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how toTuesday, 20 July 2021

Balenciaga Hourglass: The Ultimate Sizing & Styling Guide

WORDS BY LUCY HARDY

 

Any signature bag worth its status as an icon should be three things — timeless, covetable and symbolic of a brand’s identity. With its mix of classic and quirky style and desirable reputation, the Balenciaga Hourglass bag has shaped up to be a legendary It bag. 

 

Since taking the helm at Balenciaga in 2015, Demna Gvasalia has drawn upon the brand’s couture legacy, taking silhouettes from the archives and injecting them with a contemporary twist that recasts them in the present. The Hourglass is a quintessential example of this. Its curved shape is a reference to Cristobal Balenciaga’s signature Basque coats that nipped in at the waist, creating an hourglass silhouette. The juxtaposition of the traditional top-handle style combined with the novel shape, neon colours and distinctive B logo, makes the Hourglass Balenciaga through and through. 

 

The bag was released at the end of 2019 in a choice of three sizes — XS, Small and Medium. Since then, more sizes (and colours) have been added to the Hourglass family, including a chain style, stretched design resembling ‘90s baguette bags and a mini size, of course. There’s no such thing as the perfect shape or size, it comes down to personal preference, but to help you decide what size Balenciaga Hourglass to buy, we’ve spoken to five Hourglass-owning influencers about what fits in each size and how to style and care for your bag. 

 

 

Lolita Mas (@lolitamas) She/Her

Creative Director based in London, UK, with the Balenciaga Hourglass Mini

 

The Balenciaga Hourglass comes in a selection of sizes, why did you opt for the Mini?
I actually got the Small one around a year ago and it became an absolute wardrobe staple of mine. The Mini though makes a great companion for when I feel like I want to add a bit more fun and edginess to the look. 

When the micro bags came out, I was one in that crowd of people raising their brow looking at them questioning functionality and common sense. However, since they’ve been around for a while now, I finally got the funkiness of the mini size and appreciate it more as an accessory rather than an actual bag. 


What makes the Balenciaga Hourglass a classic?
For me, it’s the perfect balance between modern and classic. The shape is edgy, but not too much to make it too seasonal and bore my eyes to death after a few dozen posts on Instagram. While I absolutely adore how experimental Demna Gvasalia is with the accessories for the brand, the Hourglass is quite a safe option in general, however you can get riskier and get the Mini or opt for a bright neon colour. 


Sizing: Surprisingly, the Hourglass Mini is more spacious than other brands’ micro bags I’ve tried before. It freely fits in my bank card, apartment fob and you can surely squeeze in a little lip/cheek colour pot. It won’t fit your whole life in for sure, but it will let you carry the bare minimum. 


Styling: Because the bag’s size is Mini and the colour I opted for is very toned down, I wanted it to be the contrast to the look I was wearing but also make it day-to-night appropriate. I went for a knitted yellow dress and paired it with an oversized blazer that enhances the caricature size of the bag. The solid colour and plain textures really make the bag and its croc-leather finish stand out as the focal point of the look. Then it’s up to you how you want to carry the bag — hold the top handle or wear it around your neck as a necklace or a cross-body. 


Care: The Hourglass bag is quite stiff when it comes to its shape, so it’s really hard (close to impossible) to bend it or damage it whilst storing — which is perfect for me because I love low-maintenance bags. However, I still try to keep them separate from others in their original dust bags. When it comes to minor marks, the croc finish is perfect because you won’t easily leave any makeup marks or see the dust. For the calfskin, I use a special leather cleaner and conditioner when it needs a bit more shine. 

 

Angela (@baekstageShe/Her

Content Creator based in New York, USA, with the Balenciaga Hourglass XS

 

The Balenciaga Hourglass comes in a selection of sizes, why did you opt for the XS Hourglass bag?
 The mini bag trend is still going strong, and I love that. Although it’s small in size, it has a great impact on your wardrobe. Its mini size and unique shape gives a contemporary vibe. When you wear a structured bag as a cross-body bag, it does not conform to the shape of the body. In many cases it can be too bulky and overbearing, but this size is perfect. 


 
What makes the Balenciaga Hourglass a classic?
 The Balenciaga Hourglass, in my opinion, is a great investment piece in the world of high fashion accessories. Although the bag is not a typical rectangular flap bag, the main body of the bag is still extremely sleek. It maintains its historic traditions, while capturing the essence of the new generation. 

Sizing: In comparison to other mini bags, I think it’s pretty generous when it comes to compact space inside. Despite the not-so-typical rectangular shape, it has decent storage space. I can fit my iPhone Max, card wallet, car keys and lipstick. All the necessities for a night out.


Styling: The best part of this bag is its versatility. You can wear it either dressed up or dressed down. Also, it comes with a removable and adjustable strap that is a great advantage. When I wear something formal, I use it as a tote (detach the strap) to complete a powerful young professional look. As for a loungewear outfit, it’s a great accent to make a casual look more sleek. I love to wear it with jeans, a tank top and a shirt. It’s available in three sizes, and a range of colours and finishes so you can find the one that is perfect for you.


Care: It’s a structured bag so you don’t need to stuff it or lay it down to maintain its shape. Just wipe with a dry cloth whenever you need to and you are ready to go.

Justyna (@justynaczerniak_) She/Her

Influencer based in Poland, with the Small Lime Hourglass

 

The Balenciaga Hourglass comes in a selection of sizes, why did you opt for the Small Lime bag?
Before I answer the question, I have to admit that I have been fascinated by Balenciaga for many years — the ingenuity and bold approach to fashion pursued by all of its Creative Directors. Back to the Balenciaga Hourglass — the bag is available in different sizes but being a petite woman, I liked the Small one best and I think it complements any outfit in a wonderful way.


What makes the Balenciaga Hourglass a classic? 
What catches your eye after the first look at the Balenciaga Hourglass is its unusual shape, which cannot be mistaken with any other handbag created so far. The bag is adorned with a large, eye-catching Balenciaga logo plaque in the form of a metal, silver or gold ‘B’ letter.

The bag not only comes in three sizes, but also many colours. It’s made from many different materials — including my favourite grained leather, shiny leather, as well as leather imitating a snake or crocodile (python, croc-embossed). The unique shape of this bag, its elegant design and quality make it a timeless bag for me, deserving of the name classic.


Sizing: Though seemingly small, it allows you to carry your daily essentials. There is a large compartment and a small zipped compartment for precious little things. Despite the curved shape of this bag, I have to admit that searching for even the smallest items inside it is not a problem at all. I can fit my mobile phone, credit card, car keys and lip gloss in it. What more could I need? 


Styling: My Lime Balenciaga Hourglass bag is the perfect hero colour in the spring palette. I really love to style it with basics such as black and white or blue. It can also work with beige and a classic black leather. I also like the idea of pairing lime green with other neon colours as it’s an energetic combination. But my favourite colour combo is to wear my bag with electric blue and orange. It’s an unexpected colour combination that I will never get bored of. 


Care: Taking care of our handbags is not only a necessity but also a great pleasure that comes from being able to interact with these fashion symbols. I always try to keep my Hourglass in a cotton or silk pouch when I put it on the shelf in my wardrobe. The pouch protects it from damage and also from dust, which damages the leather. In the winter, when the humidity changes during the day, I stuff the bag with newspapers so that the leather doesn’t get deformed. It’s worth remembering to moisturise the leather from time to time to protect it from microcracks. There are many cleaners and conditioners to choose from that specialise in the material from which the bag was made. By taking care of your handbag, you will protect it from damage and enjoy its condition for many years, acquiring the honourable title of vintage at the same time.

Chloe (@chloejane.hughes) She/Her

Fashion Photographer and Content Creator based in London, UK, with the Balenciaga Hourglass Small

 

The Balenciaga Hourglass comes in a selection of sizes, why did you opt for the Small Hourglass? 
I opted for the Balenciaga Hourglass S tote bag because it measured up to fit all my everyday essentials perfectly in its slender, contemporary shape. I wanted a new classic black bag for everyday use to go with any outfit and to stand out from every other black leather bag on the market. The hourglass design instantly draws attention with its unique elegant silhouette, elevating any one of my looks, no matter how casual. 

 

What makes the Balenciaga Hourglass a classic? 
I got my Hourglass in smooth black leather because it looked so classic. I think this style is already so timeless and won’t be going out of trend any time soon. The sleek black style allows you to wear it with literally any outfit due to its minimal design. The simplicity and sophistication of the Hourglass makes it an every-season wonder that I now cannot live without. 

Sizing: My Balenciaga Hourglass S tote bag comfortably fits my everyday essentials such as my iPhone 11, a mini Tangle Teezer hairbrush, a small hand sanitiser bottle, small purse/cardholder and a few makeup touch ups, such as a lipstick, lip liner and compact. If I still have a little space I’ll bring along my mini phone charger power bank and lead for longer city days. 

Styling: I style my Hourglass with an array of different outfits ranging from day-to-day jeans or joggers and a cute top with Air Force 1s, to bodycon or blazer dresses and heels. The bag adds that stylish luxury feel to any look, making your options practically endless. I am still yet to find an outfit that the Hourglass hasn’t successfully been styled with. I also like to use the cross-body strap with most of my outfits to give that ‘on-the-go’ yet effortless look. 

Care: I keep my Hourglass on a shelf out of direct sunlight in my room and in its protective bag when travelling. I tend to use a makeup remover wipe or just damp tissue to remove any makeup or oily fingerprints visible on the leather. Then a dry tissue to dry and remove any dust. The bag is super easy to clean when looked after properly and kept in a good condition.

Freya (@freyakillin) She/Her

Digital Content Creator Based in London, UK, with the Small Hourglass bag

 

The Balenciaga Hourglass comes in a selection of sizes, why did you opt for the Small Hourglass bag?
When buying a bag I always ask myself how much use will I get out of it? Is the size practical enough to wear in the daytime but cute enough to wear dressed up in the evening? Is it big enough to fit the essentials without looking too bulky? Can you wear it cross-body and hold it with a top handle?

If all of the answers are yes, then I know I’m onto a winner. The Small size is really perfect and although I actually love the bag in all sizes, I thought this one would be most practical and so far, I’m absolutely right.


What makes the Balenciaga Hourglass a classic?
 I think what makes this bag such a classic is its structured shape. From the silky smooth leather, to the detailing on the hardware and the angles of the bag. I think it will be a handbag that will really stand the test of time and still be a great classic in years to come due to those things.


Sizing: The Small is actually surprisingly spacious, it fits all of your daily essentials from your car keys, your cardholder, your lipstick (yes, that’s an essential), chewing gum, a little bit of makeup and there’s still room for all of the other stuff you unnecessarily carry around in your handbag.
 
Styling: I am known for being a very neutral dresser and tend to steer away from colours, so buying this bag in lilac was very daring for me. I initially thought I might have some trouble styling it but actually that’s been far from the case. It looks fabulous against pinks and other pastel colours like you see in the photos, but it also looks great against neutral outfits to add a pop of colour. I’ve styled it in my typical comfy, casual, streetwear vibe and I personally love it.


Care: Despite the silky smooth leather, I’ve actually found the bag to be very durable and care has been very minimal effort (which I like). I was worried at first that it would scratch easily as I find most smooth leathers do, however I’ve been pleasantly surprised with this bag and so far it’s been on many nights out with me and survived without a scratch.

 

Jordan Laurelle Timchal (@jordanlaurelle) She/Her

Content Creator based in New York, USA, with the Balenciaga Hourglass Medium

 

The Balenciaga Hourglass comes in a selection of sizes, why did you opt for the Medium bag?
I opted for the Medium after trying several sizes and checking how spacious they were. The smaller size, especially cross-body, was probably my favourite on my smaller 5’4” frame. However, I still really liked how the Medium looked, especially worn on my wrist. How much the Medium fits in it is what won me over in the end. I’m also trying to balance out my bag collection as I have quite a few small bags and living in NYC, they’re just not that practical when out all day.

 

What makes the Balenciaga Hourglass a classic? 
I personally think it’s a classic because it’s elegant, sleek, and versatile. I rarely buy trendy designer pieces (partly because I don’t dip heavily into trends and partly because it’s more sustainable), so I like to buy bags I can wear for at least a few years. I think the sophisticated and clean look, along with it having a structural silhouette typical of Balenciaga, is why it’s already sticking around and will for a while.


Sizing: The bag is so spacious for how sleek it looks. I find it easy to fit my essentials (usually my iPhone 11 Max, lipstick, card case, powder compact and brush, hand sanitiser, etc.) for days out and about. Recently at Miami Swim Week, I was quite pleased (and impressed) to find an entire water bottle fit with all of those things and it still had a little room to spare. It really doesn’t look as big as it is.


Styling: I am a huge fan of juxtaposition. I love mixing high and low, edgy and feminine, dressy and casual. The Hourglass bag is kind of the middle road in that regard, so it’s incredibly easy to style a wide variety of looks. I try to look a little more professional for meetings and events in New York, so I choose a cotton dress from Nicole Miller and a black blazer (handy in the summer for those aggressively air conditioned spots) that I dress down with my favorite Pumas. The bag adds sophistication and edge, resulting in a versatile look that can carry me from meetings to drinks out with friends.


Care: Honestly, this is another reason why I like the bag so much. I’m pretty low-key so I like pieces that aren’t high maintenance and can be worn regularly. The bag is very durable, I’ve put some decent mileage on it since purchasing it in February and it still doesn’t have any signs of wear. I typically store it on my shelf where I display some of my other bags and wipe it down gently with a mild soap and water if it does need cleaning.

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