I’m almost positive my first ever exposure to any kind of Polene bag was when I was randomly watching a video on Chase Amie’s YouTube channel. And I just died inside for this chic little mini bag.
There was something about the beautiful and unique shape, the elevated hardware, and the fact that so few people seemed to really have the bag that made it crazy appealing. We all know I love my Neverfulls – but wow is it awesome to find a more luxury brand that hasn’t yet reached full mass appeal (or like, a luxury price point).
It’s sort of like – if ya know, ya know.
I know when I went down the path of purchasing my Polene Numero Un Mini there weren’t a ton of reviews. I have a pretty thorough Polene bag review I filmed for YouTube, but thought let’s do a little blog post version for ya as well.
The Polene Numero Un Mini is a small, crossbody style leather bag (designed to be a “mini” version of their original “Number One” bag). The bag has one chain shoulder strap, a single flap with a magnetic closure, a single interior pocket, as well as a single exterior slip pocket on the back. The bag is also made of grained calf leather.The bag is also made of grained calf leather.
I’m noticing on the website as I write this post there are some design features listed that my bag does not have (such as a zipper and an adjustable strap), so unfortunately I can’t speak to those design elements as they may have been added after I purchased my bag in 2018.
The Numero Un Mini comes in a ton of colors (I’m eyeing the classic black shade) and sometimes in various fabrics (my version, for example, has a suede flap).
As of August 2020, my Polene bag is priced at $350 USD. I personally ended up paying a little less than this price because we actually picked up my bag at the Paris boutique (on what ended up being our engagement trip!). Because of the conversion as well as getting the tax back, I actually ended up saving a pinch of money on this one compared to the online pricing for U.S. customers.
The Polene Numero Un Mini is definitely a small crossbody style bag – but it isn’t really all that “mini” as the name implies. You can actually fit a good deal of items in this bag! I’m able to fit my full size wallet, phone, keys, a small personal items clutch, etc into this bag no problem. I was even able to fit my Olympus EPL9 in during our Paris trip to snap photos each day. For comparison, the sizing is pretty similar to my Celine Nano.
My Polene bag size is 20.5 X 18 X 9 cm.
A huge pro of the Polene Numero Un Mini really is the design of the bag and the fact that you don’t see everyone wearing it. It’s special. To be honest, that’s one of the biggest pros of all Polene handbags. Polene bags aren’t really found en masse here in the U.S. – they’re unique!
The design of this bag is beautifully classic. There is no trendy component to this bag – meaning it won’t go out of style.
I’ve also only seen this bag out and about on the streets of San Francisco maybe twice since returning from Paris in 2018. It’s a rare sighting and feels really special to carry it out.
The Polene Numero Un Mini is made with luxury quality materials (but not at the luxury price – the next pro!). This little bag is made with full-grained calf leather and made in Spain.
I do have to say – I’m really not loving my leather bag collection right now. As someone who is aching to have a more ethical and sustainable wardrobe all around, I’m not sure I’ll be purchasing any more leather bags going forward. But I do have to admit the quality of the materials and make on this lil’ guy is right up there with my more “luxury” pieces.
As stated above, I personally think the price for the luxury quality of this bag is a massive pro – probably the biggest pro on this list.
For a comparable size, leather “luxury” brand bag made in Spain, you’d easily be paying 2-3x more than the Polene Numero Un Mini is priced at.
Is this bag as affordable as say, a Vera Bradley? Absolutely not. But hey, it ain’t that far off.
In reality, I think we all know we overpay when it comes to the true “luxury” brands. I try to keep myself honest – do I love my Neverfulls because they’re high quality (they’re made of PVC not leather) or do I love them because they’re name brand?
With Polene, you’re absolutely getting high quality without the luxury up charge.
I’ve got to be honest – the chain strap on my Numero Un Mini is pretty uncomfortable. While it’s totally tolerable to wear out to lunch or shopping, if I know I have a long day ahead of me I’d much rather reach for a Cuyana crossbody where I get both style and comfort.
I know the comfort of the chain shoulder strap has been a large complaint in all the reviews of this bag I’ve seen – so did want to validate this for all ya’ll considering purchasing this mini bag. It’s darn cute, but not exactly built for all day comfort. If you’re looking for a Polene bag that’s a little bit easier on the shoulder, I’d check out their styles that have leather crossbody straps instead of chain straps.
The updated online description of this bag mentions an adjustable strap, but unless I’m really missing something on mine – it’s absolutely not adjustable. I’m really hoping they have a “new” version of the bag for ya’ll with an adjustable strap because the strap on my frame was really long. I’m on the petite side and ended up having to tie a knot in the chain to get it to fit me properly.
While the exclusivity of the bag makes it crazy fun to wear, the fact that you can only buy the bag online (or in their Paris shop) makes getting your hands on it a little annoying. This is a major first world problem – they ship to the U.S.! But it is a little bit of a bummer that unless you have a trip to Paris planned, you can’t try the bag on prior to purchasing.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I truly haven’t found a great dupe for any Polene bag, let alone the Numero Un Mini. These bags are so artfully designed, I’ve really never found any other bags that look quite like them. Plus, I’m a big believer in shopping capsule wardrobe style – where it makes more sense to invest in a long lasting piece that won’t go out of style rather than a cheap dupe.
At the end of the day when it comes to a solid handbag review, all you really care about is knowing is it worth it?
For me – this one’s a huge resounding YES. I love my Numero Un Mini and think it’s well worth the price.
Do you own a Numéro Un Mini or are you hoping to buy one? Drop your experience in the comments below!
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