Fashion notes: A guide to revamping your handbag

Style connoisseurs worldwide are carrying mini cross-bodied with jingly critters, furry pom-poms and keychains.

Fashion blogger Yuwei Zhangzou Yuyu sports a quiky sticker on her handbag. Kirstin Sinclair / Getty Images
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If you thought fuzzy pom-pom balls were childish, think again, because they seem to be the latest It ­accessory for handbags. Style connoisseurs worldwide are trading in their totes and shoulder bags for mini cross-bodies adorned with jingly critters and keychains.

If you’re looking for a culprit, Fendi is to blame. The fashion house may have only intended to jazz up the runway with a for-show-only accessory in February 2014, when Cara Delevingne introduced Karlito to the fashion world. The rather garish, but ashamedly cute, mini version of Karl Lagerfeld featured the designer’s signature sunglasses and monochrome suit, and was crafted from silver fox, black mink and goat fur in a shape that resembled a bowling pin. The reaction? Hundreds of women put their names on a list for their own Karlitos.

Today, the trend still rages, continuing to suck in the masses. Handbag stalls that were once cluttered only with counterfeit designer purses at popular marketplace-type shopping destinations (Karama, Dragon Mart, Global Village) are now laden with knock-off Karlitos, along with Fendi monsters (pom-poms with outlandish monster faces complete with evil yellow eyes) and bugs (peculiar pom-poms with faces featuring eyebrows that are far too furry), which seem to be equally popular handbag accessories.

If you're looking for a way to spruce up your handbag and are seeking the trend of the moment, this is it. And if you can find a printed silk scarf to wrap around the handles of your bag, add it on as well. Throw the less-is-less rule out the window when decorating your handbag, because the more eccentric and intentionally cluttered it looks, the more street-style-worthy your arm candy becomes. Take notes from Vogue Japan's Anna Dello Russo, who has been showing up to fashion shows during the past couple of seasons with jaw-­dropping handbag renditions. Sometimes there's so much dangling off her purse that it becomes hard to tell exactly where the bag ends and where its accessories begin. Furry Fendi pom-poms emblazoned with initials, swooping fox tails, Karlitos, funky chains and printed scarves are frequently festooning her handbags, whether they are classic leather designs or kitschy clutches.

Dello Russo, the queen of quirky, may not be your go-to source for fashion inspiration. If you have ethical quandaries about turning to fur for your handbag fashion fix, then by all means, continue to tut in disgust when you see the tasteless furball accessories, and opt for a different method of decor – the handbag sticker. Spearheaded by Anya Hindmarch, the leather-sticker trend has also gained quite a bit of popularity among the fashion set. But if you’re planning on sticking on quite a few, perhaps to spell out a word or phrase, you may need to adjust your budget because they don’t come cheap, costing about Dh200 a piece at Boutique 1. Find less expensive alternatives from Skinnydip London (, where each letter is priced at Dh20.

If you’re strapped for cash, but are adamant on primping your purse to the standards of this somewhat controversial trend, simply search around your house for keychains, broken bracelets, and other charms – even a tassel from the drapes will do – and fasten them onto the chain of your handbag. Tie an old bandanna around the handle, and you’re all set to hit the town.

If you do find yourself buying into the pom-pom-charm fad, tack it onto your handbag, and when you finally grow tired of it, give it to your pet. My own kitty has claimed my pom-pom for herself, and the now matted, balding charm lies somewhere under the couch.