“Lightness and weightiness are both linked to a philosophy of life. They are choices in life. Heaviness can be the embodiment of a sense of responsibility, the expression of maturity, the result of profound meditation or the emanation of a search for meaning in life. Weightiness, however, may also lead to a feeling of oppression, when it is felt as a burden, an unbearable burden. Then time has come to let loose and things finally lose their gravity.Time has come to release, to get rid of a stifling environment and to get free of any physical or mental dependence." - "The unbearable heaviness of being," by Erik Pevernagie

The toy bag trend was one from which I was certain I would abstain, as I had always preferred bags with ample room for trinkets. I had convinced myself that I needed my oversized wallet, a pair of emergency flats, a travel first-aid kit, a substantial cosmetic bag filled with toiletries, a tablet for entertainment, two paperbacks if I were marooned, a pair of scissors, a roll of tape, glasses, sunglasses, and fifty pieces of miscellaneous papers—receipts, business cards, and random fast food napkins—accumulated over the week.

A trip some years ago showed me that I really don’t need any of the above; in fact, I sometimes use my oversized bag as a psychological crutch. While I still like all the giant bags I collected over the years, I find myself reaching for them less on the weekends. Furthermore, since I bought this Madewell phone case, I sometimes wear no bag at all.

But this post is not about my nascent minimalism, it’s about the Prada Saffiano Vernice Small Promenade Satchel in Scarlatto that I bought last fall.

 The Prada Promenade, with a dome top and a trapezoidal shape, is constructed out of Prada’s signature saffiano leather and comes in four sizes: large, medium, small, and mini.

MINI SMALL MEDIUM LARGE
HEIGHT 5″ 7″ 9″ 10″
WIDTH 7″ 10″ 13″ 14″
DEPTH 3″ 4″ 5″ 6″
WEIGHT 1 LB 1.5 LBS 2 LBS 3 LBS
PRICE $1,060 $1,850 $2,200 $2,400

Prices, consistent with like items from Prada’s line, are infused with an extreme designer markup. I wish I could say the quality justifies the price, but it’s mostly the Prada name that commands these price tags. And, despite the euro being weak against a strong dollar, price increases have been frequent (the price of the small Promenade has gone up $80 since I bought it six months ago).

But dwelling on prices when talking about designer bags is unproductive, so let’s focus on to why the Promenade may be a superior choice compared to other small bags.

For one, it should appeal to fans—and there are many—of the Louis Vuitton Alma, one of the French fashion house’s bestsellers. The Promenade is similar in price to the Alma in Epi leather, but the saffiano and Epi leathers are different enough (though both are more scratch resistant than nappa leather) that fans of the Alma may decide to collect both. The Promenade is also sold with a standard long strap that is not offered for most Almas.

The Promenade features a two-way zip-around closure, of which I am not the biggest fan; the bag opens too widely for my taste, which is a spilling hazard.

All sizes have top handles, but only the medium, small, and mini Promenade have a removable long shoulder/crossbody strap.

The small, medium, and large sizes have two open compartments separated by a center zip compartment, whereas the mini has only one cavity with a single wall slip pocket.

I think smaller bags are most fun in bright colors (though who can resist Prada’s cammeo pink) so decided to keep the small Promenade in Scarlatto, a vibrant lipstick red. Unlike the mini, which is so tiny as to be almost unusable, the small is large enough to accommodate essentials—a few beauty products, a small wallet or card case, phone, keys, and a few personal items of your choice.

Buy the Prada Promenade Bag in large, medium, small, or mini.

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