For decades, sophisticated women have been carrying clutches to complement their elegant evening attire. After all, whether you choose something in basic black, the classic box clutch, or a larger envelope style, a clutch is always the perfect evening accessory. The history of the clutch purse traces all the way back to the Victorian era when ladies carried a reticule, a decorative bag for storing smelling salts and a handkerchief. While they temporarily went out of style, they were back in the World War II days when there became a huge demand for smaller things. After the war, the clutch quickly became the evening bag of choice, and still today it’s the most popular option for celebrities walking the red carpet or attending other formal events. With so many options to choose from today, how do you pair a clutch with your formal outfit? We’ve put together a look at seven of the trendiest clutches and tips for styling them to complete your evening look.
1 – The Basic Black Clutch
Every woman needs a basic black clutch in her wardrobe, and celebrities like Judy Greer and Julia Louis-Dreyfus turn to this classic repeatedly on the red carpet. A black clutch can complete nearly any formal look, no matter what color you’re wearing. While they always look great with black evening gowns, they look great with other colors, too. If you’re wearing a white dress, a black clutch is a perfect contrast. And if plain black isn’t your style, choose something in black that has fun details like fringe or studs.
2 – The Minaudiere
The minaudiere is considered the most formal clutch bag, and it’s been a popular choice since Hollywood starlets and socialites made it popular back in the 1920s and 1930s. It’s still one of the most common evening handbags chosen by celebrities because it’s so small it won’t take away from the silhouette of your clothing. A minaudiere is perfect for asymmetric dresses and floor-length styles, and it’s the best choice if you’re attending a black tie or white tie event.
3 – The Envelope Clutch
An envelope clutch is a classic choice to wear with your formal attire – they’re rectangular and are distinguished by the little fold-over flap. Envelope clutches look great with timeless dress styles, such as the empire waist dress. They’re available in many great colors and fabrics, such as leather, satin, and suede, so choose a color that complements your outfit. Selecting a velvet envelope clutch, as Anna Kendrick did, is a perfect way to add the velvet trend to your evening look, as well.
ASOS DESIGN suede envelope clutch bag with ring detail
VIVIENNE WESTWOOD ACCESSORIES Envelope Clutch Bag
Jimmy Choo metallic Candy glitter envelope cross body bag
VIVIENNE WESTWOOD ACCESSORIES Victoria Envelope Clutch Bag
Vivienne Westwood Women's Victoria Envelope Clutch Bag - Anthracite
Valentino Garavani black rockstud leather envelope clutch
MANGO Snake-effect envelope
Violeta BY MANGO Leather envelope bag
VIVIENNE WESTWOOD ACCESSORIES Lisa Envelope Clutch Bag
Vivienne Westwood Women's Victoria Envelope Clutch Bag - Black
Alaïa black double envelope leather clutch bag
Vivienne Westwood Women's Lisa Envelope Clutch Bag - Black
Furla Women's Babylon XL Envelope Clutch Bag - Black
Vivienne Westwood Women's Lisa Envelope Clutch Bag - Pink
Missy Empire Jaci Pink Glitter Envelope Clutch Bag
4 – A Gold or Silver Metallic Clutch
Metallics have been so on trend over the past couple of years, and they’re a hot option in clutches, too. A gold clutch takes a white outfit to the next level, and it also goes well with colors like cream, beige, and of course, gold. Both gold and silver metallic clutches add a bit of glitz to a formal black dress or jumpsuit (like Victoria Beckham). And a simple silver evening bag can take an outfit of any color to the next level.
5 – The Classic Box Clutch
Another clutch must-have for your closet is the classic box clutch. It’s a popular option for red carpet events among celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Jane Fonda, and Viola Davis. Shaped like a small, simple box, these clutches work with any type of formalwear you decide to wear for your big event. The classic box shape looks great with the lines of a jumpsuit or a full-skirted ball gown. Want to have a little fun with your box clutch? Pick one that’s embossed or one featuring a cool lock closure for a modern twist.
SOPHIA WEBSTER Clara Box Bag
JUDITH LEIBER 'Cayman Coffered Rectangle' metallic crocodile leather box clutch
Quiz Clothing Quiz Silver Shimmer Weave Box Clutch
Clare V. Le Box Bag
CECILIA MA 'Vogue' acrylic box clutch
Capsule Pearl Detail Box Clutch Bag
REISS Hoxton - Snake Skin Box Clutch in Ecru, Womens
Oscar de la Renta Rogan box clutch bag - Gold
Jimmy Choo J Box clutch - Metallic
Jimmy Choo J Box clutch - Grey
ASOS DESIGN square plastic boxy clutch bag
Inge Christopher metallic box clutch
Jimmy Choo Celeste box clutch bag - Black
Jimmy Choo J Box clutch - Black
Dsquared2 box clutch bag - Metallic
Jimmy Choo J Box clutch - Red
Rocio Wasabi sculpted box clutch - Pink
Amber Sceats Box Clutch
6 – The Shoulder Chain Clutch
Planning to wear something that shows off your shoulders for a formal event? According to Refinery29, a shoulder chain clutch is a perfect option to draw attention to those beautiful shoulders. Whether it’s a strapless dress, an off-the-shoulder design, or a cold shoulder, formal jumpsuit, the sparkly chains on these clutches will draw attention to the skin you’re showing.
7 – The Embellished Clutch
Take a page from red-carpet A-listers like Kathryn Hahn and Janelle Monaé and consider upping our eveningwear game with an embellished clutch. From tough stud embellishments to glittering crystals, an embellished option gives you a chance to really personalize your look with something a bit unexpected. They look especially great with monochromatic formal outfits. Just make sure to keep the rest of your jewelry scaled back so you don’t look overdone.