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As I have stated many times before, I love mini bags.
I actually use to be a huge tote fan, and that worked out while I was a student and working outside of the home mostly. But once I became a mom and had to carry the kitchen sink with me, I really started to appreciate the ability to carry a smaller bag when I could.
I personally love the wallet on chain style bags (WOCs) because I can toss them in my diaper bag and use them like a regular wallet, or if it’s just me running errands, it doubles as a small, lightweight bag that carriers my essentials.
The options for WOC style bags has exploded in the last few years as they have gained popularity, and many of these bags have actually gotten down to the micro sizes.
So for this post, I decided that I would do a quick overview and comparison of two of the smallest options currently on the market: the Coach Mini Wallet on A Chain and the Chanel Cardholder on Chain.
We will be looking at overall size, functionality, quality and of course, price.
TLDR here: I love both these micro WOCs and have been using them frequently this summer for outings. I think they are worth the spend. But if you would like to do a deep dive into these WOCs with me before you buy, then keep reading.
The Incredibly Small Specs of a Micro WOC
As I hope you can tell from the photos on this post, these WOCs are laughably tiny.
Like, they feel like a joke that these design houses are playing on us. They easily fit in the palm of my hand and can be stretched to be the length of my thumb…maybe.
These micro WOCs are designed to carry a few cards and that’s really it. Yet, I still find them to be incredibly useful in my daily life.
The Coach Mini Wallet On A Chain (MWOAC) has come in a few different canvases and leathers (I have mine in black glove leather with gold hardware) with 2 card slots on the inside, a large compartment for smaller items and a slip pocket in the back for receipts or other cards in the back. With a depth of about 1 inches and a height of 3 inches, this ‘bag’ isn’t going to hold your phone. But I have been able to use every millimeter of that 1 inch in a useful way (more on that below).
It features a metal debatable chain with a drop just over 23 inches. So it’s a little long, but not by too much. Since it’s so small at just 4 inches in length, it doesn’t bounce off your hip in an annoying manner when you’re out for walk or shopping.
In comparison, the Chanel Cardholder on Chain (CoC) is just slightly larger than the MWOAC at 4.25 inches long, 3.25 inches wide and 1 inch in depth. However, unlike the MWOAC, the COC is angled at the bottom, so there isn’t as much usable space down there.
It has an accordion opening style with 1 slip pocket in the front that can hold a card, maybe two and two equally sized compartments just behind that slip pocket to hold other cards and smaller goods.
The CoC features the classic Chanel metal chain with matching leather interlaced through it with a strap drop of approximately 21.21 inches. On my frame. This comes up to about the top of my hip (I’m around 5’5) so it’s not bad at all, however I know many folks find this length to be slightly annoying if you are taller.
Functionality in Tiny Spaces
Micro bags such as these are not going to work for everyone. But I do feel like it fills a very specific need. These micro bags are prefect for those who are either A) wanting something small enough to replace their pockets or B) looking for something they can easily pop in and out of a bigger bag for when they want to use something smaller for a short period of time.
These bags are truly for the times when you don’t want to be burdened with anything that’s not absolutely essential, So I find that I mostly use my MWOAC and COC when I’m going for short walks, taking the kiddos to the play grounds or when I need to run into a store, but don’t want to lug my diaper bag in with me.
While it doesn’t fit my phone, or a mask that well for that matter, it can easily fit my ID, my 4 most used cards, some cash if needed, my car FOB, some lip chap, a hand wipe and a few emergency pills.
Do I generally like to carry more on my person? Absolutely. But these are the bare essentials that I need while I’m out, and I find that it’s so much easier to be dealing with a lot less. And since I tend to wear a smart watch, I actually need to bring a phone with me most of the time since I can make calls and text from my wrist.
These bag force you to just take the bare minimum and to re think what is actually necessary for curtain outings. Again, these bags aren’t perfect for every situation, but they are GREAT for when you really need or want to downsized.
The Two “C’s” of Quality
While Chanel has been experiencing some quality issues as of late, over all the the brand is pretty solid when it comes to making pieces that will last.
While this item is new from the spring 2021 collection and thus hasn’t had the chance to stand the test of time just yet, I do feel pretty confident that with normal use, this item will last.
This CoC is made of super soft caviar leather, so its a bit more resistant to scratches than their lambskin items would be. I feel like this more robust leather is a great choice for an item like this because its very likely to be bumped and kinked into things just due to where it falls on the body and how it is generally used.
And while the chain–for me– leaves a bit more to be desired, the over all quality of it is nice, It is just the right size and weight to not dig into your shoulders, making it great for wearing it for longer periods of time.
Over all, I think it’s a wonderfully made piece from Chanel that will last years with proper care, just like many of their items due.
I feel like Coach is less praised for their work, but honestly, their items are of amazing quality too.
My particular MWOAC is made of their signature glove tanned leather, which is super soft and flexible yet durable.
The chain feels quite substance too. It’s not super heavy at all, but it does feel like it has some weight to it. Even still, it sits comfortably on your shoulders all day.
Paying for a Name
Over all, both the MWOAC and the COC are of great quality. They both feel so nice to hold and are both made of durable materials. While the design is different, essentially, these are the same item. With normal use, these both will last you a long time.
All that said, there is a drastic difference in the price point of these two items.
I was able to purchase my MWOAC from Coach on sale for $51+ 10% cash back with Rakuten.v However the original cost is $128 USD
The CoC started off at $1,200 USD this year (I believe there has since been a price increase) in stores. I ended up buying mine new from Fashionphile and had to pay a mark up $200 more for it.
So why is one just over 9x the price of the other if they boil down to be the same item?
As with many things in the fashion world, it comes down to branding power.
It is my strong personal opinion that Coach makes items that are just as luxurious as Chanel. The company seems to take great pride in their work and the brand as a whole has been working to great more iconic pieces.
That said, Coach is still viewed as more of a contemporary brand–even thought it is almost 75 years old, where a Chanel is a bonified classic design house.
Coach offers a more fair price for their items. However, there will always be demand for Chanel so they have the ability to raise their prices and still have people happily pay for them.
As I have said at the beginning, I love both of these micro bags.
They are defiantly not for everyone, but perfect for those who are looking to only carry a few things, something that they can transition in and out of other bags or for something that may be a bit more desecrate.
Both the MWOAC, the CoC and all their micro iterations are wonder options if you’re in the market for something small. If I had to just pick one thought, I would say, I would end up picking the Coach MWOAC.
The overall design is much more functional in my opinion, making it much easier to store and sort through my smaller items.
And while this seems like splitting hairs a bit, I prefer the longer drop and the overall feel Coach chain. And with it costing 9x less than the Chanel version, it just kinda of seems like a no brainer to me.
Of course thought, I’m over the moon to have my Coco candy CoC as well. This collection from Chanel this spring was just so pretty and I loved the aesthetic of the pink and white pearls. Plus it was the prefect shade of light pink to match with a ton of my outfits. I can’t imagine not getting this item either.
These micro bags can be very hard to find at the moment since they are very on trend, especially with places opening back up. If you’re interested, I’ll link some options currently available below.