I originally learned about Mlouye through their colorful and eye-catching Instagram ads. In particular, the candy colored Sera Tote kept repeatedly catching my attention. Eventually, the Flex line intrigued me as well, as I’m a sucker for bags that can be worn multiple ways.
Searching around, there aren’t many reviews about their bags. So I decided to give the Mini Flex bag a try and share my thoughts here!
Mlouye is a Turkish brand founded by Meb Rurer, who blends architectural design with fashion at a contemporary pricepoint. The brand tends to produce smaller batches to reduce the chance of overproduction. Which is why you’ll often see that bags are on pre-order for a few weeks out.
The Mini Flex comes in seven different colors, and pricing ranges from $395, to $445 for the fun mirrored version. I was specifically looking for a small bag that could easily be worn to casual and formal occasions. The Flex line comes in three different sizes: Standard, Mini and Micro. The Mini and Micro sizes seemed to fit what I was looking for, and I ultimately went for the Mini.
When I first saw the Flex line, I immediately thought of Issey Miyake’s Bao Bao bags. I like that Mlouye takes these geometric shapes and makes them feel more formal with Italian calf leather.
On the website, the Dove color looks like a creamy ivory. However, in person it does have a slightly cooler tone – I’d describe as a light greige. I’ve compared it below with my Polene Numero Un Mini in beige, and my LV Empreite multi-pochette in a peachier creme.
Because of the leather panels, there’s a lot of stitching in this bag and it all looks flawless. The leather pieces themselves are sturdy and symmetric, yet smooth to the touch. From a design standpoint, I appreciate that there is a flat bottom so it can stand on its own.
From what I can tell, the quality seems to at least be on par with Polene, and better than Mansur Gavriel. While I do love Polene’s pebbled leather more, I’d say Mlouye’s smooth leather feels more luxurious than Polene’s. Specifically, I compared it with my Numero Sept Mini (reviewed here).
What Fits Inside
I’m glad I went for the Mini, and not the Micro. What you’re able to fit inside depends on how you’re wearing the bag. When worn “normally”, aka not cinching the sides together, I can fit most essentials. This includes: my phone, keyholder, small wallet, chapstick and sunscreen.
However, for more formal events, I could see myself carrying this as a wristlet, with the sides connected into the pyramid shape. In this case, the bag fits a lot less. Definitely no phone, and generally shorter items only. To get the sides to fold in correctly, I had to leave out my phone and wallet, and place my keyholder inside sideways (shown below).
I’m glad I went with the Mini – I can’t imagine much fitting into the Micro at all. Maybe a few credit cards and chapstick, really!
The Mini Flex has one short strap that is permanently attached on one end, and a separate longer strap that is adjustable. It can be worn three ways: as a wristlet, top handle, or shoulder / crossbody. Here are my initial thoughts on wearing it each way:
- My favorite aesthetically, but it doesn’t seem to “fold up” all the way when I try to carry it like this. It’s possible that there’s a bit of break in for the bag to get used to folding that way.
- I’m a little concerned that the bottom will get crease lines if I do this too much. I guess we’ll see!
- Top Handle:
- In addition to the wristlet option, I think this one works great for formal events as well. While it’s easy enough to open and close the top zipper, it can get a little tricky to put in / take out items, as the strap sometimes gets in the way.
- Shoulder / Crossbody
- This is the most straightforward and standard carrying style. The longer strap is adjustable, and best suited for shoulder carrying.
- I can wear it as a short crossbody when the long strap is set to the last hole.
A word of caution: the strap clasps are somewhat sharp, and can scratch the leather on the straps as you clip them in and out. While the clasps look cool, I do wish they went with more standard design and rounded edges.
Overall, I think this bag is very versatile and solid quality for its price. Mlouye seems to stack up well to other brands I’ve owned in this range, such as Polene, Demellier, and Mansur Gavriel. Unfortunately, it’s ever so slightly too cool-toned for me, so I am sending it back to exchange for another bag – which I’ll be sure to review here as well!