Colour range and pricing
Another consistent factor with Polene’s handbag range is the variety of colours that are available. The Numero Neuf mini colour range currently has 11 different shades including two boucle shearling style versions; you’re sure to find one to suit your wardrobe and personal style colour palette. I adore the lighter colours such as the buttery yellow and light blue leather versions. Ultimately, I decided upon the classic black as I needed a black handbag in my collection after downsizing.
In previous reviews and videos of my Polene handbags, I’ve stated that personally I feel Polene’s handbags are very well priced considering the mixture of unique design, quality materials and construction. The Numero Neuf mini retails at an affordable price of $490 AUD / $390 USD / £310 GBP / 320€ EUR.
Pros and cons
Pros for the Polene Numero Neuf mini are:
- Unique design and eye-catching shape
- Quality leather and composition
- Light weight
- Versatility of wear – top handle, over the shoulder or crossbody
- Fits more inside than initially expected
- Mini size handbag so you may need to reduce the amount you carry if you aren’t used to smaller sized handbags
- Black leather version has black inner lining
My overall thoughts on this handbag
I’ve had the Polene Numero Neuf Mini on my handbag wish-list for the better part of a year, specifically due to its unique design. After getting used to smaller handbags thanks to my Polene Numero Un Nano, I was confident I’d be able to get a lot of use out of the Numero Neuf Mini. Over the last month, this has proven to be the case and I’m very happy this is now in my “pared back” or “refined” handbag collection.
This Numero Neuf mini was gifted to me by Polene for PR purposes – I was very fortunate to be able to select the handbag which I felt would most suit my personal style. Given this exact bag had been on my wish-list for so long, it was an easy choice for me. I can honestly say that I would be happy to purchase this handbag with my own money as well, as I was prepared to do just that.
I adore how softly structured it is, the feel of the leather and how much it can fit inside. In fact, I feel this does fit slightly more inside compared to my Numero Un Nano (you can read my review of the Numero Un Nano handbag here). If you’re after a slightly larger bag, I’d recommend you upsize to the standard Numero Neuf size.
The Numero Neuf mini is a “chameleon” style handbag… it’s so adaptable that it suits all manner of events. I can easily incorporate this into my office/work wear outfits, casual off-duty or even when travelling. It’s stylish and eye-catching without being overpowering and doesn’t weigh me down when carrying it. All in all, this is one of my favourite Polene handbags and one which I’d wholeheartedly recommend to anyone considering purchasing a mini sized bag.