Over the last two weeks I revealed my top two must-have bag styles: the Tote and the Cross-body bag. Time for my final choice. Of course, this isn’t to say you should stop at just three styles, however, as far as I’m concerned these three are absolute wardrobe staples. Just as every wardrobe needs a white t-shirt, great pair of jeans, a little black dress… likewise, it needs these bags. So what’s my final choice?
The Evening Clutch. A classy evening clutch is pretty much a no-brainer. Go elegant and bold, a classic envelope style will serve you well for years to come. It will dress up your LBD in a flash; and will add some glam to a pair of jeans. You can even pop it into your Tote bag to ensure you’re ready to go from the office to drinks in style.
The evening clutch has been a wardrobe staple since the 1920s and 1930s, when Hollywood socialites and starlets began to show a preference for handheld structured bags at special events. The clutch ensured nothing took away from the silhouette of the clothing (no bags hanging off shoulders or over arms). In fact, a clutch can complement a look, much like jewellery.
Photo: Judith Leiber 'Hot Air Balloon' clutch, 2016
The evening clutch also goes by the name, minaudière, a name patented by Van Cleef & Arpels who designed its own minaudière in 1930. It was inspired by Florence Gould, an American socialite and patron of the arts, who carried her belongings in a Lucky Strike metal cigarette case.
Other competitive brands such as Cartier, Tiffany & Co. and Chaumet; quickly followed with their own versions, but they don’t regularly make them today. In fact, the specialty handbag factories that produced these types of clutches, in materials such as bakelite, metal, and lacquer; have been out of business for some time, which is partly why the few designers who do make these types of clutches offer them at steep prices. With limited manufacturers, most specialty clutch designers turn to artisans to create their designs.
Some of the designers known for their gorgeous clutches, and who often focus solely on this type of accessory are: Judith Leiber, Edie Parker, Kotur, Lee Savage and Nathalie Trad. Each of these designers use incredible materials (including acrylic, diamonds, crystals, metal, shells, mother of pearl) and techniques that turn their clutches into handheld artworks and pieces of jewellery.
Top left: Kotur 'Simone Merrick' clutch, 2016. Top right: Nathalie Trad 'Murray' clutch, 2016.
Above left: Lee Savage 'Broken Space' clutch, 2016.
Above: Edie Parker 'Flavia' clutch, 2016.
Actress Emmanuelle Chriqui carrying Edie Parker at the 22nd Annual Elle Women in Hollywood Awards in Los Angeles. Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images.
Of course, not too many of us have the budget or occasion to wear such high end minaudière, so instead, here are some absolutely stunning, classic clutches that you could consider.
Above left: Jimmy Choo, Milla embellised suede clutch. Above right: DVF, 440 Gallery Uptown clutch. Below left: Alexander McQueen, Britannia clutch. Below right: Bottega Veneta, The Knot clutch.